Hyundai Veloster 1.6GDi Blue Drive

Four doors good, three doors better?

Price: from £17,995 (£18,345 as tested)
Engine capacity: 1.6l petrol
Top speed (mph): 125
0-62 mph (seconds): 19.7
Fuel economy (mpg): 43.5
CO2 emissions (g/km): 137

Is Hyundai's sporty new coupe's three-door (one driver's side; two passenger's side, plus boot) setup: A) a clever way of retaining the Veloster's looks from one side? B) A good method of maximising space and utility? or C) a clever marketing gimmick that offers potential for lots of "see two sides to the story" adverts? (The actual ad offers "One Car. Two sides".)

The answer, predictably, is a little bit of all three. The idea – of course – is that it looks better as you approach on the driver's side, but you could make a point of parallel parking the Veloster facing in the same direction every day to trick other people into only seeing its good side. But then – a bit like Mariah Carey's one-time insistence on only being photographed from her right side – you'd look a bit mad.

After a couple of days in the Veloster's company it's quite easy to forget all about its incongruous door arrangement. But my ride didn't have five passengers, so whether that'd be the case if there had been a person sitting behind the driver and clambering over two pairs of knees to alight is another matter.

But gimmick notwithstanding – and I liked everything about the concept except the single rear door's feeble handle – it shouldn't distract from another decent new car from the South Korean manufacturer. The Veloster's 1.6l, 138bhp engine offers ample power, but given its small size it doesn't jump from a standstill in perhaps the way it should. It's efficient, though; my 600-mile test drive returned under the listed 43.5mpg.

There are also decent as-standard extras, like a parking sensor, a solid touch-screen media system (though no built-in sat nav as standard) and Hyundai's useful, if sometimes annoying, eco-drive indicator that tells the most efficient point to change gear.

There's one other thing. At less than £20,000, but with a sporty look that's punctuated by racing seats stitched with the Veloster's logo and a chubby exhaust around the back, it's a car that one can easily imagine will be adopted by a certain tribe of torque-loving young men.

As if to prove that, at one point during my test drive a Seat Ibiza turned up alongside me at a red light, the driver wound down its window, turned its music up and revved aggressively before speeding off, pulling in front of me and slamming on the brakes. Which was nice.

But if speeding around retail car parks after 10pm isn't your kind of thing, the Veloster still boasts enough of the sensible to make it a decent family car. Or, at the very least, a weekend dad's car. Despite its lack of height, the Veloster uses its space efficiently – its low-to-ground chassis means a cabin and back seats that are just tall enough and, feeling like it's as wide as it is long, there's ample room in the back and in the boot for luggage.

The Veloster's door schtick and sporty curves may seem risky at first but, as a drive, it's actually fairly conventional. Whether that turns you on or puts you off might depend on which side of your personality is in charge.

The competition

The similar-looking Vauxhall Astra GTC has been praised for its performance and handling. It comes in at a similar price. The VW Scirocco Coupe costs a little more, but offers its driver a bit more nip in its 1.4l turbocharged engine. Neither have a rear passenger door, though. The new Hyundai i30 offers more space at a similar price.

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Photographer / Floorplanner / Domestic Energy Assessor

    £16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Photographer/ Floor planner /...

    Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Surrey - £40,000

    £30000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Guildford/Craw...

    Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Assistant

    £13500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Assistant is...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £35,000

    £16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious and motivated Sale...

    Day In a Page

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

    Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
    Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

    Aviation history is littered with grand failures

    But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

    Fortress Europe?

    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
    Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

    Never mind what you're wearing

    It's what you're reclining on that matters
    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence