Category Archives: Hyundai

2017 Genesis G90 RWD 5.0 Ultimate(1176)

2017 Genesis G90 RWD 5.0 Ultimate Review

Overview:

This is the 2017 Genesis G90 RWD 5.0 Ultimate. Well you’ll notice they are now referring to the Hyundai Genesis and simply Genesis and there are currently only two models, the G80 and G90. It replaces the Equus top of the line model for Hyundai.

Most recently you may recall that Chrysler spun off the Ram from Dodge to a separate entity named Ram and the truck is simply Ram.

It is curious why such a distinction from the link to Hyundai that has such a good name in the minds of the industry and the consumer.

Right after receiving the car for review I had the occasion to go from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara for a memorial for a friend. Not only is the coast route 101 a fabulously beautiful drive the car made the journey stress free. I can’t ‘stress’ too much how comfortable a long ride can be with two features I especially appreciate. Smart Cruise (that includes Crash Avoidance) and Lane Assist when they are well engineered are fabulous. When you can drive 100 miles without stopping and never putting your foot on the gas or brake pedals it’s a good day. One day, of course, these two features will be standard equipment on all cars. Another feature that adds to these two is the Smart Blind Spot Detection and warning.

Only one complaint I found very quickly is the difficulty in setting up a new destination on the Navigation system. My phone works much better. I literally, in frustration, gave up trying to enter an address, city and state. I had to use a POI (point of interest) approach to put in a recognized place and that was relatively easy. Had it not been in the system the address entry was horrible… to me. I figure in the hundreds of reviewed Nav systems over the years that I’ve used I know when one is good and not so good.

General Information:

It is assembled in – Ulsan, Korea; Parts – US/Canadian 2%, Korea 89%, Engine and Transmission – Korea; Classification is Large Cars. Cars from Genesis: G80 and G90.

Handling & Performance:

Outstanding handling with that special feel of quality. Fuel economy is much the same across the board with the Genesis coming in a couple of mpg less than the rest of the field noted below.

The performance is wonderfully fast and smooth. Really nice.

Styling:

The first thing I found people asked, “is it a Bentley”. No, of course it isn’t but it has that appearance of a car of distinction. You will observe a lot of looks partially because it is a newcomer to the field of luxury cars.

Fit and Finish:

Excellent job of assembly that I have found in Hyundai and Kia products.

Cost:

On the lower end of price in this class and competitors.

Conveniences and comfort:

Outstanding level of features that make the driving experience very special. The list will knock your socks off – it did me. I’m impressed.

Consumer Recommendations:

If you’re looking for a luxury sedan you must include this in your search. You’ll be glad you did, and to boot, the warranty is the best of the bunch noted here with a 10 year, 100,000-mile powertrain coverage.

Recognized Competition:

Genesis G90 $71,000, Audi A7 $72,000, Audi A8 $83.000, Lincoln Continental $64,000, BMW 6 Series $81,000, BMW 7 Series $82,000.

Good News:

Well priced, great value for luxury car buyers, fantastic ride, powerful and a pure delight to drive.

Bad News:

Nav system ticked me off because if it isn’t super easy I’m not a happy camper.

Standard Equipment:

5.0 liter GDI DOHC Turbo V8 420 hp engine, 8-speed automatic transmission with shiftronic paddle shifters, adaptive control suspension with electronic damping control, intelligent drive mode with smart shift, 19” Alloy Wheels, Smart cruise control with stop / start feature, heads up display, stability and traction control and brake assist, 9-airbags including driver’s knee airbag, emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot detection and rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning and lane keep assist, driver attention alert, multi view camera with front and rear parking sensors, leather wrapped dash, door trim and genuine wood interior trim, full LED headlights with dynamic bending light, high beam assist and LED daytime running lights, Nappa Leather seating surfaces and microfiber suede headliner, 22-way power driver seat and 16-way front passenger power seat, 14-way power right rear seat and 12-way power left rear seat, heated and ventilated seats, ?Electroluminescent cluster with 7” Color HD LCD multi-informational display, Lexicon 17-speaker 7.1 surround sound audio, Quantum Logic Surround and Clari-Fi music Restoration technology, AM/FM/HD radio, MP3 audio,Sirius XM radio with 90 day trial, front seat wireless device charger, 3-zone climate control and CO2 sensor, power tilt and slide sunroof and acoustic laminated windows, power rear side window sunshades and power rear sunshade, power door closure and hands free smart power trunk with auto open.

Gas Stats:

$2.69/ Gal avg. January 15, 2017

www.fueleconomy.gov
for more information.

16 City and 24 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $69,700.

2017 Hyundai Elantra Ltd 2.0(1178)

2017 Hyundai Elantra Ltd 2.0 Review

Overview:

This is the 2017 Hyundai Elantra Ltd 2.0. Elantra comes in five trims: SE, Value Edition, Eco, Sport and Limited. MSRP pricing ranges from $17-24,000. It is among the top of the list for warranty, and tops in fuel economy of all competition noted in this evaluation.

The Limited is a little more on the conservative side but is the only trim with optional features I am most interested in: Collision warning, Emergency braking, Lane Departure warning, Lane Keep assist, Smart Cruise Control and Automatic high beam assist.

General Information:

It is assembled in Ulsan, Korea; Parts – US/Canadian 0%, Korea 97%; Engine and transmission – Korea; Classification is Midsize Cars. Cars from Hyundai: Accent, Azera, Elantra, Elantra GT, Genesis, Genesis Coupe, Ionig, Santa Fe, Sonata, Sonata Hybrid, Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid, Tucson and Veloster.

