Category Archives: Hyundai

2012 Hyundai Veloster (906)

Overview:

This week we’re looking at the 2012 Hyundai Veloster, Hyundai’s new compact three-door coupe with the third (rear) door on the passenger-side,  front-hinged, for easier rear-seat access. It features a standard 7-inch multi-function touch-screen display, Pandora internet radio capability, Gracenote display technology with voice recognition, Bluetooth hands-free phone system and Blue Link telematics platform.

Generally you get a roomy feel for a small car. Tom is over 6’ and 265 lbs and was able to sit in the back seat with his feet on the floor but head touching top. I would think it is meant for much smaller people – you know, like 10 and under.

Veloster is powered by a 1.6-liter direct-injection 4-cylinder engine combined with either a 6-speed manual transmission or Hyundai’s first EcoShift dual-clutch transmission.

General Information: 

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

Opinion:

It would appear to me that Cal Trans and other highway managers could use some help finding solutions to ease traffic congestion – particularly caused by accidents. Such obstructions are terribly expensive to society in terms of lost time, fuel consumed, added stress damaging health etc.

Even if you could find the perfect solution that would clear accidents in less than a minute, some tell us it is economically bad to do that. They claim if we built larger volume highways it would ease the pains of present congestion and thus induce even more to drive and abandon public transportation or alternative routes. In other words more would use the highways. Sounds crazy, but it is another view.

However it may be that before we could even build more roads or attempt to move more people to use public transportation history tells us that another technology is just around the corner. Future generations will surely look back at the automobile as we now view the horse and buggy. Tomorrow’s transportation may be as easy as a Star Trek transporter. Beam me up Scotty.

Handling & Performance:

Compact cars are easy to drive, park and reasonable commuters that will get you there in relative comfort and with the major advantage of doing it at 40 highway mpg.

Styling:

This is a pea popper version of many of today’s Crossover’s and with the growing cost of fuel car makers are following the lead of European economy cars from Fiat for example. Fiat has been the standard in Europe for a long time.

Fit and Finish:

Good.

Cost:

Pricing is reasonable for all the standard features, but the competition listed below is stiff.

Conveniences and comfort:

Veloster is more than basic and includes neat gadgets found in more expensive cars. You simply get a lot of convenience features for the money.

Consumer Recommendation:

The field of competitors is narrow and if price is a factor in your choice, scratch MINI and VW and look closely at Chevy, Ford Honda, Nissan and Toyota Yaris for similar features in this Veloster for less money.

Recognized Competition:

Hyundai Veloster $17,000, Chevrolet Aveo $12,000, Ford Fiesta $13,000, Honda Fit $15,000,  Kia Rio $14,000, Mazda 2 $15,000, MINI Cooper $19,000, MINI Coupe $21,000, Nissan Versa $11,000, Scion tC $19,000, Scion xD $16,000, Toyota Yaris $14,000, Volkswagen Beetle $19,000.

Good News:

Great fuel economy and features and fair pricing.

Bad News:

None noted.

Standard Equipment:

1.6 liter GDI (direct injection) 138 hp 4-cylinder engine, variable valve timing, 6-speed manual transmission, stability control, traction control, 4-wheel ABS disc brakes, front, side and side curtain airbags, tire pressure monitor, 17” alloy wheels, rear wiper, air conditioning, audio with CD, MP3, XM satellite and 6-speakers, iPod / USB & Aux input jacks, “Blue Link” system for in car web / smart phone connection (subscription cost will apply), 7” touch screen multimedia, trip computer, power windows, locks & heated mirrors, remote keyless entry with alarm, steering wheel controls for cruise, audio and phone, Bluetooth hands free system, tilt & telescopic column, 60/40 split folding rear seat.

Gas Stats:

$3.60/ Gal avg. January 27, 2012

www.fueleconomy.gov

for more information.

28 City and 40 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $17,300.

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

2011 Hyundai Elantra GLS (885)

Overview:

This week we’re visiting the Elantra that I first had in 2008 so it’s a pleasure to see the 2011 Hyundai Elantra GLS 4-door sedan. The competition is so close in price that it won’t be the determining factor for most. I suspect it will be based on individual brand preference. I drive them all and have to tell you this would be a ‘jump ball’ for me, or I guess eeny meeny miny moe would work too. Remember that children’s rhyme used to select who would be it in games of tag and other playground games?

Well, when things are as close as these are in style and quality and of course price you would be just as well advised to use a dart board. Ford, GM and Chrysler are represented and I would think they would appreciate unsophisticated methods of consumer choice so they would have a fighting chance. Japanese and Korean brands are fighting for their piece of the market and in many cases winning. There is however a movement to convince Americans to buy American made cars and that is bound to have some impact on American Patriots.

Well, guess what, many of these foreign brands are no longer foreign but rather made right here in the US of A.

General Info:

2% of Parts are from the US and Canada; 96% come from Korea including the Engine and Transmission. It is assembled in Ulsan, Korea. Class is Midsize. Cars from Hyundai – Accent, Azera, Elantra, Elantra Touring, Entourage, Equus, Genesis, Genesis Coupe, Santa Fe, Sonata, Sonata Hybrid, Tucson & Veracruz.

