(Contributing Editor: George Straton)
Few descriptives impart aspirational lifestyle motoring the way Velocity and Roadster do. Neither neatly comport with daily urban commuting adult with responsibility transportation.
In 2011 Hyundai aimed an youth aspirational lifestyle 2+2 personal coupe squarely at a generation more urban than suburban, and more weaned on PlayStation and X-Box video race games, than real rubber to pavement suburban import tuner street racing. Thus when the first generation Veloster hatchback personal coupe was launched in the Korean home market under the Premium Youth Brand.
Without debate, the “sport tune bike” influenced Mk. I Veloster strayed from its portmanteau, achieving only whispers of athleticism and bearing a fixed roof. However this coupe was a clearly more aspirationally personal than donor Kia Forte Koup. With the added practicality of two sedan style passenger side doors.
Boasting a sharpened new canvas introduced this year Roadblazing.com set out to determine whether the new 2019 Hyundai Veloster coupe has sufficiently warmed up its act.
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WHAT: 2018 Hyundai Veloster Turbo Ultimate 2nd Generation 2+2 personal sporty coupe built on modified J6 – FS platform
Standard Power: 2.0L DOHC 16V DI gas I-4 = 147 hp/ 132 lb-ft @ 4500 rpm + 6-speed manual helical transaxle; optional 6-speed torque converter planetary automatic transaxle.
Optional: 1.6L DOHC 16V DI intercooled turbocharged gas I-4 = 201 hp/ 195 lb-ft @ 1500 rpm + 6-speed manual helical transaxle; optional 7-speed automated dual dry clutch helical transaxle w/ steering wheel shift paddles.
WHAT (A) STYLING DIFFERENCE:
STAND OUT: Black-mesh rendition of the latest corporate “flowing molten steel” wide hexagon grille; Lower slung hood with greater overhangs;
ALSO: Contrasting graphite side skirts, mesh front corner pseudo inlets and lower front valance w/ mesh; Longer roof spoiler convey greater length; Slimmer wheel arches, lower to mid rising door creases and thinner, wider wrap around lamp housings convey a slimmer silhouette; Boomerang taillamp housings meet rise to match Hofmeister kink thinning the C-pillar; Black contrast roof exhibits float; Beveled liftgate bottom renders a widening, Contrast graphite trapezoid center lower valance spreads wings; Twin center tailpipes, now round, are blanketed by a grey simulated diffuser.
All-in-all, a more lithe and scalpel edged image has been struck.
WHY: Which other sporty personal 2+2 coupe can claim 3 cabin door versatility?
WHEN: On-Sale (in the U.S.) since early summer 2018
WHERE: Hyundai new vehicle dealers
WHERE MADE: Ulsan, South Korea
HOW ROADWORTHY: Feeble sounding at idle, the twin-scroll turbocharged 1.6L wastegate snaps to under throttle; Somehow the 7-speed DCT transmission swaps gears more smoothly than in the Kia Soul Exclaim Turbo’s similar powertrain; Manumatic paddle shifting can be had in any of the three drive modes; But it is Sport Mode which beckons gearbox paddling with elevated engine revs, throttle blipping and a chorus of crotch rocket;
Low-profile all-season tires aren’t genuine grip heroes and yet tramline; Since little road grip is transmitted to the helm, attention needs be paid to understeer; Sway forbidding stiff spring rates, chomp on suspension travel, transmitting road surface pokes and jabs through the seats; Fortunately a solid structure shakes it off. Steering on center jitters require nanny-ing; In Hyundai/ Kia fashion brakes are a work in progress: FF rated disc pads are on generous rotors, but reaction at the limits of pedal travel is less than urgent; Until the engine revs past 4000 rpm, we are talking about a sound isolating cabin, Low profile wing mirrors seem to help eliminate wind thrash.
HOW FAR: 32 combined miles per gallon; 450 mile range
HOW BIG/ LITTLE: √ Rear legroom = 2.1″ > Mk. 1 Veloster; √ True 2+2 occupant configuration; √ Exterior dimensions unchanged from Mk. 1 Veloster; +1 Cargo volume = 28% nominal & maximum > Mk. 1 Veloster;
HOW USEFUL: √ Slight incline folding 60/40% split 2nd Row seatbacks; √ Cord suspended rear parcel shelf; +1 Low cowl forward view / -1 Wide side pillars & small backlight impede side / aft view; Tow Rating: Not Rated.
HOW SAFE: √ 6 airbags; STD: √ Rear camera w/ predictive grid; √ Lane departure warning, Lane Keep Assist; √ Forward Collision warning, assist; √ Auto high beam lights; AVAILABLE: √ Sonar rear park assist, √ Blind spot, rear cross traffic warning, √ Partial adaptive cruise control; √ Pedestrian avoidance braking; √ Rain sensing windshield wipers; √ Heads Up Display.
HOW PEOPLE FRIENDLY: √ Leather trimmed, 3-level heated front sport bucket seats, w/ driver height, power lumbar adjust; √ 3 power windows w/ driver’s full express; √ Crisp black on white, red ringed dual analog TFT gauges w/ MFD display; √ Automatic climate; √ Power moonroof & sunshade.
Cool Gizmo(s): √ Head’s Up Display (HUD) Sport drive mode color tachometer; √ Onboard feature image tutorials w/ UHD graphics; √ Passenger side Row 2 door;
Details Done Right: √ Assymetrical cabin door, mid dash color scheme: driver’s side = dark, passenger side = light; √ Thick leather sport steering wheel w/ perforated side grips; distinctive horizontal spoke multimedia, MFD & cruise control toggles, switches; √ Red cockpit accents;
Nearly Non-Descript: Hard plastic dashboard & center console, distinguished only by graining;
HOW “APP” -LICABLE: √ 8″ touch LCD 3-pane infotainment screen; √ Voice commands; √ Bluetooth hands-free communications; √ 3-D SD GPS navigation w/ voice guidance, MFD & HUD indicators; √ Streaming audio; √ Bass boomy, sufficiently loud Infinity 350W, 8-speaker audio (AVAIL.) w/ HD radio; √ Android Auto / Apple CarPlay (AVAIL.) Qi wireless charging pad; USB x 2, 12V x 1. +1 SMS Messaging (NEW)
Apps = Pandora radio; HD Real time traffic, HD Weather radar;
Subscriptions: Sirius XM radio, TravelLink, BlueLink telematics
+1 Deep lower front center stack wireless device storage;
-1 No 2nd Row electronics power source
HOW MUCH: $29,160 = as tested 2018 Hyundai Veloster Turbo Ultimate DCT
WHAT’S MISSING: Grippier tires; Ride compliance; Soft dashboard panels;
ANY COMPETITION: FIAT 500 Abarth: +1 Exhaust note; Honda Civic Si Coupe: +1 Cabin space, finish; Mini Cooper: +1 Steering feel; Volkswagen Golf GTI: +1 Everything but profile;
BOTTOM LINE: Warm-er hatch, future tuner import donor