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Heels On Wheels: 2012 Hyundai Veloster Review +VIDEO

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2012 Hyundai Veloster

MORE: Is the 2012 Hyundai Veloster Your PERFECT NEW CAR MATCH

MORE: Hyundai Specs, Comparisons, Reviews and Prices - Hyundai Buyers Guide

By Katrina Ramser
San Francisco Bureau
The Auto Channel

The all-new Hyundai Veloster is a very sporty-looking coupe for four, but with the practical gas mileage and affordable price of a compact car. Loaded with standard technology equipment you’d likely have to pay extra for elsewhere, the Veloster also features a Gasoline Direct Injection engine (GDI) and a unique three-door system.

I drove a 2012 Hyundai Veloster with the 138-horsepower 1.6-liter GDI 4-cylinder engine with the six-speed manual transmission with an EcoShift indicator. At $17,300, standard features included: Bluetooth; XM Radio; iPod and auxiliary input jacks; a 7-inch multimedia touch screen with voice recognition; remote keyless entry; and steering wheel mounted controls. My test drive saw some optional equipment such as a $2,000 Style Package (18-inch wheels; sunroof; upgraded 8-speaker audio system; leatherette bolster seats) and a $2,000 Tech Package (body-color inserts; backup sensors; navigation system; rearview camera; electronic push-button start). Total price came to just $21,300.

The Veloster will take the compact car market by storm, proving that small, fuel-saving cars don’t have to look dorky to get the job done – in fact, they can come as cool enough to appear out of your price range. The unique three-door car system on the Veloster has one door on the driver’s side and two on the passenger side, making travel much easier, and welcoming, for others.

Watch the introduction of the 2012 Veloster at the Detroit Auto Show (2011)


Stylish But Comfortable Results: The upgrade bolster seating is a must. Even though the instrument panel is small, it’s efficient. Love the layered climate control dial and the fact this system takes precedence in the instrument layout. You’ll love Hyundai’s Blue Link system that synchronizes your traveling music device to the screen in seconds. The moonroof is especially wide for a small car. A baby seat fits in the rear but cramps the front passenger; the three-door system is ingenious for this purpose. Surprising amount of cargo space, too: enough for a family of three to travel for a long Thanksgiving weekend (sans marinating turkey and numerous baby belongings.

Reliability & Safety Factor: Safety equipment on the 2012 Hyundai Veloster includes: electronic stability control; anti-locking brakes with brake force distribution; six advanced airbags. The rear-view camera and backup sensors are optional. Not yet tested by The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) or The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Cost Issues: Hyundai is offering its newest addition at an extremely hard-to-beat price – both at a base level ($17,300) or with significant packages ($21,300).

Activity & Performance Ability: Shifting under the six-speed manual transmission was safe and smooth, but sort of bland. Paddle shifters on the automatic would have likely been more exciting. Road noise is pronounced and the vehicle feels twitchy at highway speeds – despite its hot looks, the Veloster simply cannot escape compact car trademarks. Visibility out the hatch and rear quarter windows was better than expected. Turning radius was kind and handling was planted at corners. Immediate acceleration under a smaller 1.6-liter engine showed some expected hesitation.

The Green Concern: The Veloster gets 28 miles-per-gallon city and 40 highway for an average of 32. However, I was able to maintain around 36 MPG doing a slightly heavier mixture of highway as opposed to stop-and-go suburbia driving.

The 2012 Hyundai Veloster will rock the compact car market with its racy and modern looks, excellent fuel economy, attractive price and loads of technology standards. You’ll also be amazed at the cargo space and functional layout. Just don’t expect it to mirror the handling abilities of a true sports car.

2011 Katrina Ramser