Home » Here’s How The Hyundai Veloster Could’ve Been A Normal Three-Door Or Five-Door Hatchback This Entire Time

Here’s How The Hyundai Veloster Could’ve Been A Normal Three-Door Or Five-Door Hatchback This Entire Time

Hyundai Veloster Symmetrical Topshot
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Here’s a fun and semi-obscure tibit of delightfully tedious automotive trivia: Hyundai could’ve made three-door and five-door Veloster hatchbacks this entire time, and it wouldn’t have even cost the brand that much money. Normally, drastically altering the appearance of an asymmetric car requires vast engineering expense, but the Veloster was subject to an odd decision that would’ve made more conventional variants relatively easy. Let’s take a closer look, shall we?

Nissan Cube

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

[Editor’s Note: I think making the Veloster anything other than an asymmetric 3-door-plus-hatch kinda kills the car’s charm, but I admire this thought-experiment, so let’s see where this goes. – JT]

Recent history serves up no shortage of asymmetric cars, but rectifying asymmetry normally presents an engineering challenge. With the Nissan Cube’s asymmetry, different quarter panels and glass existed for left-hand-drive and right-hand-drive markets, but the side-hinged rear door assembly would’ve needed significant revision to work with an all-metal or all-wraparound C-pillar layout.

Mini Clubman Doors Open

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For the funky R55 Mini Clubman, things would’ve been even more complicated. Not only would new doors, new windows, a new quarter panel, and a new underlying substructure need to be styled and engineered, there’s the particularly tricky issue of what to do with the filler neck since it is, at minimum, extremely close to where a left-side rear door would’ve gone. If Mini wanted an extra door and needed to relocate the filler neck, the resulting challenge would’ve been monumentally expensive.

Hyundai Veloster Lhd Vs Rhd

With the first-generation Veloster, none of these hard parts are issues. Here’s a comparison between left-hand-drive models with two doors on the right and right-hand-drive models with two doors on the left. Notice anything? Yes, left-hand-drive models have two doors on the right and right-hand-drive models have two doors on the left. The doors and underlying structure all exist in Hyundai’s parts bin to make three-door and five-door Velosters. Of equal importance, the filler necks and fuel doors are in identical locations regardless of hand-of-drive. This is particularly huge as it means the fuel system wouldn’t need to be re-engineered for a three-door or five-door configuration, saving vast expense.

Rhd Veloster Rear

In terms of brand new equipment not found in the parts bin, a three-door version would simply need two new door trim inserts to blank out the driver’s-spec switches on the passenger side door card from the opposite hand-of-drive model. Cheap and cheerful stuff. A five-door version would need a new driver’s door card to accommodate the necessary driver-centric switches and extra wiring for the fourth door lock actuator, window regulator, and window switch. It’s a bit extra, but it’s hardly an Everest-sized hurdle.

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Hyundai Veloster Rm14

In fact, Hyundai did actually make a three-door Veloster — sort-of. For the RM series of development mules, Veloster sheetmetal was hacked up to test new and emerging technologies in publicly-announced testbeds. The RM14 had one door on the right, one door on the left, and the expected hatch on the back. Crafty, right?

While I don’t exactly condone drastically altering the structure of a modern car at home over a fifth of Jameson, crafty Veloster owners with shipping connections could channel inspiration from EK Civic five-door hatchback conversions for a unique show car build. Of course, EK Honda Civics have all the structural integrity of a rippled Busch can, which makes these inventive cut-and-shuts okay in my eyes. If you’ll probably die in a collision with a military-grade Ferd F-Teenthousand anyway, what great difference will a homemade five-door body make? On the other hand, thanks to modern crash structure advancements, altering the door count of a Hyundai Veloster is probably a bad idea. Still, if you do that, our tips line is always open.

Hyundai Veloster Doors Open

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Would selling the Veloster in three-door and five-door configurations have altered its quirkiness? Sure, but sometimes mass-appeal is a little more important than weirdness. After all, it’s in an automaker’s best interest for its cars to sell, and conventional body styles could’ve won over some shoppers put off by the weird door arrangement. Having rear doors on both sides is a godsend for people with children, and three-door hatchbacks are just plain cool.

