Hyundai has, like any other car company in the world has been busy filling up every niche in the car market, but it had already filled a nice no one had thought of in 2011, a hatchback with three passenger doors.
And for some reason Hyundai has committed again to the format with the 2020 Veloster. It has new updated styling, obviously, but there’s a whole pile of safety equipment that has been shoved into the sporty bodyshell. NZ only gets two models, the Veloster Limited with a 1.6 litre turbocharged engine and the lower spec Elite, with a 2.0-litre non turbo.
The car tested is the Limited model and it comes with brake assist, forward collision avoidance, blind spot collision avoidance, rear cross traffic collision warning, smart cruise control, driver attention warning, and reverse camera.
The Veloster Limited has very good performance from the 150kW/265Nm 1.6-litre turbocharged engine and seven-speed dual clutch gearbox but there is some driveline shunt, especially in sport mode. Hopefully this is limited to the test car as driveline shunt is sometimes a sign that something is wrong in such dual clutch gearboxes (Ford Focus anyone?).
Handling is just as good as the previous model, with sharp turn in and good lateral grip from the 225/40 R18 tyres. The ride quality is definitely on the hard side but then again this is intended to be a very sporty car. The drive selector includes a ‘Smart’ setting, which leans so heavily on to Eco mode it’s essentially useless. Better to just keep the settings on sport mode.
You have to get used to checking for traffic in the door mirrors rather than the central mirror as the view to the rear is effectively useless. It’s like looking out through a vision slit in a WWI tank. Likewise, the rear three quarter visibility is non-existent, which makes the standard rear cross traffic alert an essential tool.
The front seats are supportive and comfortable and on the Limited model you get both heating and cooling. But you are tall and adjust the seat to its rearmost position it completely occupies the space a rear passenger would put their legs. And on that note, there’s not much leg room when you slide the front seats back to the front of the car. Moving further back and you will find that the boot is surprisingly large, but the extra high boot lip means hoisting heavy luggage up to your armpits to hurdle the lip.
The new Veloster is a good update on the old, but I still wonder why there are enough people around to buy such an odd sports hatchback.