By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.0
In simplest terms the all-new 2012 Hyundai Veloster is a modestly-priced hatchback with an unusual asymmetrical door arrangement, but in Hyundai's eyes, the Veloster is much more. Hyundai views the Veloster as something of a halo car, albeit at the bottom end of the pricing spectrum. That might sound like a lofty view of what is essentially a restyled Elantra, but having driven the 2012 Veloster and seen the public react to it, we think Hyundai might be onto something with all this halo talk. While less powerful than most of its hatchback competitors, the Hyundai Veloster's accessible price, unusual but practical design, excellent fuel economy and utterly unique styling should make it a welcome addition to the compact coupe landscape and an image-enhancing feather in Hyundai's cap.
You'll like the Hyundai Veloster if you want a fun-to-drive, cool-looking hatchback coupe that is also practical and exceptionally fuel efficient.
Though great consideration went into the Veloster's asymmetrical door design – one door on the driver side, two on the passenger side – the results aren't perfect. The rear seats are tight for taller passengers and accessing them via the narrow right-side rear door can be tough. Those hoping for sedan-like rear-seat access in a coupe might want to scale back their expectations.
The 2012 Veloster's stylish looks and odd three-door arrangement are likely focal points, but fuel economy numbers up to 37 mpg on the highway and a price tag that undercuts all of its key competitors are also worth noting.
Driving Impressions Firmly press the Hyundai Veloster's throttle pedal, and the vehicle responds by delivering casual acceleration, and even then only if the Veloster is in a gear that keeps the engine...revs above 4,000 rpm or so. Pure power may not be Veloster's strong suit but solid fuel economy help make up for that fact. When it comes to choosing a transmission, you really can't go wrong. The 6-speed manual features short throws with positive engagement and a forgiving easy-to-use clutch pedal, while the optional 6-speed automatic reacts with appropriate urgency to throttle changes delivering quick, smooth shifts. Other 2012 Veloster high points include a forgiving-yet-planted ride and nicely weighted steering that provides a strong feeling of connectedness between the driver and the road. Ahem, we should also mention that there is a large blind spot over the driver's right shoulder, so be sure to adjust your mirrors accordingly.
New Hyundai Veloster buyers can select special 18-inch wheels that feature a special center section painted in their car's body color. We remember seeing removable, paintable parts on aftermarket wheels years ago, but this is the few appearances of body-colored wheels straight from the manufacturer.
Navigation is still an added-cost option, but Hyundai smartly decided to include the nav system's high-res 7-inch touch-screen as standard equipment. Paired with Pandora Internet radio integration, Gracenote music organization, and a port that allows the connection of a video game console the 2012 Hyundai Veloster coupe/hatchback's standard touch screen forms the core of a very solid information and entertainment system.
Inside, the 2012 Hyundai Veloster is techy but tasteful. Cabin material quality is appropriately practical for the compact coupe/hatchback category, with plenty of hard-plastic panels, but also soft-touch materials strategically placed where occupant are likely to rest their elbows. In terms of space, front-seat occupants have little to complain about, but taller rear-seat passengers may find their heads brushing against the glass of the rear hatch. With 15.5 cubic feet available behind the rear seats, luggage space is generous. Lower the rear seatbacks and the Veloster makes an exceptional cargo hauler, though a high rear liftover can make loading heavier items difficult.
With a striking face, long and low hatchback profile, pronounced wheel arches, and minimal gap between the tires and fenders the new Veloster looks aggressive, closely following the shape of the concept car on which it is based. There are plenty of neat design details but arguably the most interesting is the Veloster's door layout. There is one long door on the driver's side and two shorter doors on the passenger's side, both front-hinged allowing each to operate independently. It's an interesting arrangement designed to improve rear-seat accessibility versus a standard coupe and adds distinct visual flavor to an already compelling design.
In its least expensive, form the Hyundai Veloster includes 17-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, steering wheel audio and cruise controls, power windows, mirrors and door locks, and a 6-speaker audio system with USB and auxiliary audio inputs. Standard safety features include six airbags as well as traction and stability control. Hyundai's Blue Link system is also included for a six-month trial period offering services like remote vehicle unlocking, automatic collision notification, stolen vehicle recovery and slowdown, and a system that alerts the owner if whoever is driving exceeds a preset speed or takes the vehicle outside a specified area.
Options for the 2012 Veloster are divided into two packages. The Style Package includes 18-inch alloy wheels, a panoramic sunroof, fog lights, leather interior appointments and an 8-speaker audio system with a subwoofer, among other niceties. The Veloster Tech Package is only available when paired with the Style Package and features backup sensors, a navigation system with a backup camera, automatic headlights, keyless entry and engine start, and painted wheel inserts on its 18-inch alloy wheels.
The new Veloster's engine uses continuously variable valve timing and direct-injection technology to squeeze 138-horsepower out of its modest 1.6-liter displacement. Power is sent from the engine to the front wheels via a standard 6-speed manual transmission or a dual-clutch 6-speed automatic featuring steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. While not officially confirmed, we've heard strong rumblings about the possibility of a turbocharged engine in the Veloster's future. We think that'd make the all-new Veloster as interesting to drive as it is to look at.