Opinion:

Speed and time: I gotta tell you I have always been known to have a lead foot and got my share of tickets for speeding, but my second mom, a Sweed from the old country would tell me, “Vee get too soon ‘oldt undt too late schmart”.

I encourage you to slow it down and avoid the high cost of tickets these days. But more importantly, you should do a little observation on your own. You’ll find all the break neck driving will gain you only a few precious minutes. I’ve found on my daily drive of 50 miles each way to the office, ‘hell bent for leather’ only saves me 4-5 minutes and the gas I burn and the ulcers aren’t worth the five minutes.

And slowing it down will give you the satisfaction that you may just be joining together with others to put a few CHP out of a job if they can’t tax you to keep the department in full force. They may even have to get a REAL job instead of stealing from all of us traveling the roads to do our jobs which may just add to the GNP or GDP (depending on your generation – Gross National Product or Gross Domestic Product).

One last thought about time saved – most of us have a watch but never have enough time while Aborigine’s don’t have watches but always seem to have time. Ok, one final one… Friend Richard always says a man with one watch knows the time but the man with two is never quite sure.

Handling & Performance:

Very good indeed and this car is definitely fuel friendly.

Styling:

This is a very pretty car and you gotta give a lot of ‘atta boy’s’ to Korea.

Fit and Finish:

Very good.

Cost:

Everything in the list below of competitors is amazing. Isn’t free enterprise great. Competition makes us all better. Let’s see anything made or done by government do as well. Not likely is it. $600 toilet seats purchased by the Pentagon should have been a clue that they were about to pull the handle and flush us all down the crapper, can, porcelain princess, thrown, commode, john or whatever you care to call it.

Conveniences and comfort:

No complaints in all the features that are standard and they are not so different from much more expensive brands at any price. It didn’t use to be that way but today the lines are blurry indeed.

Consumer Recommendation:

I suggest you pick one from each manufacturer and see which one impresses you the most. If it is this Hyundai, I suggest adding the options for $550 that includes Alloy wheels, steering wheel audio controls, Bluetooth hands free phone system with voice recognition and a few other niceties.

Recognized Competition:

Hyundai Elantra $17,000, Chevrolet Cobalt $16,000, Chevrolet Cruze $17,000, Dodge Caliber $17,000, Ford Focus $17,000, Honda Civic $17,000, Honda Civic Hybrid $24,000, Kia Forte $15,000, Kia Forte Koup $17,000, Mazda 3 $16,000, Mitsubishi Lancer $17,000, Nissan Sentra $16,000, Scion xD $16,000, Subaru Impreza $17,000, Suzuki SX4 Sport $19,000, Toyota Corolla $16,000, Volkswagen Golf $18,000.

Good News:

Fantastic pricing, great fuel economy, comfy, very good safety features and advanced engine technology – specifically continuous variable valve timing.

Bad News:

None noted.

Standard Equipment:

1.8 liter 148 horsepower inline 4-cylinder engine, continuous variable valve timing, 6-speed auto transmission with Shiftronic paddle shifter, front wheel drive, 4-wheel anti lock disc brakes, 16” wheels, electronic stability with traction control, tire pressure monitoring system, power windows, locks & mirrors, 60/40 split folding rear seat, tilt and telescoping steering wheel, air conditioning, audio with CD/MP3/XM, trip computer, iPod / USB / Aux ports, steering wheel cruise controls, remote keyless entry, fog lights and Bluetooth phone system, rear spoiler, power lift gate and roof rack side rails, front, side and side curtain airbags, tire pressure monitor and EZ lane change assist.

Gas Stats:

$3.67/ Gal avg. October 5, 2011

www.fueleconomy.gov

for more information.

29 City and 40 Highway MPG

2011 Hyundai Sonata SE 2.0T (864)

Overview: 

This week we’re looking at the 2011 Hyundai Sonata SE 2.0T 4-door sedan. The fuel economy (mpg) numbers are good and without the Turbocharger even better by 2 mpg more on the highway. Personally I prefer having the option to use the rapid acceleration provided by the Turbo when I need it. I’d miss the 2 mpg and especially so when it goes to $5 or $6 per gallon. Thanks Obama, you are a slow learner and when we get rid of you we will likely resume drilling our own oil instead of sending our money over to other countries that do NOT deserve our help. If I thought you could change arrogance like you can change ignorance through teaching I wouldn’t be so concerned about the future. But our current president is simply marching to a different drummer.

General Info: 

39% of Parts are from the US and Canadian including the engine; 60% come from Korea including the Transmission. It is assembled in Montgomery, Alabama, USA. Class is Midsize. Cars from Hyundai – Accent, Azera, Elantra, Elantra Touring, Entourage, Equus, Genesis, Genesis Coupe, Santa Fe, Sonata, Sonata Hybrid, Tucson & Veracruz.

Opinion: 

Do you ever wonder why private enterprise works so well and government is so inefficient at virtually everything it does, except killing guys like Osama bin Laden clandestinely with highly efficient military men and women?

I traveled all over eastern Europe shortly after the fall of Communism and I observed older folks in the family throughout Poland for example who hated the fall while their kids were loving it as they embraced capitalism and have now turned Poland, the Czech Republic into thriving economies in less than two short decades. The actual turnaround was evident just 5 years after that collapse of a stupid socialistic 40 year experiment was proven terribly wrong.