(Photo credits: Hyundai, Nissan, Mini)

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Squirrelmaster
Squirrelmaster
10 months ago

I liked the Veloster and considered buying one, but found the prospect of a single door to the back seats with two child carseats in the back too difficult to sign off on. Instead, I got something with two real rear doors and never looked back. I do still like the Veloster, though.

OnceInAMillenia
OnceInAMillenia
10 months ago

Would it have killed the quirky? Yes. When you are extremely tall like I am, you realize that driving a compact car essentially means that the seat behind you is useless. Why have a door for a seat that isn’t going to get used?

My favorite thing about the Veloster is that it was still practical to carry passengers and have them enter from the curbside, without giving anyone hope that they would have legroom sitting behind me.

JTilla
JTilla
10 months ago

This is exactly why I like my accord coupe. The passenger side is the one with the full sliding 2door seat while the drivers side is just a fold action.

RootWyrm
RootWyrm
10 months ago

Guys, I have your next project. And it’s even one I’m going “this is a hilarious idea and looks like it’s completely safe, LET ‘ER RIP.”

TWO OR FOUR DOOR VELOSTER!

“Wait, what? No, that’s sheer madness. Hacking up a Veloster like that? That can’t be safe either.” But it is! I literally just looked it up! They just added a filler structure and changed the body stamping!
And the filler structure? It isn’t geometry critical or high strength steel. It’s just mild steel to provide attachment points! And the B-pillar differences are all in the sectionable region.

So you could, quite literally, take the RHD filler structure, put it in an LHD, and delete a door. Or you can cut the D/S filler strutcure out of the LHD model, use approved repair methods to put in the RHD B-pillar, and bolt up door number four. All you need’s a totaled out Veloster (ridiculously easy, you can buy them by the baker’s dozen,) a Hyundai dealer that will order body panels by part number (that’s the hard part,) and an I-CAR certified body shop (ask your insurance.)

Alan Christensen
Alan Christensen
10 months ago

The Veloster was so hard for me to look at that I never noticed door situation. I even had one as a rental car once and didn’t notice.

Diana Slyter
Diana Slyter
10 months ago

Vans have been built this way for years, typically with a curb side sliding door.

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
10 months ago

I’m not anti-asymmetry. I’ve even thought about getting Cube in decent shape and swapping in a Leaf drivetrain. I think they are on a related platform.

However, the Velostar totally lost a fight with the ugly stick. Like really, really beaten to a pulp.

Jonee Eisen
Jonee Eisen
10 months ago

There are way way way uglier cars. I don’t think it’s that bad. It’s a quirky looking sports car. We don’t get enough of those.

Acrimonious Mofo
Acrimonious Mofo
10 months ago

I came here to say what v10omous already said, though I suppose vacating the grassy bits around my house is optional. I mean if you have a camp chair and some beer sit for a bit, I’ll get a fire going and we can talk about weird hatchbacks.

MiniDave
MiniDave
10 months ago

3 and 5 door variants? Isn’t it already a 4 door? left two, one right, one rear? Besides, why would you want to make it a 4(5?) door in the first place? Isn’t it supposed to be a coupe?

Last edited 10 months ago by MiniDave
Eggsalad
Eggsalad
10 months ago

Funny. I just bought a ’13 Veloster to replace my ’02 Silverado that got stolen (sigh). Digging through parts catalogs, as one does, I discovered this exact same thing.

But here’s why it doesn’t work… the dashboard is shallower on the passenger side, and the passenger seat is mounted further forward on the chassis. This allows for actual legroom in the passenger side rear seat. Toyota/Scion used the exact same trick on the Toyota/Scion iQ. Both cars are effectively three-seaters. The drivers side rear seat is really only useful for amputees. I’m 5’10” and there’s no way anybody could sit behind me – that seat is almost entirely useless, so there’s no point in putting a door there.

All of that rules out a version with 4 passenger doors. As for a version with two passenger doors, sure that would be viable, but yeah, it takes away the quirkiness, so why would Hyundai do that?

