While you might assume this to be a rather unbelievable notion, in truth not all of Autobytel.com’s road testers are human. No, we are not trying to say that Autobytel employs an army of the undead to aid in your quest for the perfect new vehicle. Although you might be excused for thinking that way if you saw any of us before our morning dose of caffeine; looking like extras that just walked off the set off Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” music video, not that we are going to name names.
No, the “not quite human” individual we are referring to that aids in the testing of our press fleet vehicles is a creature named Daisy Mae Hamel and she just so happens to be a 65 pound dog, adopted by one of our staffers from Boxer Rescue Los Angeles. Although Daisy Mae’s new family expected a girl Boxer ready for a Regis Philbin-style retirement replete of 20 hour naps, her opinionated and headstrong nature meshed with her insistence to join in on every car trip we took, creating what we believe to be the world’s first true canine car reviewer.
So after three years on the job, does Daisy Mae ever get excited when she hops inside a new car? Well, she did once refuse to get into a Smart fortwo (who can blame her?) however she absolutely fell in love with the 2012 Hyundai Veloster while spending a week in the back seat. So in case you were wondering, now the complete editorial staff concurs that this rather revolutionary Hyundai “coupe” truly deserved to be Autobytel’s most recent “Car of the Year.”
Daisy Mae’s talents for sniffing out the best back seats in the new car market have made her well known in the industry and she loves the entire staff at Autobytel.com—even the one guy who left his entire Star Wars DVD collection to his cat and the funny lady who lives with a horse. But don’t believe for a second that Daisy Mae is the only wild animal on the payroll here at Autobytel. She may receive her salary by the bowlful but after having ridden in over 250 new cars, trucks and SUVs since beginning her new car reviewing career there is one thing that truly can’t be denied—Daisy Mae knows best what dogs and their owners are looking for from a new ride.
The Veloster’s full-size Third Door Makes Getting In and Out Easy for Dogs…and People!
For anyone who has tried to use or has lived with the Mini Clubman’s wee-Leprechaun sized third door, trust us when we say that the design of the 2012 Hyundai Veloster comparatively enormous third door will make getting into the back seat easy not only for dogs but all human stragglers that may show up, as well. Legroom, while not overly generous in the second row, is quite enough for those two legged human passengers who actually grew taller as a reward for acne and awkwardness filled puberty.
The Veloster is a Safe Vehicle and Don’t You Want to Keep Your Dog Safe and Healthy?
Okay, perhaps your children might also qualify for this sentiment too but honestly in order to compete they had better be very smart (ensuring full college tuition paid through scholarships), cuter than a Cabbage Patch Kid circa 1984 (and as polite) all the while they must never once in their lives question your judgment or criticize anything that you have ever done. Now we all know that the last part there would be impossible for a teenage human even one as clean looking and gender non-specific as Justin Bieber.
Unfortunately, the Veloster has yet to be crash test rated in the U.S.A by the IIHS or NHTSA but it was tested in Europe under the even more stringent NCAAP system which gave this inventive little sport coupe a five star overall score. As our Government modeled their recently updated NHTSA ratings on the NCAAP methodology, we expect the Veloster to do very well once those crash test ratings are completed. All Velosters come with six airbags, electronic traction control, electronic brake force distribution and anti-lock brakes.
Daisy Mae would also like you to note that a 60 pound dog (like our road tester) traveling in a vehicle at 30 miles per hour will become a potentially deadly projectile in the event of an impact with another parked vehicle perhaps at a red light? The number of pets riding along with people in their cars has gone up in this country 300% just since 2005 and an unrestrained pet in your vehicle can be as distracting as the cell phone text war your daughter is having right now with her BFF.
Here’s one last statistic about pets in cars we think you should know—if the aforementioned 60 pound dog is riding in the back seat while you are driving and you don’t have them secured, buckled or harnessed in properly, their body will impact whoever is sitting in front of them with 1,700 pounds per square inch of force. Hey, people thought humans shouldn’t wear seat belts at one time so why shouldn’t your big, lovable family dog be strapped in securely too?
The Cargo Area is so Huge it Could Carry a Hundred Pound Bag of Kibble.
Underneath the cute and petite style of the little hatchback booty of the Veloster, you will no doubt be surprised to find a wide and deep 15.5 cubic foot cargo area which grows to near U-Haul levels of friend moving ability once you fold down the rear seats. Actually, that kind of “friend helping” is not a good thing for anyone who lists “napping and “chilling” as hobbies much like Daisy Mae does on her resume right below “can type 60 words a minute.” The sound of a kibble bag will, however, wake her up.
The Panoramic Sunroof Means Your Dog Can Have a Sunbath in the Backseat (Weather Permitting)
We highly recommend the optional $2,000 “Style Package” as it doesn’t add much to the ridiculously low $18,550 base price but nets uprated 18-inch alloys, interior trim enhancements, an excellent 8-speaker Dimension audio system and most importantly—a large and illuminating glass panoramic sunroof that really makes the inside of the Veloster feel quite LARGE.
