The 2020 Hyundai Veloster Turbo Premium's time in the CarAdvice garage is up.
We had initially planned to do a few extra things with this car, such as go to the racetrack for a cheeky lap or two, as well as partake in a bit of touring through country New South Wales. However, we took delivery of this car at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, which made some tasks increasingly difficult to achieve, so we instead focused on other areas.
We trialled the novelty of the third door to see if it offered genuine convenience akin to a hatchback, and also compared it to sports cars of similar price to see whether it offered value for money against that set.
However, in our final instalment we'll discuss how we found it to live with, how the cabin has aged, and what our final thoughts are on this unique offering from Hyundai
The utmost reason for opting to pay more for a Veloster over, say, an i30 N Line hatchback, is its design. Part of the design is the third door. Some may hate the lack of symmetry, others likely to find solitude in it. But despite all of that, it has a purpose. It's more than just a talking point.
Its reason for being is to simply offer customers the stylistic joy that a coupe brings, while retaining some form of practicality. It does offer that depending on your situation.
Young adults? It'll work just fine. If your kids are old enough and don't mind jumping over the large, middle hump where a fifth seat would usually go, this car will give you the best of both worlds. Part-time coupe, part-time grocery-getter.
In my situation, as a member of a family with a sole young child, its asymmetric design continues to make sense. I had no issues loading my son in and out using that third door. Its aperture is both wide and tall enough to access a large convertible child seat without any issue.
There's just enough room in the second row to house fully grown adults, too. With my six-foot frame in the back, and behind my own driving position, rear leg room remained satisfactory. However, head room left a bit to be desired, and more so in the case of our Turbo Premium model, which features a sunroof as standard. You do lose a bit of head room because of that piece of equipment.
On the flipside, if you have two children, and one of which is still in a support seat, consider the Veloster's party trick partially redundant. As you know, the advised position for a child seat in the second row of a car is behind the passenger seat. Once a support seat has been installed there, it becomes quite tricky for your older kids to hop across into the other vacant seat of the second row.
Sure, you can fold the driver's seat forward and ingress that way, but due to an electric slider mechanism, this path becomes cumbersome. It also somewhat defeats the purpose of this car.
In my situation, however, as a family of three, I see no issue in owning a Veloster. Nor would I if I had two older kids in my family.
In fact, I'd encourage those who are dabbling with the idea of owning a Veloster to go and take one for a spin. If you can forgo the smaller boot for what it brings in terms of design and style, then go for it. Let your personality manifest itself through the car you choose to own.
Speaking of boot space, total cargo capacity comes in at 303L. No-one at the CarAdviceoffice ever had any dramas with a lack of space, or size, for that matter. Strollers, groceries and all that jazz slotted in nicely at every attempt. If you're planning to go away on a long weekend, you'd be able to fit three to four pieces of luggage in the back with the parcel shelf removed.
After a quick, initial familiarisation session with the cabin, I found that it was never a burden to jump back in and become reacquainted after driving something else.
The Veloster's simple switchgear layout became somewhat refreshing compared to some of the more complex interfaces out there, which more often than not bury simple information a million sub-menus deep in the infotainment screen.
I do understand that this issue may seem irrelevant to potential buyers of a Veloster, but it does signal that once you've become fully accustomed to the cabin, the likelihood of ever becoming distracted is slim to none. The cabin's switchgear is logically laid out, and most importantly it remains simple to use while driving.
Dedicated buttons for the air-conditioning controls are big drivers of the cabin's easy-to-use nature, as is the one-touch climate button. Once pressed it depicts current temperature settings on the centre screen, removing the need to take your eyes off the road and peer deep down on the dashboard to gauge and adjust things.
A bunch of other media hot keys come in handy for toggling between things like Apple CarPlay and the home screen. Controls for the heated and ventilated seats are down below the gear shift lever and are easy to get a feel for and use blindly.
Pile that up with clear instrumentation and a head-up display that works a treat with polarised sunglasses, and the Veloster quickly becomes easy and comfortable to use on a day-to-day basis.
It's the area of materials where the Veloster falls down most, though. We noticed a fair amount of wear on the driver's side internal door area, mostly where the grab handle is located. The heavily grained plastic Hyundai has used is easily susceptible to scratching.
The driver's seat, too, had begun to show wear on the side bolster section, mostly on its leading edges. Not unusual for a car that's undergone accelerated wear due to numerous different bodies piling in and out of it daily, but more than I expected to have found at the end of the loan.
As a bunch of driving enthusiasts here at CarAdvice, we all enjoyed the odd punt around the block in the Veloster. It's a comfy car to drive around town, despite being on large 18-inch wheels. Most road-surface irregularities are cruised over without a hitch.
Then you begin to explore its abilities on more playful, windier pieces of blacktop, and realise it's actually a bit of a back-road bandit. Hyundai's Australian operations have done a stellar job in striking the elusive balance of comfort and sportiness with the suspension tune. It definitely favours comfort, but that doesn't make it any less enjoyable on a good patch of road.
The front end is awfully composed, direct and confidence-inspiring – equal in measure to that found in the i30 N Performance. Body control remains taut enough to not float around or be too subject to inertia when the road begins to ebb and flow left-to-right sequentially.
Despite a good set of uprights providing some agility, it's more the way this car feels through the palms of your hands that's the greatest. Like the nature of the cabin, it's inviting, easy to feel out and direct in its approach.
Power is fair for this package. As a recap, the 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder under the bonnet makes 150kW of power and 265Nm of torque. It is available with a six-speed manual; however, our car was equipped with the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.
As with many transmissions of this type, they're not to be treated like conventional automatics. Allowing time for the clutch to hook up before burying the throttle, or making any sudden inputs, goes a long way in granting you sheer smoothness.
It will lurch and carry on in an annoying fashion, only if treated incorrectly, however. Those manifestations are more related to user error than the transmission itself.
As for actual criticisms, they lie solely with the transmission's downshifts. The up-shifts are crisp and peppy, and I ask for no more. However, down-shifts simply take too long. It doesn't blip the throttle to speed up the process either. Instead, it seems to mate with the crankshaft at its different speed, which vastly slows down the whole process of cog-swapping.
Regardless, I still had a smile on my face every time I took the back way home, headed to my favourite (coffee shop) haunt on the old road, or just took a motorway on-ramp sweeper with some pace. It's an enjoyable car.
Others found it enjoyable, too, albeit just to look at. The amount of passers-by, neighbours, and kids wandering home from the school around the corner who stopped to admire it was quite astonishing.
Given my line of work, there's usually something new, shiny and sometimes expensive on my driveway. However, I have to confess that the Veloster is up there in terms of drawing attention.
It makes you feel good, too, seeing others appreciate and admire a car that's in your possession. It's something that just doesn't happen with an i30 N, as average punters see it as another hatchback, but this time just with blue paint.
It's safe to say that we're fans of the Hyundai Veloster here at CarAdvice.It offers an alternative choice to mainstream cookie-cutter hatchbacks. No human I've met has been made from the same mould as another. We're all unique, individual people who all like to express our minds when the time is right.
If you're into that sort of thing, don't let yourself be hamstrung by the formalities of life. For those daring enough, cars like the Hyundai Veloster exist. It gives you an opportunity to be expressive, while retaining levels of practicality similar to those of a hatchback. You know, the safe conservative option; the one that your family member recommended to you.
If that sounds like you, give a Veloster a go instead. Surprise yourself. Surprise the naysayers, too, while you're at it.