DRIVEN: HYUNDAI VELOSTER 1.6 GDI DCT
Bold, stylish and distinctive is the Veloster the first really PH-worthy Hyundai?
The value proposition, backed up with now strong design and those epic warranties, goes a long way to overturning badge snobbery in the mainstream marketplace. But it's got a harder test against cars like the Scirocco, Mini Coupe, Peugeot RCZ and - yes, it's been at least a day since we last mentioned it - the forthcoming Toyota GT 86 and Subaru BRZ.
It's one of those cars you want to will to succeed, just for the boldness of the concept. But, sadly, in this sector more than any first impressions count a great deal. Sadly the wow factor styling quickly plays second fiddle to ew factor plastics and the very clear sense it's been ruthlessly constructed to a price.
Same with the way it drives too, unfortunately. There's nothing actually wrong with it but nor does it inspire in anyway whatsoever. The steering feels springy, the gearbox - a dual-clutch auto (£1,250 extra) in this case - wails like a CVT and the 140hp is very hard won indeed. Hyundai badly needs to get that turbo bolted on and to the market if it's to square up to rivals using the 1.6 turbo PSA engine (Mini, RCZ) or the twincharged VW 1.4 in the Scirocco. Hyundai is moving in this direction but it can't come soon enough.
Yes, the Veloster offers better back seat accommodation than many of these. And bags of style, badge snobs be damned.
You can see the Koreans working their way through the checklist and 'dynamics' is clearly next on the agenda too. Put simply the Veloster is a facelift away from meeting the Mini, Scirocco, RCZ and others on equal terms across the board. VW et al can sleep securely for now. But the Koreans are nothing if not focused and you can be sure the Veloster isn't done before it's begun.
HYUNDAI VELOSTER 1.6 GDI SPORT DCT
Engine: 1,591cc 4-cyl
Transmission: 6-speed manual/6-speed dual-clutch auto, front-wheel drive
Power (hp): 140@6,300rpm
Torque (lb ft): 123@4,850rpm
0-62mph: 9.7sec/10.3 sec (DCT)
Top speed: 125mph/124mph (DCT)
Weight: 1,236kg/1,279kg (DCT)
MPG: 43.5/44.1 (NEDC combined)
CO2: 148g/km/145g/km (DCT)
Price: £21,745 (£22,845 as tested)