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Driven: Hyundai boosts Veloster line-up

Doors plus: The oddly-configured Hyundai Veloster – with two doors on one side and one on the other – has been given a light mid-life makeover.

Sub-$30k turbo hatch puts Hyundai Veloster back into budget sportscar battle

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Hyundai logo20 May 2015

By TIM ROBSON

HYUNDAI has dropped a new warmed-over variant of its Veloster at a price point designed to put the four-door hatch/coupe back in the midst of the $30,000 sportscar battle.

Priced from $29,990, plus on-road costs, in manual guise before on-road costs, the entry level SR Turbo sits just $500 above the similarly equipped, naturally aspirated Veloster Plus.

The SR Turbo expands the range to four, which includes the base Veloster, Veloster Plus, the new SR Turbo and the range-topping SR Turbo Plus. Pricing for the naturally aspirated cars stays the same, but the SR Turbo Plus cops a $1000 uptick to cost $33,990 plus on-road costs.

The mid-life upgrade for Veloster comes after three years on sale, and sees the introduction of Hyundai’s in-house seven-speed dual-clutch transmission as a $2500 option for the turbocharged cars.

Hyundai Motor Corporation Australia (HMCA) chief operating officer John Elsworth told GoAuto at the launch in Sydney this week that the Veloster has been a solid performer for the Korean brand since its launch in early 2012.

“I think Veloster’s been fantastic for us,” he said. “It’s been on sale for three years, and it’s between us and the Toyota 86 for the number-one position.

“We’re really happy how the Veloster’s been going and how it’s held up over the last three years.”

The Veloster competes with other small sportscars from Toyota and Subaru (86/BRZ twins), Mazda’s MX-5 and Kia’s Pro_Ceed GT and Cerato Koup.

Holding the number-one spot with 29 per cent of the sub-$80,000 sportscar segment, the Veloster is marginally ahead of the 86 in the sales race in 2015, with 1158 sales against 1087.

In fact, the Veloster is defying the typical trend for sportscars to decline in sales as the years roll on, growing 4.1 per cent compared with the first four months of 2014. The 86, by way of comparison, is more than 32 per cent down over the same period.

“That (result) may change when the Mazda MX-5 is launched – it’s quite a unique car that seems to be well received,” said Mr Elsworth.

“Whether that impacts us or not I couldn’t honestly tell you we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.”

The Veloster is a strong performer for HCMA, but does not do as well in overseas markets, with GoAuto reporting in 2014 that the model’s future had yet to be decided.

The Series II upgrades are spread across all four variants, and incorporate even more suspension tuning tweaks to the MacPherson strut/torsion beam set up from HMCA’s inhouse team.

A change to wider – thus heavier – 225/40 R18 tyres prompted the team to swap the 24mm-diameter front swaybars for thinner items (21mm on the naturally aspirated cars and 22mm on the turbo versions), slightly increase the front spring rates on the turbo cars and fit new dampers at all four corners.

Hydraulic bump stops and a more sophisticated steering rack control module were also added to the Veloster’s chassis.

Externally, the only changes to the bodwork come in the form of a greyed-out grille surround and new-design alloy rims. The new SR Turbo introduces a matte blue paint scheme that’s unique to the SR Turbo, complemented by a blue-accented interior trim.

Inside the Veloster, new features include heated/vented front seats on the SR Turbo Plus as well as a new instrument cluster, colour-stitched steering wheels and coloured seatbelts for SR Turbo variants.

Mechanically, there has been no change to either the naturally aspirated 1.6-litre GDi petrol four-cylinder engine, nor the 1.6-litre GDi turbo motor.

The atmo engine is available with either a six-speed manual or six-speed dual-clutch transmission, and is good for 103kW at 6300rpm and 167Nm at 4850rpm, while returning a fuel economy figure of 6.4 litres per 100 kilometres.

The turbo engine can be backed by either a six-speed self-swapper, or by Hyundai’s latest iteration of its seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

Making 150kW at 6000rpm and 265Nm at 1750-4500rpm, the manual-equipped turbo Veloster returns 7.1L/100km, while the dual-clutch uses a little less at 6.9L/100km.

The Veloster’s base specification list is extensive and includes six airbags (including driver and front passenger, driver and front passenger side thorax and full-length curtains), LED daytime running lights, automatic headlights, a 7.0-inch LCD touchscreen with DivX, CD player and MP3 functionality, eight-speaker audio system with AUX/USB audio input with iPod compatibility and Bluetooth connectivity (hands-free phone and audio streaming).

A reversing camera (integrated into the touchscreen), side mirror-integrated LED side repeaters and a rear parking assist system are also included in the entry-level car.

Leather-appointed seats, a 7.0-inch satellite navigation system, sunroof , proximity Smart Key with push-button start , climate control air-conditioning, electric driver’s seat, and electric folding and heated exterior mirrors differentiate the Veloster Plus.

The new SR Turbo grade mimics the Plus’s specs, but misses out on satellite navigation and climate-control air. The range-topping SR Turbo Plus, meanwhile, takes the features list from the naturally aspirated Plus and adds vented/heated from seats as well a Hyundai’s three-mode Flex Steer system.

Hyundai Veloster pricing*
Veloster$24,490
Veloster (a)$26,990
Veloster Plus$29,490
Veloster Plus (a)$31,990
Veloster SR Turbo$29,990
Veloster SR Turbo (a)$32,490
Veloster SR Turbo Plus$33,990
Veloster SR Turbo Plus (a)$36,490
*Excludes on-road costs.

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