Also, your dog can enjoy sunbaths in the back seat thanks to the subtle tint of the glass which keeps this Hyundai’s interior cool enough to not be dangerous to the health of your pet as long as there is a breeze and you leave windows open. Yes, Daisy Mae demands all vehicle windows and sunroofs be opened for her when she is sitting in a parked vehicle and we also leave a bowl of water sitting out within her reach in case she gets thirsty.
It's So Affordable That Your Owner Will Be Able to Buy More Dog Treats
Anyone who has a dog nowadays knows how much it can cost to keep their “best friend/furry money pit” both healthy, happy and well fed.
There are veterinary bills, food bills, chewed up dog bed bills, carpet cleaning bills and that’s before you even take into account how many toys your dog will destroy annually. Thankfully, the Veloster starts at only $18,550 and our dual clutch automatic equipped test unit had an EPA fuel economy rating of 29 city/38 highway with our weekly return coming up to a commendable 32.4 miles per gallon on regular unleaded. This car will definitely help anyone on a budget save money.
The Wide and Roomy Back Seat Makes it easy for Owners to Securely install Pet Safety Harnesses.
There is nothing harder than trying to clip a very large and stubborn dog wearing a full body safety harness into a child-safety seat U-clip hidden deep in the back seat of a tiny sports coupe. Trust us on this one point as Daisy Mae can, on occasion, be temperamental about coupes. But thanks to that third door and that big rear seat, all you do is lean in and snap the child safety latch to your pet’s safety harness or other personal safety device. For more information on automotive pet safety products check out BarkBuckleUp.com.
Hyundai’s Bluelink System Can Tell All of Your “Dog Friends” How Close You are to the Dog Park
The Veloster was the first newly designed vehicle where Hyundai featured its state of the art Bluelink multimedia interface electronics system which can be controlled primarily via a center dash mounted touch screen. But Bluelink also has one feature that can be used to keep track of your favorite people at your local dog park. Just pull up in front of your empty park and hit a button on the interior rear view mirror and all of your “friends” will be notified of your current location. The days of the boring and empty dog park will be in the past.
Bluelink also Offers Emergency Accident Reporting Services and Helps Reduce Driver Distraction
This Bluelink system also allows you to do voice text messaging as you are driving, enjoy one of the easiest to access and use Bluetooth systems, features USB/iPod integration that minimizes driving distraction when changing songs and it can notify parents if their children drove outside of a certain geographic boundary within the built-in GeoFence system that can be activated via Hyundai’s owner site
Do be aware that if you want in-dash navigation with Bluelink you must order the aforementioned $2,000 Style Package and the $2,900 Tech Package which also throws in push button start/keyless entry, a back-up camera, auto headlamps and menacingly aggressive looking alloys set off with a touch of body color paint within the swirling pattern of the wheel. Our test model came fully equipped with a very impressive double clutch automatic (much better than Ford’s own unit but not quite up to VW’s double clutch smoothness standards) yet the MSRP still only came to a very manageable grand total of $22,550.
The Veloster is so Cool Looking it Could Even Make a Yapping Pomeranian Less Annoying
We apologize for picking on Pomeranians but Daisy Mae’s neighborhood arch nemesis is a very jealous member of the aforementioned breed with not only a serious Napoleon Complex but also the most obnoxious yap ever to come out of any dog’s snout. We think the only cure for this unhappy and obnoxious critter is for his owner to buy a 2012 Hyundai Veloster to cheer him up. Or maybe the owner could do as Daisy Mae suggested and do us all a favor by running this dog over with his new Veloster. Bad dog! Bad Daisy Mae! We did not like your #9 choice here so we are docking your kibble!
The Veloster is Fun to Drive and Will Make any Human Happy Which then Makes Any Dog Happy
Dogs are by their nature codependent beings in relation to their owners not only for food and healthcare but their emotional well-being is often times very closely tied in with ours. Trust us, the 2012 Hyundai Veloster may not be a powerhouse in base form (a turbo model is available, however) with just a 1.6 liter 138 horsepower/123 lb. feet of torque 4-cylinder but this coupe promises more fun than a barrel full of rhesus monkeys recently inoculated from the Ebola Virus.
Like those monkeys we just mentioned, this Hyundai is also protected—by an industry leading 10 year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty that really got the buying public’s interest when it was introduced years ago to end rumors that South Korean cars were unreliable. Now, Hyundai routinely ranks so highly in most quality surveys that the warranty will probably remain unused by most owners. It does, however, increase both human and canine peace of mind when you know there will be no costly surprises coming up because you bought a fun car. The 2012 Hyundai Veloster is a car that any human or dog would be proud to call their own.
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