Opinion:

Driving on the highways today is a daunting experience for some and an opportunity for others to make believe they are Mario Andretti or any number of profession race drivers.

Here is my suggestion: If you are driving like a mad-man on a mission, you’d better have a woman passenger, in the car, about to deliver. Otherwise you are simply an irresponsible hazard on roads shared by young and old alike who want to avoid a bad day.

Slow down and give the rest of us a break. If you want to race go out into the desert or rent some time on a race track.

Handling & Performance:

This Limited version of the Elantra, unlike the Turbocharged 1.6-liter engine Sport version, will not be as responsive but the performance is more than adequate for every day driving. But more important is that it has more enhanced handling feature options that I care for that make it more attractive to my and really everyone’s driving needs.

Styling:

Similar design to all Hyundai models. Simply very nice.

Fit and Finish:

Very good.

Cost:

It is among the least expensive, purchase price wise, and at the same time it comes with the best warranty – thus it is very competitive.

Conveniences and comfort:

Very good array of standard features but for $1,900 you can have all the optional items noted in the Overview above.

Consumer Recommendations:

Hyundai Elantra is a must see and drive of the competition noted.

Recognized Competition:

Hyundai Elantra $23,000, Honda Civic $23,000, Mitsubishi Lancer $23,000, Nissan Sentra $23,000, Toyota Corolla $24,000, Chevrolet Cruze $22,000, Kia Forte $22,000, Mazda 3 $25,000, Volkswagen Jetta $23,000.

Good News:

Great value all around.

Bad News:

n/a

Standard Equipment:

2.0 litre 147 horsepower Gasoline 4-cylinder engine, 6-speed automatic transmission, dual continuous variable valve timing, Drive mode select (Normal, Sport & Eco), 17” alloy wheels, Stability control, traction control, ABS with electronic brake force distribution and brake assist, front, side and side curtain airbags, ddrivers knee airbag, Hill assist control, blind spot detection with rear cross traffic alert, rearview camera with dynamic guidelines, LED daytime running lights, side mirror turn indicators, 6-speaker audio system with 7” touch screen display, Sirius XM radio, Android and Apple carPlay, dual USB charging, power door locks and windows, Blue Link connected car system, dual climate control, power driver seat with lumbar support, leather seating and heated front seats, Bluetooth hands free phone system, steering wheel mounted audio and cruise controls, proximity Key and push button start and hands free smart trunk.

Gas Stats:

$2.69 Gal avg. February 5, 2017

www.fueleconomy.gov
for more information.

28 City and 37 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $22,350.

2017 Hyundai Sport 2.4(1176)

2017 Hyundai Sport 2.4 Review

Overview:

This is the 2017 Hyundai Sonata Sport 2.4. I last looked at the Sonata in 2015 and have tested all product models of Hyundai. As you surely must know Hyundai and Kia cars are favorite cars of mine. I’ve recommended them to my children and grandkids as well. Rarely do kids really listen to their parent’s advice but they do where cars are concerned and they didn’t regret it. Both daughter and granddaughter drive Kia’s.

General Information:

It is assembled in Montgomery Alabama, USA; Parts – US/Canadian 46%, Korea 53% and China 1%; Engine and transmission – USA; Classification is Large Cars. Cars from Hyundai: Accent, Azera, Elantra, Elantra GT, Genesis, Genesis Coupe, Ionig, Santa Fe, Sonata, Sonata Hybrid, Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid, Tucson and Veloster.

Handling & Performance:

Very nice handling car and although it only has 185 hp it is fast enough for normal driving. If you feel the need for more speed / quicker acceleration there is a Turbo version available that delivers 245 horsepower. You may have observed many car makers use the turbo to offset smaller engine sizes or mate the smaller engine to a more robust 8 speed transmission. It’s always driven by balancing performance with fuel economy. When gas prices were under a buck, car makers in the US leaned to the consumer’s demand for more horsepower. Today, of course, with $3-4 a gallon gas people are more willing to give up ‘muscle’ engines for softening the blow to their wallets.

Styling:

The Sonata has clean lines and although some will say its design is plain – Jane but that’s just how I like it.

Fit and Finish:

Very good – which is really a function of quality control rather than lack of new techniques and superior design methods in the world today. I’m thinking much of the reason to go to 3rd world countries to assemble their cars, manufacturers were finding better results from a ‘hungrier’ work force. Of course the other reasons are because of the high taxes and union driven wages beyond what other countries are strapped with. Lack of burdensome regulations aren’t as important when the cars are imported back to the US because those regulations still must be met in order to sell here. Unfortunately, such over the top restrictions mean other markets without those government controls are a more attractive place to build and even sell their products.

Cost:

Exactly the same as all in class.

Conveniences and comfort:

Good, and although it does not have some of my favorite high tech features the price reflects the absence – and that’s okay. I’m happy to adapt and moreover many of my years behind the wheel were in cars that didn’t even have safety belts.

Consumer Recommendations:

I love the Genesis G90 that I recently reviewed, but can I justify the cost of nearly 3 times as much as this Sonata. Probably not, but it depends on your place in life and career. The G90 is luxurious and may suit one who has completed life’s journeys and can afford anything. That is a unique combination for sure.

The Sonata fits a transportation need without all the frills that we all like to have but may not be willing to bear the cost. “Let us then be up and doing with a heart for any fate, still pursuing, still achieving, learn to Labor and to Wait.” This is a part of Longfellow’s “A Psalm of Life” and worth reflecting on. At those times in our life where the budget is straining good judgement should rule and I’ve always felt it better to earn before I could deserve.

