Behind the scenes: Hyundai Veloster in New Zealand

Extreme measures were necessary to focus on Hyundai’s little eye-catching hatch

Hyundai Veloster Turbo New Zealand

We wanted this somewhat unorthodox review to appear to be a road safety campaign at its outset and, in the introduction, I was trying to do my most serious face combined with a strict tone of voice, which is hard at the best of times.

The theory we were posing is that all driver distraction, no matter what form it takes, is dangerous and should be avoided.

As the camera pulls back, it reveals the stunning surrounds of Waitangi and Wairoa Bay - which, theoretically should be one of the most distracting and therefore hazardous places you could drive, right?

How we shot the story

There can be few places in the world that threaten to tear your attention away from the road more than New Zealand’s north island, with constantly changing (but consistently dazzling) views around every corner.

Hyundai Veloster North Island

The car I would attempt to focus on was Hyundai’s new Veloster flagship in NZ-spec 1.6T, which is the performance halo for now and is dubbed simply the Turbo in Australia.

My plan was to construct and rig the little 3+1-door hatchback with ‘equipment’ fashioned from readily available consumables you'll find at any auto store, thereby allowing me to see only the road ahead and concentrate on the fine art of car reviewing. Simple.

Except it wasn’t. The gear I hastily threw into the Hyundai was actually way more effective than I had expected and what was originally intended as a visual gag, turned into a very efficient method of blocking out way too much vision. Dangerous, in a word.

Reverse camera Matauri Bay
Even the view from the reverse camera is stunning in New Zealand

The vinyl wrap applied to the windscreen was about twice the depth of a sunshade and shortened the view of the sky down to just above the horizon. 

The repurposed sunshades in the front windows - intended to protect children in the back seats - were largely irrelevant because my horse blinkers (manufactured from an old cardboard box taped to sunglasses) were 100-percent effective at cutting the view through each side window.

Hyundai Veloster and idiot Daniel Gardner

In short, my measures were ridiculously risky so out they came in favour of plan-B: self-discipline.

One of the few criticisms I could muster for the genuinely brilliant Veloster is that its driver assistance systems (particularly the lane-keep), are too intrusive on the freeway, but they probably had more relevance on the fantastic roads we found beyond Paihia when my neck uncontrollably craned to take in the views.

Ironically though, the solution for maintaining concentration on the road was Simple.

At speeds nearing the local limits, the Veloster was beautifully involving, alive and the only thing worthy of the driver’s attention.

Veloster and New Zealand traditional art

To really hammer home the impact of New Zealand’s incredible scenery, we needed a breathtaking destination for this story, and vid-wizards JP and Josh did not disappoint.

It was a bit of a race against time with clouds rolling over the land and threatening to obscure the sun’s rays from a world-class lookout.

But we made it to the lookout over Matauri Bay (where Greenpeace’s Rainbow Warrior was retired and repurposed as a reef) in the nick of time and, most importantly, got that stunning final shot.

Matauri Bay New Zealand

After all the silly homemade counterproductive attempts and trying to avert my eyes from New Zealand’s unforgettable scenery, all I needed was to go a bit faster.

Behind the scenes: Nissan GT-R double act


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