Chief among the announcements made by top Hyundai executives was the 2012 Hyundai Veloster today started shipping to dealers around the country. The general public will be able to start buying the car at Hyundai dealers beginning next week.
Another surprising announcement from Hyundai is the 2012 Veloster is going to have an asterisk. Hyundai has announced previously the Veloster is one of its four vehicles that gets 40 mpg. A big part of its bragging has been its cars that get 40 mpg need no asterisk for explanations that only specialized vehicles get the 40 mpg mark (which drives Ford crazy because its Fiesta hits 40 mpg but only with special equipment).
The Veloster needs an asterisk next to its identification as a 40-mpg vehicle because only the six-speed manual transmission gets the high mileage (with an around town rating of 28 mpg). The six-speed automatic transmission is rated at 38 mpg highway and 29-mpg city. Hyundai officials tried to talk around that fact that pointing out both transmissions get the same combined mileage. Even so, it’s surprising to see the company being less than transparent on this issue.
When measured at horsepower per liter, the 2012 Hyundai Veloster delivers some impressive power ratings of 86.3 horsepower per liter. The Veloster is powered by a new 1.6-liter direct-injected four-cylinder engine mated to Hyundai’s first EcoShift dual-clutch transmission.
Technology is a key component of the Veloster’s development, which is why Hyundai noise, vibration, harshness (NVH) engineers have worked at reducing high frequency road noise in the interior. High frequency noise interferes with voice commands, a key component of new technology found in the Veloster.
Driving impressions of the Hyundai Veloster 2012 are embargoed until Sept. 19 at 12:01 a.m. Come back to TorqueNews.com on Sept. 19th for more info about the coupe, which Hyundai is calling a “reverse halo” car for its lineup. Customers will be attracted to the coupe, the thinking goes, and then buy other Hyundai products as they move their way up the line.
The 2012 Veloster is going to be Hyundai’s second model with Blue Link, the Korean manufacturer’s answer to OnStar. Pricing is going to start at $79 for the basic service up to $279 for the complete package that can do things like send voice-composed texts, find your Veloster when it’s stolen and even stop the car.
One fascinating feature of Blue Link is its ability to find restaurants using voice recognition. In June, Barry Ratzliff, the man heading up the project for Hyundai, took me on a tour of Blue Link while driving near Boston, Mass. He asked me to pick a type of restaurant. He was probably expecting something easy like Italian. Nope, I said, “Ethiopian” and the system found us a restaurant in Cambridge.
Hyundai officials sound confident about the success of the Veloster because a recent study shows that 36 percent of Americans will now consider a Hyundai for their next new car purchase. That puts the company just 6 percent behind Nissan. As CEO John Krafcik pointed out, with about a 6 percent share of the retail market, “We’ve got this really big reservoir for future sales growth.”
Veloster is the sixth vehicle in Hyundai’s 24/7 version 2.0 product initiative (seven new models in 24 months), on the heels of the all-new Tucson, Sonata, Equus, Elantra and the all-new Accent. The Equus is Hyundai’s true halo car because it’s offered at the top of the lineup.