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 Veloster Lover on Saturday, January 31, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 200overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great price, fun to drive, looks good, sporty,"
Cons: "Visablity through the back side windows"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I just bought a 2015 Veloster Turbo in Boston Red. It has every option that Hyundai offers at this time and I totally love it. It has a ton of power, it looks good and drives perfect. I do not once regret buying it. Every where I go I have people asking me about and then they look in and are very impressed with how stylish it is. The warranty you can't beat either"
22 people out of 42 found this review helpful
By RDubb2015 on Wednesday, January 21, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 17,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great looks, Great Gas Mileage, Good sound system"
Cons: "No Vroom, Bad in any "Wet" weather"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6
"Don't get me wrong I do love my Velostar (named her Vivian) but what she has under the hood just doesn't cut it for me. I have a 6 spd manual and I really expected to have just a bit more get up and go and it's the most disappointing part of this car. She does have great gas mileage and I can fit both of my dogs in fine. Also snow driving isn't the best- not surprised being so low. If you are thinking about this car I say get the turbo, fix it up and use as a weekend, getaway or summer car."
9 people out of 17 found this review helpful
By r-spec owner on Wednesday, January 14, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "inexpensive, fun, unique style, great interior"
Cons: "bluelink is limited, rear camera is blurry anddark"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Bought a 2015 veloster rspec in december 2014 for $23,800 The car has been a fun and enjoyable car to drive. The unique styling and turbo motor makes this vehicle fun and exciting and turns many heads. Headlights are bright maybe too bright since i've had people flashing but thats a compliemnt in my opinion."
6 people out of 11 found this review helpful
By Bob on Thursday, January 08, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 21,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great price, not your typical econobox"
Cons: "The turbo model didn't come in yellow"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Love this car. 20K miles and it is doing great. Over 30 mpg in everyday driving and over 35 on 75 mph trips. Front seats are very comfortable. I have made several 15 hour trips without feeling tired or sore. The back seat is small, but hey, it is a sub-compact. The Veloster can carry a surprising amount of stuff with the back seat down. Gets lots of positive comments at the gas station."
7 people out of 11 found this review helpful
By Milly on Sunday, January 04, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 14,540overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"This is the best looking small car on the road in my opinion. I have had a few electrical problems - and of course those can't be fixed until the car won't run at all because the electronic issues shut the car down completely. Fantastic warranty though. Without these little bugs, I'd say it is the best small car ever! It is very roomy for a compact car and super fun to drive. Love the gas mileage."
12 people out of 26 found this review helpful
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."
25 people out of 45 found this review helpful