2014 Hyundai Veloster

With a unique, vaguely alien-like look highlighted by an asymmetrical door layout, the Hyundai Veloster is unlike anything else on the market. While it isn't quite as sporty as its styling suggests, the Veloster does offers the high level of standard equipment and solid value for which Hyundai has become known.

Hyundai also offers the Veloster in 201-horsepower Turbo form.

Recent Changes
For the latest model year, the Veloster benefits from a healthy dose of new standard equipment, including a rearview camera, driver's blind spot mirror, daytime running lights and Hyundai's Assurance Connected Care service.

Overview
In an era where most cars look like stale photocopies of one another, the Veloster stands out as something truly unique. Sculpted flanks, flared fenders and an aggressive fascia contribute to the Veloster's look, but what really sets it apart is an unusual asymmetrical door configuration.

On the driver's side is a single, elongated coupe door, but the passenger's side features two smaller doors that not only provide a unique appearance, but add an extra measure of practicality, furnishing rear occupants with safe and convenient curbside ingress/egress. Unlike other variations on the three-door theme, the Veloster's rear passenger door is front-hinged and capable of being opened independently from the front portal.

Once inside, passengers will find an attractive, modern dashboard and plenty of standard tech features, including Bluetooth connectivity with Pandora radio capability, a rearview camera and Hyundai's Blue Link telematics system. Blue Link can be spec'd to provide voice text messaging, point-of-interest web search and download, and remote vehicle unlocking in addition to traffic, weather, restaurant and nearby gas station information. It also features Assurance Connected Care, which includes automatic collision notification and assistance, maintenance reminders, an SOS emergency function and more.

As the Veloster is a compact vehicle, it comes as little surprise that the back seat isn't sized for long road trips, but the car's useful hatchback bodystyle affords a useful 15.5 cubic feet of cargo space.

Power, Handling and Fuel Economy
The Veloster is powered by a 1.6-liter direct-injected gasoline four-cylinder that cranks out 138 horsepower at 6,300 rpm and 123 lb-ft. of torque at 4,850 rpm. Buyers can choose between a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed dual clutch automatic.

While acceleration isn't breathtaking (the 201-horsepower Veloster Turbo fares better in that department), the Veloster does provide strong fuel economy. Mileage is rated at 27/37 city/highway mpg with the stick and 28/37 mpg with the dual clutch unit.

Despite its sporty looks, the Veloster is actually based on Hyundai's Accent economy car, meaning handling is safe and predictable but not overly engaging.

Standard and Optional Features
The Veloster is fitted as standard with power windows and locks, A/C, an AM/FM/CD/SiriusXM stereo system with USB and AUX input jacks, Bluetooth Connectivity, Pandora internet radio capability, cruise control, keyless entry, heated mirrors, LED running lights, a rearview camera, Blue Link and 17-inch alloy wheels.

An optional Style Package includes a panoramic sunroof, an eight-speaker Dimension premium audio system, cloth/leatherette upholstery, foglights, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, alloy-trimmed pedals, a driver auto-up window, chrome and black exterior trim, and 18-inch alloy wheels.

Adding further content is the Tech Package. Available only in conjunction with the Style Package, it adds a navigation system, automatic headlights, rear parking sensors, a proximity key, a 115-volt household power outlet and unique 18-inch wheels with painted inserts.

Veloster RE:FLEX
The Hyundai Veloster RE:FLEX Edition is a style and audio package limited to 3,000 units.

The RE:FLEX offers a host of cosmetic improvements over the standard model. Most visibly are a set of unique 10-spoke 18-inch alloy wheels finished in PVD for a chrome-like surface, complemented by chrome hood accents and door handles.

Inside the cabin, leather seating is offered in a choice of black or red, the latter of which is not available on standard Velosters. Premium options such as a 450-watt Dimension 8-speaker sound system and fog lights come standard on the RE:FLEX. Piano black accents, illuminated door sills, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob are part of the package as well, as is a the obligatory RE:FLEX badging throughout.

A new color, Ice Pearl, is exclusive to the RE:FLEX, but Century White, Vitamin C orange, Ultra Black and Boston Red from the standard palette are available as well.

Occupant Safety
All Velosters are equipped with dual front, front side and full-length side curtain airbags in addition to traction and stability control systems and a tire-pressure monitoring system. The standard Assurance Connected Care system provides automatic collision notification, an SOS emergency function and more.

Key Competitors
Surprisingly thought it may be, the Veloster is the only asymmetrical three-door hatchback on the market. For those willing to consider alternatives, similarly practical, efficient and stylish small cars include the MINI Hardtop, the Fiat 500, the Scion tC and the Honda CR-Z.