HYUNDAI just can't seem to do anything wrong. One of its latest is a stunner called Veloster, a sporty-looking model that looks like a million bucks but is priced in the low to mid $20K bracket.
It might be a bit radical for conservative Australia i, but anyone with a taste for something really stylish will be smitten.
Neither coupe nor hatch, the Veloster has an asymmetrical door layout (one door on the right, two on the left), and when you open any of them it's clear the style goes well beyond eye-catching lines.
The interior materials are top quality, and both the standard and Plus (+) models get a premium audio system with AUX/USB input; seven-inch LCD touch screen with integrated rear-view camera; tyre pressure monitoring; daytime running lights; automatic headlights; cruise control; and rear park assist.
The Veloster+ gets more goodies, including a two-piece panoramic glass roof, leather seats and automatic climate control.
Both models get lovely 18-inch alloy wheels.
Seating is A-1 in front, a bit less so in the back, and while the view through the big windscreen is excellent, visibility to the rear is hampered by those body lines.
However, decent side mirrors counter the blind spots and the reversing camera makes parking easy.
The driver's seat is height-adjustable and the steering wheel has tilt-and-telescopic features, so it's easy to organise a good driving position.
Prices start at $23,990 for the six-speed manual, while the upmarket Veloster + with six-speed double-clutch automatic costs an extra $4000.
That’s way below anything with comparable looks and panache.
Under its stylish snootie is a new 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine with direct injection which puts out 103kW and 166Nm.
It’s not the world’s most powerful motor, but it can take the car to 100km/h in 10 seconds and return a very fuel-efficient average of about 6.5litres/100km.
So while it’s not what one would enter in Targa West, it does make for very good open road touring or daily commuting.
The ride is firm, but not overly so, and it gets through corners very well. It tracks nicely and securely and is a pleasant thing to be in.
It does attract a lot of attention, and gets the prize for stopping more traffic, pedestrian and otherwise, than any other car I've parked outside the office this year.
Full marks to Hyundai for having the guts to come up with a Miss World on Wheels.