Over the past few months I have driven two test cars that not only turned heads but created enough interest to have strangers stop and ask questions about them.
Neither car was particularly expensive nor came with an exotic European badge. Interestingly, both were from the same manufacturer - Hyundai.
And in most cases it was the design of the car that caught their attention, and then the badge that caused them to stop. The cars were the i40 wagon, a vehicle that WestWheels has on long-term test, and the all-new Veloster coupe that I test-drove last week.
The Veloster combines the practicality of a hatch with the more exciting style of a coupe. It was also designed to attract younger buyers to the brand.
The reality is that since it went on sale in February it has attracted a much broader buyer group than the Korean car maker had predicted. And it has been the top-of-the-range Veloster Plus automatic that has been the biggest seller.
In the week I was driving the Veloster Plus I was surprised at the broad age range of those that stopped for a look or a chat.
Depending on what side of the car you approach, the Veloster presents two different looks. From the driver's side, with its single large door and sweeping roofline, it is a traditional sports coupe.
From the passenger side, where there are two doors, it is more of a traditional hatch. While the rear door is quite small, and designed with a hidden handle to make it less obvious, it makes access to the rear seat much easier than traditional three-door hatches.Inside, the Veloster is surprisingly roomy - even in the back seat where the biggest challenge is sliding over to the seat behind the driver.
For a car that is priced at $27,990 it is packed with features, including a reversing camera, iPod-compatible audio system with eight speakers, push-button start, climate control and a seven-inch touchscreen.
Like all Hyundais, the Veloster has a full suite of safety features and a five-star crash safety rating.
But while the car is definitely a head turner, I could not help but feel a little underwhelmed by the effort of the 1.6-litre engine.
For those looking for a stylish car that is well equipped, it will be more than adequate. But for those (like myself) who want the performance to match the look, you will need to wait for the arrival of the turbo model that will be released around October.
The turbo will add about $5000 to the price but, judging by overseas reports, the extra expense will be compensated by the performance.
That said, the steering, handling and ride of the Veloster is as good as we have seen from Hyundai.
HYUNDAI VELOSTER PLUS (four-door)
Engine: 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol
Transmission: Six-speed manual
Safety: Five stars