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 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."
16 people out of 24 found this review helpful
By Ginger on Tuesday, June 24, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 14,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Price and quality"
Cons: "Has blind spot from large mirrors"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"The Veloster likes high speed and long distances. On a trip the mileage is averages 57, however in town a low 14-19. It holds the road even with my low profile tires better than any other car I have driven. It does the corners like butter. The hatch back gives me plenty of storage space. For a very low price this is a very high quality automobile."
7 people out of 10 found this review helpful
By Kevin on Monday, June 09, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Pros: "Looks and sound system in the style pkg"
Cons: "Engine. Barely beats a riding mower"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I am 54 years old and have had many cars both new and used. this car looks great and the sound system is awesome, but the performance is one of the absolute worst I have ever driven. The Dual Clutch Technology is great and all, but there is a distinct pause when you let off the gas and upon acceleration it bucks a bit. Very annoying. Dealer tells me it is normal as the computer delay in detecting if you are in manual or automatic. Highway driving it can't get out of its own way so I have to resort to manual use to get any power what so ever. So if you want something fast get a VW Bug as that car beats the Veloster in the 1/4 mile. I will not buy another Hyundai."
6 people out of 12 found this review helpful
By Charlie on Saturday, June 07, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 56,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Gas mileage, great price, fun to drive."
Cons: "Not good for country / rough road driving."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This is a great car if the area you drive in has smooth rides. It is fun to drive and far exceeds the stated gas mileage (averages 35 or better)."
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By Predaddy on Thursday, May 01, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 21,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "3rd door is handy, great tech, handles well"
Cons: "interior size, lower power, younger look"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I have had the Veloster for just over 2 years now. It has been a great car for me, but I am going to move on. In short, the car handles great and is a joy to drive in (lots of tech features). The upholstery is comfortable and easy to clean. The interior design is very stylish and matches the exterior style. The features are incredible for the price (I stopped at the Style Package; no Tech Package for me) and the driving experience was above average for me. The MPG is totally dependent on how I drive and I get anywhere from 28 mpg to 42 mpg. The low tends to be when there are a lot of stop lights and acceleration afterwards; the high tends to be from long trips where the car sees nothing but highway. It really makes me conscious of how I drive. There have been times when I wish I could've had more pep in the acceleration as well. The 6-speed was built for high MPG and did a good job of that. So why am I "moving on"? For a couple of reasons. First I work at a fortune 500 company, and my car is flashy.... yet "young" looking. Let's just say that wearing a suit is overdressed for this car style (this is my opinion). The other reason is passengers. My wife and I are fine taking the car, but I cannot get my father, mother, or coworkers to take the car frequently. So, we revert to my wife's vehicle for these occasions (which is worse on gas). Again, it is a compact and is expected. Finally, the main reason for "moving on" is the fact about starting a family. I need something a little bigger that will hold a baby seat here shortly and possibly leave in. One back door suffices for me now, but in the future, I will need to use two doors (one baby side, one storage side). I really enjoyed this car, but I am not straying too far from it. I am looking at a cousin of hers name Kia Optima SX. Sporty, but a little more classier looking (European-esque; to me it is like comparing a Civic Hatch vs an Audi A4), more HP, comparable MPG, larger, a couple more options, and more room for passengers! Plus my current car is manual transmission (my wife can, but won't drive it), and the Optima SX is paddle/auto. I know the option is there for Velosters, but I didn't take it the first time."
13 people out of 21 found this review helpful
By Deigo on Saturday, April 12, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,300overall rating 2 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great looks."
Cons: "Very unreliable! Horrible customer service!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"My wife and I purchased a brand NEW 2013 Hyundai Veloster in May 2013. It now has 8,200 miles on it and has been to the dealer on three separate occasions for the same problem. The stereo will go dead, then in a day or two the car itself will be dead! The first two times it had to be towed because it would not start. This last time it happened on March 13th 2014 and we just got the vehicle back today April 2nd 2014. At least this time we were able to get it to the dealer before it stranded us again. The first time the vehicle had 201 miles on it. The second time it had about 6,000 miles on it. This last time as I stated it had about 8,200 miles on it. My wife and I have both expressed our concerns about the reliability of this vehicle and concerns about being stranded again. We have asked Hyundai if we can get out from under this vehicle and are even willing to give another Hyundai a try. However the offer they gave us will not even pay off the car. We have emailed and called Hyundai Consumer Affairs again and are waiting on a response. We asked the dealer today if we could hold off picking up the problem Veloster until we here back again from Hyundai Consumer Affairs because we were concerned of the possibility of getting stranded again and were told we could not. If you are considering purchasing a Hyundai, at this time I would have to recommend against it. I do believe it is possible that we just happened to get a “bad one”. However Hyundai does not appear to be in any hurry to make this right which concerns me."
9 people out of 15 found this review helpful