STYLE, performance, practicality – not words you’d necessarily expect to hear about one of the more unusual vehicles that makes up the 2015/16 model range, but this is no ordinary Hyundai we’re talking about here, this is the Veloster Series II SR+ turbo.
This is the whole box and dice edition of the groovy Veloster, which comes complete with some truly unique design features.
For the uninitiated, these include two doors on the passenger side and a single door on the drivers’ side, metallic handles on the centre console which also appear on the doors in the form of a floating handle (for want of a better description), a central push start button and unique seat styling and branding.
Powered by a 1.6L turbo four cylinder petrol engine that pushes out 150kW and 265Nm of torque through a seven speed double clutch auto gearbox, the SR+ turbo Veloster is more powerful than its direct rival (the Toyota 86), but down on the more genuine hot hatches such as the Ford Focus ST and Renault Megane RS.
It pulls a claimed 7.1L/100km although the best we could manage was a 7.2 – close enough in our books.
The gearbox stands out as one of the cars’ lesser exciting moments, as even in manual mode it will do its own thing and override your settings, and kick-downs are not its strong suit.
It lacks the genuine aggression you would expect in a hot hatch, but is more than capable in normal driving situations, so certainly has its strong points for a first generation offering from the Korean car maker.
Locally tuned and configured, the car definitely feels great to drive, with a softer more rolling suspension feeling, that makes it a comfortable drive and a solid driving experience – both good plus moments when compared to some of the Euro-tuned rivals that really don’t love Aussie roads.
Revamped over its previous incarnations as an overall model, the new version (with the SR+ a first timer) comes with Flex Steer, a system that adjusts the steering control based on weight, as well as three very distinct engine performance options – economy, normal, and sport.
There’s a bit of road and more significantly engine noise here and there, especially when pushing the SR+ to play dirty. That said, throwing it into sports mode, and treating it like a hot hatch should be makes the Veloster SR+ a pretty wicked toy to play with.
Inside, there’s leather appointed seats (with that cool branding we talked about earlier), an improved SatNav system, panoramic glass roof, climate control, electric seats, and electrically folding door mirrors. You’ll also find heated and ventilated seats which previous versions didn’t have.
The rear door entry has been improved over the old model too, but rear headroom and super limited rear window visibility still remain an issue for some drivers. The boot is pretty good for a sporty little hatch, with a very respectable 320 litres of space, and a temporary spare stored under the rear floor.
We know it’s a car you’ll either love or hate, it’s been that way since its inception. We like it because it’s so different.
There’s a lot to be said for being the different kid on the block in a sea of sameness and while that’s not to say the 86, or Megane RS are ‘same’ – the Veloster is a unique unit, and well worth checking out if you want something that people often take a second glance at.
We noticed people doing double-takes all the time when we were cruising around in the Veloster – it still turns heads, even three years on.
The Series II SR+ Veloster hits the road at $36,490 (for the seven speed auto variant) and comes with a five year unlimited kilometre warranty and a 5-star ANCAP safety rating. It’s worth noting that a significant portion of the overall Veloster model range is now sub-$30K and makes an excellent value proposition over much dearer rivals.
The colour range includes Blue Sprinter (as tested), Phantom Black, Storm Trooper, Sonic Silver, Crystal White, Veloster Red, Sunflower and Young Gun. Cool names for a colour palette that includes a host of matte finishes to add to the unique look and feel of this sporty hatch.
Our test vehicle was provided by Hyundai Australia. To find out more about the 2015 Hyundai Veloster Series II SR+ Turbo, contact your local Hyundai dealer.