2012 Hyundai Veloster: An Owner's Impressions

My Veloster's smile.
My Veloster's smile.

By an owner for owners

Like most people who want to be informed about their car purchase, I did a great deal of research before I purchased my 2012 Veloster. I read reviews from all the big magazines and professional reviewers. However, partly because the car is so new, I was not able to find very many reviews from regular people who owned the car. Hopefully my experiences with the car, 1,000 miles so far and counting, will help other perspective owners develop a better appreciation for this funky little car.

Exterior

To say that the exterior styling of the Veloster is polarizing would be putting it mildly. I have ran into several people who truly, deeply hate the look of the car. On the other hand, the vast majority of the responses and reactions I have received from people have been positive. Again, the Veloster is a relatively new car so we will have to see how people feel about the exterior once the "shiny new toy" effect has worn off.

Whether you love or hate the style has a lot to do with whether or not you are bothered that the Veloster’s performance numbers don’t seem to match its athletic appearance. You could see this as a negative feature, or you could laud Hyundai designers for injecting some excitement and style into a class of car most known for mundane fare like the corolla.

Overall I would say that a Veloster is not for someone who likes to keep a low profile. If you are driving this car expect to get comments, questions and opinions on it, both positive and negative.

Interior

The interior of the 2012 Veloster could best be described as better than most. The plastics and materials used in its construction are still not up to the standards of Asian juggernauts like Honda and Toyota, but they are still leaps and bounds better than most domestic offerings. There is lots of plastic at play here but almost all of it is textured and has enough "give" to it so that you don't feel like you're driving a Tonka truck.

Ergonomically the car shines. All the dials, screens, buttons and knobs are laid out perfectly so as to be easily accessible while driving. The touch screen is easy to operate with just a few button presses and the climate controls are a breeze to set. These might seem like small details, but there is nothing worse than fumbling with your radio while trying to change lanes.

When it comes to the seats themselves, all I can say it wow! Whatever engineer at Hyundai was in charge of creating these bad boys knew what they were doing. The seats have great side bolstering, are not too big or too small and are covered in some very nice fabric. Not only were the seats supportive, I also found them to be quite comfortable even on longer trips. Additionally, despite being black, the seats do not tend to get overly hot even when the temperature heats up, a definite plus as summer approaches!

It also worth mentioning that even though the Veloster is a relatively small car, there is plenty of storage space and conveniently placed storage solutions mean that this little car can carry a lot of stuff!

Features

All Velosters come with a long list of standard features. I opted to add a sunroof to mine for a small additional charge. When compared against other cars in its class, the Veloster stands strong on its list of standard features. Power everything, a big 7" touchscreen, XM radio, MP3 player, auto on headlights, the list goes on. Most of these things should be becoming expected on new vehicles, but their presence is still appreciated.

Some of the best features the Veloster offers, are the several different ways drivers have to keep track of their mpgs. Studies have shown that drivers who have access to mpg displays tend to get better gas mileage as they can instantly see the effects of their driving habits. The Veloster offers this feedback in 3 separate ways. Average mpgs are displayed in the dash, between the speedometer and tachometer. A feature called "eco-coach" gives a more involved breakdown of your recent mpg stats from the touchscreen. Finally another touch screen based mpg aid, "Blue Max" is a fun feature with an almost video game feel to it, where drivers try to beat their high score by driving green.

So far, all the features work perfectly. Big kudos are due to the Veloster's sound system, which sound truly fantastic, even at high volumes. The sunroof is the only commodity that some users might find issue with. In my opinion the sunroof is a nice touch, it's enormous and nothing says hot rodding fun, quite like tearing around with the top (almost) down. In all fairness however, the size does produce a staggering amount of wind noise when fully opened. Those who hate the sound of the open road, or who are given to fancy hairstyles may wish to pass this option up.

Performance

Much ado has been made about the performance, or lack thereof from the Veloster. Most of these complaints stem from the disconnect between the Veloster’s styling and it’s somewhat anemic 138hp. Other times, the criticisms are based on expectations that the Veloster would be a sort of spiritual successor to Honda’s game changing CRX.

Let’s make one thing clear, the Veloster, at least in non-turbo trim, is not built for drag racing. Depending on your driving, expect to see 0-60 times in the 8-9 second region. However, judging the Veloster on 0-60 times and horsepower figures is missing the point of the vehicle. Yes, it looks like a sleek roadster and it is slightly disappointing to find that the performance does not match the looks. What is not disappointing though is the nearly 35 miles per gallon I achieved on my very first tank of mixed driving. In this day and age there is more to automotive performance than who can get from A to B faster. That being said, the Veloster still packs plenty of punch for everyday things like merging onto expressways and passing other drivers.

They say power is nothing without control. In the automotive world this means that a lackluster suspension in a powerful car can be a dangerous combination. Hyundai took an opposite approach to this problem and put a fantastic suspension in the Veloster, capable of handling much more power than the car dishes out. Around town the Veloster rides comfortably despite its large rims and skinny tires. When pushed, the Veloster stays grippy well past the point where other small cars may have let go. Not only does this precise suspension and steering make for an enjoyable car that is surprisingly tossable, it also means the Veloster won’t hurt for traction in wet or snowy conditions. Add the standard stability control and traction control to the mix and you have a car that need not fear winter’s fury.

Finally, no Veloster discussion would be complete without mentioning the dual clutch Ecoshift system enjoyed by drivers who choose the automatic. Here drivers have a choice of either putting the car in drive like a traditional automatic, or banging gears themselves via the shifter, or steering wheel mounted paddles. The Ecoshift feature is a great addition, and not one usually found in this price range. It adds a race inspired feel and help makes the car feel peppy and quick. Best of all, the system works really well and delivers a satisfying driving experience. With the notable exception of the 1st to 2nd shift, which sometimes suffers an intense amount of shift lag, the shifts are smooth and crisp whether you choose the shifter or paddles.

Closing thoughs

When you buy a Veloster you get a car that possess unique, quirky styling, achieves excellent gas mileage, handles with impressive precision, and does it all with a list of standard features longer than some full size sedans. Sure, you trade off big horsepower numbers for these features, but that is not what this class of car is about. The Hyundai Veloster is the perfect choice for those of us who yearn for a fun sports car, but cringe at the often astronomical associated costs of owning one.

Veloster for you?

After reading the information above would you own a Hyundai Veloster?

  • Absolutely!
  • Never!
  • Under the right circumstances...
  • What's a Hyundai?
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Comments 2 comments

Diane Woodson profile image

Diane Woodson 4 years ago from Evansville, Indiana

I had a Hyundai Sonata I got new and it was the best car I ever have had. My daughter enjoyed it for a few years too and I have to say, I like Toyota and Hyundai the best. This is a great article for anyone thinking of buying one!


Pandapocalypse profile image

Pandapocalypse 4 years ago from Upstate NY Author

Thank you Diane! I'm glad to hear both you and your daughter were able to enjoy your Hyundai. I think a lot of people are used to writing off Hyundais as "also rans", but they have really turned a corner now I feel.

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