If this segment of the market fits your budget, the list is very closely aligned in price, features, fuel economy and warranties. The Malibu edges out the rest of the field with a power train warranty of 100,000 miles with all the others at 60,000 miles.

It’s a close race that I would be hard pressed to pick a clear winner. Put the list up on the wall and throw darts.

Recognized Competition:

Hyundai Sonata $24,000, Ford Fusion $24,000, Chevrolet Malibu $24,000, Honda Accord $24,000, Toyota Camry $24,000, Subaru Legacy $23,000, Nissan Altima $23,000, Mazda 6 $23,000, Volkswagen Passat $25,000.

Good News:

Competitive pricing, nice styling, good fuel economy and a very comfortable ride.

Bad News:

n/a.

Standard Equipment:

2.4 litre 185 horsepower Gasoline Direct injection 4-cylinder engine, 6-speed automatic transmission, dual continuous variable valve timing, Drive mode select, 17” alloy wheels, rear spoiler, auto headlights, heated mirrors with turn signal indicators, driver blind spot mirror indicators, power door locks and windows, power driver seat with lumbar support, 60/40 split folding rear seats, tilt and telescopic stering wheel with controls, air conditioning, 7” color touchscreen disply audio, Apple CarPlay smart phone compatible, AM/FM/HD radion with CD/MP3 with iPod USB and Aux input jacks, Sirius XM radio, Bluetooth hands free phone system, Bluelink connected car system, Stability management, traction control, ABS with electronic brake force distribution and brake assist, front, side and side curtain airbags with driver knee bag, tire pressure monitor with individual tire indicator, rearview camera and cloth seating surfaces.

Gas Stats:

$2.69 Gal avg. January 22, 2017

www.fueleconomy.gov
for more information.

23 City and 32 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $23,400.

2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport M/T (1171)

Overview:
This is the 2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport M/T (Manual Transmission). I’ll repeat myself in noting that in the early years of the industry cars were equipped only with Manual Transmissions and in the early 1950s when automatic transmissions began to be popular Manual was recognized as ‘Standard’. Today of course you’d have to special order a manual shift transmission on most cars.

There is an informative article on the subject of Manual Transmissions at this link: http://www.cartalk.com/blogs/bestride/these-are-all-manual-transmission-cars-available-today

In summary the article states that Americans don’t buy manual transmissions anymore. 96% of the cars, trucks and SUVs sold in America have automatic transmissions. Some segments in the market don’t offer a manual at all, regardless of the model.

You used to be able to save a few bucks buying a cheap car with a manual transmission, and enjoy better fuel economy. Not true any longer and rather some will even cost more than an automatic. These days, the fuel mileage almost never gets better when compared with an automatic transmission.

General Information: It is assembled in Ulsan, Korea; Parts – US/Canadian 0%, Korea 97%; Engine & Transmission – Korea; Classification is Midsize Cars. Cars from Hyundai: Accent, Azera, Elantra, Elantra Coupe, Elantra GT, Equus, Genesis, Genesis Coupe, Santa Fe, Sonata, Sonata Hybrid, Sonata Plug-in Hybrid, Tucson and Veloster.

Opinion:
When you spend as much time in cars that we in America do, it’s amazing how much you can learn just by observing. I’m certain you notice the same things I do on the highway.

One observation is that many drivers do not pay as much attention as they should while driving. The result is, of course, accidents and most are caused by distractions. Even seasoned drivers can err, especially with all the new technology we have. Tweeting, texting and phone calls are a few things unavailable just 2 decades ago. And when you are being distracted it takes place at ever increasing speeds.

Driving is a serious responsibility and your mistakes can put others’ lives at risk, including your own. Even if you have passed driving classes with flying colors, the majority of your driving skill is learned over time. Ironically both ends of the spectrum – Youth and Old age –  complicate the problem even further. On top of that the roads are replete with newcomers to our busy highways from societies where they rode bicycles or walked or used public transportation. The variety therefore of levels of driving skills from a myriad of cultures is mind boggling and it’s a wonder there aren’t even more collisions than we must painfully endure already.

So please pay attention when you get behind the wheel. Avoid any distraction you can. Be safe.

Handling & Performance:
Super-fast and fabulously fun to drive. Good turning radius. It is also easy on gas.

Styling:
It has that “Today” look that is clean and smart but in many cases almost boooring. Hyundai and Kia (sister companies) are as good as it gets in design.

Fit and Finish:
Very good assembly and fitting components.

Cost:
This Elantra is an excellent value at about $20,000. If you want a sunroof and automatic temperature control and some other upgrades in sound system etc., you will spend less than $2,500.

Conveniences and comfort:
One of the more convenient features is quite simple – keyless entry and push button start. Ok, so even early cars had a simple ignition. Turn the key and push a button on the dash or on the floor and wa la you were off and driving. Real advancement will come shortly when the car recognizes your voice when you say car – start or you say it to your iPhone Watch as you walk to the car.

The first drive will impress you. The first think I noticed was the contour of the driver seat. It hugs you gently and it is especially appreciated with a Manual Shift car. For me it was a Flashback to Corvette.

What I missed in this test vehicle was “Hill Start” assist that is particularly helpful with a Manual Shift car. However for those who’ve never driven a manual transmission car this Elantra, as well as some others, you will be prompted for the best time to shift. Kinda like having training wheels on your bicycle.

