By on January 10, 2011

Direct injection. Dual-clutch transmission. 40 MPG highway. Three doors. 2,580 lbs. A $17k-ish price point. That might just be one of the most unconventional sets of numbers to come out of this year’s NAIAS, and the Veloster is certainly one of the more unconventional cars to launch here at Cobo. From a more cynical perspective, it is based on the Accent platform, rear headroom seems a bit cramped, the third door seems a bit unnecessary, and its marketing is a bit overly drenched in Gen Y-centric nonsense (also, official EPA numbers aren’t out yet). Still, the Veloster is a huge step from the Tiburons that came before it, and it adds an intriguing new facet to Hyundai’s American assault.

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67 Comments on “NAIAS: Hyundai Unveils Veloster...”


  • avatar
    GalaxieSun

    Nothing less than amazing on a number of levels.  This was a bold move on the part of HMA bringing this vehicle to market.  While the styling is an acquired taste, the engineering specs mentioned in the article are quite impressive, especially in the segment at this price point.

  • avatar
    Steve65

    In theory, this is exactly the sort of vehicle my wife is going to be shopping for her next car.
     
    In practice, it seems a near certainty that it will instantly fail the “look over your right shoulder” test, just like the conceptually similar Juke failed it.

  • avatar

    Did Hyundai dig up the Gremlin? I don’t know how something this fat will get 40mpg, but I do know it’ll feature unwarrented blindspots.

  • avatar
    Steven02

    I think this thing just got uglier.  I am not sure what it is supposed to be.  Is it a crossover?  Is it a hatch?  Very much not practical.  I don’t see this doing well.  Seems like an answer to a question that no one asked.

    • 0 avatar
      srogers

      Yes, it’s a hatch. Otherwise, who cares what category you want to pigeon-hole it into. What are the Soul, Juke, Matrix, CRX, Flex, etc?

    • 0 avatar

      I say hatch, but unlike most hatchbacks the rear hatch looks too small to put much in.

    • 0 avatar
      Steve65

      Notwithstanding the tiny hatch apparent in the cutlines on the cars in these pictures, the teaser photo they released a couple of weeks ago showed an enormous hatch opening. But that photo also appears to show headliner covering part of the “hatch opening”. Something is not adding up. I can’t seem to find any new photos of the production car with the hatch open.
       
      http://images.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/01/Veloster_035.jpg

      Edit: Found one. Hatch is bigger than it looks when closed:

      http://media.windingroad.com/autos_db/galleries/IMG_1911__jpg_900x900_q100.jpg

    • 0 avatar

      At Boris65: It actually looks good in that picture! I guess its that huge rear bumper that makes the rear hatch look small.

    • 0 avatar
      OldandSlow

      Steve65, thanks for the second photo.  That hatch looks plenty large enough for the size of the car.  Plus, there is third door on the passenger side to ease wiggling in and out.
       
      Peak torque is 123 ft/lb at 4,850 rpm. It’ll be buzzy getting up to speed on the highway.

  • avatar
    srogers

    Does this seat 2 or 3 in the back? Anyone know yet?

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    Every time I look at this car it looks worse. My first impression was that it was the ugliest thing short of a Juke, but as time goes by the margin between them is fading. The specs aren’t all that exciting once you know it is based on an Accent. Basically, it is a dramatically ugly Accent with no room and blindspots rarely achieved in a front engined car. Yippee.

    • 0 avatar
      srogers

      It looks like I’m elected Hyundai apologist for the day, so here it goes:
      What did you expect for a $16k car? I don’t think that they’re going after the Aston Martin market with this one.
      I know, if only it was a turbo-diesel wagon with rear wheel drive that looked like a ’67 Chevelle it would be perfect.

    • 0 avatar

      Whats wrong with it being based on an Accent? But yes, thanks to this things styling it’ll be like driving a Dodge Magnum.
       
      At srogers: The Dodge Omni was a cheaply priced car and dosen’t have big blindspots and big people can fit in them, why shouldn’t a modern budget car with advanced technology be able to do the same?

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      All it would have to be is good looking to not raise my ire. To make me interested in owning one, it would need to lose the pretense of being a 2+2. Get rid of the back seat, back seat safety gear, and third side door, and it might shed a couple hundred pounds, making the performance closer to that of a decent compact sedan while lowering the price and improving fuel economy. Then you could ditch the direct injection to improve reliability, durability, and fuel quality sensitivity while further lowering the price! Did you think about it before asking the question? These answers were pretty easy to generate.