I am reminded of the drastic differences between Marxist Socialism and having to actually work for what you want or need to accomplish in your life. You know, “From each according to his abilities and to each according to his needs”. Karl Marx was a bloody idiot as are all those today that haven’t lived it or at least studied history enough so they don’t STILL think it is a good idea. Those who voted for Obama’s stated hope and change – translated to mean – let’s try Socialism again because we’re smarter and can make it work. Then we can have equality so we’re all equally poor. God Bless the American dream and the great American experience that provided opportunity to those willing to work hard and provide for themselves.

God bless dad who emigrated from Sicily and passed on a work ethic common in those days.  Otherwise I wouldn’t be enjoying the benefits of freedom, nor would I be responsible to pay it forward for my kids. Dad let me work for him to pay back the $50 it cost to buy my first car – a 1934 Chevrolet Coupe, with a rumble seat in the back. I have lots to be thankful for.

Handling & Performance:

Outstanding with turbo power that is the future for gas or diesel powered engines. And the engine employs variable valve timing that is usually found only on more expensive cars.

Styling:

Great job on giving the Sonata the look of ‘today’ and not unlike even more expensive top luxury brands. I suspect that is the major reason why there is such a ‘buzz’ in the air from reviewers and car buyers how much they like this Sonata. The cars rep is growing in part because it is a South Korean product that is also getting good press.

Fit and Finish:

Very good, especially for the money, this is a well put together car.

Cost:

You’ll hear a lot about the real value of the Korean made cars and it is all true. Much like the early days of Japanese products the price was destined to go up quickly. If you’re in the market this is the perfect time to take advantage of the new kid on the block.

Conveniences and comfort:

Hyundai delivers a lot for the money which is the consensus of review columnists I talk with. I can’t say enough about the keyless start system. You literally do not have to take the key fob out of your pocket or purse.

Consumer Recommendation:

There are so many nice cars in this class to choose from and that gives you even more bargaining power considering a lousy economy if, of course, you are among the lucky ones with a job.

Recognized Competition:

Hyundai Sonata SE $23,000, Acura TSX $30,000, Buick LaCrosse $27,000, Buick Regal $26,000, Chevrolet Malibu $22,000, Chrysler 200 $19,000, Dodge Avenger $19,000, Dodge Charger $25,000, Ford Fusion $20,000, Ford Taurus $25,000, Honda Accord $21,000, Kia Optima $20,000, Mazda 6 $20,000, Mitsubishi Galant $22,000, Nissan Altima $20,000, Nissan Maxima $31,000, Subaru Legacy $20,000, Suzuki Kizashi $19,000, Toyota Camry $20,000, Volkswagen Jetta $15,000.

Good News:

Made in the USA, ‘still’ priced well, fast, good fuel numbers.

Bad News:

Can’t recall anything.

Standard Equipment:

2.0 liter 274 horsepower inline 4-cylinder turbo gasoline engine, continuous variable valve timing, 6-speed auto transmission with Shifttronic pedal shifter, sport tuned suspension, 4-wheel anti lock disc brakes with force distribution brake assist, 18” wheels, electronic stability control, traction control, tire pressure monitoring system, keyless push button start system, power windows, locks & mirrors, power driver seat with lumbar support, 60/40 split folding rear seat, tilt and telescoping leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, climate control, audio with XM, CD/MP3, trip computer, iPod / USB / Aux ports, steering wheel cruise, audio and phone controls, fog lights and Bluetooth phone system.

Gas Stats:

$4.23/ Gal avg. April 29, 2011

www.fueleconomy.gov

for more information.

22 City and 33 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $24,145.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@atthewheel.com
Copyright © 2011 – An Automotive Love Affair

2011 Hyundai Genesis Coupe (863)

Overview:
This week we’re looking at the 2011 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 R-Spec M/T. This car is in fantastic company to compete with, and they are mostly more expensive. The Coupe was a 2010 finalist for Motor Trends ‘car of the year’ and it is the most sporty of Hyundai’s offerings to date. Although it is pitted against muscle cars like the Camaro, Mustang and Challenger I see it more comparable to Infiniti G Coupe, Mitsubishi Eclipse and Mazda RX-8.
I did experience an electrical anomaly that was unsettling. While driving it dropped to a maximum of 2,000 rpm and wouldn’t run over 20 mph. Odd but after shutting down and restarting it was back to normal. It didn’t repeat the problem and appeared to be an electrical glitch that I reported to the company. I experienced the same problem with a BMW with the same result. It either has something to do with the ‘drive by wire’ accelerator or in the computer somewhere. I will let you know as soon as I get an answer. I never did get a reply from BMW.
General Info: 3% of Parts are from the US and Canadian; 86% come from Korea including the Engine & Transmission. It is assembled in Ulsan, Korea. Class is Sub-Compact. Cars from Hyundai – Accent, Azera, Elantra, Elantra Touring, Entourage, Equus, Genesis, Genesis Coupe, Santa Fe, Sonata, Sonata Hybrid, Tucson & Veracruz.