Consumer Recommendations:
If your budget is $25,000 or less this is a fantastic value for a 5 seat sedan. It has relatively spacious seating and the trunk is very good size.

Recognized Competition:
Hyundai Elantra Sport M/T $21,000, Buick Verano $24,000, Honda Civic $21,000, Mitsubishi Lancer $21,000, Kia Forte$17,000, Nissan Sentra $18,000, Chevrolet Cruze $22,000, Mazda 3 $19,000, Toyota Corolla $23,000.

Good News:
Well priced – a lot of bang for the buck. It is fast and fun to drive, and among the top in fuel economy.

Bad News:
n/a

Standard Equipment:
1.6 liter Turbo GDI, 201 hp 4-cylinder engine, 6-speed manual transmission, 4-wheel ABS disc brakes with electronic brake force distribution and brake assist, stability control, traction control, blind sport mirror, rearview camera with dynamic guidelines, 18” alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights and taillights, 7” display audio system with AM/FM/HD/ & 6 speakers, Sirius XM radio, Android auto & Apple CarPlay, USB charging data and power, Bluetooth hands free phone system, steering wheel mounted audio and cruise controls, leather seating / heated front seats, alloy sport pedals, illuminated vanity mirrors, hands free smart trunk opener, keyless push button start / stop.

Gas Stats:
$2.50 / Gal avg. December 10, 2016
www.fueleconomy.gov
for more information.
22 City and 30 Highway MPG

Pricing:
MSRP $21,650.

2017 Hyundai Genesis G80 (1169)

Overview:
This is the 2017 Hyundai Genesis G80. Surely it is one of my favorite cars and one that I could see myself buying. Does that sound odd since the world makes many great cars. European cars like Mercedes, BMW and Audi and American cars like Cadillac and Buick are all sought after luxury brands. Those are all well-known names and we assume they have to be good cars or why would they be so popular, right? They are great companies and cars – So why am I so bullish on Korean made cars like this Genesis?

Many will remember the 1960s when Japanese cars were little known in the US. The Japanese were hungry and dedicated to rebuilding their country after World War II. They did do some dishonest things like renaming one city in Japan to USA (ooosa) to fool people to buy products so marked thinking they were made in America. Overshadowing such marketing moves was the passionate work ethic of the common people who were the workers that would resurrect the “Rising Sun”. Soon that dedication would allow the Japanese to shake off the image of “Cheaply Made” products in the early days.

They got into the ‘big leagues’ and managed to put out exceptional cars that would be sold in America (the largest car market in the world). All the while the “Big Three” in America – GM, Ford and Chrysler were arrogant fat cats who were slumbering while the Japanese were working. It would be a second sneak attack, but this time an economic bombardment on the mainland of America in the form of automobiles. I met with some in Japanese industry folks in the late 1950s in Japan and was impressed, so much so, I would buy one of the first imports to America – Datsun. Japan had put Capitalist principles to work in rebuilding and they never looked back.

Well, today, there is a new kid on the block – Korean industry is on the move. Hyundai may well take the lead away from Japan by producing new passionately built cars. They have earned the accolades as many have found Hyundai and Kia (sister companies) to be exceptional cars. Like Japan was in the 1960s, the Korean’s are driven.

I can’t help but make the observation that South Korea is a perfect example of how Capitalism, that brought Japan out of the ashes has also made Korea superstar industrialists. One only need look north of the 38th Parallel to see the contrast between the south and the Socialist North Korean wacko government.

Now in the early 21st Century I have had the great opportunity to meet with Korean business leaders who have embraced the same economic principles that made America the exceptional industrial nation it is. What I took away from the most recent meeting with Hyundai was they are Good People. They are industrious, they are friendly and they are serious about earning their place in the world market.

Let’s face it, it is not the common folks, but corrupt governments that ruin it all for “We The People”. It has always been the hard working people who have made Capitalism work so well in all of history, in all the world.  

General Information: It is assembled in Ulsan, Korea; Parts – US/Canadian 2%, Korea 88%; Engine & Transmission – Korea; Classification is Large Cars. Cars from Hyundai: Accent, Azera, Elantra, Elantra Coupe, Elantra GT, Equus,Genesis, Genesis Coupe, Santa Fe, Sonata, Sonata Hybrid, Sonata Plug-in Hybrid, Tucson and Veloster.

Handling & Performance:

Genesis delivers a smooth, comfortable, powerful ride.

Styling:

b

Fit and Finish:

Excellent.

Cost:

As equipped it is a great value.

Conveniences and comfort:

This Genesis has top of the line features that satisfy nearly all things I look for. But you can expand (non-essentials in my view) with options that can add nearly $10,000 to the price. Such features include a panoramic sunroof, ventilated seats, sunshades and larger touchscreens, for example.

Consumer Recommendations:

I’m impressed with the MSRP on this model considering all the standard equipment. Therefore, I’m not interested in the options, but others will. I suspect if I wanted to upgrade I may want to consider a move to the Equus (top of the Hyundai line) but then the price jumps over $20,000 more. Look but I think the Genesis is a lot of luxury for the money.

If Equus and Genesis don’t fit your budget, you may want to look at the Sonata that is about $10,000 less than the Genesis. Nice.

Recognized Competition:

Hyundai Genesis $44,000, Buick LaCrosse $41,000, Chrysler 300C $44,000, Toyota Avalon $41,000, Dodge Charger $35,000, Chevrolet Impala $31,000.