    • 0 avatar
      srogers

      Hyundai already makes the Accent, Elantra, Sonata, etc. for good visibility and practical use of space. Why wouldn’t they make this different? Should all cars aspire to be the Dodge Omni?

    • 0 avatar
      srogers

      CJinSD,
      You’d make it a 2 seater only? I think that fighting with the CRZ for that market might be very limiting.

    • 0 avatar

      At srogers: Did I ever say cars should aspire to the Omni?
      But good visibility and practical use of space should be standard, cars were meant to get us around and good visibility allows us to avoid crashes while well use of space lets us transport stuff, you don’t have to sacrifice these to make a decent looking car.
      Should practicality be sacrificed for style thats fine with sports cars and exotics since the idea is performance and looking good, on an economy hatchback you’ll get a car that may look good but it won’t BE good.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      @ srogers,

      Now that I’ve had a couple hours to digest the Veloster, I don’t think it matters. This was never going to turn out to be a worthwhile car. If it had Elantra bones, a good looking and intelligently designed body, and still weighed less than 2,600 lbs, it would be mildly interesting and still not have a huge potential market. 2 seats and real weight savings over the more useful cheap Accent sedan it is based on would help, but there is no indication that the car company that built the Veloster has the capability to make a car that isn’t hopelessly compromised by a profound lack of direction.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      There is nothing wrong with basing a coupe on the Accent. The Jalopnik article on this turd compares the claimed curb weight to the Scion TC, and a Hyundai employee is quoted as saying that Colin Chapman would be proud, or something along those lines. The reality is 2,580 lbs isn’t an accomplishment for a car with B-segment bones. That is how much they weigh before you cut away all the usefulness, and a twist beam axle isn’t an innovative piece of high performance chassis technology. They mostly exist to make accountants happy.
      The Scion TC weighs much more, but it is also a larger car with higher end mechanical components. Personally, I think the TC is a modern day first generation Honda Prelude. It has no sporting ambition, but a high level of creature comforts as standard equipment. I don’t think it is a yardstick for any car with real sporting intentions, and I think it is far more car than anything based on an Accent at the same time.

    • 0 avatar
      jaje

      The Scion TC to be considered a modern day Prelude?  The Prelude was a real FWD sports car (and meant to be their fastest car until they made the S2000) and if you’ve ever driven the last gen VTEC SH Prelude back to back with a TC you’d quickly change your opinion.  You’d also have to consider the Prelude was a sports car intended to debut new technologies to the US (hence the name) – this was 4WS, 4 wheel independent suspension, VTEC, SH AWD.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      jaje,

      Read my post again. I specified the first generation Prelude, the one the press called the Honda Quaalude because it put them to sleep.

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      I know, if only it was a turbo-diesel wagon with rear wheel drive that looked like a ’67 Chevelle it would be perfect.

      Don’t forget the manual transmission.  Plus, you will only buy it 5 years used for under $6000.  Every automaker’s ideal customer.

    • 0 avatar
      jaje

      CJinSD – You are right – I misread your original post so I apologize.  However, I still don’t agree with the comparison that the TC is a 1st gen Prelude.  The spirit of the Prelude was Honda’s technology platform to showcase their newest and greatest technologies which were applied to all  generations (even the first generation as it started with a highly modified subframe from a Civic then added an Accord drivetrain – in addition the suspension was calibrated for much better handling including the use of Lotus designed rear Chapman struts.  If you drive a 1st Gen Prelude versus its Civic Platform mate you’ll see a substantial difference in handling.  Once the 2nd generation hit (like we have a 2nd gen TC now) – Honda added various engine options, suspension technologies which further showcased Honda’s newest technologies and really made it a sports car even though it was WWD (wrong wheel drive).

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    And then Robin Williams came out of the car and yelled, “Nanoo! Nanoo!”

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    There is nothing wrong with basing a coupe on the Accent. The Jalopnik article on this turd compares the claimed curb weight to the Scion TC, and a Hyundai employee is quoted as saying that Colin Chapman would be proud, or something along those lines. The reality is 2,580 lbs isn’t an accomplishment for a car with B-segment bones. That is how much they weigh before you cut away all the usefulness, and a twist beam axle isn’t an innovative piece of high performance chassis technology. They mostly exist to make accountants happy.

