“The customer wants the world for 20k” . It’s a common phrase in the confines of a new car dealership, and until now it’s been a challenge to justify the hefty price tags of some of the new cars on the market. Lets have a look at what 20k plus tax can get you these days. Perhaps a mid level Honda Civic, or a fully loaded Hyundai Accent GLS? Depending on the time of year, you might take advantage of some rebates and get yourself a Kia Sorento or 4 cylinder Hyundai Santa Fe. The fact is, that 20 grand is a healthy budget, and with the speed technology is racing by us, it’s about time a manufacturer loaded a car up with some of the affordable amenities previously available only on higher end sedans and seen in concepts. It’s about time that a manufacturer rewarded the hard working single mom, and the recent university grad for sticking it out for 4, 5 or more years for an education! The 40 year old that wants a sports car after finally raising those 3 young kids shouldn’t have to take a second mortgage out to get one! Now, who do all these people have to thank? And for what? Well, they can thank Hyundai for the all new Veloster!
It’s almost a given that you’ve encountered one of these on the road, followed by a “what is that!?” and then a “really, it’s a Hyundai!?” It’s that Honda CRX-esque Coupe +1, with wheels that look aftermarket, and an exhaust that blends in so well with the back end you hardly notice the dual pipes taunting you. Now, mind you the Veloster 1.6L is hardly a sports car, boasting just 138 well tuned horsepower, but Hyundai hasn’t marketed it as such. Rather, it’s a great looking, practical and fun to drive piece of machinery that won’t break the bank. It comes in sleek, mature colours or bright, loud colours, suiting every type of driver on the road today.
As a person employed to sell Hyundai’s newest child, I’m slightly partial to the car. But one can’t ignore the enormous value it brings to the table. For just over $20k CDN ($20994 incl. Freight) a stick shift familiar driver can take home a 6 speed “base” model, which I’ve aptly named the “entry level” model, only because the term “base” implies “basic”, which the Veloster is none of. An entry level model will reward its owner kindly with a long list of features including power everything, AC, keyless entry with proximity key and push button start, fog lights, 18” alloys, heated seats, 7” touchscreen with backup camera, handsfree Bluetooth, traction control, Eco drive, 4 wheel disc brakes, and, well, I think you get the picture. For a modest $3500 more, a panoramic glass sunroof can be added with the “tech” package, which also includes a navigation system for that 7” touch screen, nice alloys wheels, leather wrapped steering wheel and shifter, black polished accents throughout the interior, cloth and simulated leather bolstered seats, automatic headlamps, and an upgraded stereo with amp and subwoofer. For a vehicle with features as abundant as this, a price tag of 30k more more would almost be justifiable, but features are just half the battle as it’s not like you’ll just sit in it and play with the touchscreen, nav and Bluetooth, right?
From the minute the key lands in your hand you’re instantly curious. 9 times out of 10 people ask me “push button start?”, and not only that but the proximity key means buttons on the door handle to lock and unlock, and no need to take the key out from its hiding place. The drivers door swings heavy like a sports coupe should, but don’t forget this is a 2 +1 meaning a second door on the passenger side. If I remember correctly, Saturn attempted this with its SC a while back, and aside from being convenient it just stood out awkwardly, but not so with the Veloster. The back door here blends in so nicely with the lines of the car one hardly notices it’s there at all until the realization of it sets in. All in all, the 4 bolstered seats are stiff, yet comfortable enough for daily commutes, plus they’re heated for those chilly Toronto mornings.
As you’re reading along, you’ve probably noticed that the Veloster hasn’t let me down as of yet, until now. The headroom in the back two seats lead me to believe that somewhere along the lines Hyundai considered making this car a 2 seater. But this ideas was squashed and replaced with the high hopes that no one over 6 feet tall would ever need to sit in the back. The warning sign on the hatch will explain their reasoning for this, but simply put; anyone sitting in the back seats shouldn’t do so if and when the hatch needs to be opened or closed, or else they will suffer an unfortunate run in with the back glass!
