Without a doubt one of the more interesting new cars being launched this year is the 2012 Hyundai Veloster. It's a unique three-door coupe – not as in a hatchback — but as one with two doors on the passenger side and one bigger door on the driver's side.
Its looks are polarizing but since its competes in the small sporty segment against cars such as the , and VW Beetle styling is important.
Pricing is also important and the Hyundai Veloster easily undercuts its closest competitors with a starting price of $17,300 ( $760 freight) for the base model with a six-speed manual transmission. It costs $18,550 ( $760) with a six-speed EcoShift Dual Clutch automatic transmission (DCT).
Based off the platform, the Veloster tips the scales at 2,584 lbs, which is lighter than the Mini Cooper S, and over 400 pounds lighter than the Scion tC. The 1.6L GDI four-cylinder engine produces 138 horsepower, giving it the best specific output in its class, according to Hyundai. Estimated EPA fuel economy is 28 mpg City and 40 mpg Highway with a manual transmission and 29/38 with the DCT.
The Veloster is pretty well connected as it comes standard with a multi-function seven-inch touch-screen display, Blue Link telematics, Gracenote Technologies and Bluetooth hands-free phone system with voice recognition. Pandora internet radio capability is available.
Two optional packages are offered: The Style Package ($2,000) adds 18-inch alloy wheels with P215/40R18 tires, chrome grille surround with piano black highlights, front fog lights, panoramic sunroof, piano black interior accents, Dimension premium audio with eight speakers, external amp and subwoofer, leatherette bolster seats and door inserts, leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, alloy pedals and driver auto-up window.
If you want the Tech Package (also $2,000) it only comes with the Style Package. It includes unique 18-inch alloy wheels with painted inserts, backup warning sensors, navigation system with rearview camera, automatic headlights, proximity key entry with electronic push button start and a 115-volt outlet. Opt for these two packages, with DCT, and you arrive at a top-of-the-line Veloster sporting a retail sticker of $23,310, including shipping.
The 2012 Hyundai Veloster will hit dealer showrooms next month.