The Hyundai Veloster is a new four-seater coupe that's designed to steal sales from the new Vauxhall Astra GTC and the VW Scirocco. This is our verdict after driving the Veloster on UK roads for the first time.
On top of its unusual looks, the Veloster offers something none of its rivals do a single rear door on the passenger side. This adds a handy dose of practicality and ensures the Hyundai's 'best' side is facing the driver as he or she approaches.
The Veloster certainly has its merits, then, and a starting price of less than 18k means it's cheaper than most its rivals.
What's it like to drive? Only one engine is available so far: a 138bhp 1.6-litre petrol, which on paper looks gutsy enough to endow the Veloster with decent performance.
A quick prod of the throttle tells you otherwise. The Veloster isn't turbocharged, so there's little in the way of low-down shove. Thrashing the engine doesn't really help, either, because even then 0-62mph takes almost 10 seconds.
Its so-so performance wouldn't be such an issue if the Veloster was fun to drive, but there's bad news on that front, too. Although body roll is kept in check under hard cornering, the numb steering means you're never really sure what the front wheels are up to.
The notchy gearshift also disappoints, and refinement is poor. A significant amount of road noise finds its way into the cabin at speed, while the engine becomes boomy when you work it hard.
To make matters worse the ride is fidgety at low speeds even if you opt for the smallest (17-inch) alloys that were fitted to our test car.
What's it like inside? Anyone over about 5ft 10in will want to steer well clear of Sport trim, because this brings a standard panoramic glass roof that eats into front headroom. Things are so bad that several of our testers found their heads wedged against the ceiling, even with the seat in its lowest setting.
Thankfully, front space isn't an issue in the standard model, and by choosing this cheaper version you still get all the must-haves, including alloys, climate control, Bluetooth and reversing sensors.
The Veloster's dashboard looks smart and is easy to use, and a seven-inch touch-screen provides a central hub for controlling the audio and Bluetooth systems. The cabin materials are mostly hard to the touch, but they don't feel cheap and flimsy.
Unsurprisingly, the single rear door means getting into the back isn't as tricky as it is in rivals, even though the aperture is narrow. However, you won't be comfortable back there for long unless you're a child, because of the limited rear headroom.
Should I buy one? The Veloster is outgunned by its rivals in most areas, then, and it isnt that much cheaper to buy.
For us, that makes it hard to recommend. But if youre seduced by those oddball looks and the backup of Hyundais five-year warranty, by all means go for a test drive.
Just be aware that an Astra GTC or a VW Scirocco is objectively a much better buy.
What Car? says
What do potential Veloster customers think of the car?
We asked three What Car? readers to test drive the new Hyundai Veloster for us and now you can find out what they thought of the new coupe by watching their Reader Test Team video below.
What Car? readers deliver their verdict on the latest cars heading to the showroom.