First Look: Hyundai Veloster C3 Roll Top Concept

Hyundai Veloster C3 Roll Top Concept

Hyundai's Veloster is fun no matter the trim level or model: buyers of the 138-hp Veloster or 201-hp Veloster Turbo know they're getting a funky, four-door hatchback with eye-popping looks. Hyundai's newest Veloster, the C3 Roll Top Concept, takes the so-called urban design of the Veloster to its logical conclusion by replacing the roof with a sliding convertible top and including all sorts of hipster-friendly design elements.

The C3 Roll Top Concept's biggest physical change is its eponymous Roll Top, a retractable top that replaces the Veloster's roof and glass-intensive rear hatch. The result is a swath of fabric that stretches from the windshield header all the way over the passengers and rear cargo area, much like the Fiat 500C. Unlike the 500C, the Veloster C3 Roll Top's hood can slide either fore or aft. Slide it forward and you can mount tall items in the tailgate-like rear cargo area; slide it back over the cargo area for a convertible-like open-top experience. Another plus? The C3 Roll Top's rear tailgate flips down, allowing it to carry elongated items.

This attention to the C3 Roll Top's cargo area was with good reason: the C3 Roll Top Concept, like so many other concepts, is aimed squarely at the city-dwelling extreme sports enthusiasts (read: young people) among us. When the car is in "recreation mode" (e.g. roof forward, rear seats and tailgate folded), a driver can secure things like skis, surfboards, or a bicycle. In true hipster fashion, Hyundai paired the C3 Roll Top with a fixed-gear bicycle strapped to the tailgate. Both the bike and the car have the same color scheme: black seats, white exterior paint, black front wheels, and rear wheels in an eye-searing shade of teal that would look at home on one of LMFAO's sunglasses. The aforementioned convertible top was made out of the same material that covers soft-sided tractor-trailers, emblazoned with a custom Veloster Roll Top logo.

The theme of unconventional building materials continues on the inside: Hyundai stripped out the typical carpeting on the cargo floor and worked with a company called Art of Board to install hand-cut tiles made from recycled skateboard decks. Hyundai says that the mosaic floor uses about 20 skateboards worth of tiles. The seats, on the other hand, are typical black leather with red contrast stitching, red bolsters, and red C3 logos.

If any of this isn't necessarily to your liking, don't worry: like the fixie bicycle featured in the photos, the Veloster C3 Roll Top also embraces the theme of customization. Hyundai says that there are plenty of exterior design mods -- like different color mirror caps, and more conservative colors of rear wheel -- that could be ordered or performed by the buyer at low cost.

Skateboards and bicycles aside, the Veloster C3 Roll Top has the same running gear and features as the Veloster we've come to know and admire. Unlike the Veloster Re:Mix concept-cum-production car, the C3 Roll Top is based on the Veloster Turbo, which means this extreme-sports-mobile sports a 201-hp, 1.6-liter turbocharged I-4 engine and a six-speed manual transmission. Hipsters who are also music enthusiasts will also enjoy the Veloster Turbo's eight-speaker, 450-watt Dimension audio system hooked up to a 7-inch touchscreen (featuring Pandora Internet Radio streaming and optional GPS navigation), with standard SiriusXM satellite radio and Bluetooth audio/AUX/USB connectivity.

Elsewhere around the car, the C3 Roll Top is typical Veloster Turbo fare: it features dual center-exit exhaust pipes with a sportier rear diffuser, LED running lights, and a large hexagonal front grille - which is painted matte black on the C3.

Will any of the C3 Roll Top's concept-car modifications make it to Hyundai dealers? Nobody really knows. But that convertible top apparatus does make us wonder if Hyundai will try to cannibalize Fiat 500C sales in the future with a production Veloster Roll Top. Is Hyundai gutsy enough to pull the trigger? Are audiences actually looking for a car like this? We'll have to wait and see.

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