Friday, February 17, 2012

Hyundai Veloster - Just for Fun

The Banana Car. Photo: Boundless Captures
I just spent a fun week with the new Hyundai Veloster, a compact and quirky vehicle. Showing up in "26.2 Yellow" didn't hurt--and it led to me calling the stylishly tapered ride the "banana car."

Hyundai has been producing nicer and nicer vehicles as they learn the lessons that Toyota and Honda did years ago. The materials and fit-and-finish need to be good and the value has to be there too. My little yellow car came well equipped, especially with its Style Package and Tech Package, which delivered such things as 18-inch wheels with matching yellow inserts, a panoramic sunroof, a premium audio system and various styling extras.

The best part of the car though, was its odd three-door configuration (not counting the convenient hatchback). On the right, the car has typical sedan doors--and a side pillar between them. The rear door's handle is hidden in its extreme upper right corner trim, so it's not immediately obvious. The driver's side, however, is like that on a coupe--one long door. I had fun demonstrating this to incredulous fellow parkers. And the funniest part is the window button panel on the door -- with two on the right and one on the left (see photo).

The hatch, with its quick-remove cargo cover, meant I could carry my bass and other stuff easily. Rear seating had enough legroom but headroom was quite tight thanks to the fastback design.

The Veloster, at this point, comes with one engine--Hyundai's 1.6-liter, 138-horsepower 4. Through a welcome six-speed manual transmission, it averaged an even 30.0 miles per gallon and was fun to point and shoot down the interstate. If you're looking for more dramatic performance, wait for a turbo model, but 30 mpg is nice to have, too. EPA numbers are 28 City, 40 Highway, 32 Average.

The stylists went to town on this car. Outside, its a festival of curves and lines, with interestingly scooped out areas next to the taillamps that make them larger elements. The front wears the fierce look favored by Hyundais these days. Inside, the silvery trim is applied jewelry, keeping your eye moving around the cabin. It feels substantial. The best odd element is the pair of door pull rings built into the armrests that project upward several inches.

My car's base price was just $17,300, but came to $21,300, plus shipping.

I could live long term with this car--it definitely fits my personality--especially in yellow.


Kerstin Shed said...

“I could live long term with this car” – I cannot blame you. This car looks adorable and fantastic! I definitely love the color. Some people may shy away from the yellow chrome, but I like how it stands out from so many dark color vehicles. And you are right; Hyundai is definitely learning and producing quality vehicles. And this one is no exception.

Leisa said...

Hyundai has been known for its great designs and sleek style. My brother owns a Hyundai Sonata, as a matter of fact, and he’s been driving it for so long – from the time he graduated from college up until he started his own family. Marvelous car, really!

Leisa Dreps