Opinion:

Wow! The Gestapo is at it again. In the Midwest they are downloading your cell phone data onto police computers without probable cause. This isn’t a suggestion, they are actually doing it. The direction is scary that law enforcement would go along with obvious intrusion on our right to privacy. It is the 4th amendment that guards against unreasonable searches and seizures and the government is testing us to see what they can get away with.
Benjamin Franklin is quoted as saying, “those who would give up liberty for security deserve neither”. How insightful.
Speak out against such abuse of power that corrupts before it is ‘absolute power’ that corrupts absolutely. Of course you can’t be stopped if you are an illegal alien without probable cause but you can be stopped while driving and demand you turn over your personal information that is kept on your cell phone. That data includes all your personal mail, texting messages and GPS co-ordinates for the past year so your every move is recorded. Wow!

Handling & Performance:

The Coupe is fast and a fun driving experience which comes standard.

Styling:

The Coupe is a sleek and a pretty looking sport car. The RED paint on the one I tested makes it a magnet to attract the ticket writers.

Fit and Finish:

Good, but I did report to the company there was an annoying squeak I couldn’t find, which was reminiscent of the “Good old days” when cars always creaked and groaned as normal and expected. I’m sure it is a glitch that is unusual in today’s world of cars because engineering is  generally bullet proof these days. The Coupe was introduced in 2010 so only a couple of years old and you can be sure they will search out the reason and fix it by the time you buy one.

Cost:

Very cost competitive in class. It will take off if the obvious popularity from my week of driving it is any indication. Then the price will go up as the performance is experienced for those who opt for a sport car that is so wisely priced.

Conveniences and comfort:

The rear seat is only good for very little people that is consistent with all sub compact sport car coupes. For the driver and passenger in front it is quite comfortable. The model I tested did not have cruise control which really was a surprise and I would not buy a car without it because I do a lot of road travel where I find it a necessity.

Consumer Recommendation:

If you are in the market for a sporty car this is a must test drive.
Recognized Competition:Hyundai Genesis Coupe $27,000, Audi A4 $32,000, Audi S5 $54,000, Audi TT $38,000, BMW 1 Series $36,000, BMW 3 Series $35,000, BMW 5 Series $45,000, BMW Z4 $47,000, Cadillac CTS $35,000, Chevrolet Camaro $24,000, Dodge Challenger $25,000, Ford Mustang $26,000, Infiniti G Convertible $46,000, Infiniti G Coupe $37,000, Jaguar XF Series $52,000, Lincoln MKS $41,000, Mazda RX8 $27,000, Mercedes-Benz E Class $49,000, Mitsubishi Eclipse $29,000, Nissan Z $31,000, Scion tC $19,000.

Good News:

Fast, fun driving experience, fair fuel economy, and very nice looking.

Bad News:

A couple of glitches that were unsettling.

Standard Equipment:

3.8 liter 306 horsepower V6 engine, 6-speed manual transmission, rear wheel drive, 5-link independent rear suspension, Track suspension strut brace, Brembo braking system, Anti Lock with brake force distribution brake assist, 19” wheels, torsion limited slip differential, electronic stability control, traction control, black leather with cloth insert seats, driver lumbar, special trim, air conditioning, keyless entry with alarm, leather wrapped steering wheel & shift knob, power windows, locks & mirrors, audio with XM, CD/MP3, trip computer, iPod / USB / Aux port, steering wheel audio controls, fog lights, Bluetooth phone system.

Gas Stats:

$4.15/ Gal avg. April 25, 2011
www.fueleconomy.govfor more information.
17 City and 26 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $26,750.

2011 Hyundai Sonata GLS (850)

Overview:
This week we’re looking at the 2011 Hyundai Sonata GLS Sedan. How can you NOT be impressed with Korean cars. This is the Japan of 30 years ago. In fact some Japanese cars are built there. Cost of labor in Japan has skyrocketed so it makes good business sense. I don’t know if they have China build any as we do because they have never been friends.

Fuel economy is wonderful and the car overall has to be a winner in the future as well as now. Consider it gets better fuel economy than the Toyota Camry (to pick the top dog competition) and has a better warranty.

Opinion:

As I truck down the highway it always occurs to me that if Cal Trans could post average speed for the next several miles we could set our cruise controls for that and solve several problems. On the other hand if they wait (as they will if they even consider our driving safety) perhaps the newer Nav systems could do it for them. My contention is that if you did set the average speed there would be less accidents, less stress, fewer tickets and you would get there at exactly the same time… unless you can fly over the traffic.

A reminder one more time – don’t speed because as one Sheriff Lieutenant told me, they are stepping up the quota for tickets big time. You know – job protection and a failing state government. Doubtful it will matter because when the states file bankruptcy cops will be cut with so many other useless services. Don’t be too quick to tell me I’m wrong (as some cops have) – when’s the last time a civil servant helped you? I can take care of myself thank you, which is what you have to do anyway because they are never around when you really need them. All the rest of the time they are writing $300-500 tickets that few can afford. The state would rather raise our taxes than cut expenses. Shame on them.

Handling & Performance:

Typical sedan but the turning radius is good. It struggles for power but it gets the job done.

Styling:

What a pretty car. I couldn’t believe the price as it looks far more expensive. With a bit more insulation from road noise and weight and you wouldn’t know it wasn’t a Lexus at twice the money. Curb weight is only 3161 lbs., as compared to Toyota Camry for example at 500 lbs., heavier. I might be willing to give up a couple of mpg for the added weight to this Sonata. I’ll have to think about that.

Fit and Finish:

Very good.

Cost:

Outstanding.

