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Detroit 2011: Hyundai Veloster
Hyundai was on a serious roll already, and the Detroit show
finds it in even better form. The Veloster is an intriguing Scirocco
competitor, and the Curb concept is a lip-smacking go at the Nissan Juke
The Veloster is a front-drive coupe with a pretty sleek
profile on the driver’s side. On the passenger’s side it looks subtly
different, but you can’t quite see why. Until it dawns on you that the door is
shorter than on the driver’s side and that there’s another door behind it.
Viewed from one side it’s a three-door hatchback, but on the other a five-door.
Is this some strange programming error in the factory
robots? Nope, it’s the real thing, though the reasons for it are rather harder
to fathom. Something to do with safe and easy access to the back seats from the
kerbside, but a proper coupe look from the road side.
Hyundai says that - unlike the Mini Clubman - the
door arrangement will be properly reversed for us right-hand drivers.
The US gets it first, but our version comes to the Geneva
show in March. Engine is a 1.6 turbo, and there’s a twin-clutch transmission
The Curb ‘urban crossover’ (pictured below) is just a concept, and a good one
too, inevitably leading to a (inevitably watered-down) production car. The
Saab-like glass area is hardly original, but it sits well on the nicely scooped
lower body and hipbone-shaped lights.
Inside it’s got the usual show car touches including
multi-part display screens, pod seats and suicide doors. But it also has
something Hyundai is introducing on its production cars: BlueLink. This is a
fully voice-activated connection pack for phones, music, nav and reading and
Sending emails while driving sounds like a game of chicken
with very short odds, but Hyundai says it doesn’t distract you because you don’t
need to jab at a keypad. The system turns your talk into characters. Maybe it’s
OK just to write dumb emails. Composing smart or funny or well-argued ones is
definitely going to take your mind off the driving.
BlueLink also has a social
networking element: you can send your live location to friends, and see theirs.
At any rate, provided they all drive Hyundais.