 Good News:

Affordable luxury level, great group of safety and comfort features, powerful and a super comfortable ride. 

Bad News:

n/a 

Standard Equipment:

3.8 liter 311 hp V6 engine, 8-speed automatic transmission with shift-tronic, drive modes: Eco, Normal, sport & Snow mode, 18” Alloy wheels, stability management, stability control and traction controls, 9 airbags including driver knee airbag, emergency braking, blindspot detection and rear cross traffic alert, lane keep assist and lane departure warning, smart cruise with start / stop, Xenon lights with high beam assist, leather heated seating, climate control, heated power 12-way front seats with power lumbar support, memory settings for driver seat, side mirrors and steering column, leather wrapped heated power tilt and telescopic steering wheel, 8” touchscreem navigation and rearview camera, Andriod auto and Apple car play, 4.3” color multi info display, Bluetooth hands free phone, system, AM/FM HD radio, CD, MP3, audio system with 7 speakers, SiriusXM radio, hands free smart trunk.

Gas Stats:

$2.56 / Gal avg. November 26, 2016

www.fueleconomy.gov

for more information.

16 City and 25 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $43,900.

2017 Hyundai Santa Fe LTD ULT FWD (1165)

Overview:

This is the 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe LTD ULT (for Ultimate) FWD. Who makes up these designations? ULT – oh well. Whatever! As the kids say.

Hyundai is one of my favorite “Cars for the Masses”. They came on the scene as affordable well made cars with a great warranty. If nothing else, it has been Great Marketing for sure. And incidentally Hyundai cars come to us from a very nice company.

I’ve always been a proponent of Cars that come to us from Japan and South Korea, because the world at war that divided our countries also was the reason for joining together to heal. One would have thought the wounds of war would have persisted and festered. But it didn’t happen that way. The times were turbulent but as both countries emerged from war torn conditions they embraced American Capitalism. And whether forced through the occupation or willingly, both flourished economically as was so desperately needed as they rebuilt from the devastation that war brings. Surely from an economic point of view Capitalism has been, hands down, far superior than the autocratic rule before the wars. Capitalism continues to enhance the quality of life for any country willing to incorporate such principles into their culture. We all have choices, eh.

Another observation is how cars start out small and morph into ever larger versions of themselves. Kinda like people do over time. But as gas prices begin to rise (which prices tend to do) vehicle size shrinks again. Since prices hover around $2.50 to 4.00 a gallon in the US, cars in the largest markets like the US tend to get larger in recent years. Consider world prices for gas are currently $7.22 a gallon with prices in oil rich countries are as low as $.57 per gallon while US prices average $2.51 per gallon.

General Information: It is assembled in Ulsan, Korea; Parts – US/Canadian 2%, Korea 90%; Engine & Transmission – Korea; Classification is Small SUV. Cars from Hyundai: Accent, Azera, Elantra, Elantra Coupe, Elantra GT, Equus, Genesis, Genesis Coupe, Santa Fe, Sonata, Sonata Hybrid, Sonata Plug-in Hybrid, Tucson and Veloster.

Note:  although the literature notes it is a ‘Small SUV’ I disagree. 6 or 7 seats isn’t small to me. All in this review are 6 or 7 seat standard size SUVs. I’m thinking the literature has to be wrong or a mistake.

Handling & Performance:

Being a ‘full-size’ SUV (in my judgement) this Santa Fe is a great highway car. It performed well on our journey to the San Diego area of Southern California. I found it comfortable and stress free because of ‘smart cruise control’ and ‘blind spot detection’. It made the journey far better than lesser equipped automobiles.

Fuel economy in class are all within 1-2 mpg of each other and for the size and seating that is in the range of 20-24 mpg average combined.

Styling:

Delightful designs on all models of Hyundai cars.

Fit and Finish:

Excellent.

Cost:

If ‘loaded’ with features as this test vehicle was, the cost is not cheap as you’d expect. It was also beautiful and as ULTimately equipped the cost is nearly $43,000. Base price, however, is very affordable $30,000.

Conveniences and comfort:

I’m very bullish on the current technology that adds more than any other features developed over the past 100 years. The array of great features has blossomed in recent years. The additions are wonderful and continue to get better every year. Smart Cruise (with stop/start), Lane Departure, Blind Spot Detection and the like are a must for my car buying dollar. I’d rather not have a moon roof and put the money into Stability control and all of those features noted above.

Smart cruise has a, not so common, stop / start feature that allows the car to come to a complete stop (say on freeway travel) and start again when traffic resumes moving. Very cool.

Consumer Recommendations:

Include Hyundai and Kia (sister company of Hyundai) in every car buying decision you make where they have product offerings. You won’t be disappointed.

Recognized Competition:

Hyundai Santa Fe $40,000, Nissan Murano $40,000, Buick Enclave $49,000, Jeep Grand Cherokee $40,000, Chevrolet Traverse $43,000, Kia Sorento $41,000, Dodge Durango $44,000, GMC Acadia $45,000.

Good News:

Cost efficient Luxury, great comfort and safety features.

