Category Archives: Hyundai

2014 Hyundai Sonata SE

Overview:

This week we’re looking at the 2014 Hyundai Sonata SE 2.0T. The whole lineup of Hyundai cars is rather impressive and I continue to sing it praises.

In the early 1960s Japanese cars entered on the scene in America with a great deal of trepidation on the part of the Japanese and American’s. It had only been 15 years since the end of a brutal war in the Pacific between the Empire of Japan and the US. I bought a Datsun back then because I was angry at the American car maker arrogance and wanted to smack them in the chops. It really was not all that good a car. Everything shaked, rattled and rolled and they were so underpowered for the American consumer it’s a wonder they were accepted at all. But they followed the VW Beetle / Bug that became so popular in spite of the brutal between Germany under Adolph Hitler and the US and all its ally’s. What is it about American’s who so freely forgive those who had tried to kill them. I guess we just don’t carry a grudge very long.

Can you imagine those in the Middle East countries who kill themselves if they have no one else to kill at the moment, buying cars or anything else from their enemies?

Well all that to say these Korean cars also follow a war with Korea that began in June 1950 and ended in July 1953 – of course the war was with North Korean Communism. But that was SO long ago that few remember or even care and the younger generation don’t even have a clue there was a World War I, II or Korean war. They may know about Vietnam, but even that is questionable. By now it is a given that we American’s harbor no animosity toward our enemies even when we have lost loved ones. We buy cars from those we fought and we buy oil from other current enemies. We’re a strange people – or at the very least unusual. It was Will Rogers who said “I never met a man I didn’t like”. I guess that sentiment still holds true in the American consciousness.

General Information:

Parts from the US / Canada 39%; Korea 60%. It is assembled in Montgomery, Alabama, USA, Classification is Large cars. Cars from Hyundai: Accent, Azera, Elantra, Elantra Touring, Equus, Genesis, Genesis Coupe, Santa Fe, Sonata, Sonata Hybrid, Tucson, Veloster, Veracruz.

Handling & Performance:

I found driving the mountain test roads I like to use, that this Sonata delivers an E ride (Disneyland of Old term) or will challenge any 6-Flaggs park ride for the thrill of it all. It sports a 2.0 liter turbo charged gas direct injection 4-cylinder engine that produces 274 horsepower. It has sport tuned suspension and all that promises not to disappoint those who have a need for speed and control. It will pull Gs with the best of them. Nice. After that ride I needed a nap, but I was too pumped to close my eyes.

Styling:

The whole family of cars from Hyundai are lovely looking cars. As good as it gets. Eat your heart out Lexus, BMW and Audi to name a few who are being successfully challenged for top spot in sales. Say good nite Camry.

Fit and Finish:

Very very good.

Cost:

Let me also suggest this… if you are interested in a great warranty, a greater product from a great company, and you want to get in on the ground floor while prices are still good from the “Newest Kid on the Block” look very closely at Hyundai and sister company Kia. You will NOT be disappointed.

Conveniences and comfort:

For those who don’t know what Active ECO System is, it is simply a system that modifies engine operation so you get more gradual acceleration, and the transmission tends to shift to higher gears sooner and isn’t as quick to downshift for passing. Active Eco also cuts off the fuel supply during deceleration, and Hyundai says all this electronic management can increase fuel economy as much as 7 percent. But you can turn it off with the flick of a button on the dash.

In a sense there is nothing new under the sun in that some of this stuff was available on cars in the 1950s. It didn’t work automatically but required the driver to adjust how they are applying gas and shifting the transmission. In any case the principal was exactly the same. The device was super simple. There was a gauge attached to the manifold that measured vacuum so you would know when to shift and apply gas for maximum fuel economy.

My 1957 Chevrolet was equipped with a home made electronic ignition that was designed and built by a Phd friend from Cal Tech in Pasadena. Those nerdy brain-e-aks were far ahead of car makers.

One technological advance however was not thought of back then is the “Proximity Key Entry” with push button start/stop. If you haven’t experienced it, you need to. Those who have know what a great feature it is. I would never own another car without it and every woman who can’t seem to find her car keys in that jammed packed purse this is a miracle.

DSSM or Driver Selectable Steering Mode is a nice feature for different driving conditions and at the touch of a button on the steering wheel you can lighten the touch and tension for around town driving all the way to more tension for on the road higher speed driving. Nice.

Consumer Recommendation:

At this writing the 2015 models are starting to arrive. But I have to say just between you and me and the lamp post you should consider the year old model. It provides the best of both worlds… they are considered a year older price wise and yet are new cars. Save the dough and buy the 2014. You know they will have clearance sales to get rid of the old inventory and make room for the new 2015s. Just a thought.

Recognized Competition:

Hyundai Sonata $26,000, Chevrolet Cruze $24,000, Chevrolet Impala $27,000, Dodge Challenger $26,000, Honda Accord $33,000, Kia Optima $28,000, Mazda 6 $25,000, Nissan Altima $26,000, Suzuki Kizashi $26,000, Toyota Camry $29,000, Volkswagen Passat $27,000.

Good News:

Great ride, fast, luxurious appointments and standard equipped for today.

Bad News:

It is bad news for the competition because Hyundai is a standout automobile.

Standard Equipment:

2.0 liter 274 horsepower Turbo Gasoline Direct injection 4-cylinder engine, continuous variable valve timing, 6-speed auto transmission with shiftronic paddle shifters, Active ECO system, (see explanation above), Stability management, traction control, ABS braking system with Electronic brake force distribution and brake assist, front, side and side curtain airbags, tire pressure monitor, sport tuned suspension, 18” hyper Silver Alloy Wheels, fog lights, side mirror mounted turn signals, driver blind spot detection, proximity key entry with push button start/stop, sport seats with leather bolsters and cloth inserts, power driver seat with lumbar support and heated front seats, 60/40 split folding rear seat, driver selectable steering modes (DSSM discussed above), leather wrapped steering wheel with cruise, audio and phone controls, dual climate control, rearview camera, 4.3” Touch screen color audio display & Sirius Radio.