    The Scion TC weighs much more, but it is also a larger car with higher end mechanical components. Personally, I think the TC is a modern day first generation Honda Prelude. It has no sporting ambition, but a high level of creature comforts as standard equipment. I don’t think it is a yardstick for any car with real sporting intentions, and I think it is far more car than anything based on an Accent at the same time.

  • avatar
    zznalg

    I give them points for at least trying to create a fresh design. I don’t hate the way it looks. Don’t love it much either. My first impression was: Is this what Victor Muller at Saab sort of had in mind for his “upcoming” 92 teardrop design? And, my second impression was, you couldn’t see out of that thing. I just hate when function take such a low priority next to form.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    I’m a Hyundai fan, but not of this car.  Its looks seem to be a departure from the current family DNA.  Besides, it’s way far out of my practical zone.

  • avatar
    Wraith

    Not to mention the promise of a 2.0L turbo version.

  • avatar
    jrlombard

    I must be getting old. The video gave me a headache and I don’t understand the third door. If it four, it would make the shopping list for our next vehicle. But with two kids, I need to have access to them from both sides of the car. Maybe I’m not the target demographic? *shrugs*

  • avatar
    akitadog

    I’ve got a bad feeling about where this car is going, re: marketing, styling and (lack of) utility.
    Looks like Scion Fail part deux.

    I can’t see the point of a forward-hinged rear door on the passenger side…but not on the driver’s side. It’s like they included the extra door in a half-ass effort to be hip or youthful. They could have at least made it “suicide.” Instead it just comes off as looking awkward, like it was unfinished.

    And, owners of the Veloster should be prepared to run over a few dogs/cats/toddlers when backing out of their driveways. That rear visibility is as bad as that of a mid-engined supercar.

  • avatar
    ajla

    If TTAC gets a chance, can they ask a Hyundai exec when the Genesis Coupe is going to be allowed to get the GDI engines and DCTs that Hyundai apparently only wants to put on vehicles that start under $20K?

  • avatar

    I don’t like anything that even smells like a wagon or hatchback. I have no doubt it will sell, but I know I won’t be spending on one.

  • avatar
    JMII

    This turned out to be more like a CR-Z and less like a Civic hatchback… plus the front end and other body/hood details are a little busy. I’m slightly disappointed. One of the nice things about most hatchbacks is rear visibility, but this thing appears to have almost none plus the biggest 3/4 view blind spot ever (like most CUVs). Also the liftover for access to the hatch looks to be way too high once again killing any practically of the hatch itself.
    Is the passenger side door really short in order to add the 3rd door behind it? I thought the drivers side door would be much longer. Or is the window/glass area on each side not symmetrical? From the pictures what they done seems almost impossible. It really should have had a suicide door back there.
    Does it get the turbo 2.0? What about a 6 speed manual? If so my wife might be able to overlook the other short comings. Keep in mind her current “perfect” car is the Volvo C30 and this looks to be the same size/shape only it costs nearly twice as much.

  • avatar
    Darth Lefty

    Hyundai: This styling family when you refresh the Coupe, please.  It has a very timid face compared to more recent designs.

  • avatar
    Sinistermisterman

    Methinks Hyundai are after the Scion market now. If the 2.0 turbo does come to fruition and remains below $20k – I’d be interested – and I’m a “Generation Y’er”.

  • avatar
    OldandSlow

    A lot of what’s been said is a bit harsh for what is essentially an Accent coupe with a hatch and a third door to make the rear seat semi usable.
     
    Hopefully, I’ll never have to own one, but this new Accent is much better outfitted than a Yaris, especially one with Toyota’s play-it-safe 4 speed automatic.

    • 0 avatar

      The current generation Accent is a much better car then the current Yaris too. The Yaris has a poorly tooled interior panels, terrible floaty handling and felt cheaper despite costing more with less features.

  • avatar
    MarcKyle64

    An aerodynamic restyled Accent with 2.0 150hp four and 2,500 pounds curb weight would be very hoonable.  I’ll be very interested in looking at the specs on these in the 2015 model year.

