Hyundai the Highlight of Detroit, Adopts “Kick Butt” Attitude

2012 Hyundai Veloster

2012 Hyundai Veloster

If Volkswagen is the disappointment of Detroit with its thoroughly bland redesign of the Passat (now pronounced with a silent “t” and long “a”), Hyundai and its innovative Veloster are the Motor City’s highlights.

Last Friday I expressed some dismay over a Veloster teaser pic that showed an extra third door on the coupe, but now that the full production version has been revealed, I can safely say that it works. In fact, not only does it work, it should kick butt against anything it competes with.

With the Veloster, Hyundia’s announcement of a five-door Accent and Kia’s KV7 van concept, the Koreans have got it going on!

The Veloster’s power will come from a 1.6-liter, 138-hp engine and an available six-speed dual-clutch gearbox. A proper and spirited six-speed manual will come standard, and Hyundai thinks that will be good enough for about 40 miles per gallon on the freeway. What I love about this car is it thoroughly beats the Honda CR-Z in design and horsepower (138 to 122), it weighs less (2,584 pounds vs. 2,670), and it offers more utility thanks to that third door and rear seats. Best of all, it’ll compete on fuel economy without being a hybrid. Sweet.

If the Veloster’s price comes in around $17K-$20K, competition will be the CR-Z, MINI Cooper and Scion tC. Should be no contest.

In other Hyundai news, a Jalopnik reader had the chance to ask Hyundai U.S. CEO John Krafcik if his company plans to bring over a five-door Accent hatchback. Krafcik not only said yes, he engaged in some of that CEO trash-talk I like so much by proclaiming that a five-door Accent hatch “will kick the Fiesta‘s butt.”

While that’s certainly a tall order, I won’t put it past Hyundai to deliver on the promise.

Kia KV7 conceptThe Koreans’ other homerun is a concept that isn’t likely to ever see production. The KV7 van is, sorry Dodge, all “man van.” Inside are swivel chairs for all occupants, with the rear set up like a trendy downtown martini lounge. A table-top computer offers full wireless internet capability. Put all that inside some gift-box-shaped sheet metal powered by a 285-hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine and the end result is a van I hope, someday, becomes the next Sedona.

Will the Hyundai Veloster succeed in the United States?

-tgriffith

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6 Comments

  1. I agree with Randy. This is kickass!

    I hear the Hyundai i40 is heading for Europe with this to follow. Finally some competition for Ford. Hyundai are teasing their way into the European D-segment market under the radar. This looks pretty cool and I can see it giving the Mondeo a run for its money especially if it is priced right. Recently stumble on this youtube video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zwqKy07OhXI) about the reveal. Apparently, users can connect through Facebook to directly participate in the live light reveal. You can create your own personal light reveal via a live video feed. The official site for the launch is http://www.hyundai-i40.eu/
    Really looking forward to seeing this at the Geneva Motor Show.By the way great site. Very informative

  2. @ randy
    Heck yes the Veloster is better looking than the Passat. Maybe if VW were to offer an AWD turbodiesel wagon version it would get my attention, but another mediocre sedan design won’t capture many hearts.

  3. Do you really think it looks better than the Passat? The front end doesn’t “flow” and looks like a disguised Audi. If anything, the Passat’s body looks like it creates a lot of interior space, while Hyundai’s swoopy designs seem to dominate at the expense of good interiors, good vision and headroom. In other words, the kiddies will like it (they always like appearance over function and safety) but I think it will fall flat with anything but the smallest Americans. You seem to equate stodgyness with cars like the Malibu, yet that is one of the best sellers in North America. Obviously that should tell you something about customers, who are more interested in what the car looks like from inside, where they spend most of their driving time. The Korean kiddie car companies like Kia like to sell “hip” over form and function. The “hip” hamster commercials are cute but I’d rather be the smart kitty that eats the hip hamsters.

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