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 Candy on Wednesday, November 12, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great Looking, Tech Savy extras"
Cons: "Noisy OEM tires, rough shifting"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"I bought this car new and have put all the miles on it myself. I loved the look of this car from the moment I first saw it. It has great style and I love the panorama roof. Despite all of my previous vehicles having leather seats, I did not miss them at all in the Veloster. Hyundai certainly has put alot of time and effort into interior styling, as the car has just about every bell and whistle possible. And the gas mileage has met my expectations for the most part. So why didn't I rate it a 10? Because like other reviewers I dislike the hesitation during exceleration from a complete stop. The only way to avoid it is to use the manual paddle shift. In automatic the car just has no get up and go, and the hesitation from 1st to 2nd is really bad. Also, the OEM tires (Kuhmo) were terrible. They wore out very quickly and were very noisy. I had to replace two before I had even 20,000 miles on the car....I'm a 56 year old women (not a teenager tearing up the road). And the minute I replaced the first 2 tires, I noticed a significant difference in noise level. Overall I have really enjoyed owning this car, although disappointed by the OEM tires and hesitation."
5 people out of 17 found this review helpful
By rearlbaker on Thursday, November 06, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great value and a quality product"
Cons: "minimum rear seat head room"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have been surprised...the car is quiet, fuel efficient, well designed...really uniqe...reasonably priced...and thus far a real pleasure to own and drive...Head room is minimum, especially for the occasional back seat passenger, but, access to the back seat is great...I really think it is a "sleeper" which has had some really questionable professional reviews. It is the same quality and reliability as other Hyundai products...and really a unique vehicle....I love mine...and it replaced a VW Beetle Convertibile...The top doen't go down, but the complete sun roof is great...and not as windy as a topless vehicle...Recommend that any one who wants a unique vehicle which is quiet, fun to drive, and amazingly fuel economic..with enough trunk space for a couple of people to travel for and extended period.....try a Veloster at an amzingly low price....and it does not need to be a Turbo...Mine is a 2013 standard...Quietest engine I have had in any car over the past 10 years."
7 people out of 13 found this review helpful
By Rick on Tuesday, November 04, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 36,800overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"The Veloster is a fun car but don't let its sporty looks let you think it is a fast car because it isn't. It has a small economy engine (hence my overall avg gas mileage of 32-33 mpg) with little acceleration power. But its a great looking car (I've received more compliments on this 1 car than all the previous cars I've owned combined and that has included an Acura, a Honda, 2 Toyotas, 2 Mazdas and a 1969 Olds Cutlass.) Many convenient features too."
2 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By Tech4life on Sunday, November 02, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,400overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive and stylish"
Cons: "None so far"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have not purchased a new car in over 20 years. When I saw the veloster pass me on the road, I knew that was my car. I purchased the Veloster base 6 speed. It is everything I thought it would be. Its fun, freeing and good on gas. This is not a car I would have purchase if my children were young, but since they are adults now this car is exactly for me. I am not a car person, but the Veloster has turned me into one. I want to frame a picture of it to have in my office!"
3 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By Mar Vista on Sunday, October 26, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 900overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Unique and fun"
Cons: "Turbo version is a must"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Remember the 1988 Hyundai Excel. Well, this is not that 80s Hyundai anymore. The company has evolved into a world class auto maker contender earning award winning designs and performances repeatedly. The Turbo version is a must for added hp but you need to know how to take advantages of those extras. It's a joy to drive a TGDI engine with Shiftronic and paddle shifters. Disregard all the negative reviews. Beautiful design inside and out. Tech savvy will love it. It's a smorgasbord of media connectivities. Hyundai paid very good attention to details on this car, even the license plate gets its own Veloster emblem, very well build and made as well with almost 30% discount in compare to other brands with similar 'luxury' items. Rear view camera is an awesome feature. The front grille looks very aggressive and the rear is so sexy with twin chrome exhaust Slalom is very smooth and agile. Great mpg too. Get one while it last, you'll love it."
8 people out of 13 found this review helpful
By fatback on Wednesday, October 22, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 21,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "alldone on regular fuel"
Cons: "oem tires stink"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"also a short shifter kit best bang and most fun you can have for under 25k started using premium fuel and its a little rocket"
5 people out of 10 found this review helpful