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2012 Hyundai Veloster

2012 Hyundai VelosterI’ll get directly to the point: I don’t like this car.

Judging from the ads for it (which I also don’t like) the Veloster (I don’t like that name either) is meant for the youth market. (And I’m not keen on that to stretch my crochets about as far as they’ll go.  The intention of the Veloster to appeal to young buyers accounts for its lack of cohesive purpose. In my experience today’s younger buyers are more interested in extreme “stylin’“ than in style and in gadgetry that caters to their obsession with texting and talking (if they must), constant music feeding directly to the inner ear and other forms of acute distraction from actual driving.

My take on all that is given credence by the fact that youngsters today are waiting longer to become licensed drivers. Then there’s that TV show of some apparent popularity called “Pimp My Ride” that was more about extreme appearance than even adequate performance. It went for the wows in looks and slighted the hows in handling, accelerating, braking or steering. Outrageous appearance ranked first in preference.

The Veloster is decidedly on the glitz side of appearance and the glum side of performance. And it’s got all the “networking” bells and whistles. Give it an A grade for that, but it flat flunks mobility. The price of in and around $20,000 well-equipped is on the plus side, too.

Actually the Veloster boasts many bright styling ideas but far too many of them to put in one small vehicle. It’s like a rolling catalog from which you would choose one or two ideas at most.  If it were your teenage daughter about to go out for an evening you’d insist she settle on either the dangling earrings, the gaudy necklace, the dozen bracelets, the nose ring or the sequin eye makeup. Not all at once.

A friend, once head of a major design studio, said this Hyundai reminded him of the work of his avid young designers who put enough ideas for five cars into one. (Note: this friend had also spent a lot of time admiring the Kia Optima when I parked that in his driveway.)

But the unforgivable part of the Veloster for me is the wimpy performance of the engine. OK, I apologize to the new 1.6 liter 4-cylinder (138 hp) for asking it to act competent at 7000 feet, but the Kia Rio did, the Fiat 500 did, the Mazda3 did. Etc. And with this engine’s direct injection it should do better. Particularly when the car, though over-burdened with character-line doodles and unceasing sculpting, is not all that heavy (2600 lbs). There’s simply no low-end torque and at the top end no speed. If I understand engine speak this four-banger was crying plaintively to be turbocharged. (And I understand will be soon – 208 hp.  Wait!)

The Veloster I drove sported a six-speed manual (a paddled-shifting automatic is available). Fortunately this gear box performs smoothly because a driver has to keep stirring it to find a rev level at which the engine produces anything useful. (Oh yes, I didn’t like the novacained steering either.) However the chassis is rigid enough for a touch of pleasure in treasured twisty bits.

2012 Veloster InteriorAnd, too, I did find the seats handsome and I was quite taken with the flat metallic upside-down U on the doors’ interior - handy to grab for closing. And I think the asymmetrical doors – two on the curbside and one larger on the driver’s side – was innovative and useful. (However I found the car the most difficult to get in and out of in my recent experience. And precious little sense of space once inside.)

The car also promises good mileage – 40 mpg highway. But perhaps because of my fruitless search for power I encouraged the thirst of the little engine. Lucky if it made it into the 30s in mpg. And the small gas tank shortens range. (Ever hear of diesel in Chosen you guys?)

Now if they would or could de-busy-fy the IP, lower the dash so you can see out (and improve sight lines out the back), settle on one or two design elements for the hatchback body, lower the lift-over height into the trunk and put an actual engine under the hood getting rid of the weary squirrels laboring therein, then they might have something worthy of the Hyundai group’s recent advances.

Did I say I didn’t like this car? Well, I don’t. But then I haven’t been near a youth market since long before they decided there was one. Text on, kiddies. You may luv it.

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I really like the looks and design of the 2012 hyundai veloster. I really want to drive this car and have it on my garage. I think that I should visit a car store and buy my own 2012 hyundai veloster.

Posted by Jay Smyth on January 24, 2012






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