Monday, March 31, 2008

2008 Hyundai Veracruz Limited AWD Review

2008 Hyundai Veracruz Limited AWD Review

When someone mentions "midsize luxury crossover", "Hyundai" is probably not the first word to come to your mind. But the Veracruz, its newest, and largest, crossover is meant to change that.

Based on a stretched version of the platform that underlies the Korean company's smaller Santa Fe, the Veracruz offers a spacious seven-passenger interior and a smooth, quiet driving experience. V6 power, to the tune of 260 horses, is standard; there are no four-cylinder models. If in looks and mien it is aimed at luxury crossovers like the Lexus RX350, the Veracruz is priced competitively with the middle-class alternatives, the Toyota Highlander and Honda Pilot.

There are three Veracruz trim levels. The GLS, at around $27,000, offers V6 power with a six-speed automatic transmission, four-wheel antilock disc brakes, stability control, alloy wheels, an AM/FM/XM/CD/MP3 audio system, filtration air conditioning, a full complement of airbags, and more. The SE gets larger wheels, a power driver's seat, and upgraded interior and exterior trim for about $1,000 more. At the top of the line is the Limited, with premium features like leather seating, heated power-adjustable front seats, dual-zone climate control, an upgraded audio system, power for the tilt and slide sunroof, tilt and telescope steering wheel, pedals, and tailgate, memory for the driver's seat, mirrors, and steering wheel, upscale exterior and interior trim, puddle lamps, a backup warning system, and proximity key ignition all part of the package.

That's a little over $34,000 in front-wheel drive trim. Add $1700 to any trim level for an all-wheel drive system. In addition to the previously-offered rear-seat DVD entertainment system, a navigation system, developed in conjunction with Korean electronics company LG, is available this year, packaged with a high-quality Infinity Logic7 surround-sound audio system.

You could be excused for taking a cynical position and viewing the Veracruz as a vehicle people would buy only on price, if they couldn't afford one of the established luxury-brand alternatives only if your last look at a Hyundai was 20 years ago. You'd be wrong today. Hyundai has worked its way up the ladder the old-fashioned way - by building consistently improved products. I've just spent a week in an almost fully-optioned all-wheel drive Veracruz Limited. With an MSRP of $38,405 including destination, "cheap" does not apply. Would I say that it's worth that not-trivial price? Yes, as much as any other vehicle is today. Its build quality and fit and finish are as good as any competitor's, as is the chassis refinement. The drivetrain is more than competent. The Veracruz was comfortable, spacious, and well-designed.

APPEARANCE: The Veracruz points to a new direction for Hyundai. Only the undulating shoulder line is reminiscent of earlier Hyundai SUV styling. The two-box crossover shape is clean and smooth, with an interesting interplay between curved surfaces and angular edges and a well-raked windshield and backlight. In front, the small chrome-trimmed half-elliptical grille is cut out for the corporate logo in an unusual fashion at the bottom, with a larger lower opening actually providing most of the radiator air. Large L-shaped headlights give an upscale look, and contrast-colored textured plastic lower bumper fascia, wheel arch trim, and lower side panels provide visual interest without the heavy look of '90s SUV cladding. The Limited has puddle lights in its outside mirrors for ground visibility at night, and touchpads for keyless entry on the front door handles. At the rear, the taillights echo the shape of the headlights, and two oversize stainless steel exhaust tips hint at V6 power and refinement.

COMFORT: Walk up to the Veracruz Limited with the "key" fob in your pocket, press the pad on the door to unlock, and get in. Also notice the blue-lit "Veracruz" script in the stainless steel scuff plate. Keep the fob in your pocket, or place it in the receptacle on the rotary start/stop switch, and turn the switch. The engine is quiet, and there is virtually no vibration as it idles. Interior materials are standard for the entry-luxury/near-luxury class, leather seating surfaces and door inserts, with plastic "woodgrain" and "metallic" trim. They are done tastefully, with very good fit and finish. Instrumentation is backlit in blue and easy to read, and shaded from glare. The new navigation system is simple to use. It does replace the standard CD changer with a single-play unit hidden behind the screen. The power-adjustable, heated front seats provide first-rate comfort and support, with the driver's cushion height-adjustable. The perfect driving position, important for both comfort and safety, is easily attained by virtue of a power-adjustable tilt-and-telescope steering wheel - with a leather rim and cruise and auxiliary audio controls - and power-adjustable pedals. Front seat storage is good, highlighted by a cooled center console box. Second row passengers are in business class, with adjustable legroom and seatback angle as well as useful storage spaces and cupholders plus local climate controls and vents. A nearly-flat floor and adequate width allows reasonable three-across seating. The third row is accessed by folding either second-row seatback, and is good for people up to 5-6 or so. With it up, luggage space is tight, but it easily folds flat into the floor. And the second row can also be folded down, easily giving enough space for a bicycle, no disassembly necessary. The power liftgate is a convenient feature.