Conveniences and comfort:

A huge trunk is appreciated and overall it is quite roomy, which is what a large car is all about, but for the money it is also a pretty luxurious looking car that is comfortable as well.

Consumer Recommendation:

Don’t hesitate. This is a great buy today and since the price will surely rise on all Korean cars it will hold its value and resale will be much better than other expensive cars. But this pricing won’t last, because it is simple economics and supply and demand will push up the price.

Recognized Competition:

Sonata $19-27,000, Acura TSX $30-38,000, Buick LaCrosse $27-34,000, Buick Regal $26-29,000, Chevrolet Malibu $22-27,000, Ford Fusion $20-29,000, Ford Taurus $25-38,000, Honda Accord $21-32,000, Kia Optima $20-26,000, Mazda6 $20-29,000, Mitsubish Galant $22-24,000, Nissan Altima $20-30,000, Nissan Maxima $31-34,000, Subaru Legacy $20-31,000, Suzuki Kizashi $20-27,000, Toyota Camry $20-29,000, Volkswagen Jetta $15-24,000.

Good News:

Great price and great fuel economy along with great styling.

Bad News:

A little light weight and more road noise than necessary.

Standard Equipment:

2.4 liter 198 HP 4-cylinder engine with variable valve timing, 6-speed auto trans with Shifttronic, traction and stability controls, 4-wheel ABS disc brakes with brake assist and force distribution, front and side curtain airbags, tire pressure monitoring, 16” wheels, remote keyless entry with alarm, power heated mirrors, power windows & locks, cloth seating, 60/40 split folding rear seat, tilt & telescopic steering column and wheel mounted cruise, audio and phone controls, air conditioning, audio with CD/MP3 w/ 6-speakers, XM satellite, iPod, Aux., & USB ports, Bluetooth phone, trip computer, lane change signal assist.

Gas Stats:

$3.33/ Gal avg. Jan 16, 2011

www.fueleconomy.gov

for more information.

22 City and 35 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $20,195.

2010 Hyundai Genesis 3.8 (837)

Overview:
This week we’re looking at the 2010 Hyundai Genesis 3.8. After its introduction in 2009, the 2010 Hyundai Genesis remains primarily unchanged for this model year. Upgrades included standard navigation on Genesis 3.8 with Premium Navigation Package and Genesis 4.6 base. Premium leather trim is standard on Genesis 3.8 when equipped with Premium, Premium Navigation and Technology Packages. Smart Cruise Control and electronic parking brake are both now available on vehicles equipped with the Technology Package. And also, visually the 2011 model year remains the same as well.

Well, I’m in love. I wish I could say that I have toured the production plant but I haven’t. However, I’m confident this is a worthy competitor in class in spite of the seemingly lower cost. Korean cars have earned respect over the years if only because of the absence of any bad news and from my experience there is none. I would personally put this at the top of the shopping list right after milk and coffee.

Daughter Jenny says she would take her Acura TL over the Genesis. She was very happy with hers. When she rode with me in this Genesis she commented that the price was the same. Well, it is close but the fact is that you pay a premium for the Acura badge as you would for BMW and Mercedes-Benz. What I have found is that when the new kid on the block must be better for less money. I believe that is the case with this Genesis and of course only time will tell.

Opinion:

Handling & Performance:

Genesis has more than enough power at 290 horses but you can also opt for the 4.6 liter option for 375 horsepower. But it will cost you a few miles per gallon in fuel performance. I found the 3.6 liter test car just fine for my need for speed. It is a smooth and comfortable handling car that is clearly going after the best of the rest.

Styling:

Hyundai has patterned Genesis after the look of BMW, Lexus, Acura and they were wise not to change it since its introduction in 2009 through the 2011 model. Good job and kudos to the designers. Smart!

Fit and Finish:

Very very good.

Cost:

Wow, this is in good company and to me it is rightfully classed.

Consumer Recommendation:

My guess is that when you include this car in your test drives you will be hard pressed to justify more money for the others. You will never see Korea in the same way again. South Korea is totally patterned after the US. Take a look at Google Earth and the dramatic difference North and South of the 38th Parallel. God bless America.

One last recommendation – if you can, buy stock in Hyundai.

Conveniences and comfort:

Excellent features like the very convenient ‘rain sensing wiper’ option. Another that is only found on more expensive luxury cars is the ‘smart cruise control’. You’ll recall the recent commercials for Mercedes and others in that price range who have been promoting the great safety afforded by this option. Not to be missed. It also has a fabulous Navigation system and an excellent sound system.

Recognized Competition:

Hyundai Genesis $33-43,000, Acura RL $47-54,000, Acura TL $35- 43,000, Audi A6 $45-59,000, Audi A4 $32-36,000, BMW 5 Series $45-60,000,Buick Lucerne $30-44,000, Cadillac CTS $35-62,000, Cadillac DTS $47-60,000, Infiniti G Sedan $33-37,000, Infiniti M $47-60,000, Lexus GS $46-54,000, Lincoln MKS $41-48,000, Mercedes-Benz E Class $49-88,000, Saab 9-5 $47,565, Volkswagen CC $28-40,000, Volvo S80 $39-51,000.

Good News:

Well priced and as good as the rest. My choice for car of the year.