Gas Stats:

$3.98 / Gal avg. June 24, 2014

www.fueleconomy.gov
For more information.

21 City and 32 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $25,750.

 

2014 Hyundai Azera (1033)

General Info:

Parts – US/ Canadian 2%, Korea 89%; Engine & Transmission – Korea
Assembly – Asan, Korea
Class: – Large cars
Cars: – Accent, Azera, Elantra, Elantra Touring, Equus, Genesis, Genesis Coupe, Santa Fe, Sonata, Sonata Hybrid, Tucson, Veloster, Veracruz.

Overview:

This week we’re looking at the 2014 Hyundai Azera 4-door sedan. I like all of the Hyundai products and it is customary for car companies to provide a model for all budgets. This Azera gives mid-range buyers a luxury like car for the young executive and family. It seats five and competes with far more expensive luxury cars where you are paying $10-15,000 more just for the ‘badge’. This relatively new entrant into the market still offers the advantage of aggressive pricing. The window of opportunity to get in before the prices rise will not last more than the next year or so, because the press is singing its praises.

General Information: Parts from the US / Canada 2%; Korea 89%. It is assembled in Asan, Korea, Classification is Large cars. Cars from Hyundai: Accent, Azera, Elantra, Elantra Touring, Equus, Genesis, Genesis Coupe, Santa Fe, Sonata, Sonata Hybrid, Tucson, Veloster, Veracruz.

Handling & Performance:

Smooth comfortable ride that has the power when called upon.

Styling:

The look of today’s luxury cars. Sleek aerodynamic lines that are common to most luxury sedans.

Fit and Finish:

Very Good

Cost:

A real value in class.

Conveniences and comfort:

The list below is very complete with all the necessary safety features and technology items I consider customary in today’s world.

Consumer Recommendation:

As I have mentioned in prior Hyundai reviews it is my opinion that Hyundai is the car of the year. It has unseated the Japanese cars generally and it reminds me that when you are number two you try harder. It is clear the Korean’s came to the game to play hard. I have had personal experience with another division that manufacturers large truck trailers and in the past 20 years they have won the business of companies like Fed X and UPS. In their plant in Mexico you see a quality operation. I’m as impressed with the management there as I was a few decades ago when I visited a Japanese plant.

Here with a consumer testimonial:

The styling, fit and finish, engine performance and smoothness, you can barely hear the engine at idle speed. Gas mileage is very good, I just returned from a road trip of about 800 miles, my gas mileage average was 30.5 per gallon in my 2014 Limited. This car is in a class by itself. Before my purchase I drove the Lexus ES350, Toyota Avalon and Buick Lacrosse. In my opinion the Azera tops all of them. I also owned a 2013 Azera base model that led me to the 2014 limited model, so far I am extremely pleased.

Recognized Competition:

Hyundai Azera $35,000, Buick Verano $29,000, Chevrolet Impala $36,000, Dodge Charger $29,000, Honda Accord $33,000, Mazda 6 $30,000, Mercedes Benz $47,000, Nissan Altima $31,000.

Good News:

Excellently managed company, exceptionally well priced, powerful and comfortable ride.

Bad News:

None

Standard Equipment:

3.3 liter 293 horsepower V6, Continuously variable valve timing, 6 speed automatic transmission, 18” Silver Alloy wheels, stability management system, traction control, front, front and rear side bags, driver knee bag, side curtain airbags, brake assist disc brakes with brake force distribution, tire pressure monitor, heated power folding side mirrors, proximity key entry with push button start, auto headlight control, leather seating with heated front and rear seats, ventilated front seats, power adjustable front seats, power tilt and telescopic steering column, Bluetooth, memory system for driver seat, mirrors and steering wheel, 8” touch screen Navigation system, HD radio with SIRIUS XM satellite, climate control.

Gas Stats:

$4.05 / Gal avg. May 26, 2014

www.fueleconomy.gov
For more information.

19 City and 29 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $34,750.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@atthewheel.com
Copyright © 2014 – An Automotive Love Affair

 

 

2013 Hyundai Genesis (955)

Overview: 

This week we’re looking at the 2013 Hyundai Genesis which is my second favorite of the Hyundai line right after the Equus as far as luxury goes. It surely is a contender to unseat the European giants like Mercedes Benz, BMW and Audi, and the Japanese Lexus.

General Information: 

Parts from the US / Canada 1%; Korea 78%. It is assembled in Ulsan, Korea, Classification is Large cars.Cars from Hyundai: Accent, Azera, Elantra, Elantra Touring, Equus, Genesis, Genesis Coupe, Santa Fe, Sonata, Sonata Hybrid, Tucson, Veloster, Veracruz.

Handling & Performance:

Excellent in every respect. Seating is comfortable, lots of leg room and head room, and a lot of power. This is truly a very nice road / highway car.

Styling:

Elegant like all the rest in this luxury class. Some people, totally unsolicited, commented it looks like a Mercedes, or Lexus. And people with a lot of money are terribly impressed and some I know have opted to buy Hyundai. These Korean’s have stolen a page out of the early Japanese auto makers in giving what the consumer wants and by now that formula is tried and tested and true.

Fit and Finish:

Excellent

Cost:

Now when you talk about cost to buy, the Giants are knocked off their feet with a MSRP of $34,200. I’ll take two and replace the one popular badged luxury car so my wife and I can have one each.

