Hyundai Veloster: Maximum velocity

By Rory Daley
Observer writer

Friday, March 02, 2018

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SOUTH Korean auto manufacturer Hyundai has added more power to the 2018 Veloster. The upgrade sees an increase of 71 horse power over the previous model and makes for better driving experience.

On the outside, the Veloster continues with its rare asymmetrical coupe hatchback hybrid design. It's a four door, not a four door with a hatch style trunk. It just has four doors. That's because there are two on the passenger side, one driver's side door, and the rear trunk. From afar, the mix of odd-numbered doors and the sloping roofline gives the Veloster a coupe-like appearance. Say what you want about the looks, it works: the driver does not have to move the seat for rear passenger exit. Those in the rear can exit on the passenger side.

Externally, there isn't much to differentiate it from its naturally aspirated sibling save the subtle red turbo badges on its rear and nose and the shape and size change to dual centre-mounted exhaust. Where it does depart visually is best described as 'maximum grillage,' since it now boasts a front grille of the size and bling that would make several premium brands jealous.

Inside, it's very much the same theme as outside — now sporting the updates expected in a modern Hyundai such as their excellent infotainment system. Cabin quality is good with soft-touch materials around, and very supportive leather seats that bear the only other insight to the car: the word 'turbo' stitched into the front seats. Getting into a driving position is easy with the four-way power-adjustable seat and its lumbar support. The gauge cluster is also very driver focused as they're recessed deep and surrounded by a very stylish cover that shields the speedometer and tachometer from any glare. Hyundai calls this a Supervision Cluster. The feel is very much submarine commander at his periscope.

Firing up the Veloster comes with the press of the large central start button, which the middle console seems to be designed around. Those expecting the rabid Japanese style of turbocharging may be disappointed. Like many South Korean automotive products, the Veloster is very measured in its power delivery, meaning a more European take on forced induction. It's not slow. Stomp on the accelerator and it takes off butter smooth, riding a meaty wave of 195 lb/ft of torque to its redline. There's none of the expected lag or the surge-like nature from other rivals in this segment. The 201bhp is shifted through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission that never appears to be caught off guard. Slip it into SPORT mode and things get even more rabid as the Veloster shifts even faster and holds on to gears longer. Gears can be accessed manually via steering-mounted paddles or the shifter should the corners get too tight.

The power increase and mature delivery suits the forgiving chassis dynamics of the Veloster. Even on 18-inch wheels it soaks up bumps with wonderful compliance, but never is soft that it wallows through turns. The three-mode steering is most direct in SPORT, offering the driver a keen sense of feedback and direction needed for the pace the Veloster is able to achieve.

Once again, the Hyundai Veloster is a unique device, a hatchback styled to look like coupe with the practicality of a sedan. Adding a turbocharger hasn't upset its balance. Rather than join the stereotype of its new-found badge, it instead delivers performance in a more mature fashion, while retaining the original elements that makes the naturally aspirated version a fun drive.




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