Bad News:

Ok, so I could find ONE thing I wasn’t happy with – the audio controls are only good. Why, because I like basic more. You know, like push buttons and knobs. This system requires more steps to get to the same place. I would not, however, let that dissuade me from buying one.

Standard Equipment:

3.8 liter 290 horsepower V6 engine with variable valve timing, 6-speed automatic transmission, 4-wheel ABS disc brakes, stability control, traction control, front, side and side curtain airbags, tire pressure monitor, 17” alloy wheels, fog lights, auto headlights, power mirrors with turn indicator, leather power heated front seats, leather wrapped tilt steering wheel with controls, smart push button start, dual zone climate control, trip computer, cruise control, Bluetooth hands free, audio system with XM, CD, MP3 with 7 speakers and USB, IPod and auxiliary jacks.

Gas Stats:

$3.03/ Gal avg. October 26, 2010

www.fueleconomy.gov

for more information.

18 City and 27 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $33,000.

2010 Hyundai Tucson GLS FWD (818)

Overview:

This week we’re looking at the 2010 Hyundai Tucson GLS FWD SUV. This is in a great class for perhaps the best bargain for your hard earned money. Not only is it capable transportation, it has all the conveniences and mechanical safety features and all at reasonable pricing. It is not only in the most popular class, hands down, it is truly an affordable all around family SUV.

Handling & Performance:

The size is perfect for ease of parking, run about town kind of car with good turning radius and good cargo capacity.

I prefer rear wheel drive but I wouldn’t discount it for that reason.

Styling:

It is a today design, but tends to step out of simple clean lines. I’m not excited with the sharp edges and rather busy look. I prefer simplicity in design.

Fit and Finish:

Very Good.

Cost:

Real value for the money. The class has been influenced to a great extent or certainly in part because of the Korean competitors.

Conveniences and comfort:

Because this class is smack dab in the middle, in size, cost, comfort and safety features all competitors listed are at the top of my recommendations for up to 5 in the family. For the younger single buyer with a more rough and rugged outdoors lifestyle I’d look at 4X4’s like Jeep Wrangler.

Consumer Recommendation:

Perfect family vehicle for a family up to 5 and one more kid pushes you up to a larger class. Son Mike with 6 in the family must supersize up to Suburban class options. Good reason to stop at 3 kids. I am beginning to doubt the old saying “Cheaper by the Dozen”. Maybe when folks grew up on a farm that was true.

Options notes:

the $1,700 package is good stuff, but the Navigation for $2,000 is not a good buy in today’s world. Cell phone based navigation is available for about $10/ month or for a couple of hundred you can own a portable and both options are much more flexible.

Recognized Competition:
Hyundai Tucson $19-26,000, Chevrolet Equinox $23-30,000, Ford Escape $21-27,000, Honda CRV $21-31,000, Jeep Liberty $23-29,000, Jeep Patriot $15-25,000, Kia Sorento $20-29,000, Kia Sportage $17-23,000, Mazda Tribute $19-29,000, Mercury Mariner $24-27,000, Mitsubishi Outlander $21-29,000, Nissan Rogue $20-25,000, Subaru Forester $20-28,000, Suzuki Grand Vitara $19-27,000, Toyota RAV 4 $22-30,000, Volkswagen Tiguan $23-34,000.

Good News:

A lot of competition in class that is all good stuff, affordable,

Bad News:

Standard Equipment:

2.4 liter 176 horsepower inline 4-cylinder engine, 6-speed automatic transmission, power steering, front wheel drive, 17” steel wheels, electronic stability and traction control, brake assisted ABS brakes with brake force distribution, front, side and side curtain airbags, tire pressure monitor, air conditioning, audio with CD/MP3 and iPod USB/ Aux jacks & iPod cable, XM satellite, cloth seats, 60/40 split rear folding seating, keyless entry with alarm, folding power mirrors, power windows and tilt steering wheel.

Options:

Popular Equipment package $1,700 including Telescopic steering wheel, 17” alloy wheels, leatherette / cloth seats, leather wrapped wheel with audio and cruise controls, and leather wrapped shift knob, Bluetooth, roof rack side rails.
Nav option: $2,000 (includes rearview camera, auto headlights and upgraded audio.

Gas Stats:

$2.97/ Gal avg. June 25, 2010
www.fueleconomy.gov
for more information.

23 City and 31 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $19,995.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@atthewheel.com
Copyright © 2010 – An Automotive Love Affair

2009 Hyundai Accent GS 3-door (754)

Overview:
This week we’re looking at the 2009 Hyundai Accent GS 3 Door coupe. And you must have noticed how this “South” Korean made car is one of many models so much so it’s beginning to look like a GM line up. That’s not necessarily good news, and particularly for the Japanese who have a healthy respect for what Korea has to offer. The two countries have historically been at odds philosophically and now Korea is an economic competitive threat in the car market.

Pea popper would be a good start to describe this tiny commuter. Ok, so not as small as the Smart for about the same money. Mercedes Benz has put much more money into the unique development of the mechanical component of the Smart. At the far end of the basic spectrum are cars like this Accent GS which is the base model compact but does have a decent rear seat for a compact. The SE is the top for Accent and even has Air, power windows and a radio standard… but the price jumps up to $15,000.

For many on a tight budget this is an ideal solution to saving on cost to buy and cost to operate. Of course it is the base model but so is the pricing at $10,000. It reminds me of the GM run at economy with the Geo line that I tested in South Texas when it first came out.

