What is it?
The Veloster is Hyundai’s welcome return to the coupe sector it once used to do so well in. One of the most distinctive cars in this class, the model is most widely recognized for its ‘2+1’ door arrangement – with, unlike on the Mini Clubman, the rear passenger door on the correct side. It’s an interesting rival to the Vauxhall Astra GTC and VW Scirocco.
Even more interesting now the faster Turbo has arrived. One criticism of the standard model is its paucity of power. The Turbo adds 48bhp to correct this, with bespoke steering and suspension tuning hoping to make a decent car a bit more focused. It’s not really a Scirocco R rival but is a welcome addition to the Veloster range – and the best to drive.
Skirting worryingly close to the old coupe snub of being all show and no go, the standard Veloster’s whiney 138hp 1.6-litre is not up to the job of offering performance to complement the looks. It’s gutless and gruff . The 186bhp Turbo is gruff too, but much more boost in the mid-ranges makes it nicer to drive. This one isn’t about snarling performance but easy-access all-round surge, a job it does well.
The chassis isn’t as dynamic as a Mini but it’s not bad if you don’t press too hard. There’s a façade of sportiness in the taut ride and chunky steering, which only fades away to reveal the woolly centre when you’re motoring hard. The Turbo, again, isn’t all that different from the regular model, really: it has better steering, which is welcome, but we’re not quite sure they really needed to stiffen the ride yet further…
On the inside
Hyundai has done something Mini didn’t bother to – switch the single rear door from the driver’s side to the passenger side. It means those in the back won’t be stepping out into the path of oncoming trucks: be in no doubt, this is an expensive but admirable thing to do. Other signs of Hyundai’s attention to detail come from the modern-look interior’s feeling of quality, particularly the touch screen whose resolution is a match for an iPad. Those in the front sit suitably low but while the rear is bigger than you may think, it’s lacking in headroom. Make sure you don’t get in when the boot is open: cue spine-compression when it’s closed.
The Veloster isn’t quite the bargain Hyundai Coupe of yore. The brand’s moved on. Instead, it offers cracking value for keen prices: standard equipment is bountiful and the five-year warranty is beaten only by Kia and Vauxhall. And the n/a engine may not be a firestormer but it does return 43.5mpg: a Blue Drive model adds stop-start, improving this to 47.9mpg.