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Yes, the Veloster is coming to Australia, but what exactly is it?

CarAdvice reported just days ago that Hyundai Motor Company Australia (HMCA) confirmed it had received news at the Detroit International Motor Show that the latest indications are that the Veloster is likely to go on sale in Australia late 2011.

HMCA also said Australian specification, powertrain, and other details would be revealed closer to the launch date.

In the United States, there is already a micro site devoted to the Veloster and you’ve got to admit, it does seem interesting, if the blurb is anything to go by:

YOU’VE HEARD OF SMART TECHNOLOGY. NOW, MEET THE BRILLIANT CAR.
Entirely new, the Veloster has been designed to keep you connected 24/7. Built-in features let you share your location with friends, use hands-free texting, and even upload your favorite music and play videos through a USB port. The double-scooped aggressive front end, LED headlight accents, and a trick 3rd side passenger door give this new vehicle a completely modern style, while delivering up to 40 MPG*, giving you hybrid mileage without the hybrid premium.

Essentially, the Veloster is a three-door compact coupe – that’s one door on the driver’s side, an innovative two-door (the front door is forward-hinged) set-up on the passenger side, and a rear hatch for easy loading.

It’s a neat design, that’s for sure, but MINI tried it with the Clubman only to discover that extra rear door, which is supposed to facilitate easy access, was on the wrong side of the car for school drop offs and the like.

No such oversight by Hyundai.  This is not only a very clever design, but much of the on-board electronics and features are cutting edge for this automotive segment.

Under the bonnet there’s an all-new 1.6-litre direct injection petrol engine mated to either a six-speed manual transmission or Hyundai’s first dual-clutch box. Both transmissions have been designed and fabricated within Hyundai.

The numbers for a naturally aspirated 1.6-litre engine are impressive, with peak power of 103 kW @ 6300 rpm and peak torque of 167 Nm @ 4850 rpm.

The GDI Gamma powertrain is flushed with the latest technology too. There’s Dual Continuously Variable Valve Timing (D-CVVT), electronic throttle control, variable induction and various anti-friction coatings such as Diamond-Like Carbon employed.

The features list that the US is going with reads like a catalogue for the latest LA electronics fair:

• Standard multi-function seven-inch touch screen display
• Pandora internet radio capability
• Gracenote display technology with voice recognition
• Virtual CD downloading
• AVI and mpeg video playback via USB
• Video game console connectivity with 115-volt power outlet
• Bluetooth hands free with voice recognition

That’s not the half of it:

• Standard Blue Link Telematics platform with Blue Link Essentials, which provides Voice Text Messaging (this is a must), Remote Vehicle Start, Location Sharing, Stolen Vehicle Recovery, Stolen Vehicle Slowdown, Speed Alert and Curfew, to name only some of the Blue Link features.

Hyundai Motor Company Australia cannot determine what features will be viable for Australia at this time.

My initial impressions are that if the Veloster is priced attractively as was the i30 hatch when it first launched in Australia, it will sell like hot cakes and may even take some sales away from the i30 (new i30 notwithstanding), despite what will most likely be a different market.

Stay tuned for more updates on Veloster.




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