When I first began speaking with Hyundai about road testing their cars, I mentioned that my husband and I are always looking out for our next car in case his reliable 2004 Toyota Corolla needs to be replaced. It has almost 400,000kms on it so we’ve gotten some good use out of it. We need a smaller car and my husband commutes a lot so he wants something fun to drive. I typically have the kids in my car so they’d only be with him every now and then.
That’s when the 2013 Hyundai Veloster was suggested to me as an option. It’s definitely a design that commands a second look, but I wasn’t sure if I could handle a coupe. With two kids, I wasn’t fond of the idea that they’d have to crawl in behind the passenger seat to sit at the back. THEN I found out that the Veloster has a third door, hidden behind the passenger door!
Ok, I agreed to take the Veloster for a week.
Overall we really liked this 4-seater car. It’s a fun drive and our manual transmission definitely added to that. In my opinion, the Veloster isn’t quite an all-out sports car — that would be the Hyundai Genesis — but the turbocharged engine had a lot of pep and the design is funky, with its very own dual centre exhaust (in case you’re wondering, still only one exhaust pipe coming off the 4-cylinder). Our boys loved it!
I’m going to just put it out there that if you have an infant, most likely you aren’t using this car as your main vehicle. Given that the vehicle’s rear seat bottoms are inclined, you’ll definitely need to use pool noodles or towels to get the recline angle correct for a rear-facing child car seat. Also, you won't be able to have a front passenger since that seat would need to move up close to the dashboard to accommodate the rear-facing child seat.
Any child car seat you choose will need to be a narrower one since the vehicle seat bottoms also have side cushioning. Note that to install a forward-facing child seat, you will likely need to remove the headrest because it has a lip that comes in front of the vehicle’s seatback. Removing the headrest will allow you to install the forward-facing seat flush with the seatback.
Our kids’ booster seats went in no problem. Instead of a centre rear seat, there is a storage compartment and cup holders—perfect for our boys’ toys and drinks.
My absolute favourite feature of the Hyundai Veloster is the third door. This makes loading up passengers in the rear so much easier. Very practical! It also came in handy when I wanted to be lazy and throw my bag in quickly on the seat. What’s great about the third door is that the design makes it look seamless. In fact, many of our clients that saw the car at our shop thought this was a 2-door coupe!
I was told that the design of the Veloster resembles a motorcycle helmet — even the front pillars are black to mimic the one-piece visor on a helmet. The centre dash’s rounded ‘V’ definitely reminded me of a motorbike’s fuel tank. All the necessary controls were right there — temperature, fan, radio and navigation panel. The only thing I didn’t like was that the engine start button was also located in the middle. There’s something that I don't like about the ignition start button being within easy reach of the passenger. I mean, they couldn’t start the car from the passenger seat because the brake pedal (and clutch in my case) had to be depressed. But still, I like to have my own controls with me in my cockpit. Mine, mine, mine!
Lastly, I found ample storage compartments for my phone, lip balm, hand cream, transponder, coffee… you know, the essentials! We were spoiled with the Hyundai Santa Fe’s panoramic sunroof a few weeks prior to this test drive and I was super happy to see it again on the Veloster. I love getting sunlight in the car!
As an auto service technician and shop owner, I expect in the very least that our clients be able to do basic maintenance on their car. Things like checking and topping up fluids, jump starting the battery, changing light bulbs and wiper blades, changing the spare tire, etc. And I expect that the vehicle manufacturers will write owner’s manuals in a way that helps our clients. Despite the fact that the Hyundai Veloster’s engine compartment looked jam-packed, it was well laid out with the battery up top and fluid reservoirs clearly marked. The owner’s manual (yes, I read these things all the time!) was very detailed and written well too.
I was impressed that the Veloster had so much cargo space. The trunk was deep and could easily fit our groceries and bulky items; the rear hatch was lightweight and easy to open. When you fold the rear seats down, you can fit a bicycle in without removing the bike wheels!
We’ll definitely keep the Veloster in mind when it’s our turn to go car shopping. I wouldn’t recommend this car if you plan to use it as the primary way to transport really young kids. Since our kids were out of child seats (and into booster seats) it worked well with our family. Oh yeah, and my husband had fun commuting in it!
Starting price for the 2013 Hyundai Veloster is $19,699 CAD.