Hyundai Veloster Named
2012 International Sporty Coupe of the Year
- Most Personality -
by Road & Travel Magazine
Hyundai Veloster Road Test Review
by Martha Hindes
If you're an auto company with a name no one can pronounce correctly, is it any wonder you'd have a few quirks in product as well? We'll address the question directly to the Hyundai (like Sunday) Veloster, the Korean automaker's new, kinda kinky, definitely robust and offbeat little sporty coupe -- or something. The 2012 Hyundai Veloster fits those descriptives like a `T.
The designation fits this newcomer so well and has so many interesting facets, that it just won, hands down, the 2012 International Sporty Coupe of the Year -- the one code named "Most Personality." According to ICOTY founder and Road & Travel Magazine publisher Courtney Caldwell, the awards measure the emotional impact a new or substantially revised vehicle has on the psyche. Does it get in your face, grab your attention, demand to be noticed, intrigue you beyond curiosity? In the case of Most Personality touch points, the Hyundai can answer "Yes" times four.
Caldwell (seen below in photo) knows how such an emotional connection can win an unmatched sense of loyalty from consumers that few products can claim. "The ICOTY
Awards are not about power and performance,
but rather about personality, passion and personal lifestyle," said Caldwell.
Mike Martini, president, Consumer OE, Bridgestone Americas and ICOTY sponsor (r) shares a funny story with Hyundai CEO and president (c), and long time friend, John Krafcik, who was also a Veloster VIP acceptor.
Photo by Jeff Kowalsky Photography
Bridgestone, longtime lead sponsor and supporter of the ICOTY Awards, recognizes the consumer-product relationship as critical to vehicle success.
“Bridgestone is proud to support the ICOTY awards, and applauds the efforts of Hyundai that like our company demonstrates a strong commitment to innovative technology,” said Michael Martini, president, Consumer OE, Bridgestone Americas. “Through the combined efforts of everyone in the auto industry, and led by automakers like those being recognized in the 2012 International Car of the Year Awards, we will continue to meet and exceed the demands of the motoring public.”
Those of us who judged the 2012 Hyundai Veloster simply had a blast driving it, with its spunky personality and nimble handling. It tooled around town and the countryside catching attention from just about everyone who saw it. The kind of bile green, or screaming yellow, or got your attention red or the equivalent colors probably had something to do with that notice. So did overall design and purpose. The fact it has a facial "grin" that can be seen a football field away doesn't hurt either.
Trying to pinpoint where the motorcycle inspired Veloster fits is a puzzler, although it is aimed at Honda's CR-Z, Mini Clubman and coupe, and Scion tC. A coupe traditionally is synonymous with two-door, but Veloster breaks the mold with three. Or four if you consider the hatchback trunk lid a door. Since getting in and out of a coupe can sometimes be challenging for rear seat access, Veloster accommodates with its sneaky third door in front of the right flank with a door handle that's hidden at window height so it won't disrupt the visual line.
That's not totally new. GM's Saturn coupe wore a "suicide door" version on the driver's side a dozen years ago, and a few others have since. But the Veloster's is passenger side with the hinge at the front, like a traditional sedan, making it safer and more practical since it opens independently. (Being quirky doesn't limit the need for common sense.)
If tushes tell the tale, the Veloster has a heck of a story. While the overall exterior design line slopes down toward the rear, it's stopped by a perceivable hatch door window bump. With backsides in the news so much lately, this could be one of Veloster's most noticeable assets since it expands rear cargo space while making a statement.
|In addition to CEO and president, John Krafcik accepting the 2012 International Sporty Coupe of the Year Award for the Hyundai Veloster, were Mike O'Brien, VP of Corporate and Product Planning (l), and Steve Shannon, VP of Marketing (r), Hyundai Motor America. Caldwell (r) is ICOTY's founder.
Inside, the Veloster is simply loaded with geek friendly, space age looking tech that any respectable youth auto wouldn't dream of not having. The techno whiz requisite, Pandora, which provides internet radio, is standard and Gracenote display with voice recognition is there. So is Bluetooth, USB ports and RCA cable and other expected standard capabilities. (Want to play video games while parked? Go for it.) Hyundai's Blue Link telematics platform and seven inch touch screen display are standard.
Pricing, like design, is aimed at young budgets (unless one is a phone app millionaire), with the base just under $18K for a (believe it) manual trans and about a thousand more for six-speed auto with standard paddle shifters. (Best-in-the-business warranty is included.) Those bucks won't get an asphalt burner, however, since the 1.6-liter; 138-HP four is aimed more at mileage gains (28/40 or 29/38 respectively). But for a light-hearted statement, with lots of customizable attitude, look no further.
Road & Travel Magazine
2012 Hyundai Veloster - International Sporty Coupe of the Year
For more info on the Hyundai Veloster, click here.
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