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Driven by the Love of the Drive
I Think I’m Turning…..Korean.
January 11, 2011Posted by on
I will flat-out admit it: I am quite attracted to the upcoming Hyundai Veloster. Hyundai is the new Honda, yeah I said it.
Now before you all think I’ve completely lost my mind, I’ll just say that I have no intention of actually buying the car. It’s just not sporty enough for me. But it is, what I feel, EXACTLY what the car market needs right now. A small, sporty, fun-oriented hatchback. It’s what the Honda CR-Z should have been.
Sure, not everyone will like the looks. But that’s what I do like about it. I like it when car companies have the cojones to actually think outside the box as far as design. It’s what Japans big two (Toyota and Honda) seem unwilling to do now days. And it’s what the Korean automotive dream-team-of-the-moment Hyundai/Kia seems to embrace. Not everyone will like their recent designs, but then not everyone will hate them either. And in the end it gets people talking. And when it’s me talking, I sort of like it. Sure the front end is too busy, and so is the rear end to be honest. But I love the greenhouse design, especially in side profile. Oh sure in that Korean way, they’ve ripped off the Japanese a bit (CRX/CR-Z anyone?). But, if it looks good why change it?
There is one thing however I don’t agree with here:
The decision to make this a 3 (or 4 if you count the hatch as a door, which you should) door hatch, by adding an extra door on the passenger side. I like my cars symmetrical thanks. BUT again, they’re taking risks, and I can respect that.
Now I am talking about all this based off of what Hyundai is feeding us. They’re billing it as the return of the cheap fun hot-hatch. They’re saying it’ll be fun to drive. Sure it only has 138hp, but it also only weighs, as near as makes no difference, 2600lbs. And to me that’s astonishing in this day where your average Civic is tipping the scales close to 3000lbs. At the release event, Hyunda USA CEO John Krafcik said: “Somehow Colin Chapman would be pleased”. And I’m inclined to agree. And if you absolutely have to have more power, hold-out and hope this thing is a success. Because I guarantee if enough people demand it, they WILL drop a turbo engine in one.
The reason I am so smitten with love over a small 15K Korean hatchback is simple. I’m ecstatic that there is hope that car manufactures still realize that there is indeed a huge demand for cars that are fun to drive. Those three words, “fun-to-drive”, may be a bit cliché to some, but to me it’s the most important thing I look for in cars. When I got into cars I was a stalwart for the Japanese automobile. Now days though it saddens me to see the Japanese build nothing but white-goods for the mass-market, ignoring what put a lot of these companies on the map in the first place, Honda more so than any other. And that was building cars that were first and foremost fun to drive even while being economical. Hyundai seems to be getting it (and I will admit it took them long enough), Honda seems to be forgetting it.
In my opinion, Hyundai has it figured out. Your move Honda. We’re waiting (and NO, the CR-Z doesn’t count)…