Conveniences and comfort:

Ultra comfortable and all the conveniences most cars should include and those consumers want or need. Ok, so there could be other features I would pop for but they are few and not needed… unless I want to spend $4 grand more.

The car I tested did have some ups and extras you may want to include, like Nav (which I have on my iPhone and I used even when one is built in, in many cases), BlueLink that is a new “Super Sleuth” feature I would do without (you may have young drivers who need monitoring), Bluetooth is one I wouldn’t do without but there are portable options available, Smart Cruise is a feature I love but could live without, front and rear parking assistance is nice but that too I could live without, cooled and heated driver seat is not a must if you live in California, but if you live in Minnesota I’m guessing you might want to warm your back side when the weather outside is frightful. If I just had to have it all, you would push the price up by $4,000.

The other is the Premium package that adds things that are even less likely to push me to spend another $4,800. Power sunroof, leather dash and door trim, memory system for driver seat, mirror and steering wheel settings, power tilt and telescopic steering column, power rear sun shade totally unnecessary (but nice), rain sensing wipers and auto defogger, Nav traffic 90 day trial (that I have found to be almost useless anyway), Hyper Silver Split spoke alloy wheels (Woopie).

Consumer Recommendation:

If you are looking at Lexus, Mercedes, BMW or Audi keep looking all the way to the Genesis or if you must spend more, look at the Equus, but of course both are from Hyundai.

Recognized Competition:

Hyundai Genesis $34,000, Audi A6 $42,000, Audi A7 $60,000, Jaguar XF Series $53,000, Infiniti G Sedan $37,000, Cadillac XTS $44,000, Lincoln MKS $43,000, Volvo S80 $38,000, Chrysler 300 $30,000, Acura TL $36,000, Mercedes Benz E-Class $46,000, Lexus GS 350 $47,000, BMW 5 Series $47,000, Infiniti FX $42,000, Infiniti M $49,000.

Good News:

Great styling, decent fuel economy for a powerful luxury car, lots of great features and options available, it is priced very well and is a comfortable ride that looks elegant.

Bad News:

n/a

Standard Equipment:

3.8 liter 333 horsepower V6 engine with continuously variable valve timing, 8 speed automatic transmission, special damping shock absorbers, fully independent suspension, 17” alloy wheels, stability control, traction control, ABS 4-wheel disc brakes with brake force distribution and brake assist, front, side and side curtain airbags, fog lights, auto headlights, heated power mirrors with turn signal indicators, leather seating with heated front seats, power windows, leather wrapped tilt steering wheel, proximity keyless entry with push button start/ stop, climate control, cruise control, homelink integrated transceiver, Bluetooth hands free phone system, audio with Sirius XM, CD, MP3 with 7 speakers, iPod and USB and Auxiliary input, steering wheel mounted controls.

Gas Stats:

$3.45 / Gal avg. December 237zs, 2012

www.fueleconomy.gov

For more information.

18 City and 28 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $34,200.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@atthewheel.com

2013 Hyundai Accent SE 5-door (995)

Overview: 

This week we’re looking at the 2013 Hyundai Accent SE 5-Door sedan. And the “Accent” is on Economy transportation. It’s not my style but neither do I look to drive a gas guzzler any longer, so I’ve learned a balanced approach is best for me. But I would buy this for my kids as they enter high school or college.

In this class and price range it is surely a good buy, as I said for the kids or a young family or simply a commuter car. It also fits any cost conscious budget in order to have a rather spacious compact sedan priced right and cheap to operate day to day.

General Information: 

Parts from the US / Canada 1%; Korea 91% including engine and transmission. It is assembled in Ulsan, Korea, Classification is Compact cars. Cars from Hyundai: Accent, Azera, Elantra, Elantra Touring, Equus, Genesis, Genesis Coupe, Santa Fe, Sonata, Sonata Hybrid, Tucson, Veloster, Veracruz.

Handling & Performance:

Zippy, around town car but only ok on the highway. It will keep up with traffic but must continually shift down to do so. But on the flip side it gets you there stingily on gas which is the most compelling mitigating fact and that is a very big deal these days and will be even more so in the immediate future.

I did feel the accelerator is a little too touchy which they (Hyundai engineers) need to look at. On the other hand the cruise control is smooth and better than some other more expensive car.

Styling:

As I said, it doesn’t appeal to my sense of sight but it is more important that “you” like the design. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and further I could take ‘ugly’ if it got 100 mpg.

Fit and Finish:

One consumer / owner said fit and finish is ‘excellent’ but I can only give it a very good.

Cost:

Now THIS IS excellent. This is a cost of a new car most can justify.

Conveniences and comfort:

It holds the road well, and generally it is a comfortable ride. It has nice simple gauges and controls including the manual a/c. It does not have NAV or back-up camera, but most of us can live without these features.

Consumer Recommendation:

This segment of the Compact Car market is rich for the picking. I have driven them all and would be hard pressed to pick out just one for me to buy. I’ve owned a Ford Fiesta and handed it down to my daughter when she turned 16 and it was a great car… right up until she totaled it. And although she flipped it upside down, slid thru one yard to the next by crashing through a fence and ended up on the porch of that second house. She and her two companions survived un-scratched – although shaken and stirred because they were not wearing seatbelts. Go figure. Luck or just a good car. Your guess is as good as mine.

Recognized Competition:                                                                                                                                                                           

Hyundai Accent SE $16,000, Chevrolet Sonic LT $18,000, Fiat 500 Hatchback $18,000, Ford Fiesta SE $16,000, Honda CRZ $20,000, Honda Fit $18,000, Kia Forte $19,000, Kia Rio EX $17,000, Mazda 2 $16,000, Nissan Versa $17,000, Toyota Yaris $17,000.

Good News:

Very good fuel economy, great pricing, good features for the money.

