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'You can feel how taut the steering is, how sensitive the accelerator is to inputs', writes Charlen Raymond.

Hyundai's feisty Veloster in SA

2013-04-18 13:55


HOT HATCH CONTENDER? The Korean automaker has finally brought the Veloster to SA. Hyundai's pocket rocket is ready to take on its hatch rivals. Image: Hyundai SA


2012 Hyundai Veloster Turbo

First seen at the 2011 Johannesburg International Motor Show, Hyundai’s Veloster made quite an impression with its striking design and I was excited for the model to make its local debut.

In 2013, the Veloster arrives in SA and is a refreshing offering in the local hatchback market, despite its late arrival.

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The Veloster comes in two Executive petrol derivatives; both with a 1.6 four-cylinder GDI engine under the bonnet in either a six-speed manual or Hyundai’s first EcoShift dual-clutch auto.

Both versions produce 103kW at 6300rpm and 176Nm at 4850rpm. The model has a claimed fuel consumption of 7.9 litres/100km and CO2 emissions of 163g/km and 161g/km on the manual and auto respectively.

Hyundai SA says its styling is inspired by “light ray carvings” and makes for assertive if that radically different styling compared to its siblings.


It has bold, coupe lines and looks that will certainly appeal to the younger crowd, with a bum that could put Jennifer Lopez to shame, depending on whether you like dimples on the rear.

The rear sports a functional spoiler that reduces drag and improves stability.

Dimensions are 1.39m high with a wheelbase of 2.65m. The Veloster also has four doors – including the boot. Don’t be confused by the rear only having one passenger door. The “2+1” concept is supposed to make for safer driving with the hinged-passenger door being on the left hand side for passengers to enter out of harm’s way on the right – should you be parked on the side of the road for some reason.

The styling though may take some time to get used to. The rear light clusters look as if it’s been carved out of the body and the rest of the gap still needs to be filled...  I am fussy like that when it comes to styling – I like things clean and simple designs.


So how does it drive?

It is fun and the steering is super light – perhaps too much for some – but performance did leave me disappointed.

It might be a feisty little number but for a 1.6 it wasn’t very confident when performing rapid acceleration need to overtake. Overtaking should be severely calculated, especially in auto guise.

Driving is smooth and when putting the car through its paces, it isn't completely useless and you don't feel like you need to hang on to dear life and pray you don't make it through some of Cape Town's best mountain passes- especially in the manual model.

It just lacks a bit of oomph.

As for the dual-clutch, Hyundai has developed this tech in-house and it has two shafts – one with first, third and fifth gear, and the other with second, fourth and sixth gear. Hyundai said the clutches alternate to engage the relevant shaft for feeding the power from the engine to the front wheels.

Though the ecoshift auto is much better than the CVT found in other Hyundai models, it still lets the car down. At least the gearbox is hampered by searching for the right gear because of the dual-clutch always ready to be in the correct one. While it wasn't erratic, gears seemed to hang at times but then you could just shift it yourself in the "sport" mode.

Yes it’s sporty and makes more power than most of its direct rivals, but driving was not as spirited as much as I anticipated - hopefully the turbo model gets here soon.

Perhaps my expectations were too high and I'm being harsh since despite power niggles it's a good car. Build quality is great, in terms of design it's a stunner and you get your money's worth in standard kit.


Hyundai said the Veloster's interior was inspired by that of a motorbike. The interior is contemporary with “floating” door handles and a digital instrument cluster with massive dials reminiscent of a motorcycle. The facia is uncluttered and generates a feeling as spaciousness and intuitive design.

There are very sporty leather seats which compliments the car’s cheeky attitude and standard 18-" alloys, nice but expensive when tyres need to be replaced. Boot space is rated at 440 litres.

The Veloster takes on the likes of the Audi A3, VW Scirocco (1.4 TFSI), Mini Cooper and BMW 1 Series. A tough crowd perhaps, but the Hyundai does come packed with features.

It has rear park assist, a multi-function steering wheel, cruise control, Bluetooth and a really cool multimedia screen. The park sensors stand out a tad much on the brighter coloured vehicles; eight colours to choose though they should've been colour-coded to the body.

The seven-inch touch-screen in the centre console allows you to change colours, set wallpaper images and scroll through audio. It also includes a little game of sorts called Blue Max which rates how efficient you drive... it’s rather addictive plus you'll end up saving fuel.

There’s also a sound system in the car begging any audio enthusiast to pimp this car out even more. It has four speakers, two tweeters, a centre speaker and a subwoofer. There’s also an external amplifier.

It’s packed to the brim with standard safety goodies like six airbags, ABS, EBD; electronic stability programme (ESP) and vehicle stability management (VSM).


Will it do well? Probably, since it’s something different and does offer the goods to go with its price but it's going to have to prove its worth considering the competition.

Hyundai SA hope to sell 100-150 units per month.

As with all Hyundais, the Veloster comes with a five-year or 150 000km warranty and roadside assist, along with a five-year or 90 000km service plan - with intervals at 15000km.

Hyundai Veloster 1.6 Executive manual R259 900
Hyundai Veloster 1.6 Executive auto R276  900

Hyundai Veloster specifications
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