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First drive: Hyundai vies for youth vote with Veloster

It's here: The Hyundai Veloster is now available in Australia from $23,990 - unorthodox door layout and all.

Cheeky new Veloster coupe arrives as Hyundai targets youth in incremental sales push


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13 Feb 2012

HYUNDAI’S first sporting model since the Tiburon is now available in Australia, where the burgeoning Korean brand expects to sell every example of the all-new Veloster coupe it can get its hands on.

Strong global demand will restrict Australian supplies of the Veloster to 200 per month for at least the first year of sales, meaning the four-seat two-plus-one-door small car will play a small but important role in Hyundai’s quest to attract more young buyers and set another all-time local sales record.

“We believe we could do more, but stock is going to be quite hard, especially in the first 12 months,” said Hyundai Motor Company Australia director of sales Damien Meredith.

Hyundai sold a record 87,000 vehicles in Australia last year, notching up 10 record months to finish fifth overall, just 1300 sales behind Mazda, and fourth ahead of Ford excluding commercials.

It hopes to increase that by 6000 to around of 93,000 in 2012, its first full year of sales without the top-selling Getz.

“We really want to be a consistent manufacturer,” said Mr Meredith. “Since our inception in 1986 it has been a little bit up and down, but in the last four to five years you’ve seen that sustained growth.

“We don’t expect to be growing the business 20 per cent or 30 per cent year-on-year. What we want to do over the next few years is to continue that growth in a sustained, orderly manner.”

Mr Meredith said he expects the Australian new vehicle industry to break the magic million mark again this year with 1,040,000 sales – up from 1,008,000 in 2011 – with Hyundai’s growth to come partly from additional models including the Veloster and i40 sedan.

“We’ve got some new models occurring which will help us along the pathway, but probably the most important thing is that our mix of sales has increased dramatically over the last couple of years.

“There’s no longer the reliance on one model that has occurred in the past and we’ll continue to work very hard on making sure there is a mix of sales for our dealers and customers.”

Hyundai Australia director of marketing Oliver Mann said the Veloster – and its turbocharged sibling confirmed for local release later this year – would be a key plank in Hyundai’s plan to draw a younger audience to the Korean brand.

“For Hyundai to consolidate its success, it’s important to connect with a new generation of buyers, both in Australia and right around the world. New Veloster is designed to attract younger customers to the Hyundai brand.

“Veloster is all about style, fun and practicality. It’s affordable to buy and economical to run. Later in the year, the Veloster Turbo will arrive and add a tasty performance dimension to the Veloster story.

“We think it will attract a broad demographic as well, both the young and the young at heart, but it is interesting that it’s the buyers under 30 who are really changing the world – everything from how we connect socially to how we buy cars. Young buyers are leading a social revolution.”

The unique 2+1-door body style – which has a drag co-efficient of 0.32Cd – features a single driver’s door on the right-hand side and two doors on the (kerb-side) left, unlike the conceptually similar Mini Clubman, which features an extra rear door on the right.

Hyundai last week announced a lower-than-expected sub-$24,000 pricetag for its “cool coupe meets smart hatch”.

Now in showrooms priced from $23,990 plus on-road costs, the Veloster is available in two specifications, with the flagship Veloster + priced $4000 higher at $27,990.

Both versions will be available with either six-speed manual or – in a first for Hyundai – dual-clutch automatic transmissions, with the automated gearbox featuring steering wheel paddle shifters and commanding a $2000 premium over manual models.

Both Velosters will initially be powered by Hyundai’s new Gamma 1.6-litre direct-injection GDI four-cylinder petrol engine, which generates the same 103kW at 6300rpm and 166Nm of torque at 4850rpm as the new Kia Rio light car, in which it debuted last year.

Hyundai Australia says its first ‘driver’s car’ since the demise of the Tiburon V6 about two years ago will return combined fuel consumption of just 6.4L/100km and CO2 emissions of 151g/km.

Both Veloster models feature a metallic-highlighted interior incorporating air vents that look like motorcycle exhausts, a floor console mirroring the seat of a bike and Australian-tuned suspension and (electric) steering.

Other standard features include six airbags, electronic stability control, traction control, anti-lock brakes, electronic brake-force distribution, brake assist, active front head restraints and a tyre pressure monitoring system, while hill-start assist control will be standard on DCT models.

The extensive standard equipment list also extends to 18-inch alloy wheels with 215/40 R18 tyres, automatic headlights, cruise control, trip computer, rear parking sensors, a slit/folding rear seat and a premium eight-speaker sound system with seven-inch colour touch-screen with AUX/USB input, Bluetooth and a rear-view camera.

The top-spec Veloster + adds body-coloured spoke inserts, LED daytime-running lamps and side repeater lamps, projector-beam headlights, keyless entry/starting, heated wing mirrors, a panoramic glass sunroof, part-leather seat trim, climate-control air-conditioning, power driver’s seat adjustment and blue-backlit ‘supervision cluster’ instrumentation.

Like other Hyundais, the front-wheel-drive Veloster – which has been awarded a maximum five-star crash rating from local safety body ANCAP – is covered by a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty and one-year premium roadside assist program.

Eight vibrant exterior paint colours are available and, in line with other Hyundai models, metallic/mica paint will be the only option, priced at $375.

Hyundai confirmed last November that the Veloster Turbo will join the naturally aspirated model on sale here.

Expected to be priced from under $35,000, the force-fed 150kW/264kW variant represents a more direct rival for compact coupes like Honda’s new CR-Z hybrid, Toyota’s upcoming 86 and its Subaru clone, the BRZ.

As well as adding LED headlights and a more aggressive bodykit, the force-fed Veloster is 30mm longer and 152mm wider than the standard model, which weighs just 1200kg, rides on the same 2650mm wheelbase as the Accent and Hyundai’s next-generation i30, and measures 4220mm long (making it shorter than Toyota’s upcoming 86 coupe), 1790mm wide and just 1399mm high.

The all-new FS-series Veloster will kick off another big year of new-model launches for Hyundai, which will release the all-new i40 sedan around May, the redesigned i30 hatch around June and – in the second half – its Santa Fe replacement, which will emerge as the ix45 at the New York show in April.

Hyundai Velosterpricing (before on-roads):
Veloster (a) $25,990
Veloster + $27,990
Veloster + (a) $29,990

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