Text by Cheryl Tay
Photos by Adrian Wong
It was quite amusing watching my friends stare at the door for a good couple of seconds and wondering how to open the door. What happened was, I rolled up to them kerbside in the new Hyundai Veloster and it has this unique three-door design – two doors on the left and one on the right. The thing is, my girlfriends knew there was clearly a door to be opened and get into, but they could not see where the handle was.
After about 20 seconds of staring at the only rear door of the car and me trying to tell them where it was (I remained strapped into the driver’s seat), one of them finally realised the handle was ‘hidden’ in the window trim. The rear door opening is not very wide, but it was relatively easy to get into and once they were nicely settled in the car I got a little telling-off for not coming out of the car to help them!
What is this three-door-car-with-a-hidden-door-handle thing all about?
Hyundai refers to its Veloster as a compact cross utility vehicle with a 1+2 door concept – essentially combining the style of a coupe with the functionality of a hatchback, and fronting its signature chrome hexagonal-shaped radiator grille. There is only one door for rear passengers and that is on the left side of the car, which is the correct side since our kerbs are to the left. Breaking the trends of convention and having uneven number of doors, the rear door handle is not placed as how they typically are, so as not to disrupt the flow of the design.
Over the last few years, the designs of Hyundai’s cars have been dynamically improving and drastically changing. Holding the credence that a car is part of one’s lifestyle and individuality, the cars from Hyundai are now made with the lifestyle of car owners in mind. The Veloster is a living testimonial of that, at the same time also proving that it is not beauty without brawn.
It houses Hyundai’s first GDI (Gasoline Direct Injection) engine and their first six-speed dual-clutch transmission for quick and smooth shifting.
For its 1.6-litre engine block, the Veloster pushes 140bhp of maximum power at 6,300rpm and 167Nm of maximum torque at 4,850rpm. With the dual-clutch gearbox, it is capable of doing 10.3 seconds for its 100km/h dash. What would make the Veloster more exciting is a turbocharged version of it – which in fact, is on its way with 201bhp and a sport-tuned engine intake and exhaust note.
On the roads, the Veloster does draw attention from onlookers for its unusual design. In a car park, someone came up to me and asked about the car, because he was curious to know why it looks the way it does.
Some argue that the Veloster looks better than it drives, but I think that argument may be flawed once the turbocharged version is launched.
The standard equipment list of the Veloster is pretty high – it has a panoramic sunroof, an engine start-stop button, audio controls on the steering wheel, paddle shifts, an auxiliary jack to connect your device for your own mix of music and more.
The Veloster will comfortably accommodate four people, though it might be a bit of a squeeze in the back if you sit full-sized adults there for too long.
It is really heartening to see Hyundai continuously upping its game and proving its worthiness as it rivals its Continental equivalents. With increasingly bold designs, Hyundai also ensures that it does not create a gap between design and technology, constantly making extensive investments in their research and development.
While the Veloster might be the spunkiest look of Hyundai’s model range ever, it has the latest advancements from the Korean carmakers too – with the new engine and new dual-clutch gearbox. It’s a pity that the COE prices are at an insane level now; otherwise I think the Veloster makes a good package that will sell quite well!
Hyundai Veloster 1.6 (A)
Engine: 1,591cc Gamma four-cylinder GDI D-CVVT
Performance: 140bhp/6,300rpm, 167Nm/4,850rpm, 0-100 10.3 secs
Transmission: Six-speed dual-clutch
Price with COE: S$133,699
Testdrive & Enquiries: Komoco Motors
Tel: 6475 8888
(+) Dynamic design, improved technology, strong standard equipment list
(-) Older generation might not easily embrace the unconventional concept
Verdict: The Veloster certainly shows how the people at Hyundai are serious about innovation and creating unique concepts by the day.
*This was first published in Wheels Asia.