Lots of style, lots of fun, not much money.
Like the Nissan Cube, Hyundai’s sporty little Veloster hatchback casts aside design symmetry in favor of practicality. Whereas the Cube’s asymmetrical rear corners assist outward visibility, the Veloster’s asymmetrical side doors (one on the left, two on the right) assist entry into the back seats while allowing the car to have a coupelike side profile. Based on a combination of Accent and Elantra architecture, the Veloster stands out from the rest of Hyundai’s lineup — and the rest of the new-car market — thanks to its bold styling and clever packaging. It’s more than a fresh face, however. The Veloster offers features that will appeal to its youthful target market: Bluetooth, Blue Link (basically, Hyundai’s version of GM’s OnStar system), and compatibility with Pandora internet radio. Enthusiasts will appreciate how the relatively light Veloster handles corners, although it’s not quite as playful as a Mini Cooper. A turbo engine is new for 2013, and it should better satisfy speed freaks who were disappointed by the 138-hp base unit; the Turbo also adds fancy fittings such as leather upholstery and LED head- and taillamps. A dual-clutch automatic is a $1250 stand-alone option, but it unfortunately feels as sluggish as a conventional automatic. The solution is simple: buy a Veloster with a manual and enjoy the heck out of your cool new car.
new for 2013
The feisty new Turbo model makes the Veloster much more of a serious performer. It looks more distinctive, too, with LED lighting and available (high maintenance) matte gray paint. The nonturbo Veloster stands pat.
Front, front side, and side curtain air bags; ABS; traction and stability control, the Blue Link telematics system, brake assist, and tire-pressure monitors are standard.
New Turbo model quickens the pulse
Reluctant to dance
Dual-clutch automatic transmission shifts slowly
Base Price Range: $18,225–$23,725
TRIM LEVELS: Veloster, Veloster Turbo
BODY STYLE: Hatchback, 4-passenger
ENGINES: 1.6L I-4, 138 hp, 132 lb-ft
1.6L turbo I-4, 201 hp, 195 lb-ft
TRANSMISSIONS: 6-speed manual, 6-speed automatic
PASSENGER VOLUME: 89.8 cu ft
CARGO SPACE: (rear seats up/down) 15.5/34.7 cu ft