We've been in a moving 2012 Hyundai Veloster before. It was in Southern California on the Pacific Coast Highway, but we weren't driving. We rode shotgun while Hyundai's CEO John Krafcik manned the controls.
Now we're behind the wheel of a very early prototype for a very brief drive on some secondary roads in the United Kingdom. The phrase "early prototype" means we shouldn't judge fit and finish. Hyundai made us cross our hearts and hope to die if we do, so I won't.
Don't care anyway. We're here to try the steering, brakes and suspension. You know, the stuff that really matters.
On Sale This Fall Hyundai thinks its asymmetric Veloster, which sports two doors on one side and a single one on the other, could become the equivalent of VW's Scirocco or Mini's Cooper S: some kind of halo for the brand. It was designed at Hyundai's studio in Southern California, and it will hit dealerships sometime this fall.
Krafcik himself told us Hyundai even benchmarked the old second-generation Honda CRX (1988-'91) when it came to some of the Veloster's dynamic bits.
Our pre-production test car had the same 1.6-liter normally aspirated four-cylinder engine the car will use in the United States, mated to a precise six-speed manual gearshift. The green Veloster photographed in South Korea is equipped with the optional six-speed dual-clutch automated manual, but the car we drove for evaluation was equipped with three pedals.
The 1.6-liter four is direct injected and rated at 138 horsepower at 6,300 rpm and 123 pound-feet of torque at 4,850 rpm. It powers the Veloster's front tires, idles quietly and spins freely until its fuel cutoff at 6,700 rpm.
Because the 2012 Hyundai Veloster weighs just 2,584 pounds with a manual gearbox, it scoots along well, but we'll wait for the 208-hp turbo model (2013) before we call it quick. It's built on a heavily revised version of the Elantra platform, and that trim weight also helps garner a predicted 30 city/40 highway mpg.
Still, the Elantra only had so much to offer. The Veloster uses an independent front suspension, but it also makes do with a beam rear axle.
The base Veloster will roll on 17s. This prototype is rolling on the optional 18-inch wheels and all-season tires measuring 215/40. Summer tires will be available on the turbocharged Veloster.
How It Goes The driving position is tidy, though a spot more travel for the nicely sized steering wheel wouldn't go amiss. You sit low in the car, like you would expect in a sports car, the pedals are well spaced and control weights are pleasingly positive.
From rest, the steering is well weighted and linear, although the low-speed ride is on the harsh side. Despite the Veloster's long wheelbase, which measures 104.3 inches, there are big vertical movements around town, with none of the suppleness we've come to expect in, say, Hyundai's own Sonata.
It's the same at higher speeds, with the ride failing to ever quite settle. That can make it feel dynamic and agile, but it shouldn't have to come at the expense of a sophisticated ride. Other cars such as the Mini Cooper ask drivers to make that sacrifice, but ideally the final version of the Veloster wouldn't.
We're told that the development team is still in the process of finalizing the suspension, steering and transmission calibrations, so there's still some fiddle room remaining.
At the moment the 2012 Hyundai Veloster feels very agile. It responds quickly to small steering inputs, with limited roll angle but a quickish roll rate. It's also throttle-adjustable — much keener to turn if you're off the gas or trailing the brakes than it is on the throttle, when it tends to understeer. All this happens well within the realms of grip, too; I'm talking about its demeanor, not slidey behavior.
Some Work To Do There's still quite a bit of work to do on the chassis, then. But Hyundai ought to release its full potential. There are a lot of competitive and desirable cars at this level, and the Veloster will need all the ammunition it can get.
Hopefully Hyundai will soon let us drive a Veloster on U.S. soil. After our recent ride in California and this brief drive in the U.K., we're very optimistic about Hyundai's uniquely packaged hatchback.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored press event to facilitate this report.
2012 Hyundai Veloster Overview Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2012 Hyundai Veloster and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2012 Veloster featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.
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Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2012 Hyundai Veloster and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2012 Veloster 3.7 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2012 Veloster.
Review Didn't even know this car existed until a few weeks ago, when I went to a dealership to check out an Elantra. Went home and did some research and read some reviews - I have to admit I was leery. I commute 100 miles round trip everyday. I was looking to replace a 10 year old Accord. Also have 3 kids (one is an infant). I was looking for really good MPG and in this economy, didn't want to be dropping a lot of coin (read: VALUE) I went back and test drove the Veloster and absolutely loved it! Bought one. It really is a lot of fun to drive, regardless of the HP. the 6 speed manual is smooth. I easily get 30 city and 40-44 hwy (36-38 combined!) - after a solid month of driving.
Edmunds Value Edmunds has deep data on over 6 million new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles, including rich, trim-level features and specs information like: MSRP, average price paid, warranty information (basic, drivetrain, and maintenance), features (upholstery, bluetooth, navigation, heated seating, cooled seating, cruise control, parking assistance, keyless ignition, satellite radio, folding rears seats ,run flat tires, wheel type, tire size, wheel tire, sunroof, etc.), vehicle specifications (engine cylinder count, drivetrain, engine power, engine torque, engine displacement, transmission), fuel economy (city, highway, combined, fuel capacity, range), vehicle dimensions (length, width, seating capacity, cargo space), car safety, true cost to own. Edmunds also provides tools to allow shopper to compare vehicles to similar models of their choosing by warranty, interior features, exterior features, specifications, fuel economy, vehicle dimensions, consumer rating, edmunds rating, and color
Available Hyundai Veloster 2012 Submodel Types: Hatchback
Available Trims: Base, Value Edition w/Black Interior, Turbo, w/Black Interior, RE:FLEX, Turbo R-Spec, RE:MIX, Turbo Rally Edition
Interior Colors: Black premium cloth, Black cloth, Black Leather leather, Black leather, Gray cloth, Black Cloth/Leatherette vinyl/cloth, Blue Leather leather, Black/Red leatherette/cloth, Black/Blue leather, Red Cloth/Leatherette leatherette/cloth, Black/Orange leather, Red leather
Popular Features: Alarm, Audio and cruise controls on steering wheel, Aux Audio Inputs, Bluetooth, Fold Flat Rear Seats, Rear Bench Seats, Stability Control, Tire Pressure Warning, Trip Computer, USB Inputs, Back-up camera, Keyless Entry/Start, Apple Carplay/Android Auto, Leather Seats, Navigation, Sunroof/Moonroof, Post-collision safety system, Heated seats, Parking sensors, Remote Start, Auto Climate Control