General Info:

Parts –  US/Canadian 1%; Korea 99%.

Assembly – Ulsan, Korea

Class:  – Compact

Cars: – Accent, Azera, Elantra,Entourage, Genesis, Santa Fe, Sonata, Tiburon, Tucson and Veracruz.

Opinion:

Staggered work hours as a solution to traffic congestion. Consider employers who start employees at intervals of every half hour, say 6:30AM, 7, 7:30, 8, 8:30 which puts 25% of the work force on the road in rotation to reduce the number of cars on the highway at one time. Considerate it for your company.

Handling & Performance:

Amazing. When you don’t expect much little cars like this Accent will impress you. The mountain curves and climb over the Crest to La Canada was no problem for this car. It took no back seat to any car I have encountered or tested on the Crest at twice the money. And it did it at 30 plus miles per gallon of gas. Let’s keep all this in perspective.

Styling:

Basic, but not homely or frumpy.

Fit and Finish:

Basic but good for the money.

Cost:

Very good and a perfect commuter.

Conveniences and comfort:

Well, basic doesn’t cover it. My Ford model A had as much … no, just kidding, but the thought did occur to me. But you know what, one has to wonder if all that stuff in our cars is all that necessary. What with iPods, cell phones with nav systems built in duplicating all of this stuff in our commuter cars may become obsolete – like the home phone. Me I use mine just for faxing and that too may go away with faxes going to my PC. I found myself enjoying the silence and the absence of Noise Pollution became golden and appreciated.

The one thing I missed the most was the absence of “Cruise Control”.

Consumer Recommendation:

I just got out of the Toyota Yaris and must say that would have to be one to look closely at along with this Korean offering. In any case, frugal and inexpensive will find growing popularity as “things” become less important and people in our lives once again find favor with us all.

Recognized Competition:

Hyundai Accent $11-15,000, Pontiac G3 $14,000, Toyota Yaris $12-16,000, Suzuki Reno $14,000, Ford Focus $16-18,000, Dodge Caliber $16-25,000, Scion xD $15,000, VW Rabbit $16-19,000, Suzuki SX4 Crossover $16-19,000, Kia Rio $11-14,000, Nissan Versa $10-16,000, Honda Fit $15-19,000, Honda Civic $15-25,000, Smart fortwo $12-17,000, Chevrolet Aveo5 $12-15,000, Mazda 3 $15-22,000.

Good News:

Economical class that makes great commuters with best numbers for fuel economy.

Bad News:

Light weight, basic no frills.

Standard Equipment:

1.6 liter 110 hp 4-cylinder engine, 5-speed manual transmission, power steering, rear spoiler, Radio prep with 4 speakers, child LATCH, tire pressure monitoring system, intermittent wiper, front – side and side curtain airbags, split folding rear seat, remote fuel filler door release.

Gas Stats:

$2.29/ Gal avg. April 18, ‘09

www.fueleconomy.gov

for more information.

27 City and 33 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $9,970.

2008 Hyundai Elantra SE 4-door Sedan (725)

Overview:
This week we’re looking at the 2008 Hyundai Elantra SE 4-door Sedan. Now that’s what I’m talking about Richard. I know you liked this one and everyone appreciates the fuel economy numbers. Good job Hyundai.

General Info:

Parts – US/Canadian 1%, Korea 97%,

Assembly – Ulsan, Korea.

Class:  – Compact

Cars: – Accent, Azera, Elantra, Entourage, Genesis, Santa Fe, Sonata, Tiburon, Tucson and Veracruz.

Observation:

Many in the Antelope Valley, Santa Clarita and the Newhall Pass must travel CA 14 highway and the I5 to get almost anywhere in Los Angeles. And when there are problems on the highway we all have phones but we can’t call anyone to find out the latest information on road closures and related emergency situations. This was most noticeable October 13, 2008 with the mountain fires that closed the 118 and 210 highways.

But there is something you can do. If you tried to call the CHP or Cal Trans you would not have got the information you needed. 800 427 7623 is the road conditions number of Cal Trans. 323-982-4900 is the CHP Non-emergency Dispatch number. I suggest you put all of these numbers into your cell phone and be prepared. The Website for DOT is www.dot.ca.gov/cgi-bin/roads.cgi and you can enter the highway number and get road conditions as well.

Officer Porter of the CHP Traffic Management Center advises they are available 24/7 at 323-259-2010. Naturally they would likely get overloaded if everyone had known this number. However, if there is a great need and the phones do get overloaded you would expect they would be smarter than the problem and direct you to a broadcast station to tune into to get that information or have a minute to minute update of the information vital to all those who use our highways.

And don’t be shy. We pay dearly for the CHP, Cal Trans / DOT (Department of Transportation).

Handling & Performance:

You won’t be breaking any records at the drag races but this 2 liter 138 horsepower engine is geared well and it handled the mountain Crest Test effortlessly.

Styling:

Basic in design but at this price point you gotta appreciate what they can do with a limited budget. The important thing to remember is that the South Korean labor market makes production of a great commuter possible for the money.

Fit and Finish:

Good in class.

Cost:

Well priced.

Features and Conveniences:

I think you’ll agree there are a lot of great functional features for a car in the price range which is not unusual for Korean cars.

