Edward Stephens enjoys a new Hyundai which breaks the design mould.
Veloster. It has to be the best name given to a car in years.
The very sound of it suggests speed, performance and a super sporty image.
But with such a name, a car has a lot to live up to – and in most respects, this appealing Hyundai certainly delivers.
At least it delivers within the confines of its engine size.
For while Veloster sounds like a car that should have a big V8 under the bonnet, it’s powered by a relatively small 1.6-litre 138 bhp power plant.
But while it may have delusions of grandeur, restricting the engine size to 1.6 litres means that this is a car in a far more affordable price range.
The Veloster is like nothing else on the road – except perhaps it has a vague resemblance to a VW Sirocco – and passers by stop and stare, trying to work out exactly what it is.
With its dynamic headlights, sharply raked glass roof and split rear screen, it boasts a radical design which gets people talking.
Initially, you think it’s a two-door coupe because the rear door is not immediately obvious as the handle is cleverly disguised within the rear side window, a feature first launched by Alfa Romeo.
When you walk around to the driver’s side of the car you begin to question your vision because you can’t find a rear door at all – because there isn’t one.
Oddly Hyundai has chosen to make this car with two front doors and just one rear one.
The company says it helps maintain the sleek coupe styling of the car, while at the same time making access to the rear seats easy. And cleverly they have put the door on the correct side.
When MINI did a similar thing with their Clubman model, there was a lot of criticism because the door was on the driver’s side – opening onto the road rather than the footpath.
Unlike some cars – where all the style is on the outside – the Veloster is just as sporting and impressive inside. A deeply sculptured wrap around dashboard has twin dials set in a deep binnacle immediately in front of the driver with the satellite navigation screen and other controls – including the push button starter – in a centre panel just above the short, slick six speed gear shift.
My test model came with bright red leather heated sports seats (an extra £300), whilst all cars get a panoramic glass tilt and slide sunroof.
The Veloster offers generous space both in the front and rear and despite it’s rakish roofline, back seat passengers have no problem with head room.
Boot space too is surprisingly good for such a sporting car with 440 litres of luggage room, which in plain English means you will be able to get two decent sized suitcases in.
On the road, the Veloster Sport offers a firm but comfortable ride with plenty of grip on corners.
In an effort to live up to its name, it comes with lively rather than fast acceleration, hitting 62 miles per hour from standstill in a respectable 9.7 seconds on its way to a top speed of 125 miles per hour. If you want more performance there’s a turbo charged version available.
The Veloster is certainly refreshingly different and is also very much a unisex car, a factor which will certainly not harm its future sales potential.
Hyundai Veloster Sport
Mechanical: 1951cc, 4 cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6 spd auto gearbox
Max speed: 125 mph
0-62 mph: 9.7 secs
Combined mpg: 43.5
CO2 emissions: 148 g/km
Warranty: 5 years / unlimited mileage