Hyundai Veloster i40 Active – Review
By Liam Bird
It’s probably fair to say that when your thoughts stray towards sporty and stylish Coupes, Hyundai is not the name you think of first. Surely the Korean brand is associated with worthy, if a little dull, hatchbacks and family load-luggers. However, that might be about to change. If ever there was a car that showed a manufacturer’s intentions to take on more established brands in a market sector that is not its usual territory then Hyundai’s Veloster is surely it.
Hyundai have slowly and surely raised their game in the past few years. Their i40 tourer truly deserves its “premium car without the premium price” tagline, and the I30 hatchback should make you think twice before you go splashing your cash on anything similar sized and French. But it’s this new quirky coupe that really shows how confident Hyundai have become.
Quirky? A Hyundai? Well, take a good look at the pictures. Notice anything? The Veloster is a four-door car, and that includes the rear hatch – which, incidentally, covers a useful sized boot. Despite looking to all intents and purposes like a three-door, Hyundai have taken notice of those customers who say a coupe’s rear seats are too difficult to access. As a result there’s an extra door on the passenger side.
“Intuitively laid out”
Before you ask, yes, if you buy a left hand drive Veloster the extra door is on the right hand (passenger) side and vice-versa. Got it? Good. No, I don’t understand it either. But it does make more sense than MINI’s equally asymmetrically ported Clubman which in right hand drive territories has its extra opening on the same side as the oncoming traffic.
Inside things are decidedly more conventional. That sloping roofline does mean that headroom for back seat passengers is a little tight, and it should also be noted that the Veloster is strictly a four-seater – there’s a cup holder in the middle of the rear bench rather than a lap-belt – but a large panoramic sunroof does make the interior feel airy.
The list of standard equipment on this “Sport-Specced” version is a generous one too. Heated seats, cruise control, tyre pressure monitoring system and climate control, plus voice activated Bluetooth, a 7inch touchscreen media centre and keyless entry and start, all make it in to a cabin that, despite using a few hard plastics in places, feels well screwed together, looks attractive and is intuitively laid out. A little more padding in the seats wouldn’t go amiss though.
“A revvy eagerness”
That’s not to say that the Veloster is uncomfortable; far from it in fact. The low profile 40 section tyre and 18 inch alloy combination does mean a little too much road noise is transmitted back inside on rougher surfaces, and on occasion the ride can feel a little thumpy, but more often than not this little coupe covers ground surprisingly well. There’s a revvy eagerness to the 1.6 litre engine and the smooth shifting 6 speed gearbox means you can make the most of its 138bhp. Add to that nicely weighted steering and the Veloster’s grippy road-holding and the overall driving experience is an enjoyable one.
By building the Veloster, Hyundai are taking on the likes of Volkswagen’s Scirocco and Vauxhall’s Astra GTC – both are undeniably serious, and more established, competition. But if you’re hoping to save a few quid, in the market for something a little unusual that just happens to come with a the reassurance of a five year warranty and you want the day-to-day convenience of that fourth door too, there’s a lot to like here.
Engine: 1591cc. 4 Cyl 16V DOHC Petrol
Transmission: 6 speed Manual
Power: 138 bhp @ 6300rpm
Torque: 123 lbft @ 4850rpm
0-62mph: 9.7 sec
Max Speed: 125mph
Mpg: 43.5 (combined)
Price: £20,500 (car shown £22,045)