Consumer Recommendation:

Resource – www.safercar.gov

I just finished testing the Chevrolet Cobalt and I’d look at that one for sure in this class. I’ve had good experience with the Toyota Corolla as well. But there are so many good cars in this category that you’ll have your work cut out for you to find the best one for your need. Price alone the Elantra is hard to beat but I’d look at the Cobalt, Saturn Ion and Focus in that order. Good luck.

Recognized Competition:

Hyundai Elantra $14-17,000, Saturn Ion $12-20,000, Subaru Impreza $17-35,000, Nissan Sentra $16-20,000, Suzuki Forenza $14-15,000, Toyota Corolla $15-20,000, Chevrolet Cobalt $15-23,000, Scion tC $17,000, VW Jetta $17-24,000, Kia Spectra $13-16,000, Pontiac G5 $16-20,000, Ford Focus $15-15,000, Mitsubishi Lancer $14-26,000, Mazda 3 $14-21,000, Dodge Caliber $16-24,000, Honda Civic Hyrbid $24-27,000, Honda Civic $15-25,000.

Good News:

Good pricing and fuel economy with decent roomy trunk and rear seat.

Bad News:

Light weight.

Standard Equipment:

2.0 liter 138 hp Inline 4-cylinder engine, 4-speed auto trans, traction control, tire pressure monitoring, anti lock brake system, Electronic Stability control, front, side and side curtain airbags, 4-wheel independent suspension, 16” alloy wheels, tilt and telescopic steering column, air conditioning, power windows, locks & heated mirrors, remote keyless entry with alarm, audio with CD/ MP3 and 6 speakers, XM radio w/ 3 months included, leather wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, trip computer, cruise control and fog lights.

Gas Stats:

$3.39/ Gal avg. October 14, ‘08

www.fueleconomy.gov

for more information.

25 City and 33 Highway MPG

www.safercar.gov  or    888-327-4236

Pricing:

MSRP $17,325.

2008 Hyundai Sonata Limited (715)

Overview:
This week we’re looking at the 2008 Hyundai Sonata Limited 4 door sedan. Welllll… there’s a new sheriff in town as they say. I continue to be impressed with the new kid on the block – Hyundai. Each added exposure to testing this car company’s products makes me feel the world is closing in on the once dominant US auto industry for consumer personal transportation. The American Dream continues to be exported to the world by immigrants in America from virtually every country on earth. Some would say they come from other places in the universe too, even though not quite like the characters from the bar scene in Star Wars, but visit Downtown Anywhere USA and you may just bump into one of those strange characters. You’ll find they are not from Alpha Centuri but from a continent far far away on planet earth.

General Info:

Parts –  US/Canadian 39%. Korea 61%.

Assembly – Montgomery Alabama

Class:  – Passenger sedan

Cars: – Accent, Azera, Elantra, Entourage, Santa Fe, Sonata, Tiburon, Tucson & Veracruz.

Handling & Performance:

Easily as good as all those in class for a lot less money.

Styling:

This is not a BMW or Audi or Lexus but you can’t help but be impressed with the fact these newcomers are blurring the lines of difference more each year. What a nice looking car for those consumers without their nose in the air and for who a “Badge” is required to make them feel better than others. Those with a strong ‘Self’ image will see the attractive styling of this Korean newcomer without the badge of snobbery.

Fit and Finish:

Quite good.

Cost:

Huge value for the money, which will fade just as the Japanese cars did in the 1970s and 1980s.

Conveniences and comfort:

Pretty good features list, but I suggest you add to the list sparingly and choose only those options to enhance safety and quality first. To me that means “Hands Free” everything you can afford. Blue tooth, steering wheel controls etc., which makes your travels safer.

Consumer Recommendation:

Look seriously at this car because it not only looks good, you will notice high quality mechanical things like variable valve timing in the engine, stability control, four wheel disc brakes, air bags a bunch and tire pressure monitoring system. All these are usually found on more expensive cars.

Recognized Competition:

Hyundai Sonata $18-26,000, Pontiac Grand Prix $22-29,000, Nissan Altima $19-29,000, Honda Accord $20-31,000, Ford Fusion $18-25,000, Kia Optima $17-21,000.

2009 – Toyota Camry $19-28,000, Mitsubishi Galant $21-27,000, Chevrolet Malibu $21-26,000, Buick LaCrosse $25-33,000, Saturn Aura Hybrid $24,930, Pontiac G6 $20-31,000, Chevrolet Impala $ n/a, Mazda 6 $19-28,000.

Good News:

Nice styling, comfortable ride and handling, priced very well in class, good safety features and impressive fuel economy.

Bad News:

Relatively new company products from an otherwise century old industry.

Standard Equipment:

2.4 liter engine 175 hp Inline 4-cylinder engine, continuous variable valve timing, 5-speed auto transmission with shift-tronic function, electronic stability control, power assist 4-wheel ABS disc brakes, tire pressure monitoring system, front, side and curtain air bags, audio system with CD player, keyless entry, power windows and locks, power windows, locks and mirrors, leather seating with front heated seats and leather wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, climate control, fog lights, 17” alloy wheels and power sunroof and tilt.

Gas Stats:

$4.09/ Gal avg. August 5, 2008

www.fueleconomy.gov

for more information.

22 City and 32 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $23,970.