The Cure for the Common Car: Volkswagen Beetle, Mini Cooper Coupe, and Hyundai Veloster

A. J. Mueller

2012 Hyundai Veloster
BASE PRICE:
$18,060
PRICE AS TESTED: $23,310

POWERTRAIN
ENGINE:
16-valve DOHC I-4
DISPLACEMENT: 1.6 liters (97 cu in)
HORSEPOWER: 138 hp @ 6300 rpm
TORQUE: 123 lb-ft @ 4850 rpm
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed dual-clutch automatic
DRIVE: Front-wheel
EPA MILEAGE: 29/38 mpg

MEASUREMENTS
L x W x H:
166.1 x 70.5 x 55.1 in
WHEELBASE: 104.3 in
TRACK F/R: 61.3/61.8 in
WEIGHT: 2813 lb

Hyundai Veloster
STYLING: A-

Great shape, stance, and character stymied by a face only a Korean designer could love.
PERFORMANCE: B-
Impressive chassis and steering, but the powertrain is mediocre at best. At least it's efficient.
UTILITY: A
Three doors is only slightly less brilliant than four doors. Unexpectedly deep cargo hold.
VALUE: A
Options are exactly that. Loaded with enough standard equipment to satisfy most people.


2012 Mini Cooper S Coupe
BASE PRICE:
$25,300
PRICE AS TESTED: $33,400

POWERTRAIN
ENGINE:
16-valve DOHC turbo I-4
DISPLACEMENT: 1.6 liters (98 cu in)
HORSEPOWER: 181 hp @ 5500 rpm
TORQUE: 192 lb-ft @ 1750 rpm
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automatic
DRIVE: Front-wheel
EPA MILEAGE: 26/34 mpg

MEASUREMENTS
L x W x H:
147.0 x 66.3 x 54.5 in
WHEELBASE: 97.1 in
TRACK F/R: 57.4/57.8 in
WEIGHT: 2734 lb

Mini Cooper S Coupe
STYLING: B+

Predictable but successful. The Mini language and its sporty accents translate naturally to an edgier coupe.
PERFORMANCE: A-
One of the most fun front-wheel-drive cars you can buy, but all that agility requires a compromise in ride quality.
UTILITY: B-
As far as two-seaters go, the cargo hold is impressively cavernous. Rearward visibility is atrocious.
VALUE: C
You can't justify any Mini on a cost-for-features basis, and that's even more true with the Coupe's $1500 premium.


2012 Volkswagen Beetle
BASE PRICE:
$20,565
PRICE AS TESTED: $25,965

POWERTRAIN
ENGINE:
20-valve DOHC I-5
DISPLACEMENT: 2.5 liters (151 cu in)
HORSEPOWER: 170 hp @ 5700 rpm
TORQUE: 177 lb-ft @ 4250 rpm
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automatic
DRIVE: Front-wheel
EPA MILEAGE: 22/29 mpg

MEASUREMENTS
L x W x H:
168.4 x 71.2 x 58.5 in
WHEELBASE: 99.9 in
TRACK F/R: 62.2/60.9 in
WEIGHT: 2983 lb

Volkswagen Beetle
STYLING: A-

Sweet redemption for the bubble Beetle. This one has classic looks with modern presence.
PERFORMANCE: B
Not quite as dynamic as we had hoped, but a competent, comfortable Beetle with a good powertrain.
UTILITY: B
Spacious, airy cabin...until you try to climb into the back. Plenty of the room in the trunk.
VALUE: B
It has less content than the Golf and costs $1800 more. Otherwise, pricing seems reasonable.

3 of 3
tinlizzy50
OK, we've heard how these cars are with automatic transmissions. How about with manuals?? Do they offer then?? There are those of us who would never think of buying any of these without a clutch pedal!
TwoTires
I am surprised that this report didn't include the Nissan Juke SL??? The handling, appearance, and engine performance....not to mention price should have easily gained entrance. On looks alone it should have been included. With some slight mods the dyno is looking at 210HP. In real world pricing it's $7K less than a Mini with more dealers available and a much better ride....Not to mention it's quite to ride in, with the SL model coming in at $25K "Loaded".

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