Bad News:                         

Touchy accelerator, struggles to keep up and shifts down a lot on grades.

Standard Equipment:          

1.6 GDI 138 HP 4-cylinder engine, dual CVT continuous variable valve timing, 6-speed automatic transmission, Stability control, traction control, 4-wheel ABS power assist brakes with brake force distribution, front side and side curtain airbags, tire pressure monitor, air conditioning, audio system with AM/FM/satellite Sirius XM/CD/MP3, iPod/USB and auxiliary input jacks, steering wheel mounted audio and cruise controls, Bluetooth hands free phone, power windows and locks, heated power mirrors, remote keyless entry, trip computer, cloth door inserts, 60/40 rear split folding seat, tinted window glass, fog lights, 16” alloy wheels, (add $900 if you want a power sunroof).

Gas Stats:

$3.85 / Gal avg. September 7, 2013

www.fueleconomy.gov

For more information.

28 City and 37 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $16,095.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@atthewheel.com
Copyright © 2013 – An Automotive Love Affair

2013 Hyundai Sonata GLS (969)

Overview: 

This week we’re looking at the 2013 Hyundai Sonata GLS that like its siblings has sweeping artistic lines that are clean and aerodynamic. Seating is roomy with ‘sofa-like’ comfort. Instruments are crystal clear.

This is perhaps the most popular and talked about and newest of cars from South Korea. Economically speaking this is the proper way to re-distribute world wealth. They make money the old fashioned way —- they earn it. No one is forcing us to buy their products but for the quality and economical operation built in we do buy in large numbers. Thanks Hyundai.

General Information: Parts from the US / Canada 41%; Korea 58%. It is assembled in Montgomery, Alabama, Classification is Large cars. Cars from Hyundai: Accent, Azera, Elantra, Elantra Touring, Equus, Genesis, Genesis Coupe, Santa Fe, Sonata, Sonata Hybrid, Tucson, Veloster, Veracruz.

Handling & Performance:

Active ECO when turned on gives you different power characteristics to allow you to change the driving style to increase fuel economy by approximately 10%.

Styling:

All Hyundai models to my eye are nice looking that mimic German and Japanese offerings hugely less expensive.

Fit and Finish:

Very good.

Cost:

You’ve gotta be impressed with the great value on this lineup of competition. For me the Hyundai brand is very aggressive in grabbing their share of the market. Look closely at this option and you will notice a growing number on the highway. It used to be the Japanese dominated market growth but there is another Sheriff in town.

Conveniences and comfort:

Outstanding.

Consumer Recommendation:

The competition is tight good options for 5 passenger large sedans. It makes the process longer but interesting. And it can be fun paring the search to the one that fits your budget. But if you print your own money I like the Hyundai Equus for about $65,000.

Recognized Competition:

Hyundai Sonata $21,000, Acura TSX $31,000, Buick LaCross $32,000, Buick Regal $29,000, Chevrolet Impala $26,000, Chevrolet Malibu $19,000, Chrysler 200 $19,000, Dodge Avenger $19,000, Dodge Charger $26,000, Ford Fusion $22,000, Kia Optima $21,000, Mazda 6 $21,000, Nissan Altima $22,000, Nissan Maxima $33,000, Subaru Legacy $20,000, Suzuki Kizashi $19,000, Toyota Camry $22,000, Volkswagen Jetta $18,000, Volkswagen Passat $21,000.

Good News:

Great styling, decent fuel economy for a powerful luxury car, lots of great features and options available, it is priced very well and is a comfortable ride that looks elegant.

Bad News:

Noticeably absent

Standard Equipment:

2.4 liter GDI (gas direct injection) 190 horsepower 4-cylinder engine, dual continuous variable valve timing, active ECO system, 6-speed automatic transmission, electronic stability control, traction control, 4-wheel ABS (anti-lock) power disc brakes with brake force distribution, front side and side curtain airbags, tire pressure monitor, 16” alloy wheels, remote keyless entry with alarm, power windows and locks, heated mirrors, cloth seating, 60/40 split folding rear seat, tilt and telescopic steering wheel with cruise, audio and phone controls, air conditioning, audio with XM,CD,MP3 with iPod/ USB and Aux input jacks, Bluetooth hands free phone and trip computer.

Gas Stats:

$4.03 / Gal avg. March 19, 2013

www.fueleconomy.gov

For more information.

24 City and 35 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $20,995.
Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@atthewheel.com

2013 Hyundai Elantra GT M/T (950)

Overview: 

This week we’re looking at the 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT M/T for Touring Manual Transmission.

It seems inevitable that when a car company gains a level of success and a consumer following more body styles, like this Elantra GT are sure to be introduced. So this 2013 is all new this year. And I say bravo since Hyundai is not only the newest kid on the block, it is the best looking and most impressive of car companies in a very long time.

Blue Link system is the best of technology for the future of driving assistance and although it is a subscription service it has some interesting features you may want to give a try. Perhaps the most interesting to me is the “Fence or Curfew and Speed Alert” feature where you can lay down the rules for your teen age new driver. Then you are notified if the defined area or speed or a curfew time, for example is exceeded. Some of the other features you may be interested in, that are included is a POI (point of interest) search, voice text messaging and location sharing, theft recovery that takes over after you alert police of the theft so blue link can slow the vehicle or lock the car and prevent it from starting if it is not already running, and Remote Access allows you to lock or unlock the car from any distance, should you forget if you locked the car. You simply go to a smart phone application to do it remotely. The daily route guidance system is programmed with traffic information so you can be directed around the problem with an alternate route.

It is clear from all the press conferences I’ve attended that these kind of technological features are an extension of your computer and smart phone capability and are rapidly being included in our cars. Hyundai seems to be one of the companies that is leading the way.