1.6-liter in-line 4
138 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm
123 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4,850 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 27/37 (manual), 27/35 (automatic)
By arbitor on Monday, September 29, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,600overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great on gas, Fun to drive."
Cons: "Small back seat, performance is decent, no wows."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I've routinely hit 45mpg on relaxing cruises or highway trips. It's not quite as powerful as some might expect for a turbo, but the fuel economy to performance is still pretty impressive. I've only put 1600 miles on mine thus far, but so far I am very happy with the quality of the vehicle. It's quiet, the sound system is above average based on my experience with other cars in this price range. The interior is very comfortable to the front seat passenger and driver. The back seat has low head clearance, and though the 3rd door is a very handy add-on, the back seat is no more roomy than your average 2 door coupe. Nice sturdy and well placed car seat tie downs, so that and the 3rd door would probably be very nice for a new family looking for something a bit sporty. The shift isn't a smooth as I'd like, but it's perhaps slightly better than average. Not the flawless quick action you'd find in a civic though. I was choosing between this and a SI, and ultimately the warranty and a good experience with a dealership led me to this vehicle."
By CC on Thursday, September 25, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,100overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "fun to drive, hugs the road, many comments on it"
Cons: "blind spot on the right"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"We bought our 2014 turbo automatic with style & tech pkg. new in March of 2014.We have taken it on 5 long road trips. We are retired and my normal driving is short trips. My mileage around town avg.is 33. On the road trips it is 37.And even though I am older my driving style is that of a younger person. It's automatic, but has a sport mode and paddle shifters for the manual feel. We don't routinely have passengers, but we have and the back seats are sufficient for someone 5'8". I have had no problems.It is incredibly fun to drive,many comments on the style and holds the road better than any other of the many vehs. I have owned. The ONLY drawback is a blind spot on the right side. Drivers side has a blind spot mirror. I would buy it again in a heartbeat."
4 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By Tony on Tuesday, September 16, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great looks, cool to drive, outstanding mpg,"
Cons: "No cons really.. Hard to beat for the money"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This vehicle gets far better mpg than they estimate if you drive sensibly. It is 22 miles to work (99% freeway)and I get anywhere from 40-45 mpg, depending which way the wind is blowing and the temperature. I find an 18 wheeler and stay 5-6 car lengths behind and that's it. I've had mine up to 127mph with the car wanting to continue to climb...The turbo version might be quicker and get far less mpg, but my style package Velo will easily walk away from it on the top end! For less money all the way around! The turbo version has a limiter/top end of about 105mph. BWAAAHAhahaha!! I'm 6'2" and have plenty of room.. Haven't really had it on a road trip per say,but have driven it for 3 and 4 hours in a day and have no complaints yet."
11 people out of 23 found this review helpful
By Rick on Wednesday, September 10, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 33,650overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I've received more comments (all favorable) from people about this car than all the previous cars I've owned combined. And I've had Acura, Toyota, Honda and Mazda before. Though the car is sporty looking, it is nothing but an economy car under the hood. So there's little acceleration while getting that good mileage. I imagine the Turbo version (only released after I had bought my non-turbo version) has better acceleration. Still, with bluetooth, Pandora the panoramic moonroof it's a fun car at a very low price."
7 people out of 15 found this review helpful
By jonn1269 on Saturday, August 09, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 31,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "great sporty look ,,,mileage ,,looks great"
Cons: "only thing is wish it had bigger motor"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"i bought my car yhis year ,,has been great to drive ..only wish it had more horse power.overall ,inside out its a great car ,,sporty ride,sporty inside.great gas mileage..handles great sound system great"
8 people out of 17 found this review helpful
By Bud on Monday, June 30, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,800overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to look at and drive"
Cons: "Huge blindspot"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have reviewed my 2012 Veloster in this forum before. I purchased it new and have put every mile on it. I thought it would be nice to report how it has performed over the long haul. First, it still attracts attention mostly due to the the design and the painted blue inserts on the wheels that came with the style package. As the engine has aged the performance has not deteriorated at all and is adequate for all driving conditions. Some reviewers are turned off by its very sporty design and sub compact performance. My only comment for that is maybe all sub compacts should look like Nissan Versa's (boring). It has not suffered any mechanical breakdowns and has only been to the dealer for routine service (oil changes and tire rotations). The OEM tires seem to wear quickly and road noise is more noticeable now and I rotate twice per year. The interior is solid and does not exhibit any rattles or squeaks. Everything works as new. The only complaint is the horrible blind spot that is a product of its cool design. 2012 models did not come with a blind spot mirror, so you must adjust your driving style to avoid potentially dangerous situations during left turns. Overall after 2 years this has been a joy to own and Very Reliable. I have never had any regrets about purchasing this car."
41 people out of 53 found this review helpful