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2012 Hyundai Veloster Pros and Cons at TrueDelta: An excellent car for the everyday, and fun to drive as well. by TXR

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Introduction

I've had this car for over two years and have a very good understanding of not only the mechanics but the technological functionality of the Veloster. All things considered, Hyundai has done a great job at introducing a well-rounded car with a large amount of features at a great price.

Reviewed: 2012 Hyundai Veloster

3dr Hatch 138-horsepower 1.6L I4 6-speed manual FWD

Why the 2012 Hyundai Veloster?

Exterior styling

Everywhere this car goes (from day one) it gets looks. People young and old are instantly caught by the dramatic styling, and I remember getting lots of questions when it was brand new. I had one of the first in my province so people had never seen them before - one person even asked if it was an Audi. The lines are aggressive and bold from almost all angles. I'm not a fan of some of the rear angles, but Hyundai has done a great job with the wheels, the fenders, and the 3-door style allowing for longer and smoother panels than a sedan. The styling is one of the many parts that drew me to the Veloster.

Audio & nav systems

Coming with a standard 7" touch screen, this car is already set apart from the crowd. Add in a very well designed set of software from LG for the head unit and this is a killer for all techie types. On the upgraded Tech model (there are only 'Base' and 'Tech' in Canada) the driver is presented with a very nice navigation system on top of XM Radio, Bluetooth audio, iPod integration and even an eco-driving game. I've been thoroughly impressed with the unit, but it has started to have some 'hiccups' in the past few weeks. For example, when the car is cold started, sometimes the screen will remain blank for up to a minute. Other times if it's started while in reverse (Manual Transmission) the screen will stay on the backup camera for a minute even when driving forwards. It always ends up working perfectly after warming up, but these things didn't happen when the car was new. The navigation system is very detailed and very reliable, providing great options and excellent menu systems for entering destinations, overlaying Points of Interest, etc. The integrated voice commands allow you to do everything from conducting POI searches (The nearest gas station for example) to tuning a specific preset on the XM radio. Very impressive.

Insurance cost

Insurance is not amazing on the car, but it is lower than my previous vehicle. Depreciation is almost non-existent. I recently saw an identical Veloster at the dealership (same year, same trim, similar kilometres) for only $4000 less than I paid over two years ago. This is, in my view, an excellent vehicle for holding its value.

Cargo capacity

While it looks small on the outside this car has swallowed an amazing amount of items over the years. Everything from a fully assembled TV stand to three people plus a bunch of luggage - it all fits. The fact that the hatch allows the whole car to 'open up' is one of the key reasons I chose this car. The interior can be reconfigured quickly and easily, with the back seats folding down easily and the luggage cover forming a great 'ramp' between the lower cargo area and the seat backs. The interior is wide and tall, and the hatch always seems to just clear with enough room when dealing with big items. Even at this point I'm still amazed at what this car can hold.

Powertrain performance

I went from a turbocharged Audi A4 to this car, so there was a noticeable drop in performance. However, the Audi was lucky to clear 400km on a tank ($80+) in city driving. The Veloster routinely gets 550km on a tank ($50) in city driving and even more on the highway. You can drive it hard and still get great mileage. I sometimes miss the performance of the A4 but I got rid of it (in part) because of the abysmal gas mileage - a complaint I don't have with this car. With gas pushing $1.50/L (~$5.67/Gallon) for regular and $1.65/L (~$6.24/Gallon) for premium I'm much happier driving a more fuel efficient car that doesn't need premium fuel. Merging on to the highway, the 6 speed really lets the engine stretch when you hold the gears. It's no sports car but it can get moving in a hurry. I read some reviews when it was new about quarter mile perfomance and all that - it's not relevant in daily life. Are you really going all out to race to a red light? 75% of the time people are in traffic and just want to comfortably accelerate. If you don't need white knuckle performance this car will reward you with much better gas mileage.

Why Not the 2012 Hyundai Veloster?

Tires

The tires Hyundai chose for this car had to be chosen for price. There are much better ones out there. They do pretty well in the hot weather, but as soon as the rain comes I need to drive much slower and be careful in the corners. They are also quite loud which is annoying on the highway. Their tread life is pretty good and they have done well with heavy driving, but I will be getting my preferred tires (Yoko Avid Envigor) once these wear out.

Materials & workmanship

This car has been in for a number of warranty concerns, including:

  1. Risk of smashes sunroof (tested but not affected)
  2. Risk of rear brake seizure (fixed)
  3. DRL issue where they turn off while driving (fixed)
  4. Tachometer needle sticking on cold start (cluster replaced at ~10000km)
  5. Peeling steering wheel (replaced). This issue seems to have affected dozens of people including those with Elantras. The replacement was exactly the same as the original so I just hope the first one was one from a bad batch.
I will give credit to Hyundai for taking care of all of the issues I've presented to them. There is one exception however, which deals with the passenger window. 50% of the time, it doesn't work. Neither the master switch or the door switch can make it move. However, whenever I take it to the dealership it works perfectly. Very frustrating. I have witnesses and video evidence that it doesn't work, but they need to personally verify it before doing anything. This has been ongoing for many months and is no closer to a resolution. All of that aside, the car has always been perfectly reliable. There has never been a single time where it hasn't started or has needed a tow (except when I got rear-ended but that's hardly the car's fault).

Safety & braking

This car is very safe (it protected me during a violent rear-end collision) and has an impressive number of safety features. I trust it with my family's safety so that says a lot for me. The braking is quite effective, but I do find that the brakes fade after a lot of use. I try to pulse brake to keep them from overheating, but I still notice on longer drives that they become more ineffective. I have to push harder on the pedal and leave more distance. I will not be replacing them with OEM pads for this reason.

Handling

With 18" wheels, low profile tires and sport suspension I expected this car to be great in the corners. It's not. When entering a sharp corner at speed it feels like the front is twisting - I can feel the inside wheel lifting up. Very unsettling and quite disappointing. To remedy this I installed a front sway bar (it installed very easily) and now it stays planted through the corners. Definitely a necessary investment in my view to fix what shouldn't be a problem in the first place.

Conclusion

With an included wireless key, touch-start, large sunroof, navigation, back-up camera and a plethora of other features this car was (and still is) a market disruption. I love seeing that even today it's nearly impossible to find a car that even matches this one for the same price point.

Hyundai has succssfully leveraged their horizontal and vertical integration as a company to produce a killer automobile at an astonishing price.

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