Hyundai's Veloster is more than a car; it's a hangout.
The vehicle is outfitted with serious advanced technology and is targeted to Generation Y buyers, restless sorts who Senior Manager-Product Planning Brandon Ramirez said look for distractions during downtime. The automaker's research found that when buyers arrive at their destinations early, be it work or at a university for a class, they want to hang out in their cars, watching videos or listening to music. "We wanted to provide technology for those types of occasions," he said.
To that end, Hyundai is the first to include an RCA cable which plugs into a standard auxiliary jack. Three plugs -- white, yellow and red -- can be put into an Xbox. There's also a 115-volt outlet that powers the Xbox so those in the front seat can play or watch movies on a 7-inch screen. For obvious safety reasons, the system only works when the car is in park and the brake is engaged. The same screen can be used to upload pictures and play music.
A Blue Links system allows for hands-free texting, so you can use voice activation, for example, to tell your boyfriend, "I'm running late," and it will appear as a text on his phone. The system has a "location sharing" feature to post your current location to friends on Facebook.
To emphasize the car's 40-mile-per-gallon fuel economy, there are two games that can be played on the screen. With Blue Max, you press a start button and for 10 minutes the car tracks your fuel efficient driving, giving you a score, which you can try to beat every time. Another game, eco-coach, tracks your fuel economy and how it compares to that of other Veloster owners.
Mr. Ramirez said the intent of these features, as well as the car's overall high fuel economy, roomy interior and styling, is intended to lure new buyers to the Hyundai brand. "If you look at our design, the Veloster stands out. Technology is part of that as well," he said. Since it went on sale earlier this month, 800 units have been sold.