What is it about the Veloster that’s missing? All week I’ve been trying to put my finger on it. Maybe the lack of power, the okay steering, or the trim materials that are way behind an Audi TT perhaps?
It’s hard to find a major fault with this Hyundai but there are a lot of niggling issues which, when added together, make this feel like a car that falls just short.
And that’s a shame because the edgy styling, both inside and out, suggest the Veloster is going to be a lot better than it actually is. I really wanted it to be a great car but it needs some work to compete with key rivals in the coupe sector.
People just love to stare at the Veloster and you can understand why. However, it’s only when you live with it for a week that the realities of ownership appear.
I wanted to love the Hyundai – it deserves to be loved – but it’s a car that needs some fine tuning to find a place in my heart.
The big front grille on the Veloster Turbo suggests this is a happy coupe – it’s certainly a cut above the normally aspirated versions further down the range, which only have 138bhp to play with. The Turbo’s 184bhp gives it a decent turn of speed, although in the US the same engine has been tweaked to 204bhp!
What a shame that American model isn’t available here. The Hyundai feels like it could handle a lot more performance. It would help give the Veloster the edge over key rivals like the VW Scirocco and Astra GTC.
Our Turbo pulls well from low revs and is pretty smooth too. You have to work the six-speed gearbox on twisty A-roads but it will reward you with decent handling – if only the flat sounding exhaust pipes added a more exciting soundtrack!
And despite the Star wars looks, the Veloster lacks features many of us are becoming used to, like stop-start technology and an electronic handbrake. Although, that might tempt some people to consider it more seriously…
I can’t help feeling that with a little more refinement the Veloster would be a very good car indeed. It’s one of those vehicles that does everything ‘almost’ extremely well.
Having clocked up 400 miles this week, my latest gripe is the driver’s seat. While the interior is deceptively roomy and looks refreshingly different, my back has been complaining since yesterday.
The seat feels hard and combined with the Turbo’s rather harsh suspension, it’s a relief to get out and staighten up.
The four-cycliner petrol engine also needs plenty of coaxing to get it off the mark. There is consequently a tendancy to over rev and cause embarrassing wheelspin.
The Hyundai does feel well balanced on a fast corner, even though the steering lacks some feel for the driver. And that rear, mid screen spoiler means visibility is a disaster when you are reversing, or changing lanes on the motorway.
Almost very good but not quite there yet…
The Veloster doesn’t quite live up to it’s promising looks. While the interior is refreshingly different, there’s enough space to carry four adults and it really does turn heads, the 186bhp 1.6 turbo lacks the punch a funky coupe like this needs.
It’s zippy enough around town (0-60mph in 8.4 seconds) but get it on a motorway and the Hyundai feels like it is straining. Not only that but the fuel consumption drops away dramatically to around 33mpg. Not quite what I expected, if I’m honest.
There’s also an issue with the suspension in this Turbo model. It’s been beefed up compared to the standard car, which is great for cornering but firm otherwise – especially if you are carrying a full complement of passengers.
And unlike an Audi TT or an Astra GTC, the Veloster somehow doesn’t sit comfortably on the road at high speed. It’s more susceptible to cross winds and fidgets.
Still, at this price, the Hyundai does represent great value for money. And unlike an Audi TT or Astra GTC, you are driving something just that little bit different…
‘Big storm coming…’ The woman in the newsagents wasn’t wrong. The coast of Cornwall has been battered by winds all day. It’s gusting so badly down here that the alarm on the Veloster went off twice this morning.
The drive down last night was a rain-lashed affair. Four up in a coupe is never a pleasant prospect but the Hyundai behaves more like a saloon than a 2+2. And that single rear side door comes in really hand for adults getting into the back. No fighting with front seat mechanisms.
Plenty of head room in the back too – although like the Audi TT, you have to be careful shutting the boot lid with the potential for heads getting in the way. Unlike the TT, the Veloster has plenty of rear leg room, mainly due to the deep seat base.
At night time, the large display screen on the dashboard is exceptionally bright and can be a distraction. It can be turned off easily enough but every time you adjust the heating, it comes back on again!
Fuel consumption was also a disappointment. At motorway speeds, the Hyundai is only averaging 33mpg. Shame because it was returning 42mpg in slow moving traffic on A-roads the day before.
You might think that testing a different vehicle every week means we always have the right car for every occasion. You might think that but you would be very wrong!