  • avatar

    To me it looks like the illegitimate love child of a Scion TC and a Honda CR-Z

  • avatar
    obbop

    Basic box utilitarian design unable to amass enough apparently lusted-after “street creds”?
    And what’s with the naming after a carnivorous critter in those cloned dinosaur movies of the not-too-distant past?
    Baffled in the shanty

  • avatar
    Zombo

    I like it ! I thought the 3rd door would have a unsightly handle , but the 3rd door handle is hidden according to AutoGuide . I also like the sport bike styling cues and the Veloster having more front headroom /legroom /shoulder room than the CRZ, tC , and Mini Cooper . BTW AutoGuide (below) has a much better online write up than the short blurb on here . What’s up wit dat  TTAC ?
     
    http://www.autoguide.com/auto-news/2011/01/detroit-2011-hyundai-veloster-world-premiere-finally.html

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      Much better write-up?  AG has a short blurb (about three paragraphs) gushing about the Veloster, followed by the very lengthy Hyundai press release.  Not so impressive.

    • 0 avatar
      Zombo

      I’m sure TTAC will have a follow up article , but right NOW it doesn’t have as MUCH info as others . Meanwhile the usual gripes here about lack of room for families in a car not meant for that use , lack of torque on a 4 cylinder car built for high fuel economy , and doesn’t have the good looks of – insert favorite looking car here . If this car can deliver on advertised price and fuel economy promises it will sell , especially when gas climbs up to 4 bucks a gallon or higher . And you know that’s coming , it’s just a matter of when .

    • 0 avatar

      I’m fine with a lack of torque, when I go to a 4 cyl its fuel economy that I expect. But if my smaller, old Horizon can fit a family why not the Veloster?
      I do like the Gremlin looks, unfortunately once you step in it you’ll learn one of the bigger flaws with the Gremlin.

  • avatar
    mazder3

    This might not be the nicest looking rig around but I hope it catches on. America is underserved in the under $20K six speed manual fasthatch segment. I’d love to see a Mazda2 based MX-3 or a Versa based NX2000.

  • avatar
    PriusV16

    Great.
     
    So the Porsche Panamera has a younger cousin, and it looks just as deformed as its bigger relative from Germany…..

  • avatar
    Kevin Jaeger

    The term “3-door” has been so abused I didn’t realize at first that this really did have three doors.  I kind of like the idea, but the styling will take some getting used to.

  • avatar
    daviel

    Way cool!  I like it – probably has hard plastics though.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    Hm… restyled econobox? Check
    Unusual design? Check
    Good MPG? Check
     
    Now add 5 useful doors. Let’s call it a 2005 Scion xB.

  • avatar
    monomille

    Looks like stretched Mini-Marcos – not a compliment

  • avatar
    dlc

    I think it looks great.  First new car my wife ever purchased was a 1998 Hyundai Accent, treated us well for 6 1/2 years and is still in service with my sister-in-law.  Obviously I’ll want to see one in person and drive it before making a final judgment-but it looks a lot like my old CRX with a small back seat, which is great. Should be as quick as a MINI Cooper which is plenty.

  • avatar

    If the thing actually gets 40mpg highway at 70mph, while that’s not stellar, it’s good. The car is not nearly as ugly as a Fit (and I’m a Honda guy).

  • avatar
    kobo1d

    I was interested for a moment. Stopped reading at
    >138-hp and 123 ft-lbs of torque
     

  • avatar
    stryker1

    I’m a sucker for odd-ball small cars. This looks good to me. If I thought I might need a new car anytime soon, I’d definitely test drive one.

    • 0 avatar
      jaje

      I agree.  Anyone remember the M Shoe?  That car was definitely not a looker…until you drove one and then subsequently thought it was beautiful.  The Panamera is the same – really awkward to look at until you drove the 4S or Turbo.  Please note I’ve driven both in anger and they are quite impressive cars.  I’ll leave the “judge a book by its cover” crowd alone now.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Anyone remember the M Shoe?

      I think someone does.

  • avatar
    carguy

    The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about – and the Veloster appears in no danger of not being talked about given the volume of comments.
     
    The real news here seems to be that Hyundai is not afraid of styling their new products – and that is a good thing. No matter of how you feel about it, the automotive landscape is already littered with enough over-conservative three box designs that a little pizazz in the sub $20k segment is very welcome indeed.

  • avatar
    Canuck129

    Ughhh that is THE UGLIEST Toyota I’ve EVER…. oh… pardon?  Oh it’s a Hyundai?!, oh it looks just GREAT then!!….

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