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First Impressions: The Hyundai Veloster and EON

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WORDS BY GELO GONZALES


Maybe North Korea should take a cue from their South Korean peers, and start making cars instead of nukes. Just have a look at Kia. We gushed over the Rio a few weeks ago.

Now shift your attention to Hyundai, carmakers that the finance experts at CNN Money once described as a “confident, hyperaggressive company that not only wants to win, it expects to win.” A massive pat in the back, if we ever saw one.

Far be it from us to tell you that they didn’t earn it. At the recently concluded 8th Manila International Auto Show, the Korean company launched two new cars—fresh, young hatchbacks—that reflects their hyperaggressive nature.


First off is the Hyundai Veloster, which you might notice has a very quirky, sorta gimmicky name, like some invention in the 50s that says “the future is here!” The name comes from “velocity” and “roadster’—you do the math.

Past the name lies a bold, ultra-sleek hatch that reminds us of the BMW 1-Series. The swept-back windshield, the smooth flowing lines on the side, the piercing headlamps that stretch nearly the entire length of the hood, the low stance, and Hyundai’s signature hexagonal grille, all make for a car that shatters the pedestrian. Not convinced? Maybe you should take a look at its asymmetrical door configuration: there’s one door on the driver’s side, and two on the other, with the side rear’s door handle hidden cleverly from view. It can be opened from the corner of the passenger side window.

Hyundai calls it “a crossover utility vehicle that’s exceptional in character.” We call it defiant. The Veloster has a 1.6L four-cylinder GDi engine that produces 140 hp at 6300 RPM, a 6-speed Dual Clutch Transmission, ABS, Electronic Stability Control (ESC) for safety, and a premium multimedia system with a 7-inch info LCD display, and CD/MP3 player.



The Hyundai EON, a neat five-door hatchback, seems to be designed in the same vein. An economy car by nature (Hyundai claims a best-in-class fuel-efficiency of 26.3 km/L), the Eon is intent on breaking the mold. It's intent on proving that economy cars can be legitimate head-turners, as well. The sharp, oversized headlamps (it’s a huge trend today it seems), the half-moon shaped tail-lamps, the wave-like curves on the side, and the sporty, urban character of the car are its main weapons of mold-destruction.

The EON is a practical daily driver, and one that does sport big personality in spite of its miniscule frame. It has a 0.8-liter MPI engine that produces 56 hp at 5,500 RPM, a 5-speed manual transmission, motor-driven power steering, 215 liters of luggage capacity, integrated CD/MP3/tuner audio system, and keyless entry. If anything, the Eon proves that you don’t need to be a huge satellite-carrying rocket ship to get some attention.

The Eon is available now while the Veloster will be officially available later this same year. Visit Hyundai Philippines for more details.




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