Today we are taking the Veloster down to Cornwall. Four adults in a coupe – one passenger in the back is 6ft 3ins tall. There’s also a whopping storm coming and the last 800 yards are down a heavily rutted, often washed away track.
I like an adventure and still feel the Hyundai will be man enough for the job. It may look like a designer handbag on wheels but so far, it has proved immensely capable.
That single rear door is obviously going to be an asset too. I completely forgot about it when I tried out the back seats yesterday – you just don’t expect an extra door in a coupe.
And our two backseat passengers are both in their early twenties – just the sort of youthful audience Hyundai is hoping to capture with the Veloster. They will be trapped in the back for four hours, so plenty on their views of the car tomorrow…
I’ll admit it. I’m probably too old buy a Veloster. But that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate what Hyundai is trying to do here. Remember the Hyundai Coupe? It was legendary for being a cut-price 2+2 that looked just that little bit different to everything else that was on the market.
The Veloster is cut from the same cloth – although this top spec Turbo version is a little pricey at £22,000. It therefore comes up against other great coupes, like the VW Scirocco and Renault Megane.
That said, it out poses both for looks. You will see other drivers scratching their heads trying to work out exactly what has just overtaken them. And overtake them you will because the Turbo’s strong engine is surprisingly quick too.
It has a little trick up its sleeve too, two-doors up front and one at the rear, just like the Mini Clubman. The only difference is that Hyundai got it right – they put the rear door on the pavement side.
The Veloster is one of those cars that is going to take some getting used too. There’s lots to discover, especially around the space age dashboard. Cool, funky and rather in your face. The Veloster promises to be a fun drive for the next seven days.
The X1 has just been collected and it turned out to be a lot better than I had expected. I say that because I couldn’t see the point of a premium brand mini SUV – especially one without four-wheel drive like our test car.
Solid, classy, refined – but then you wouldn’t expect anything else from a BMW, would you? The X1 is another chip off the BMW block, although some of the plastics inside the cabin are a little below par for the German brand.
The X1 drives more like a hatchback than a sports utility vehicle, which will appeal to buyers who don’t want a high-seat position and ponderous body roll on cornering.
It’s very easy to live with and feels very safe too – no wonder it picked up a five-star NCAP rating. All X1s have six airbags, stability control and Cornering Brake Control.
I’m now wondering if I would actually opt for the xDrive, four-wheel drive model. The sDrive rear-wheel driver series we drove has exceptional fuel economy and feels surefooted enough.
That said, if you want something to cope with a snowy lane in winter, opt for the xDrive. Our test car might look like an off-roader but the sDrive is exactly the opposite! Choose your model carefully…
If I’ve inherited one trait from my father it is a lack of tolerance for anything in a car that squeaks or rattles. I lost count of how many times we had to stop his Hillman Husky while Dad pushed and pressed various dashboard parts, searching for the source of a rattle.
Over the years I have found Renaults to be among the worst for this, closely followed by Nissan. Which is why after owning four BMWs, I was a little surprised our X1 test car suddenly developed a gentle squeak in the centre console today.
You want to ignore it but it’s just a scratch you have to itch. On a serious note, it’s probably rather dangerous too. The car has only covered 1300 miles from new and costing almost £30k, you’d probably be heading straight back to the BMW dealership you bought it from.
The X1 is otherwise becoming more impressive by the day. I’m averaging 53.1mpg on long distance runs and that’s without the help of an eco button on the dashboard – which I only spotted because of the squeak! That adjusts all engine settings, even the air conditioning, to maximise economy. Much more fun trying to up the mpg yourself though….
Last week I heard from an old friend who I knew as a teenager in Ross-on-Wye. He used to service my father’s Citroen CX – a car so complex under the bonnet that not even Haynes sold a user manual!
The CX has a spinning ball speedometer, self-centering steering and was, quite frankly, bonkers. My friend was brave enough to risk tinkering with crazy French engineering.
I just wonder what he would make of the X1 engine. Like every modern car, it’s so complex that filling the water bottle is about as far as most people go these days. Besides, it makes a mess of your warranty.
The 1.6 diesel in our X1 is a lot more lively than I thought it was going to be, at 11.5 seconds to 60mph. I’d probably opt for the 2.0d if I was buying an X1 but the 1.8 would be a good compromise.
We are currently averaging 43mpg, rather less than the 57.6mpg that BMW claim. However, I’m expecting over 550mpg from this tank of diesel, which is excellent. BMW claim 772 miles, which would be quite remarkable.