Vehicle Launch: 2019 Hyundai Veloster

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Oct 092018

Veloster Turbo R-Spec

Despite what it says in the dictionary, two doors no longer do a coupe make. It has been redefined by automakers to refer to sporty vehicles and can include four doors, or even three, like the singular Hyundai Veloster sport coupe. Latino Traffic Report recently attended the launch of the all-new 2019 Veloster in Austin, TX. Its cleaner exterior design and improved engine choices will excite fans and attract new ones.

The new fascia resembles Hyundai’s current design DNA more faithfully than its predecessor. The grille is less cluttered and a darkened roof is standard on the top-of-the-line Turbo Ultimate trim, reflecting the current industry trend. While the two-tone look is not available across the lineup, each trim does come in unique colors, materials, and accents.

The Veloster’s appeal may be connected to its sportiness but it is a hatch and as such, it offers something other sport coupe’s don’t, utility, namely 19.9 cubic feet of cargo room behind the second row seat, more than Mini Cooper, Mini Clubman, and VW Beetle.

A 2.0-liter engine four-cylinder engine with 147 horsepower and 132 lb.–ft. of torque powers the base model. It’s matched to either a six-speed manual or a six-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission.

Dash on the Veloster Turbo R-Spec.

Ramping up the sportiness factor is the turbo-charged 1.6-liter direct-injected four-cylinder engine on the Veloster Turbo and Turbo Ultimate that produces 201 horses and 195 lb.–ft. of torque. It’s paired with a six-speed manual transmission or a seven-speed dual clutch transmission with steering wheel mounted paddle shifters and SHIFTRONIC transmission gear control. The automatic will earn the best EPA estimated fuel economy of 28 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 34 mpg on the highway. We drove both at the launch and clocked an average fuel economy of 32.9 mpg. While the manual may be slightly less fuel-efficient, it has a definite advantage when it comes to the driving experience, offering more power, responsiveness, and fun.

To customize the driving experience, Drive Mode Select is standard on all Velosters and offers three driver-selectable modes—Normal, Sport, and Smart. The cherry on top of every Veloster powertrain is Active Engine Sound that enhances that engine rumble that sports car enthusiasts crave.

Center stack on the Veloster Turbo.

Still mindful of the competitive advantage safety technology adds to any modern vehicle, the 2019 Veloster includes standard Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist with autonomous braking to help the car detect and avoid an imminent collision, Lane Keeping Assist, and a rear view camera with dynamic guidelines.

Features like Blind-Spot Collision and Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Warning, as well as Blue Link, Hyundai’s onboard emergency, diagnostic, guidance service are standard on all but the base trim—it would be nice if these features were at least available on it. The base model does come with a blind spot mirror.

Seating on the Veloster Turbo.

Standard creature comforts include the basics like air conditioning, power windows, remote keyless entry, a seven-inch display screen with AM/FM radio, dual USB ports, steering-wheel-mounted audio, Bluetooth, and cruse control, plus Apple CarPlay/Android Audio. Stepping up to the 2.0 Premium brings fancier features like an eight-inch display with the Infiniti Premium audio system and SiriusXM satellite radio, a proximity key, and heated front seats. The Turbos add a wide sunroof and leather seats to the list.

Hyundai likes to call the Veloster a “reverse halo” but if a halo car is one that attracts folks to a dealership, then the Veloster is simply a halo, no qualifiers necessary. Pricing for the 2019 Veloster starts at $19,385.

Veloster Turbo

CUV and Car Launch: 2017 Rogue, Rogue Hybrid, and Sentra SR Turbo

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Jan 152017

It’s a happy coincidence when the name of your product matches that of a blockbuster movie. So it is with Nissan Rogue and Rogue One, the latest tale from the Star Wars franchise. Nissan recently launched the refreshed 2017 Rogue, all-new Rogue Hybrid, and Sentra SR Turbo in Greensboro, Georgia and Latino Traffic Report was there.

Impressive fuel economy from an all-new hybrid version—the first ever for Rogue— and enhanced technology and versatility should help the crossover utility vehicle (CUV) remain the top-selling Nissan model, while the new SR Turbo trim for the Sentra adds sportiness to the lineup.

Efforts to refresh the Rogue include a new front fascia with integrated fog lamps, and bumper. It now features the Nissan signature “V-Motion” grille and revised headlights with LED signature Daytime Running Lights and LED boomerang signature taillights in the rear. A new rear bumper and chrome-trim side door moldings complete the freshened appearance.

Versatility improves on the CUV with wide opening (77 degrees) rear doors for easier entry and exit to the rear passenger space. Available technology, like a new Motion-Activated Liftgate, uses a kick sensor system to open and close the tailgate. It’s standard on Rogue SL and available on Rogue SR as part of the SR Premium Package.

Refreshing changes continue on the inside with a new D-shaped steering wheel and leather-booted sport-mode shifter. Premium options like a heated steering wheel, memory for driver’s seats and mirror, and remote engine start are also now available, giving the Rogue a more premium look and feel.

It comes with two rows of seating for five but a third row can be added (except on the hybrid version) to expand seating to seven. Nissan’s innovative EZ Flex Seating System allows every seat except the driver’s to fold down—the front passenger seat folds rearwards—expanding versatility as well as cargo room to 70 cubic feet. But the Rogue’s configurability doesn’t end there. It also offers the Divide-N-Hide Cargo System that provides eighteen adjustable variations (two-row models only, not available with Rogue Hybrid) between the cargo and occupant areas.

Standard safety features include a RearView monitor, remote keyless entry, traction control, and Vehicle Dynamic Control. The available Rogue Safety Shield expands that list, adding a blind spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, Intelligent Cruise Control, and Forward Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection.

As mentioned, the new gasoline-electric hybrid version offers an additional powertrain option to the standard 170-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine. Fuel economy on the all-new hybrid should reach 33 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city, 35 mpg on the highway, dropping slightly on all-wheel-drive (AWD) models. On the test drive, we achieved an average of 34.6 mpg.

This compares to the expected city/highway fuel economy for the non-hybrid of 26/33 mpg, and 25/32 mpg on AWD models.

Pricing for the 2017 Rogue starts at $24,760.

Nissan introduced a limited edition of the Rogue with a Star Wars theme and branding at the LA Auto Show in November and partnered with Lucasfilm Ltd for a fully integrated marketing campaign. The additions and improvements on the 2017 version, including the all-new hybrid, should continue to grab attention, even after the blockbuster comes out on DVD.

2017 Sentra SR Turbo

For an added treat, Nissan also revealed a new, sporty trim level for the 2017 Sentra, the SR Turbo. The best news is that it comes with a responsive six-speed manual transmission that put a smile on my face as I drove it on a quick route in Greensboro. For those who can’t drive a manual, an Xtronic transmission is also available.

The SR’s four-cylinder, 1.6-liter Direct Injection Gasoline turbo engine with 188 horses also improves performance. Enhancements to the suspension, front brakes, and electric power steering complete the driving experience.

Like the base model Sentra S, the SR base model lacks options. The next level, SV trim, can be upgraded, but only the highest trims, SR and SL, can be upgraded with premium packages that bring features like leather-appointed seating, a Bose Premium audio system with eight speakers, Blind Spot Warning and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.

Pricing for the 2017 Sentra SR Turbo starts at $17,855.