Bad News:

n/a

Standard Equipment:

3.3 liter 290 hp V6 engine, 6-speed automatic transmission, stability management and traction controls, front, front side and side curtain airbags, driver knee airbag, tire pressure monitor, 19” alloy wheels, auto headlights, heated power mirrors with turn indicators, panoramic sunroof, parking sensors, 8-inch tourh screen, Nagigation with Android auto, multi view camera system, hands free smart liftgate with auto open, proximity key with push button start, rear side window sunshades,  heated and ventillated front seats, heated steering wheel and rear seats, leather seating surfaces steering wheel and shift knob, 6-passenger seating with captain chairs, 50/50 split third row seats, dual climate control with clean air ionizer, rear vents,integrated memory system for driver seat, third row USB outlet, Bluetooth, power adjustable driver and passenger seat, AM/FM/HD radio, Sirius XM/ CD/MP3 Overhead logic surround sound, Hyundai Blue Link Connected Car system, compass, 115 volt power outlet, smart cruise contol with stop/start, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, electronic parking brake, high beam assist.

Gas Stats:

$2.69/ Gal avg. October 31, 2016

www.fueleconomy.gov

for more information.

17 City and 23 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $42,545.

2016 Hyundai Tucson Ltd., FWD (1158)

Overview:

This is the 2016 Hyundai Tucson Ltd., FWD. It is named after the American desert town in Arizona, styled in Germany, and built in South Korea. It’s value packed, too—touchscreen infotainment with satellite radio is standard. This Limited model has navigation, leather seats, and front-wheel drive that are standard. It is powered by a 175-hp 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, seven-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive is optional.

It was a joy to drive. I kept thinking that I could own this car/SUV. It has almost everything I want in a car. However, I would make sure my Tucson included smart cruise control.

General Information: It is assembled in Ulsan, Korea; Parts – US/Canadian 0%, Korea 93%; Engine & Transmission – Korea; Classification is Small SUV. Cars from Hyundai: Accent, Azera, Elantra, Elantra Coupe, Elantra GT, Equus, Genesis, Genesis Coupe, Santa Fe, Sonata, Sonata Hybrid, Sonata Plug-in Hybrid, Tucson and Veloster.

Handling & Performance:

Everybody has a different like when it comes to steering feel. Some want more steering effort, others less. Well, with Drive Mode Select, you get to choose. Drive Mode adjusts both engine and transmission response and steering effort to match your driving style. Select from three modes: Eco, Normal or Sport by simply touching a button on the center console.

Turbocharging makes it fast which is welcomed because for normal driving you don’t always need the boost but nice to have in a pinch, all the while maintaining good fuel economy.

Styling:

All competition is very similar is styling but taken as a whole Hyundai cars and crossovers are my favorites.

Fit and Finish:

Excellent.

Cost:

Priced competitively

Conveniences and comfort:

Most every feature you’d ever need and more.

Consumer Recommendations:

The only other feature I would want to be included in my car is the Crash Avoidance that I equate with Smart or Adaptive Cruise control. That, to me, is among the most valuable of technology features available in today’s cars. That I’d be happy to pay extra for. One day, however, such features will be standard. Until then we’ll have to pop for the added cost, but it is worth it.

Recognized Competition:

Hyundai Tucson $23-32,000, Mazda CX-5 $23-31,000, Ford Escape $24-33,000.

Honda CRV $25-34,000, Kia Sportage $23-32,000, Jeep Cherokee $24-39,000, Chevrolet Equinox $26,000, Jeep Patriot $27,000, Mitsubishi Outlander Sport $23,000, Subaru Forester $23-35,000, Toyota RAV-4 $27,000 and Jeep Wrangler $25-38,000.

Good News:

Well priced, one of the best warrantees of any car, quiet and smooth ride, Turbo gives it that needed boost and is good on gas.

Bad News:

n/a

Standard Equipment:

1.6 liter Turbo GDI 175 hp 4-cylinder engine, 7-speed ECO-shift auto transmission, 4-wheel ABS disc brakes with electronic brake assist and brake force distribution, stability and traction controls, down hill brake control, Hillstart assist control, front and front side and side curtain airbags, tire pressure monitor, drive mode select, 19” allow wheels, side mirror turn signal indicators, proximity key with push button start, fog lights, LED taillights, leather seating with heated front seats, power front seats, 60/40 split folding rear seats, power windows and door locks, dual auto temp climate control, tilt and telescopic steering comumn, leather wrapped steering wheel with audio, cruise and phone controls, Bluetooth hands free phone system , 8” Touch screen, navigation system with rearview camera, Sirius XM radio, AM/FM MP3 premium audio with USB and Aux input jacks, Leather wrapped shift knob, Blind Spot detection, with rear cross traffic alert and Lane change assist.

Gas Stats:

$2.57/ Gal avg. September 17, 2016

www.fueleconomy.gov

for more information.

25 City and 30 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $29,900.

2016 Hyundai Veloster R-Spec M/T (1150)

Overview:

This is the 2016 Hyundai Veloster R-Spec M/T 3-door coupe.  This and other competitors noted below appeal to the younger driver during the ages 16 and 25 or so, in my opinion. Why 25? Because that is when cars cease to be the most important defining thing in a young life and young men especially, are more likely to be looking at marriage… kids and car seats.

General Information: It is assembled in Ulsan, Korea; Parts – US/Canadian 0%, Korea 94%; Engine & Transmission – Korea; Classification is Compact Cars. Cars from Hyundai: Accent, Azera, Elantra, Elantra Coupe, Elantra GT, Equus, Genesis, Genesis Coupe, Santa Fe, Sonata, Sonata Hybrid, Sonata Plug-in Hybrid, Tucson and Veloster.

Handling & Performance:

This Veloster features Torque vectoring which is a new technology in the differential to transfer engine torque to the wheels. Torque vectoring technology provides the differential with the ability to vary the power to each wheel. It is popular in all-wheel drive vehicles but also is employed in some newer front-wheel drive vehicles like this Veloster. This feature allows for the wheels to grip the road for better launch and handling.