But who cares about headroom in the back seat when you have all these amazing toys in the from seats right!? From a drivers perspective, bang on! And for the price, anyone needing to squeeze into the back for a ride can surely afford their own Veloster, so problem solved!
The first few seconds in the drivers seat almost always feels cool! After crouching into your cockpit, analyzing your surroundings and starting you car with the push of a centrally located “start” button, you watch with anticipation as the dials light up, the engine comes to life and the large, colourful touch screen welcomes you. As you put the transmission into reverse you’re assisted by a backup camera displayed on the LCD screen, warning you of obstacles within a couple meters of your back bumper, eliminating the need to twist your neck every time you back up. Then it’s into drive (or 1st gear) as you head off towards your destination, be it the corner store or a weekend road trip guided by the optional navigation system.
I’ve yet to encounter an unsatisfied test driver. And I’m even more hard pressed to find an unhappy owner. From my personal experience, it’s the features that got them into the car, but the ride, performance and fuel economy that keeps them driving around with that excited feeling in their chests.
The engine is just 1.6L and 138HP paired with either a 6 speed dual clutch automatic (DCT) with paddle shifters, or a 6 speed manual gearbox. The two combine nicely, allowing drivers great control, and achieving an impressive 40mpg or around 6.5 L/100 km, thus making it a top choice for daily commuters looking to save at the pumps. Now, I’ve had the pleasure of driving both transmissions, and I found that the standard is quite rewarding. The throws are short, and the clutch is just about perfect-not too stiff, not too soft either. The power ban sits just over 3500 RPM, with a redline of 5500 PRPM, and within there pickup is good. Now switch to the automatic, and you’re still able to pull of “cool” with the help of the paddle shifters nestled in behind the steering wheel. Need to pass someone? Just a flick of your fingers and your downshifting in milliseconds, no switching to “Sport Shift” necessary.
My standard test drive route has me making a series of right hand turns quite early, so the handling was the first thing I noticed during my test runs. The 4 wheel independent suspension is tighter than any of the other Hyundais, and allows very little body roll. Zipping through corners reminds the driver that they’re in a sportier car than most. The steering wheel is thick and small, the way it should be, and when you move it slightly the car responds. If corners are taken aggressively though, oversteer is a potential in a car such as this just due to the size and weight distribution. The interior is quiet as can be expected, even with the panoramic roof in the tech package. During any time spent in this car, one can’t ignore the large, bright 7” touch screen nestled neatly in the dash just above the climate controls. When I first realized that even the entry level came with this I was sold instantly! The screen provides the controls for the AM/FM/XM/CD/AUX stereo, as well as Bluetooth phone controls, iPod/MP3 player controls, smartphone controls including phonebook and call history functions, backup camera display, and with the addition of the tech package, a full real time navigation system complete with over 100 voice commands! While we’re on the topic of technology, Hyundai has included (with the Tech package) a 115v outlet in the centre console, which can power o charge anything you’d normally plug in in your home-no more dead laptops, and ladies, now you can straighten, blow dry and curl your hair in cozy confines of your Veloster!
As emotional as a new car purchase can be, there is a practical side that must be addressed. Warranty, reliability and safety are among the many faxtors that can quickly bring a passionate customer back to reality. Once again, the Velsoter stands out from the crowd boasting Hyundai’s industry leading 5 year/100000 km bumper to bumper warranty, exceptional reliability as with the Accent, Elantra and long lasting Santa Fe, and all the standard safety features one can come to expect in a car today. Working with you to provide a safe trip includes a Stability Managment System which employs traction control and electronic stability control, advanced braking features such as EBD
and brake assist and 6 standard airbags.
It’s been a while since a realistically priced car has captured my attention as the Hyundai Veloster has. It’s one of those cars that you can fall in love with from a photo, and aspire to own once the numbers and figures are out on the table. Aside from being a 4 seater and a bit of a niche vehicle, the Hyundai Veloster undoubtedly appeals to more than a few, and at the end of the day the here at the dealership, it’s one of the few cars that sells itself, and that’s a fact that can’t be ignored, just ask any of the happy drivers on the road today.