Pedro Arrais review: Hyundai Veloster affordable, attractive and fun

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If you are young and looking for a car that won’t break the bank but sets itself apart from the competition, you will definitely like the 2019 Hyundai Veloster.

The Veloster is the sporty two-door coupe in Hyundai’s lineup. But it differs from competitors by offering an extra door on the passenger side, making it unique in the automotive world.

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The 2019 Veloster represents the second generation of the vehicle, with a number of significant changes that build upon the strengths of the original car.

The Veloster is available in eight packages, starting at $20,999. I drove the Turbo Tech with Performance Package, with a list price of $29,399.

Although I never drove the base car, what is significant is that the entry-level buyer can get the sporty look at around the $20,000 mark. This is an important for younger buyers.

My tester was aimed straight at the enthusiast with a little more disposable income — without breaking the bank as well.

The less-expensive Veloster is (no surprise) less powerful, with a naturally aspirated 2.0-litre four-cylinder with 147 horsepower and 132 foot-pounds of torque.

Step up to the Turbo and you get a blown 1.6-litre with 201 hp and 195 ft.-lb. of torque that quickens the pulse. The engine is the same from the previous generation, but peak torque arrives at 1,500 rpm, down from 1,750 rpm before.

A six-speed manual is standard, or buyers can opt for a seven-speed double-clutch automatic with paddle shifters (non-turbo Velosters are paired with a conventional six-speed automatic).

The turbo engine and manual transmission works for me, with short throws and gearing that make it entertaining to drive.

Those who find 200-odd horses lacking should hold their breath for the upcoming Veloster N, which will have 275 hp on tap under the right foot (and challenge other hot hatches such as the venerable Volkswagen GTI).

The redesign was not just sheet-metal changes, either.

Under the skin, the 2019 platform ditches the torsion-beam rear suspension for a better multi-link rear end.

Turbo models get thicker front and rear sway bars and a 10 per cent quicker steering ratio, elevating the fun-to-drive experience on back roads.

If you have a keen eye for the rubber that adorns your car, you will be happy to see the Veloster Turbo comes standard with 225/40 R18 Michelin Pilot 4 summer performance tires — they certainly put a smile on my face.

While all the sheetmetal is different, the execution is roughly the same, with two doors on the passenger side artfully disguised to look like a regular two-door at a quick glance.

A panorama sunroof spans the whole of the roof, giving the cabin an airy feel.

The interior received attention in the do-over, with more headroom and more cargo capacity — you can now carry up to 563 litres or cargo (up from 440). The back seats aren’t designed for long-distance comfort but convenience: You can get three friends home from a party.

The only downside is that the rake of the small back window means the driver has limited rearward vision. With the advent of back-up cameras, that’s not so much of a hindrance these days.

The front seats offer plenty of support, and even those with ample girth will find them comfortable. In my tester, there was a lot of contrasting red stitching and trim to break up the monochromatic black interior (you get blue stitching and blue accents in the regular Veloster).

The eight-inch infotainment system includes navigation as well as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Other nice touches include a head-up display and a wireless charging pad on the bottom of the centre-console stack. The Veloster comes with Hyundai’s BlueLink, which allows owners to use their smartphones to remotely lock or unlock, start, set the climate control or call in the event of a collision to request assistance.

Active safety includes blind-spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert and rear parking-assist sensors.

The Veloster is not a sports car, but it’s a fun-to-drive car. With the extra door, you could get baby seats and the occasional passenger in without much trouble, a giant plus for many young families.

With so much of the market rushing to snap up SUVs and crossovers, the Veloster will likely find a niche market. But for those who value fun over practicality, a low-slung coupe beats a lumbering SUV any day.

 

THE SPEC SHEET

 

Type: Compact three-door coupe, front engine, front-wheel-drive

Engine: Turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder, 201 hp at 6,000 r.p.m., 195 lb.-ft. of torque at 1,500 to 4,500 r.p.m.

Transmission: Six-speed manual

Dimensions (mm): Length, 4,240; width, 1,800; height, 1,399; wheelbase, 2,650

Curb weight (kg): 1,325

Price (base/as tested): $29,399/ $31,304 (includes $1,805 freight and PDI and $100 AC tax)

Options: Nil

Tires: 225/40 R18 Michelin Pilot 4 summer tires on alloy wheels

Fuel type: Regular

Fuel economy (L/100km): 9.4 city/ 7.0 highway

Warranty: Five years/100,000 km new car, five years/unlimited km roadside assistance

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