Styling:

Nice lines and I like the sporty touches on the interior seating stitching. Again, I believe it appeals to the younger set from my experience. Young people, mostly guys of course, are obvious when they gawk at these need for speed looking cars.

Fit and Finish:

Very well assembled and well-fitting components in this price range. As you may recall that has not always been true. Earlier cars in all brands were really pretty sloppy fitting.

Cost:

All the cars in this segment noted are nearly identically priced.

Conveniences and comfort:

Pretty basic features on the car I reviewed. But it is, overall, a comfortable car to drive. I put 100+ miles a day on a car and I notice when it doesn’t meet reasonable standards of comfort. However, the Manual Transmission will not be to the liking of many and most youthful drivers don’t even know what a manual transmission is.

It did not include conveniences I appreciate such as Smart Cruise, crash avoidance and other warning sensors that are becoming more commonplace. It does, however, include Stability Control and traction control and ABS brakes with Brake Force Distribution. No NAV but my phone and most likely yours has Nav.

Consumer Recommendations:

If you are looking for a performance / sporty car this is the best of the competition noted and recognized in the industry. However, I think it can effectively compete with more upscale sports cars like: Mazda MX5 Miata – over $25,000, Scion FR-S – over $25,000, Subaru WRX – over $26,000, Ford Mustang – over $24,000 and even the Nissan 370Z which is over $29,000.

Recognized Competition:

Hyundai Veloster $22,000, MINI Hardtop $22,000, Volkswagen Golf $21,000, Fiat 500 $21,000.

Good News:

Fast and furious fun ride, 3-door convenience for rear seating, good pricing for a sporty performance car.

Bad News:

Limited space and limited use application and thus limited to a more youthful consumer.

Standard Equipment:

1.8 liter Turbo GDI 201 hp  4-cylinder engine, 6-speed manual transmission, sport tuned suspension,  4-wheel ABS disc brakes with electronic brake assist and brake force distribution, torque vectoring control, stability and traction controls, front, front side and side curtain airbags, tire pressure monitor, 18” allow wheels, fog lights, LED taillights and rear wiper, air conditioning, 450W sound system with external amp with subwoofer, CD, MP3 with 8 speakers Siius XM radio, iPod / USB and Aux input jacks, 7” Multimedia touchscree monitor, rearview camera, remote keyless entry with alarm, leather bolster seats, steering wheel monted cruise, audio and phone controls, bluetooth hands free phone system, leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, 60/40 split folding rear seat.

Gas Stats:

$2.95/ Gal avg. July 22, 2016

www.fueleconomy.gov

for more information.

25 City and 33 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $21,680.

2016 Hyundai Genesis (1149)

Overview:

This is the 2016 Hyundai Genesis. Hyundai designers took a minimalist approach to the dashboard and center console it is said. For me it brings a distinct airiness to the cabin. The interior driver cabin isn’t overwrought with buttons, controls or busy shapes. There’s everything you need, but it’s never in your way and never cluttering. I think you will like the simplicity and straightforward operation of the rotary-dial and other features.

This is truly distinctive to Hyundai and in sharp contrast to other brands, most noticeable in the German brands. Mercedes, Audi and BMW mimic an airplane instrument panel. This difference is clutter and confusion to most I’ve talked with. More importantly Hyundai has designed for more simple and intuitive user interface of all features.

General Information: It is assembled in Montgomery, Alabama, USA; Parts – US/Canadian 5%, Korea 90%; Engine & Transmission – Korea; Classification is Large Cars. Cars from Hyundai: Accent, Azera, Elantra, Elantra Coupe, Elantra GT, Equus, Genesis, Genesis Coupe, Santa Fe, Sonata, Sonata Hybrid, Sonata Plug-in Hybrid, Tucson and Veloster.

Handling & Performance:

I found the Genesis to be a confident and comfortable driving experience. It is fast and has a very smooth ride. Standard on every Genesis is a system that monitors and modifies engine throttle response, transmission shift points and steering to provide optimal unnamedperformance in a variety of road conditions. Drivers can select: Eco for conserving fuel, Normal for comfort, Sport for dynamic driving and Snow for low-traction road conditions.

The link is to view a video explaining HTRAC all-wheel drive if you’re considering the AWD option or even if you are not.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=UpJv81Zx1yc

Styling:

Nice job from the design staff at Hyundai. Clearly it is a beautifully styled automobile.

Fit and Finish:

Excellent.

Cost:

Competitive. The increase in demand for Hyundai products has pushed the pricing closer to its longer established competition. However, you may find American made Dodge and Chevrolet brands to be very aggressively priced to gain your business back. It is worth a “Look-See”. They came to the party with super competitive pricing.

Conveniences and comfort:

There are optional equipment packages that took my test vehicle to nearly $50,000. Signature Package $3,900; Tech Package $3,500; Ultimate Package $3,500. Many interesting options but the only ones I would really want include * Blind Sport detection with rear cross traffic allert, * Smart Cruise control with Stop / Start,  * Automatic emergency braking and * Lane Departure warning and lane keep assist. These noted features are included in the pakages mentioned above. I wasn’t able to reach anyone to tell me if these features could be selected individually or not. But I will tell you those packages have other stuff you may want.

Some say the seats are not as comfortable on the long rides as in some other brands. I drive 100 miles a day and haven’t noticed this criticism to be correct.

