2012 Hyundai Veloster tech package with dual-clutch transmission. Click image to enlarge
The driver’s visibility to the rear is a bit of an issue when changing lanes as the C pillar is thick, but the lower rear window does help when backing into a parking space, and the standard rear wiper is a godsend in icy or snowy weather. Kudos to Hyundai for offering a standard seven-inch touch-screen with a rearview camera on such an inexpensive car.
The Veloster’s cabin is very sporty with bright, deep-set gauges, a small, thick steering wheel, metal pedals, well-bolstered front sport seats, V-shaped centre console with the seven-inch touch-screen and a centrally-positioned engine start-stop button. I thought this was a better location than most buttons which are hidden next to the steering wheel. I also liked the Veloster’s extra large inside door handles.
The driver’s seat is comfortable and supportive with a manual height adjuster but no lumbar adjustment. The steering wheel is adjustable for height and reach but tall drivers will find there isn’t a lot of headroom. The rear seats have adequate legroom if the front seats are moved forwards a bit, but headroom is limited and the rear seats are positioned under the rear hatch glass.
Even base Velosters ($18,999) come well equipped with standard 17-inch tires, front fog lights, air conditioning, front seat heaters, Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity, iPod connector, pushbutton ignition and wireless ignition key, power windows with driver’s auto up/down and pinch protection, cruise control, variable intermittent wipers, rear wiper. The standard audio system is a 196-watt AM/FM/XM satellite/CD/MP3 system with six speakers plus iPod/USB/auxiliary connectivity and Bluetooth streaming audio. Volume, Seek and Mode audio functions can be operated from the steering wheel.
When you order the optional Tech Package ($3,400) you upgrade to 18-inch tires, twin sunroofs, navigation system, premium 450-watt Dimension sound system, leatherette/fabric seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, alloy pedals, automatic headlights and a 115-volt outlet.
Reflecting the needs of younger buyers, the Veloster’s audio system includes new “Gracenote” technology that helps the driver organize song metadata from their music collection by associating genre classifications like R&B, hip-hop, rock, classical, etc. with identified tracks. This allows drivers to find music playlists with a single button or voice command. The system’s voice recognition technology is also geared to understanding unusual and hard-to-pronounce names and nicknames like Beyonce or AC/DC, and includes a selection of album cover art which can be displayed during playback. Images and videos can also be played on the screen from USBs. The premium audio system can also store up to ten CDs in its memory. As well, the USB/RCA inputs and standard 115-volt outlet allow gaming consoles to be operated while the Veloster is parked.
The optional Panoramic sunroof with the Tech Package includes a sliding glass sunroof in front and a fixed glass panel at the rear. An electrically operated fabric sunshade can cover one or both.
Both rear seatbacks fold down easily, but not flush with trunk floor, to create a fairly roomy cargo area. However, the rear liftover height is quite high.
The Veloster’s bold styling, generous standard equipment, flexible passenger/cargo area, good fuel economy, and reasonable price should be appealing to younger buyers, but its lack of power and quirky dual-clutch transmission could be turn-offs.
Pricing: 2012 Hyundai Veloster
Crash test results