Before the HYUNDAI GENESIS
Coupe, there was the Tiburon. Hyundai's former entry-level sport HYUNDAI COUPE
didn't make a lasting impression here in the U.S., but the Korean automaker is ready to try again with its all-new 2012 Hyundai
Veloster. Like the HYUNDAI TIBURON
was, the Veloster is front drive, compact and sportyish, but the new car features a few significant differences.
We've kept a diligent eye on the Veloster since it first appeared at the 2007 Los Angeles show, back when it was just a wide-eyed concept from a then-marginal brand not yet known for turning out compelling vehicles. A little more than three years later, with the automaker enjoying white-hot brand visibility and record sales here in the U.S., Hyundai
has decided the Veloster's time is now.
Unlike the Tiburon, the Veloster doesn't fit the classic definition of a coupe, despite Hyundai's marketing spin. Though it has a coupe-like outline, the Veloster is a hatchback. In addition, there's a forward-hinged third door on the passenger side of the vehicle with a recessed handle for a smooth, clean look. Hyundai
drew inspiration from sportbikes for the Veloster's body. The A-pillars are blacked out and elements of Hyundai's "Fluidic Sculpture" design language are manifested throughout the sheetmetal. Up front, the brand's trademark hexagonal grille complements the gaping mouth, with wraparound headlights and sculpted air inlets massaged into the fascia's edges. It's no roadster, but the optional panoramic sunroof will let in the elements.
Like most high-performance sportbikes, the Veloster comes with 17-inch rims standard, with 18-inchers available. Hyundai
will also offer a special 18-inch alloy wheel with painted inserts, a feature the automaker is billing as a segment first. Whatever the wheel dimensions, they'll work in concert with a MacPherson strut front and torsion-beam rear suspension with an integrated anti-roll bar.
To really connect with the youth of America, Hyundai
is giving every Veloster a multifunction, 7-inch touch-screen display (navigation optional). Blue Link, the automaker's newly announced in-car telematics/connectivity system, will be heavily promoted. Two sound systems will be on the order list: a 196-watt, six-speaker getup with iPod/USB/auxiliary inputs, and the optional 450-watt, eight-speaker system with 8-inch subwoofer and external amplifier. Video game enthusiasts will delight in the integrated RCA jack and 115-volt power outlet, though they'd better steer clear of any split-screen action. Hyundai
is especially proud of the Veloster's interior volume. At 105.3 total cubic feet, including passenger and cargo space, it bests the Honda
CR-Z and both the Mini Cooper
and Clubman. Headroom, legroom, and shoulder room within the four-seater's confines were all maximized, because as Hyundai
is well aware, most coupes and hatchbacks are panned for having cramped cabins.