Another Cool Car From The Koreans

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This is the Hyundai Veloster. Another way-cool design from those crazy kids from across that big pond known as the Pacific. Its design is reminiscent of small hatches of the 80s, especially the Honda CRX, and of the more modern hatches like the Ford Focus 3-door and the Honda CR-Z hybrid.

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Like most current Hyundais, the Veloster has attractive character lines that enhance the overall design and make it look like a much more expensive car.

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Inside, Veloster carries the corporate interior theme; handsome and elegant with an upscale look and feel and top-of-the-line technologies.

Under the hood, you’ll find a 1.6-liter direct injection powerplant with 138 horsepowers and 123 torques (to coin a phrase) that should return 40 miles per gallon, according to Hyundai.

Putting that power to the pavement is you choice of 6-speed transmissions, a manual or, if you go for the upgrade, a dual clutch with paddles and Hillstart assist that minimizes backwards rolling on hills.

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From initial impressions, it looks like Hyundai has another hit on its hands. Once you see one on the road, you too will get it!


Here’s another Retro Review:

2006 Pontiac Torrent

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Once Again, A First Ever Vehicle From Pontiac

by James E. Bryson

In the ever-increasing world of high-priced ad campaigns and catchy "catch" phrases, Pontiac did it again with it’s latest barrage of ads by proclaiming their new SUV as the first ever Pontiac Torrent, following the first ever G6…Call me when it’s safe to watch TV again.

But seriously, GM needs a new SUV like Michael Jackson needs another nose job.

The only saving grace for the General is the quality of build and decent lines and design of the new smaller SUVs that include the Torrent and Chevy Equinox. We were quite surprised when we saw the Torrent and Vibe in the flesh. The Torrent is definitely the Vibe’s big brother, with a cleaner, more polished look…like you’d expect of an older sibling.

Speaking of style and design, the front fascia was Pontiac-ified and looks different enough from the Equinox to keep most people from thinking they are the same vehicle. It has the double kidney design and aggressive look found on all modern Pontiacs, while not being overly aggressive and staying away from extra plastic and hood scoops – take that as you will because either you think all Pontiacs should have the scoops or not. We’re sure that Bob Lutz is right now figuring out a way to get hood scoops out to the masses in the aftermarket…maybe in a GM catalog or something.

First impression – interior colors, fabric and patterns are hideous! The crisscross pattern is similar to houndstooth but not as attractive. The feel is not bad, like it could last a long time, but the look is something from another era that maybe hasn’t happened yet. The funny thing about those last few sentences was how our feelings changed during our week with the Torrent. We got to really like the fabric and felt it was of a high quality and fit the interior to a "T".

The mid-level radio in the Torrent has good sound and a great sub-woofer to really feel the bass thumping in everything you listen to…well worth it!

The seats are as comfortable as any GM has ever produced. The second row is comfortable as well, with good fabric that clings to you and keeps you in the seat around corners; which is great because side bolstering is non-existent back there. We also like the full adjustments offered in the rear area: The seats recline, split/fold and move fore and aft for a very versatile vehicle with a voracious appetite for people and things.

Out back, we liked the tray system that had three different levels and seemed to be well thought out and expertly executed. The tray rests in a depressed area just fore of the tailgate. You just pick it up and slide it into either of two different levels of height, making it quite flexible and easy to use.

The ride of the Torrent is quite good, probably because we drove the front-wheel drive model. There was none of the harshness over bumps or excessive body roll in corners that help denote an all-wheel drive system. It seems that Pontiac worked diligently to make the Torrent a more sporting SUV, keeping the Excitement division alive in every vehicle.

The bottom line on the Torrent we drove was $27,540. Not bad considering the high level of standard and optional equipment on this vehicle.

Standard goodies include the 3400 V6, five-speed automatic transmission, remote keyless entry, traction control, anti-lock brakes, 16-inch aluminum wheels, air and power everything; all that and a bag of chips for a standard price of $22,400.

On the options list, we got the $1,555 preferred package (six-way power driver seat, tinted glass, premium cloth, cruise control, auto-dimming mirror with temperature and compass, steering wheel radio controls, luggage rack cross bars leather-wrapped wheel, carpeted floormats and cargo net); the $1,285 sun and sound package (power sunroof, stereo with six-disc changer and Pioneer seven-speaker system with sub woofer and amplifier); the $1,090 security package (side impact and head curtain airbags and one year of OnStar safe and sound); XM satellite radio for $325 with three months free and 17-inch aluminum wheels for $295.

Add to the options a $590 destination charge and you get an as tested price of $27,540. Not bad for a loaded SUV that has plenty of room for you and a lot of your stuff. Sure, you can get a smaller trucklet with all-wheel drive but you wouldn’t be getting a "first ever" Pontiac Torrent. But, you might not get all this great stuff either.

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Published by

James E. Bryson

Cars make the world go 'round!

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