Hyundai Veloster used car review

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Hyundai Veloster

Do you want a small car that stands out from the crowd, but deep down has a conventional mechanical configuration that’s straightforward to work on, reliable and well suited to everyday use? Then the Veloster could be what you are after.

What sets Veloster apart is its unique body. The eye-catching three-door appearance, with a single driver’s side door and two doors on the passenger side, creates a mildly sporty charm. It’s a cross between a coupe and hatchback. This 2+1 door configuration sounds quirky but it looks smart and the concept works, although there are compromises in head room and vision – nothing unusual for a coupe.

The three-door configuration offers a different approach to getting in and out. The rear passenger-side door means back-seat occupants don’t have to clamber past the front seats as they do in a two-door. The passenger on the driver’s side, however, still needs to crawl across the back. The rear door access also makes strapping an infant into a child seat easier. Removing access from the traffic side is safer, particularly for children.

As with most coupes the focus is on front-seat comfort and space. It’s also strictly a four seater. Sports-style front seats provide good comfort and support, while the bold interior matches the car’s youthful image and works well. Leg room in the rear is reasonable but headroom can be a limiting factor. The rear seat angle means the head position is under the tailgate glass. Tall people can find the top of their head is actually above the roof trim. Thick rear pillars restrict vision and a rear spoiler splits the view out the back.

Two spec levels

The Veloster has been available since 2012 and can be found in a variety of versions, with the two main spec levels being the standard Veloster and a higher-grade Veloster Plus. The base version is reasonably well equipped but stepping up to the Plus adds a lot more features. In later models extra standard equipment was added. There is a choice of two engines – a naturally aspirated version and a stronger-performing turbo, with the sales split between them fairly even. Interestingly, the transmission choice is only slightly skewed towards automatic, which is a six-speed dual-clutch style unit, over the six-speed manual. This more than usual percentage of manuals reflects the car’s slightly sporting appeal.

Veloster is an involving and enjoyable little car to drive, rather than being exhilaratingly fast. Both engines are technically sophisticated, small-capacity 1.6-litre units.

The naturally aspirated direct-injection 1.6 litre GDi engine (similar to the one used by Kia in the previous Rio) produces a useful 103 kW, making it a respectable but unexciting performer. Frequent gear changing is required to keep it on song. The turbo engine has 150kW on tap, which is more in line with the sporting image.

Hyundai Veloster

Sporty response

Hyundai did a lot of local suspension tuning to suit Australian conditions and it shows. The ride is well controlled and flattens out most bumps with ease, while the steering has a good feel. The quick turn-in gives a nimble, sporty response, while it feels nicely balanced and the cornering grip is good.

A series II version, in 2015, brought further refinement of the steering and suspension, bigger tyres, and in the turbo model a seven-speed DCT replaces the six-speed unit.

With Hyundai’s five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty many Velosters will have a portion of the cover remaining.

Most owners seem very happy with the Veloster, although there are a few minor niggles and an occasional horror story – the odd engine or transmission issue, battery failures and electrical problems. Check the service history and a thorough vehicle inspection is worthwhile.

Check all accessories, including the navigation and audio systems – we understand they have a three-year warranty, not the full five-year cover.

Speedo inaccuracy can be an issue. Look closely at the trim, as the leather can become shabby.


3dr (2012-16) $16,100-$28,800
+ 3dr (2012-16) $17,700-$29,300
SR Turbo (2012-16) $20,100-$29,700
SR Turbo + (2015-16) $29,400-$31,900
Street SE (2013-14) $18,600-$20,000
Street Turbo SE (2016) $34,300
Approximate Glass’s Guide prices for a 5dr hatch.

FUEL CONSUMPTION: 8.0-10.5L/100km for non-turbo models. The turbo versions tend to be a little thirsty.
SAFETY: 5-star ANCAP rating.
TOWING: Not recommended.
THE COMPETITION: Kia Cerato Koup, Toyota 86, Subaru BRZ, Ford Fiesta ST.

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Written by Greg Hill
May 24, 2017