SAFETY: The Veracruz surrounds its passengers with a reinforced safety cage, with front and rear crumple zones. Dual front, front seat-mounted side, and full-length side curtain airbags are standard in all models, as is a tire-pressure monitoring system. Brakes are four-wheel discs, with antilock, electronic brake-force distribution, and electronic stability control. It has received a five-star rating from NHTSA for frontal and side impact safety. A backup warning system, standard in the Limited and optional in other models, adds safety when backing in tight spots.

RIDE AND HANDLING: The aspiration in the luxury crossover class is not raw cornering power. It's refinement, defined by a smooth, comfortable ride and low interior noise levels. The Veracruz fits that description well. No 90s-vintage truck SUV here. The fully-independent Macpherson strut front/ multilink rear suspension is calibrated moderately softly, but not overly so, and the damping is correct so there is no wallowing. The Veracruz is not a small vehicle, but reasonably quick steering and a tight turning circle make back-road driving pleasurable, and parking maneuvers a snap. Eight inches of ground clearance brings peace of mind around smaller road hazards. The all-wheel drive system normally operates in front-wheel drive mode, with torque sent to the rear wheels when necessary. For low-speed, slippery-condition operation it can be locked in 50:50 mode.

PERFORMANCE: At over 4400 pounds, the AWD Veracruz is no lightweight. But with 260 horsepower (at 6000 rpm) and 257 lb-ft of torque (at 4500 rpm), and matched to an Aisin six-speed automatic transmission, its 3.8-liter does its job well. It's a contemporary design, of aluminum alloys with dual overhead cams, variable cam phasing on the intake cams, and a variable-length intake manifold. It uses a no-maintenance steel timing chain, no belts. A semi-active electronic engine mounting system removes most engine vibration. The six-speed transmission improves both acceleration, with lower low gears, and highway economy, with overdrive fifth and sixth gears. It shifts smoothly and quickly, with "Shiftronic" manual-mold shifting allowing manual over-ride when desired.

CONCLUSIONS: Hyundai expands with the Veracruz luxury crossover.

2008 Hyundai Veracruz Limited AWD

Base Price $ 35,750
Price As Tested $ 38,405
Engine Type dual overhead cam 24-valve aluminum alloy V6 with continuously-variable cam phasing on the intake camshafts
Engine Size 3.8 liters / 231 cu. in.
Horsepower 260 @ 6000 rpm
Torque (lb-ft) 257 @ 4500 rpm
Transmission 6-speed electronically-controlled automatic
Wheelbase / Length 110.4 in. / 190.6 in.
Curb Weight 4431 lbs.
Pounds Per Horsepower 17.0
Fuel Capacity 20.6 gal.
Fuel Requirement 87-octane unleaded regular gasoline
Tires P245/60 TR18 Michelin Latitude
Brakes, front/rear vented disc / solid disc, ABS, EBD, and ESC standard
Suspension, front/rear independent MacPherson strut / independent multilink
Ground clearance 8.1 inches
Drivetrain transverse front engine, full-time all-wheel drive
EPA Fuel Economy - miles per gallon
city / highway / observed 15 / 22 / 17
0 to 60 mph est 8.0 sec
Navigation Package - includes:
navigation system (replaces CD changer), Infinity® Logic 7® audio with external 605-watt amp $ 1,750
Carpeted floor mats $ 125
Sunroof wind deflector $ 85
Inland freight and handling $ 695

Source: The Auto Channel

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Quick Drive: 2008 Hyundai Accent

Quick Drive: 2008 Hyundai Accent

2008 Hyundai Accent SE

The Hyundai Accent is easily one of the most overlooked cars on the market. Not terribly surprising, since on the whole, the Accent is a fairly nondescript three-door hatch and sedan. However, Hyundai's entry-level offering is worthy of a closer look by anyone in the market for a small, inexpensive car.

