When Hyundai debuted the Veloster at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show, there were more than a few journos on the show floor that were scratching their heads a bit. I have to admit that I was among them. While the little runner was certainly cool looking to my eyes, the third door was a little gimmicky and the back seat it allowed access to offered headroom for a 10 year old and not much more. With only 138 ponies under the hood, the Veloster wasn’t even remotely about performance either.
To be fair, auto manufacturers were locked in a battle to outdo each other in the fuel economy wars at the time. Hyundai promised to be the first manufacturer to offer a full line of 30 mpg plus machines, while the high mileage variants from their competitors required consumers to spend extra money up front. The Veloster was positioned as a fun and funky car for around town, not a performance car. Then, at Chicago, they confused the message by showing off the purpose built racer that Rhys Millen would campaign in the US Rallycross series.