Hyundai @ NAIAS 2012 – The Veloster

What does that even mean? Veloster? Sounds like a cross between velocity and toaster, which is actually kind of true. We got to get up close and personal with the newest addition to the Hyundai line – the Veloster Turbo. It’s a turbocharged toasticity.

The Veloster Turbo

The Veloster Turbo

To start, we really liked the satin grey finish on the car. It was understated in a special way. No complaints there. The wheels were a nice take on the classic 911 turbo wheels. The styling is not as bad in person, particularly with the more understated silver/grey of the car. Most people find either the nose or tail of the car unattractive. We think its a modern take on the classic hatchback design. There were some things we didn’t like though.

We can't fit!

The back seat on any performance hatch is always a bit of a compromise, particularly on one as small and light as this. However, we can’t fit in the back seat. Getting in and out is massively awkward for even the shortest in our group (5’8). For me at just over 6 feet tall, it was a nightmare. My head was brushing the top of the rear hatches glass. This makes me really worry about the crash-worthiness of the car, particularly in a rollover. We don’t like to talk too much about awkward back seats, as most sports cars have a joke for a back seat. However, this isn’t a coupe, it’s a fast hatch. It’s supposed to be practical enough to haul a few friends…compared to an RX-8, this backseat is a joke.

Side Mount Intercooler

The Veloster also has a very tight engine compartment. We were very unimpressed as the charge piping looks like it was made out of recycled shoes from a third world sweatshop. It was soft, pliable, and looked like it would balloon up at room temperatures. The side mount intercooler gives us fears of quick heatsoaking – a dreaded power killer. It seems the whole set-up was done on the “shoehorn” and “cheap,” two words we don’t like to describe any car.

With all the chiding about these quibbles aside, the interior was pleasant. It had nice materials, a good looking build quality, and their sat nav set-up seemed intuitive. For the cost, I’d be very seriously looking at the Genesis Coupe right that was sitting right behind it. It’s bigger, nicer inside, and has a more common sense layout (did we mention its RWD?). The Gen-Coupe also has a very reasonable sticker that isn’t a reach from the Veloster’s top ticket. Overall, we like the Veloster idea, we’re just worried the execution got lost in the shuffle.

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Enjoy the full slideshow of Veloster pics and feel free to comment with any questions.

Quirky Motoring.

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