A “Hot Hatch” is only pertinent if the price is right. Hyundai decided to enter the hatchback market in 2012 with the Veloster. A fast name and a sleek design made it an instant hit. Although it only has 3 doors, it is perfect for college kids. At least that was the initial target audience. But much like Toyota found out with the Scion brand, baby-boomers flocked to the “neat design”.
Our parents have been given boring boxes since the ’70s, so something this wild grabs their attention. Once they realize it is under $22,000, the deal is sealed. Many brands have moved upmarket to the point that an Escalade and a Maserati can have the same payments. Not at Hyundai. They offer a fun & safe six-speed car with a great warranty for a nice value. Is it fast? No, cars in this category are aimed at mileage, and the manual is rated a 33 mpg on the highway (25 mpg city). It is front-wheel drive, but the multi-link suspension is spot-on
Inside, the controls are symmetrical and pleasing. The 201 horsepower 1.6L engine only has 195 lb-ft of torque, so you better like shifting. Two large cup holders south of the shifter are hard to use while driving. But the visibility and pedal placement are perfect. Wind noise and road noise are worse than a Corvair, so get a case of undercoating and spend the weekend filling in the seams. It takes quick shifting to reach 60 mph in under 8-seconds so your driving habits will need adjustment if you are coming from a powerful car.
Even though the shifter is cable-operated, it inspires confidence and reliability. The clutch is easy, but a hydraulic restrictor keeps you from a side-step launch. After a week of cruising and carving the corners, there is only one thing we disagree on. I would put winter tires on the back for more rotation in the corners, and swap the sway bar bushings for polyurethane. You won’t be disappointed here, so click the link below to experience one for yourself.