General Information: 

Parts from the US / Canada 2%; Korea 95%. It is assembled in Ulasn, Korea, Classification is Small Wagon. Cars from Hyundai: Accent, Azera, Elantra, Elantra Touring, Equus, Genesis, Genesis Coupe, Santa Fe, Sonata, Sonata Hybrid, Tucson, Veloster, Veracruz.

Handling & Performance:

The hatchback is smaller than the 4-door sedan overall, except it is one inch taller. The size makes it a great around town car. However it is also very capable on the highway with the added advantage of delivering great mileage that approaches 40 miles per gallon.

Styling:

The Elantra GT is another example of Hyundai’s typical sculptured design. They have integrated a lot of great features and interior versatility that a hatchback should include. From the compacts to the Equus model they are a nice looking family of siblings. They continue to impress the public at large and have rocketed to the top of the consumer charts. I’m one of the cheer leaders because I’ve had a lot of seat time on and off the track. Job well done goes to the Hyundai design team.

Fit and Finish:

Assembly is consistent with all other Hyundai offerings that are all very good.

Cost:

All models are well priced and highly competitive with even the far more pricey badges like Mercedes, Lexus, Audi and BMW. Everyone I’ve talked with have begun putting their money with their mouth is. They’ve turned from just being impressed to being a consumer. My brother-in-law just bought the Elantra, and my “best man” who can afford any car made opted for the Equus that is a very impressive luxury car.

Conveniences and comfort:

Well appointed and generally a comfortable ride that is roomy in front and the rear legroom is respectable by small car standards.

Consumer Recommendation:

Hyundai is simply “Hot” at all levels and the prices are good and can only go up over time. Definitely this is a MUST include in your search for a compact hatchback or wagon. You won’t do any better with fuel economy. This is yet another winner for Hyundai.

Recognized Competition:

Hyundai Elantra , Ford Focus,

Mazda 3, and Subaru Impreza.

Good News:

Priced well, well made, great styling and a great ride.

Bad News:

None noted

Standard Equipment:

1.8 liter 148 horsepower 4 cylinder engine with continuous variable valve timing, 6-speed manual transmission, electronic stability control, 4-wheel ABS disc brakes with brake assist and  electronic brake force distribution, front and front side and side curtain air bags with driver knee airbag, tire pressure monitor, 16” alloy wheels, front fog lights, air conditioning, audio with Sirius XM, CD and MP3 with 6-speakers, iPod/USB and Auxiliary input jacks, Bluetooth phone system with voice recognition, Hyundai Blue Link system (subscription required) for ‘stay connected’ via in-car web, smartphone apps., remote keyless entry, power windows, locks and heated mirrors, trip computer, steering wheel mounted audio and cruise controls, tilt and telescopic steering column, heated front seats, 60/40 split folding rear seat, rear center armrest with cup holders,

Gas Stats:

$3.45 / Gal avg. December 16, 2012

www.fueleconomy.gov

For more information.

26 City and 37 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $18,395.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@atthewheel.com

2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo M/T (943)

Overview:

This week we’re looking at the 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo M/T (Manual Transmission). It does come with an Automatic Transmission (A/T). The last Hyundai I tested was the Equus Ultimate 4-door sedan. It too is a new model launched in the US in 2010. Veloster hit the US market the following year.

As you probably know, Hyundai and Kia are sister companies and although highly competitive they are cooperative. They share some platforms but it seems they are driving each other to see who can be the best. Competition is truly a driving force in this industry even more than others.

Things don’t change all that much and early American car makers divisions acted exactly the same. Surely GM’s Chevy and Pontiac went head to head while Oldsmobile and Cadillac were Bobbsey Twins in a lot of ways as well. Cadillac, of course, won out in the end since Oldsmobile was cancelled after its 100th birthday. Cadillac was, after all, the Standard of the world in Cars – Pontiac bit the dust too and one has to wonder if this whole trend is telling a little of the future. Will companies have to receive huge bail outs from US Tax payers to compete with other car makers? Should they be? One has to wonder if that isn’t simply rewarding folks for poor performance, and that is like shoveling sand against the tide – it’s a losing battle. Moreover, this losing battle is especially foolish to give more money to the same irresponsible managers and expect a different result.

General Information:

Parts from the US / Canada 1%, Korea 81%. It is assembled in Ulsan, Korea, Classification is Compact Car. Cars from Hyundai: Accent, Azera, Elantra, Elantra Touring, Equus, Genesis, Genesis Coupe, Santa Fe, Sonata, Sonata Hybrid, Tucson, Veloster & Veracruz.

Opinion:

I see so many similarities of the failing of some in the auto industry and the resultant bailouts with the current generation. I guess it is a sign of the times where both kids and companies are moving back home and letting mom and dad pay for their excessive life styles.

That is a huge departure from the mind set of all prior generations in history who believed that you should “Earn before you Deserved”. Today it would appear this generation has an entitlement mentality where somehow just because they “are”, the world owes them a living. As a youth I was constantly reminded that the world does NOT owe anyone a living. Post WWII parents survived both the depression and a great world war, but for generations before them, life was even harder. They knew the value of a buck because they believed you should save for a rainy day, even if it meant they would have to do without.

All generations prior to the current one had been humbled by a difficult life and where survival was the first order of business. In America the common man had found success in providing for his basic needs with something left over to begin to enjoy life. Meanwhile, most of the rest of the world was still struggling just to survive under Socialism and other less than free economic societies. It is likely that this generation of American’s will need to be humbled once again before they will be able to find their way back and reaffirm the principles of Liberty that leads to prosperity.