Consumer Recommendations:

You likely will own your car for a while so you will need to consider if the options packages are worth the added cost. But you will want to check that out because they enhance the driving experience and more importantly they add greatly to safety. In fact, I might even suggest you check out a lower priced model so you can afford some of those safety features.

Finally, there are only six competitors noted here and you surely will want to include all before you make your final decision. I’ve tested them all and have my favorites but they are all impressive options.

Recognized Competition:

Hyundai Genesis $40,000, Buick La Crosse $41,000, Chrysler 300 $39,000, Toyota Avalon $41,000,Dodge Charger $35,000, Chevrolet Impala $36,000.

Good News:

It’s got style, it’s comfortable, it’s powerful and good fuel economy at a competitive price.

Bad News:

n/a

Standard Equipment:

3.8 liter 311 hp V6 GDI aluminum engine, 8-speed automatic transmission, intelligent drive mode, electronic traction and stability controls, vehicle stability management control, 4-wheel ABS disc brakes with electronic brake assist and brake force distribution, 9 airbags including driver knee airbag, rain sensing wipers, heated power folding side mirrors with turn signal indicators, 12 way power (front) leather seating, leather wrapped tilt and telescoping steering wheel, proximity keyless entry and push button start / stop, 8” touchscreen navigation system with rearview camera, 4.3” color LCD multi-information display, dual zone climate control, Bluetooth hands free phone system with audio streaming, Blue Link telematics system, 18” alloy wheels, audio system with 7 speakers, Sirius XM, Steering wheel mounted audio and cruise control, tire pressure monitor.

Gas Stats:

$2.95/ Gal avg. July 16, 2016

www.fueleconomy.gov

for more information.

18 City and 29 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $38,750.

2017 Hyundai Elantra ECO (1147)

Overview:

This is the 2017 Hyundai Elantra ECO (for Ecology).  There is a growing appreciation for Korean cars. The new kid on the block is usually not quickly accepted, but Hyundai and Kia cars are so good they have quickly weaved their way to the top. Avis said it best a few decades ago when they advertised “We’re number 2, we try harder” when competing with number 1 Hertz. Well, being relatively new to the world market, Hyundai had to try harder and it shows. Thus, they have thoughtfully made cars backed by the best Warranty in the industry.

This Elantra features upscale interior finishes and can be equipped with a host of features more commonly found in pricier cars. The Elantra competes directly with the highly ranked Honda Civic and the lower ranked, but popular Toyota Corolla.

General Information: It is assembled in Montgomery, Alabama, USA; Parts – US/Canadian 29%, China 1%, Korea 70%; Engine & Transmission  – Korea; Classification isMidsize/Compact. Cars from Hyundai: Accent, Azera, Elantra, Elantra Coupe, Elantra GT, Equus, Genesis, Genesis Coupe, Santa Fe, Sonata, Sonata Hybrid, Sonata Plug-in Hybrid, Tucson and Veloster.

Handling & Performance:

Engines get smaller to give better fuel economy but the Turbocharger gives that extra punch when needed. Keep the pressure off the gas pedal and you can get pretty fantastic mpg up to 40. Now that’s what I’m talking about and it is simply gas injected – so no hybrid complication possibilities to drive the price up.

It can be powered with either a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine in the SE and Limited or the turbocharged, 1.4-liter four-cylinder that I had in this test vehicle. It produces 128 horsepower. That doesn’t sound like much but the Turbo is an equalizer that makes it very responsive.

Styling:

Nice. What more can you say. Some cars jump out at you ugly, but this Hyundai model lineup are all pretty nice looking cars.

Fit and Finish:

Very good and it is normal for Hyundai cars.

Cost:

Pricing starts at $17,150 and this Elantra ECO with features noted is $20,650. Outstanding value.

Conveniences and comfort:

It comes standard with a good features and my test car included some of the most important features for my money, including blind spot detection and brake force distribution. As you may recall, EBD automatically varies the amount of force applied to each of a vehicle’s wheels, based on road conditions, speed, loading, etc. for very effective stopping that makes it much safer than traditional brake systems of years past.

Consumer Recommendations:

The Elantra is a good option in this segment of the market. You may want to also test drive the Sonata that is a step up from the Elantra. If your budget can take another leap up, the Genesis is pretty special. I’ll tell you more about the Genesis after testing it next week.

Recognized Competition:

Hyundai Elantra $23,000, Chevrolet Cruze $24,000, Honda Civic $25,000, Mazda 3 $24,000, Kia Forte$22,000.

Good News:

Great pricing coupled with exceptional fuel economy. Turbo fast and comfy ride.

Bad News:

Some electronics / technology frustration but it is minor compared to the usually intuitive interface with the user.

Standard Equipment:

1.4 liter Turbo GDI engine, 7-speed eco-shift dual clutch automatic transmission, drive mode ECO, Normal and Sport, electronic traction and stability controls, ABS electronic brake assist and brake force distribution, front, side curtain air bags, driver knee airbag, blind spot detection with rear cross traffic alert, rearview camera, 15” alloy wheels, audio system with 7” touchscreen and 6 speakers, Sirius XM, android audio and Apple CarPlay support, dual zone climate control, Bluetooth hands free zone, Steering wheel mounted audio and cruise control, leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, heated front seats, 60/40 split folding rear seat, proximity key and push button start and smart hands free trunk.

Gas Stats:

$3.05/ Gal avg. July 2, 2016

www.fueleconomy.gov

for more information.

32 City and 40 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $20,650.