Saturday, June 9, 2012
You might be interested in this article if...
- You are a sports car type that needs excellent fuel economy to drive hard and guilt free
- You are environmentally concious but don't want to drive micro cars because they look goofy
- You have realised that you don't actually use your back seats often enough to store anything other than junk
- You are in the mood for a car loaded with standard niceties that is in a class by itself
Hyundai has been stepping up its already very competitive game in the small car market. First with the release of its next generation of Accent and Elantra which have been restyled with swooping smooth and sharp exterior panels. This bold look is continued and expanded on in its most recently released small car, the Veloster.
The Veloster is a new front wheel drive, micro compact car that has a unique number of doors. If you count the hatch you have four. There is a rear passenger door on the passenger side of the micro that opens independently of the front door to a wider than expected angle that allow passengers easy access to the rear seats. Although the rear seats are lacking in head room probably won't be used often by the type of person the car was intended for. Hyundai America CEO John Krafcik pointed out in an interview that the Veloster's asymmetric exterior compliments the asymmetric interior of all cars and tries to create areas of the vehicle that are designed for the people that would be using them, i.e the driver's door being longer so he can fit a suitcase or notebook in the back seat without needing another door and the passenger side of the car having an extra door to allow easier entry. Although the micro compact can't offer much practicality with its small dimensions what it lacks in practicality it surely makes up for in versatility, performance, style and standard niceties.
The economy sports car never looked as refined as it does today in the Veloster, which comes with a standard well engineered 1.6 litre in line 4 cylinder DOHC engine with Continuously Variable Valve Timing mated to a 6 speed manual transmission and produces 138 HP and 123 lb-ft of torque. (A turbo version is on the way and will enhance everything that is good about this model) This standard model boasts 6.2 L/ 100km combined economy, which is only 0.3L more than the new Accent and 2.8L less than it's competitor the Scion tC. Although the Veloster doesn't boast the heart pumping excitement of its 180 HP competitor it's still fun to drive and comes with a suspension package that features MacPherson front struts and excellent stabilizer bars that make sure the driver isn't thrown around much while enjoying his 138HP.
The Veloster's style is so different that it is clear that it will only appeal to a niche market not unlike the Nissan Juke. With its aggressive face that flows into a sharp swooping body the Veloster holds a drag coefficient of 0.32. At the rear of the car there is a distinctive centered dual exhaust port that is usually only seen on more refined sports cars like those from Porsche. The Veloster also comes standard with 17 inch. alloy wheels and P215/45R17 tires to remind you that despite its economy it is a sports car. The micro's appearance can be further bolstered by adding the optional panoramic sunroof that continues all the way down to the hatch and gives it the unique styling that the production model offered during its début at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show.
From the moment you get into the Veloster via Remote Keyless entry the first thing you will notice is how much technology comes standard with the model. A high resolution 7 inch touch screen display is the centre piece of the standard infotainment system that plays AM/FM/XM satellite radio/CD/MP3 on the 6 speaker sound system. The 7 inch display can also be used in conjunction with the rear view Camera to assist in backing out and also with video playback and video gaming... while parked of course. There is an input jack for you ipod and a Bluetooth voice activated phone system comes standard as well. Cruise control and audio controls can be found within easy reach on the steering wheel. Moreover, the interior by itself is sporty and modern with appealing interior shapes. The driver's seat has height adjustment for drivers who feel they would be too big for the car, and heated seats are standard and compliment the standard air conditioning.
Many people consider the Veloster a modern incarnation of the Honda CR-X which Hyundai America's CEO John Krafcik confirms was one of the cars that inspired the focussed and precise engineering of the Veloster. However, critics don't feel that the Veloster is a deserving successor to the CR-X considering how much time has pasted and how it hardly improves the performance, handling, or efficiency that the CR-X brought to life years ago. The CR-X was lighter and nimbler and able to get the very most from its 1.6L engine, and it was surely an economy sports car for the ages, but the Veloster has more to consider today. For instance, safety has become a higher priority and so the Veloster comes equiped standard with Driver and Passenger front and side airbags along with side curtain airbags, Anti-lock Brakes, Electronic Brake Distribution, Brake assist, Vehicle Stability Control, Traction control, and BlueLink (Hyundai's equivalent of GM's onStar). Coupling this is the fact that auto mobile design has made safer frames for modern cars that channel energy more effectively away from occupants and the vehicle takes on substantial weight as a result. The Veloster also seats 4, the CR-X coupe seats 2.
But when all is said and done, the Veloster stands apart from its ancestors and competitors as something truly new. It is a car for a very specific type of individual: one that isn't interested in just a sporty tC or a classic and nimble CR-X, but for someone who appreciates the engineering that went into making the Veloster safe and spacious for a micro car that consumes just 6.2L/100km. It's for people that would rather pay 19, 000 for an efficient car with great standard features than nearly 26, 000 for a competitor with equally satisfying options. If you are this kind of person, the Hyundai Veloster is bond to please.