It is truly time to loose the people once again in the American Spirit to lead the rest of the world to abundance. But the social mood is Anti-American even in America. Go figure. Many believe we’ve done “Too” well and somehow America’s wealth is ill-gotten and should be given back. To whom, I don’t understand. But it was the success of those before us who earned and deserved what was earned. That national fortune should not be squandered by the current generation. We’ll have to rethink the belief that we can always employ a teenager while they still know everything.

Something to think about.

Handling & Performance:

The smooth ride was unexpected as I looked at the sporty sleek stealth sharp edges and flat grey / black paint.

Styling:

Stealth bomber came to mind with the sharp edges and paint that is very unique. The flat grey black color gives it the look of a Stealth Fighter jet. Hyundai calls it Limited Edition Matte Gray paint. Very cool.

I’m not a fan of the third door on the passenger side and feel if there is a reason for the third, there is a reason for a fourth.

I also noted the view out of the back window is chopped up and distorted. All cars behind appear squatty like wide track cars. You get used to it, but one wonders if that is necessary.

The grill was initially a curiosity but as I looked at the car in total it is quite congruous when taken as a whole. In fact the Stealth look is enhanced as it resembles an intake for a jet engine on lots of fighters.

Fit and Finish:

Quite good.

Cost:

The base Veloster MSRP is $17,000 but the Turbo I tested is about $22,000.

Conveniences and comfort:

Veloster is a full featured smaller sedan and has a third door on the passenger side for rear seat exit on the curb side of the car. Good thought but I think there should be a forth on the other side. It’s kind of cutsie but not a good design in that it is inconvenient for the driver side rear passenger to slide over to exit on the passenger side.

Nice touch screen system for audio and Nav and rear view camera.

Consumer Recommendation:

 

Recognized Competition:

Hyundai Veloster $17,000, Acura TSX $30,000, Chevrolet Sonic $14,000, Ford Fiesta $13,000, Honda Civic $16,000, Mazda 2 $15,000, Mini Cooper $23,000, Scion FR-S $24,000 and Subaru BRZ $25,000.

Good News:

Smooth ride, powerful fast Turbo, priced well, and very good fuel economy, easy Bluetooth installation.

Bad News:

Distorted rear view.

Standard Equipment:

1.6 liter Turbo GDI 201 horsepower inline 4-cylinder engine, front wheel drive, 6-speed manual transmission, sport tuned suspension, electronic stability control, 4-wheel ABS disc brakes with brake force distribution and brake assist, front side and side curtain airbags, tire pressure monitor, 18” allow wheels, fog lights, power side mirrors with turn signals, rear spoiler, air conditioning, Dimension Premium audio with Sirius, CD and MP3 and 8 speakers, iPod, USB and Auxillary jacks, Blue link, Bluetooth hands free, 7” Multimedia touch screen, smart key with push button start / stop, steering wheel mounted cruise, audio and phone controls, leather seating and steering wheel and shift knob, driver power  seat with heated front seats.

Gas Stats:

$3.61/ Gal avg. October 12, 2012

www.fueleconomy.gov

For more information.

26 City and 38 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $22,000.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@atthewheel.com
Copyright © 2012 – An Automotive Love Affair

2012 Hyundai Equus Ultimate (934)

Overview:
This week we’re looking at the 2012 Hyundai Equus Ultimate 4-door sedan. I suspect the greatest endorsement of anything is when owners who you know well are happy with their choices. So my High School friend, Norm, told me he bought a 2011 Equus and I was impressed because he’s a Lexus owner and he feels the Equus is better for the money.

Lexus’ marketing slogan is that they are “in pursuit of excellence” but it would appear Hyundai has already “Achieved Excellence”. BMW says they build the “Ultimate Driving Machine”… I’m not buying slogans, but this Hyundai Ultimate is a pretty nice driving machine.

Norm has been very fortunate in business and can own virtually any car he wants, which is another reason why I take his opinion seriously. Why not a BMW 7 series or a Mercedes Benz S Class or a Lexus, I asked?

His reply: “Because this Hyundai Equus is comparable to the Lexus 460 which is much more money.” Norm is so into getting the most value for his buck and in addition to the lower purchase price Hyundai’s warranty is very strong at 100,000 miles for a luxury car.

He was especially impressed with the “Smart Cruise Control” feature. I’m thinking, with all his money how is it he’s never driven a car with Smart (or ‘Adaptive’) Cruise control. He simply hadn’t been exposed to it. I’ve been testing cars for 20 years and press cars always have the best and the newest trick stuff so I have been exposed to the feature for a long time and singing Smart Cruise praises for several years.

You may recall, I made an observation several times that all these neat control features, like Smart Cruise and lane departure warning systems, is but a precursor to cars that will someday drive themselves with very little human intervention. We have the satellites in place that already provide GPS positioning and coupled with various sensors in the car, the computer can maintain a safe distance to cars around you.

Computers already control the gas and brake and eventually will maintain direction and lane integrity as well. Another example of computer control is the parallel parking feature on some cars. It won’t be that far off that “Driving Assist” will take technology to the next level in our driving experience.

General Information:

Parts from the US / Canada 2%, Korea 78%. It is assembled in Ulsan, Korea, Classification is Compact Car. Cars from Hyundai: Accent, Azera, Elantra, Elantra Touring, Equus, Genesis, Genesis Coupe, Santa Fe, Sonata, Sonata Hybrid, Tucson, Veloster & Veracruz.

Opinion:

Do you have an opinion about anything automotive or highway related? Please share it with me.

Handling & Performance:

Equus delivers a smoooooth, quiet and fast ride. It is easy to handle, and the big V8 delivers quick response and acceleration. The bad news is that all those 459 horses consume a lot of fuel.

Styling:

Lovely all the way around.

Fit and Finish:

Excellent.

