First unveiled last year at the Seoul Motor Show, the Veloster Concept will be the replacement coupe in Europe of the Hyundai Tiburon. A decison on whether to bring the Veloster to the U.S. will largely depend on whether the upcoming Genesis Coupe is a success with the small, but loyal group of Tiburon owners and potential buyers. If it is, the odds that Hyundai would be able to justify selling two coupes in America isn’t good.
The Veloster name, a combination of velocity and roadster, has a panoramic glass roof and other styling features that Hyundai hopes will project a high-tech image in order to lure potential Gen-Y buyers on to the lot. Smaller than the current coupe from Hyundai, the grille opening looks a bit like the Mitsubishi Lancer/Evo X. The roof is mostly glass, with a metal, bodywork-colored panel running through the middle. The triangular, shoulder-mounted taillamps and single, center exhaust outlet add some flair to the car’s rear end. If you are a fan of the design, and most will have strongly positive or negative views either way, chances are it probably won’t make it’s way to production as it looks in the concept.Veloster InteriorInside, an either retro or modern interior, depending on how you look at it, incorporates features such as an iPod dock in the center console and an Engine Start button on the top of the shift knob. To me the seating looks like something Dr. Evil might have spun around in before saying something snarky to Austin Powers, but again, the actual production model most definitely will not be this flamboyant. Power comes from a 2.0L four-cylinder that drives the front wheels with a 5-speed manual.
According to Hyundai’s Vice President of design, Oh Suk-Geun, “With Veloster, we wanted to try something really different. We’re keenly aware that we need radically new products for the Y-generation, the first-time buyer in their twenties. This is really a bold new direction.” It certainly is. And for a company that has already overcome preconceived notions of poor build quality, the next logical step is to establish a clear identity in the rather crowded field of Asian automakers.