Hyundai has taken a hit-or-miss approach with the Veloster's concept of merging the style of a coupe with the functionality of a hatchback. This is most evident with the presence of the third side door. Its placement seems awkward to many, however, its practicality is undeniable. Drivers of two-door cars have always had to make the gruesome compromise of adjusting their car seats to facilitate back-seat passengers. This is no longer an issue for owners of the veloster.
Tested Model Engine: 2L
Price: $ 4.950m
Key features: panoramic sunroof, rear-view camera
Drivetrain: front-wheel drive
Type: compact car
Competes with: Mazda 3, Honda Civic, Volkswagen Jetta
What Stands Out
n Great first gear - to avoid constantly pressing the brake pedal when going downhill, simply switch to tiptronic mode and keep it in first gear. This provided an ideal compression mode when coming down Stony Hill.
n Free spirit power - While it has more than enough power to function around town effortlessly, it often felt caged. In the regular drive mode, sometimes it felt like a CVT transmission with a slight delay towards acceleration. However, when it's in tiptronic mode, the car comes to life with every gear change. There is a noticeable improvement in responsiveness. This made it clear that this car prefers long journeys with open roads as opposed to the congested Kingston traffic.
n Rear passengers - the seats are comfortable and the transmission tunnel is almost non-existent. This makes it easy for rear passengers to move their feet about on the floor. However, due to the swooping roofline, rear passengers will have to compromise on head space, especially if they are over 5'9'' tall.
n Designed for a driver - There are multiple driver-centered design touches throughout the vehicle. For example, the door pocket on the driver's side has grooves in it to compliment the natural position of your fingers. This makes closing the door super easy.
n Nice sound - It is equipped with a respectable seven-speaker system with strategic placement throughout for optimal audio output and complemented with a subwoofer in the trunk. To help control these speakers is a 7" touch screen that can also be adjusted by the steering-mounted controllers.
n Interior with a statement - This interior boasts how far Hyundai has come from its past bland interior designs. The colour complement of the interior is outstanding, and though moderate, the soft-touch fabrics are placed in key areas. The dimensions are also best for a medium-built person, someone between 5'3" and 5'10" tall.
Be mindful of
n The trunk is noticeably hotter than the rest of the car's interior, which I presume, stems from the center-positioned exhaust pipes.
n You must be aware of potholes when driving on these low-profile tyres. It's unfortunate that some of our poor road conditions may make the ride seem a bit jerky. Though not jarringly unpleasant, the thin width of the tyres will provide little absorbtion when driving over potholes.
Final take: this is a fun car to drive, especially if you are going on a long out-of-town journey, for example to Ocho Rios or Mobay. It corners very well, with almost no body roll, and feels well-built from the chassis up. The design isn't one that everyone will love, but everyone will look at it because it's going to stand out.
It's the ideal vehicle for someone looking for a sports car but needs it to be practical enough to carry the kids to school.
Magna Motors Dealership LTD, 630-1511 / 577-3607 www.hyundaijamaica.com