Hyundai Veloster debuts at Detroit

Hyundai will be showing its intriguing Veloster at this month's Detroit Motor Show. Based on the Golf-sized i30, the new car is being described by its Korean makers as a “utility coupé”.

The Veloster's most striking feature is an asymmetric body shell with a single door on the driver's side and two doors on the other. The only other car on the market with a similar arrangement is the Mini Clubman but the Velostar's set-up is quite different in detail. In particular, Hyundai will produce two different bodies for left and right-hand drive versions; BMW drew criticism when it optimised the Clubman for LHD, leaving rear seat passengers to exit RHD cars into traffic, rather than on the pavement side of the car. Also, where the Clubman's single rear side door is a small, rear-hinged affair, the Hyundai's appears to be a conventional full-sized, forward-hinged item.

Left-hand drive Velostars will go on sale in North America and continental Europe in the spring, while RHD models are expected to be available in the UK in the autumn. Initially, the new car will be available with a 1.6-litre petrol engine in 140 horsepower and 208 horsepower (turbocharged) forms, and a DSG-style semi-automatic gearbox. Diesels may be offered later on. Hyundai thinks it will compete with the VW Scirocco and Renault Megane Coupé, although it will be cheaper than those cars if, as the company is hinting, the Veloster's UK prices start at about £16,000.

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