2017 Hyundai Veloster: sporty look, lackluster ride

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The Hyundai Veloster was introduced seven years ago as the South Korean manufacturer’s first coupe. A year later, a turbo-changed edition debuted. The 2017 edition is the continuation of the first generation of the odd-looking compact with sporty ambitions.

The 2017 Hyundai Veloster has unique styling and an asymmetrical three-door configuration. All images © James Raia/2017.

A modernized version of the Hyundai Tiburon (discontinued in 2008), the Veloster has an asymmetrical door configuration. There’s a large door on the driver’s side and two smaller doors on the passenger’s side. The rear passenger door opens with a high-positioned, flush handle that’s easy to miss but convenient to use.

The Weekly Driver Test Drive

Hyundai’s reputation in recent years has improved in part because of its lengthy standard features list throughout the carmaker’s lineup. The base model includes: a 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible and a rearview camera.

Automatic headlight, keyless entry, 17-inch alloy wheels, six-way-adjustable driver’s seat, and a 6-speaker AM/FM/CD audio system with Bluetooth connectivity and USB/auxiliary inputs are all also in the mix.

The turbo-engined trim, my weekly driver, has a substantial engine boost and a good list of sporty upgrades. The standard Veloster is equipped with a 1.6-liter, 4-cylinder with 132 horsepower; the turbo-charged trim has 201 horsepower. Torque-vectoring-control front axles improve performance as well as a sport-tuned suspension and steering, 18-inch alloy wheels, Leatherette seating, unique front fascia.

The standard and turbo trims are equipped with a six-speed manual transmission and front-wheel drive and a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic is an option on the turbo.

Driving the Veloster is frustrating. Its unique exterior look, including a “frowning” rear grille, dual tailpipes, a squatty, compact hatchback a sloping roofline, provide a race-car-like ominous appearance.

But the performance doesn’t match the Veloster’s look. Credit Hyundai for offering the Veloster a manual transmission. It’s increasingly rare in the U.S. marketplace. But the compact hatchback’s shifting isn’t smooth.

The Veloster also has only four seats, with headroom and legroom limited, particularly for rear seat occupants. The Hyundai Elantra GT, Honda Civic and Mazda3 all have more interior space.

Since the Veloster is only 166 inches long, the “fun factor” increases in city driving where tight turns and small parking spaces are handled easily.

Likes:
Best warranty in the industry.
Unique 3-door and hatchback configuration.
Fun to drive manual transmission.

Dislikes:
Gear shifting not smooth
Rear visibility limited.
Entrance and exit difficult.

Facts & Figures: 2017 Hyundai Veloster
Acceleration: 0-60 mph: 7.7 seconds.
Airbags: 6.
Fuel economy: 25 mpg (city), 33 mpg (highway), 28 mpg (combined) six-speed manual transmission.
Horsepower: 201.
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $22,600.00.
Manufacturer’s Website: www.hyundaiusa.com.
Price As Tested: $26,260.00
Warranty: Bumper to bumper, 5 years/60,000 miles; Powertrain, 10 years/100,000 miles; Corrosion, 7 years/unlimited miles.

What Others Say:
“If you want the hottest hatch you can buy, you’d best look elsewhere. But if value, edgy style, and MPGs factor in just as much, then the Veloster Turbo may be your ticket to ride.” — motortrend.com.

The Weekly Driver’s Final Words:
“The exterior design is polarizing. It’s unique as a three-door hatchback. It has some fun driving components with its six-speed manual, but the Veloster’s overall lackluster performance, lack of comfort and limited interior space are deal-breakers.”

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