Cost:

Well, there is no free lunch and this Equus will set you back about $65,000. But when compared with the more recognizable luxury brands, it is far less expensive to buy and also far less to maintain. A friend who owns a BMW 7 Series is a great reminder that such over priced brands are also very expensive to maintain. Every time he goes in for a service to the BMW dealer the invoice is never less than $1,000 whether for a brake job, tune up, oil change – you name it, it will cost at least a grand and usually more. Lexus, Mercedes Benz, Jaguar, Land Rover and the like will be terribly expensive to own.

By the way, I speak from experience because I owned a German & Italian auto repair shop for many years. We couldn’t survive on Fiat, Ferrari, Lamborghini and Maserati, Mercedes Benz, BMW and Audi alone. We also counted on Jaguar and some American cars along with restorations. You learn what it costs to maintain those vehicles and which to stay away from.

Conveniences and comfort:

Special.

Consumer Recommendation:

Hyundai began selling cars in the US in February 1986 and in recent years they have earned the respect of everyone I talk with. I have tested Hyundai cars since 1995 and now I’m impressed with where they have come to. It was no surprise their luxury car offering – Equus is worthy of your consideration. You would be well advised to include it in your search.

All things considered however I would give great consideration to the Cadillac XTS since I have a lot of experience with owning Cadillac’s and would surely include it for consideration.

Recognized Competition:

Hyundai Equus $59,000, Acura RL $52,000, Audi A8 $79,000, Jugaur XJ series $74,000, BMW 7 Series $71,000, Cadillac XTS $58,000, Lexus LS 460 ranges from $68-75,000, Mercedes Benz S-class $93,000.

Good News:

Hyundai’s luxury model at entry level prices (anticipate higher prices in the future), smooth ride and exceptional handling.

Bad News:

Only average fuel economy.

Standard Equipment:

5.0 liter GDI 429 hp dual continuously variable valve timing V8 engine, 8-speed automatic transmission with shifttronic, dual mode Electro-hydraulic power steering, electric air suspension, 19” chrome alloy wheels, Vehicle stability management with pre-collision warning, 9 airbags – front, side (front and rear), driver’s knee, and roof mounted side curtain airbags, lane departure warning system, stability control, 4-wheel ABS disc brakes with brake force distribution and brake assist, smart cruise control, proximity-key entry with push button start, power tilt and slide glass sunroof, auto leveling, front and rear parking assist system with front and rear camera’s, power heated mirrors with turn signals, leather, 12-way power driver seat and 10-way power passenger seat, driver’s seat massage system, heated and cooled front seats, 60/40power reclining and heated rear seats, heated wood and leather wrapped steering wheel, power tilt and telescopic column, Bluetooth, integrated memory system for driver, leather dash with real wood trim, electronic parking brake, Navigation system, Lexicon surround sound audio with 17 speakers, dual climate control with air quality system, power rear sunshades.

Gas Stats:

$3.77/ Gal avg. August 7, 2012

www.fueleconomy.gov

For more information.

15 City and 23 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $58,750.

2012 Hyundai Accent GS (933)

Overview: 

This week we’re looking at the 2012 Hyundai Accent GS sedan.

General Information: Parts from the US / Canada 1%, Korea 91%. It is assembled in Ulsan, Korea, Classification is Compact Car. Cars from Hyundai: Accent, Azera, Elantra, Elantra Touring, Equus, Genesis, Genesis Coupe, Santa Fe, Sonata, Sonata Hybrid, Tucson, Veloster & Veracruz.

Opinion:

For those who may not know, Saab filed bankruptcy Dec. 19, 2011, and it is sad when people fail but I have to wonder why we have lost the Saab brand.

You may also not know Saab was the car of choice of the Gay community. One has to wonder if that small consumer base just wasn’t large enough to support the brand. I have documented several interviews with people who once owned a Saab but opted not to continue supporting the brand because of the perception the public at large had of them.

My curiosity is clear… I wonder what impact that small consumer group may have had on the failure of the brand. Your thoughts?

Handling & Performance:

Very tight and responsive small sedan. Great zip around town car and efficient commuter. It has very good fuel economy but with only 138 hp sluggishness is expected. Of course you don’t buy this class of economy car for the purpose of road racing or hi performance. You won’t be burning rubber during jack rabbit starts. And let’s face it, with gas prices in 2012 driving a Hyundai Accent GS will likely cut your gas bill in half. Now that’s what I’m talking about.

Styling:

This class is not terribly pretty and many say the back end looks incomplete. But the Honda Fit is even more a child only a mother could love. Some would disagree, of course, but it just isn’t my idea of pretty.

On the other hand I’ve owned more than a few VW Bugs and in spite of its clumsy look, it took off almost immediately in the 1950s, and that’s when price of Gas Was 22 cents a gallon. And even to the present day the New Beetle is popular and people still love little “Herbie”. For whatever reason it became a classic.

Designers ever since have been stumbling around trying to duplicate the success by finding a look consumers would embrace again, but the quest eludes but the few.

Fit and Finish:

There is an attention to detail in Japan and Korea that is exceptional in the world, so as you’d expect, the fit and finish is very good in this compact. Hyundai has taken a page out of the books of Japanese carmakers that raised the bar for quality high and gave others a standard to emulate.

That was not always the case for any product made in non-industrialized countries. Craftsmanship belonged to the Europeans and Americans and that extended to the auto industry in particular. I believe technology such as CAD (computer aided design) had a lot to do with that. The Assembly stage of production used to require Artisans to make thing fit together well. Not true today.

Cost:

The good news is you don’t have to pay hybrid prices to get 40 mpg. For the price of one foo foo brand you can have two of these Hyundai Accents. This is a great buy among a small field of similar cars. Homely or not, as you decide, this is a smart purchase for a small, young family on a budget.