Shooting Brake
Shooting Brake
10 months ago

Ok so stay with me here, I’ve only been thinking about this for about a decade. Saab needed quick affordable products to start increasing volume when they went under (thanks GM). Imagine if they had partnered with Hyundai/Kia to put a couple of small turbo cars on the roads? Take the Veloster first as a new 9-2, I’m thinking new bumpers/lights/grill obviously, hood and trunk to bring in the Saabness, but the blacked out A-pillar already is very Saab style. Slightly nicer interior materials and only offer the upgrade turbo engine. But the piece de resistance is to offer it as a 2-door and 4-door hatchback using the two sided body stampings my boy Thomas here is talking about. Boom, great little car, maybe get Saab some attention and mojo back with minimal development cost. But…to really save Saab we need sales. Lots of them. What market about to really blow up in the early teens? Subcompact crossover, so here’s we’re the partnership really brings they money in for Saab, a Kia Soul with a similar redo as the Veloster above to be more Saab, again we already have the Saab signature blacked out a-pillar thing going, so similarly reasonably affordable front and rear redesigns should be enough to make it fit in the family. More nicer interior materials and again the standard turbo engine (which Kia didn’t offer yet but would fit the platform no problem) brings it up market, and I think Saabs are legally required to have turbos right? But now we have an early entry in the semi-lux subcompact crossover market to embarrass the Buick Encore and steal all it sales for Saab! All giving Saab enough of a foot to stand on while they develops their own next gen platform. Whose with me??? Have I intrigued The Bishop enough to make sketches of these happen???

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
10 months ago

You know what’s cheaper and easier than converting a Veloster? Don’t buy one if you want a five-door hatch. Plus, the name wouldn’t lend itself to this awful joke:

Hey buddy, looks like you’re missing a door.

Yeah, Veloster. (We lost her. Get it? Maybe try it with a “Hogan’s Heroes” German accent.)

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
10 months ago

“Vast expense”?

I think you’re overestimating how hard it is to move a filler neck. You’re not reengineering the whole fuel system, or even the whole evap/vent system. You’re literally just extending/moving the filler neck. Most flatbed pickups have modified filler necks. It’s easier than wiring the taillights.

Adrian Clarke
Adrian Clarke
10 months ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

On the Mini it’s not just the filler neck. It’s a new tank and two new body sides, plus additional tooling for another door and all the trim.

Citrus
Citrus
10 months ago

I think the problem with making a conventional door layout for mass appeal is that Hyundai already had cars for mass appeal. The first-gen Veloster was based on the Accent platform – which had a five door – and the second-gen the i30/Elantra GT platform – which had a five door. Making a weird one kind of positioned around those two models made sense, another five door didn’t, and three doors didn’t really sell – both previous generation Accent and i30 models had 3-doors in other markets which were canned.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
10 months ago
Reply to  Citrus

Also the point of the asymmetric configuration was to give most of the style of a 3-door hatch along with most of the practicality of a 5-door. A true 5-door version probably would have sold in somewhat reasonable numbers based on the further increased utility, but a 3-door version probably would have been DOA, unless drastically cheaper (which it really couldn’t have been)

Nycbjr
Nycbjr
10 months ago

I just got rid of my veloster, but we in the community have known this for along time now, and some have as a thought experiment contemplated doing it.

V10omous
V10omous
10 months ago

If it’s not meant for people to access a seat, it’s not a door.

Hatchbacks and wagons have the same number of doors as the respective coupes or sedans. There is no such thing as a five door car, and three door cars are limited to weird stuff like this Veloster.

Now get off my lawn.

Last edited 10 months ago by V10omous
V10omous
V10omous
10 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

Wagons with rear facing seats are a special case.

Usernametaken
Usernametaken
10 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

What about the side hinged door you can use to access seating in certain configurations of a Geländewagen or LR Defender (the proper, uncomfortable ones)?

V10omous
V10omous
10 months ago
Reply to  Usernametaken

We’ll allow it.

My major point of beef is that there is no clear line of demarcation between a trunk lid -> liftback -> hatchback, so either all of them are doors or none of them.

I say none of them.

Drew
Drew
10 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

I’m with you on this. It adds nothing except confusion to call a hatch a door and I only run into the terminology in auto journalism and a few hot hatch boards. Most drivers would consider the Veloster to be a 3-door or 2.5-door. Not a 4-door or 3.5-door.

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