Test Drive: 2012 Hyundai Veloster car test drives reviews hyundai
2012 Hyundai Veloster tech package with dual-clutch transmission. Click image to enlarge

More Hyundai Veloster reviews on Autos.ca

Manufacturer’s web site
Hyundai Canada

Review and photos by Greg Wilson

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2012 Hyundai Veloster

Tech package with dual-clutch transmission

The designers at Hyundai must have had fun designing the new Veloster: this affordable new hatch exudes a youthful rebelliousness that makes other sporty coupes look rather stodgy. Along with its oversized fender bulges and fake hood vents, the Veloster features a unique front fascia that wraps around and inside the front fenders, almost like an insert. The roof slopes downward towards the rear where upper and lower rear windows are separated by a small spoiler, while the rear hatch design features prominent indentations that merge with the large, red tail lights; the rear bumper houses central twin rectangular-shaped tailpipes, and a blacked-out lower insert resembles the aerodynamic venturi seen on exotic sports cars like Ferraris.

Test Drive: 2012 Hyundai Veloster car test drives reviews hyundai
Test Drive: 2012 Hyundai Veloster car test drives reviews hyundai
Test Drive: 2012 Hyundai Veloster car test drives reviews hyundai
2012 Hyundai Veloster tech package with dual-clutch transmission. Click image to enlarge

But it’s most interesting design feature is a single rear passenger door on the right side with a door handle cleverly integrated into the upper corner of the side window. This door makes it easier to get into the right-side rear seat but you have to watch your head on the sloping roofline. If a second passenger wants to sit on the left side they must either slide across from the right, or enter from the driver’s (left) side. Fortunately, the driver’s door is longer than the front passenger door, and the driver’s seatback folds forwards, making it possible, although difficult, for a rear passenger to get into the left-side rear passenger seat. A small lever at the rear of the driver’s seat enables the rear passenger to flip the driver’s seatback forwards in order to get out. The two rear seats are separated by a centre console with cupholders.

Other compact coupes have tried the three-door approach: in the late 90s, the Saturn SC Coupe featured a single rear-hinged door on the driver’s side which could only be opened after the front door was opened; apparently this wasn’t designed for rear passengers but for the driver so they could more easily throw in shopping bags and packages before getting into the driver’s seat.

It remains to be seen whether Veloster owners, who will most likely be young, single males, will find the third door useful. But it’s certainly a conversation starter.

Ranging in price from just under $19,000 to just under $24,000 fully equipped, the 2012 Veloster is based on the subcompact Accent platform but is larger and has a longer wheelbase and overall length.

The Veloster is powered by the same engine as the Accent: a sophisticated 138-horsepower 1.6-litre four-cylinder with direct fuel injection, dual continuously variable valve timing on the intake and exhaust camshafts, tuned variable air induction, and a maintenance-free timing chain. It’s teamed with a standard six-speed manual transmission or optional dual-clutch transmission operated by the stick shift or paddle shifters behind the steering wheel.

This engine/transmission combination offers excellent fuel economy, according to the U.S. EPA. With the manual transmission, fuel consumption figures are 7.4 L/100 km city and 5.9 L/100 km hwy; with the six-speed DCT, the numbers are 7.4/6.2 city/hwy. That compares with the smaller, lighter Accent hatchback with 6.9/5.9 (man) and 7.1/5.9 (auto).

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