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.
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.
The 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?