When I had a young family I owned a few VW’s even after college and a Ford Fiesta was a great car to help bridge the gap during those lean times. And when our daughter turned 16 and as a good student earned having a car, so we handed it down to her after it served us well for over 5 years.

Conveniences and comfort:

Wonderfully equipped with the most important high tech automotive features standard, such as Stability control, for example.

Consumer Recommendation:

Overall I found owners gave it good to excellent ratings. Some said “it’s a Great cheap car”, and that it is “Wonderfully economical”, “a gas sipper”.

Most confirm the manufacturer’s claim of 40 highway mpg. One owner said he got 43.6 miles per gallon on a road trip.

Recognized Competition:

Hyundai Accent $15,000, Chevrolet Sonic $14,000, Toyota Yaris $14,000, Nissan Versa $11,000, Ford Fiesta $13,000, Mazda 2 $15,000, Kia Rio $14,000, Honda Fit $15,000.

Good News:

Very good fuel economy, nice ride and a well priced compact sedan.

Bad News:

Slightly under powered that means if you floor it, the engine will whine and bitch at you. But it will settle down after you reach cruising speed.

Standard Equipment:

1.6 liter 138 hp 4-cylinder engine, dual continuously variable valve timing, 6-speed automatic transmission, stability control, traction control, 4-wheel ABS disc brakes with brake force distribution and brake assist, front side and side curtain airbags, tire pressure monitor, active ECO system, air conditioning, audio with CD/MP3, XM satellite iPod/ USB and aux input jacks, power windows mirrors and locks, remote keyless entry, tilt steering column, cruise control, trip computer, 60/40 split folding rear seat, intermittent wiper and rear wiper.

Gas Stats:

$3.69/ Gal avg. July 24, 2012

www.fueleconomy.gov

For more information.

30 City and 40 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $15,895.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@atthewheel.com
Copyright © 2012 – An Automotive Love Affair

2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid sedan. (925)

Overview: 

This week we’re looking at the 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid 5-passenger sedan. Kudos to this newest of serious car makers.

Bluelink – is a feature that includes things like Automatic collision notification and assistance, roadside assist, website monthly vehicle report, remote door lock and unlock, lights, and horn, remote vehicle start, website diagnostic trouble code notification, maintenance alert, recall advisor, and Advanced features on the NAV / guidance system.

Well, Bluelink is high tech and promises a lot with the ‘smart phone’ mobile app that give you direct access to selected remote features such as remote start and door unlock. Only time will tell if there is truly a peace of mind from all the self-diagnostic vehicle reports it provides.

Owner’s comments: “I like everything”; “there’s nothing not to like, great styling, handling, better performance than any hybrid and I’ve tried them all and the best warranty in the business, great car”; “… packed with technology, most advanced battery pack … not the slow sluggish CV configuration of the rest…”

Negatives: “passenger front seat is less comfortable than drivers, less padding, sits too low and it can’t be raised…”; “I have no complaints”;

Note: some said the transition in electric to gas shifting was harsh on the older versions, but did not appear to be the case with this 2012 model.

All things considered this appears to be the best yet. It proves that it need not be ugly to be a hybrid… not that the Prius is ugly but rather it is homely… know what I mean? This is simply a very pretty car.

General Information: 

Parts from the US / Canada 2%, Korea 90%. It is assembled in Asan, Korea, Classification is Large Car. Cars from Hyundai: Accent, Azera, Elantra, Elantra Touring, Equus, Genesis, Genesis Coupe, Santa Fe, Sonata, Sonata Hybrid, Tucson, Veloster & Veracruz.

Handling & Performance:

Perhaps the most transparent mix of gas and electric system I’ve tested. Quiet and smooth and it appears the hybrid electric and gas is getting pretty commonplace so there is a comfort for me that it is here to stay and prices are coming down, if this Sonata is any indication. And fuel economy is just getting better all the time. . . and from Korea yet.

Styling:

Wonderful look. I love the Blue Sky Metalic color combination – it is a cool and refreshing look and comments were made by several that agreed with my private thoughts as well.

Fit and Finish:

Pristine.

Cost:

Extremely well price.

Conveniences and comfort:

Very good for the price. This is untouchable from an overview point of view and all the research I’ve done in addition to testing the car for a week, it points to a lot of agreement with my conclusion this is a keeper.

Consumer Recommendation:

I’d jump on this if a sedan is what you are looking for. I think you’ll agree with my enthusiasm.

Recognized Competition:

Hyundai Sonata Hybrid $26,000, Kia Optima Hybrid $26,000, Ford Fusion Hybrid $29,000, Nissan Altima Hybrid $27,000, Chevrolet Volt $39,000, Lincoln MKZ Hybrid $35,000,Infiniti M Hybrid $54,000, Toyota Camry Hybrid $26,000, Toyota Prius V $27,000.

Good News:

Lots of good vibes.

Bad News:

Nothing I care to pick on.

Standard Equipment:

2.4 liter 4-cylinder 166 hp engine, 4-wheel ABS disc brakes with regenerative braking and brake force distribution and brake assist, electronic stability control, front, side and side curtain airbags, tire pressure monitor, permanent magnet high power density motor, 270 volt lithium polymer battery and hybrid starter generator, 6-speed automatic transmission, 16” alloy wheels, LED accents and tail lights, cloth seats, power driver seat, steering wheel mounted cruise, audio and phone controls, dual temp control, audio with Sirius XM, MPC, CD with 6 speakers, iPod / USB and Auxiliary input, Bluetooth phone system.

Gas Stats:

$4.05/ Gal avg. June 3, 2012

www.fueleconomy.gov

For more information.

35 City and 40 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $25,950.
Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@atthewheel.com
Copyright © 2012 – An Automotive Love Affair