First Look: 2012 Hyundai Veloster

At 104.3 inches, the Veloster's wheelbase is longer than that of either the Mini Cooper Clubman or the Honda CR-Z. With an overall length of 166.1 inches, it's marginally longer than both of them, also, and it's nominally wider as well, at 70.5 inches. The Veloster makes do with a torsion-beam rear suspension, but Hyundai claims that the 24-mm front and 23-mm rear anti-roll bars go a long way toward increasing stiffness and controlling body roll. We shall see.

Like the designers of the Nissan Juke, another wacky new crossover targeted at people who aren't old enough to be President of the United States, Hyundai's stylists drew on motorcycles when they penned the Veloster's cabin. While the Juke's center console is supposed to evoke a motorcycle's fuel tank, the Veloster's console is inspired by a sport bike's seat. What is it with car designers and motorcycles these days, anyway? Do they all harbor secret ambitions to work for Ducati?

In the Veloster, unlike on a sport bike, you'll be able to listen to Pandora streaming internet radio and use Gracenote Media VOCS to issue voice commands for navigation and audio. VOCS is calibrated to take into account irregularly spelled artists' names and nicknames. Yes, that means that the Veloster will play Bruce Springsteen if you ask for "the Boss." Hyundai's version of OnStar, Blue Link, will send automatic crash notifications, make SOS calls, connect you with roadside assistance, issue turn-by-turn navigation instructions (although there is an optional touch-screen navigation system), and provide alarm and unlocking activation and notification. Just like Eco Coach, all of Blue Link's features are accessible and customizable at as well as via a toll-free number and a smart-phone app. Remote-start the Veloster on a cold and snowy morning via a few taps on an iPhone? Sounds good.

Hyundai has yet to announce pricing for the 2012 Veloster, but we'd bet its MSRP will be competitive with the Mini Cooper, Honda CR-Z, and Scion tC. With all the content Hyundai generally packs into its cars, the company's 10-year/100,000-mile warranty, and that extra door, the Veloster could be a big seller, especially if it drives decently. On that subject, how about a high-performance variant, Hyundai? You've got the Sonata's new turbocharged 2.0T engine....

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What is the point of this vehicle. Hyundai already has a great, but extensive line up. They have to many models that do not do enough to differenciate from one another.
The Veloster looks much better than either the CR-Z or the Scion tC. It's fuel economy makes the CR-Z hybrid powertrain pointless. All it needs is a little more oomph, as in the 2.0T engine from the Sonata Turbo. If Hyundai also dropped the hybrid engine from the Sonata Hybrid in this car, it would definitely kill the CR-Z and possibly do serious damage to the the new Lexus CT.

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