The base Accent GS starts at under $11,000, which is as bargain-basement as it gets. It doesn't feel cheap, though, and I could detect no rattles or squeaks during my stint in an SE hatch model, although there's plenty of interior noise at freeway speeds. The interior is Spartan, but ergonomically sound. Material quality is about what you'd expect for 11 grand, but somehow still better than that of most airplanes. Unlike some of its competition, the Accent is simple and doesn't try to rebel and be different.

On the road, the Accent's 110-horse four-banger isn't going to burn up any rubber, but it's reasonable for urban driving if you're rarely going past the 40-mph mark. Its EPA-rating of 27 mpg city is par for the class, giving up just two mpg to the Toyota Yaris. As with any three-door hatch, it's easy to maneuver and park, which is great in a city like Los Angeles.

Gearing is the Accent's weak point. The five-speed manual equipped model (a four-speed auto is also available) isn't set up well for freeway cruising, with fifth gear regularly cranking the engine to around 3500 rpm at 70 mph. With better gearing or an extra cog, the Accent's EPA-rating of 33 mpg highway could probably be brought closer to 40.

The Accent SE we tested clocked in at close to $15,000. For that money, you get 16-inch alloy wheels, a strut tower brace, body-color door handles and mirrors, standard ABS, air-conditioning, power windows and door locks, rear-window wiper, and a 172-watt six-speaker stereo system, along with several other convenience features. Money well spent, and even at that price, the Accent doesn't give up much to the competition.

By Kirill Ougarov March 21, 2008

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Hyundai Genesis Coupes Rock Out at New York Auto Show

Hyundai Genesis Coupes rock out at New York Auto Show

At the New York International Auto Show, Hyundai took advantage of the well-lit, expansive, Galleria at the Javits Center when it introduced the 2010 Genesis Coupe. The only thing left to be desired was better ventilation on the show floor...

In fact, Hyundai launched two new models of the Genesis Coupe onto a barricaded, plastic floor that was maybe about as large as a pro NBA court. While a rock and roll cover band blasted "You really go me" (done David Lee Roth style) a red Genesis Coupe burst onto the show floor from one corner and proceeded to perform some very convincing figure-8s and donuts. Just a few seconds later, a silver Genesis Coupe took to the floor from the opposite corner - in reverse - and made good use of the e-brake and rear-wheel drive architecture. When the two coupes came to rest, it wasn't a pair of full-face-masked stunt drivers who just disappeared behind the scenes, but two female stunt drivers who stepped out from behind the wheel. Due to the pyrotechnics, the Galleria filled with a bit of smoke which hung around through most of the press conference.

Clearly, the Genesis Coupe was presented as an attainable rear-wheel drive performance car that will offer competitive performance with the 212 horsepower, 2.0L, turbocharged, intercooled four cylinder, or even higher performance with the choice of a 306-horsepower, 3.8L V6. (Both horsepower figures were estimated.) Transmission choices include a standard six-speed manual for both engines. The 2.0t can be shifted by an optional five-speed automatic and the 3.8L V6 can be backed up by an optional six-speed automatic. Both automatics feature SHIFTRONIC, which the driver can use to shift the transmission up or down after moving the gearshift into a dedicated gate.

Where as some production cars come to the scene bearing little resemblance to their conceptual predecessors, the Genesis Coupe was unmistakable in its likeness to the 2007 Concept Genesis Coupe. Certain scoops and louvers didn't make the transition to production, but the front end, window opening, and formidable rear quarters looked fabulous in the production metal. 18-inch alloy wheels will be standard, and the optional alloys will be 19 inches. I'm not sure which ones were on the Genesis Coupes in New York, but the five-spoked wheels looked sharp, both during the burnout display and at rest.

At the Genesis Coupe press conference, Hyundai used rock and roll to deliver the message that the Genesis Coupe was all about fun and serious performance. It's also important to note the safety features that started with the brakes and went all the up to Electronic Stability Control (ESC) which is standard on all Genesis Coupes. Standard brakes begin with 12.6 inch front rotors followed by 12.4 inch rotors in the rear, stopped by single piston calipers. Optional braking is handled by fixed monobloc four-piston Brembo calipers and 13.4 inch front rotors with 13 inch rotors out back. Behind all the rotating and clamping hardware is standard ABS that works with an Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) system to deliver the best brake performance under all driving conditions. The Brake Assist feature is also present, in case a sudden stop demands the most out of the ABS.

In case anything had gone wrong at the indoor driving session at the Javits Center, the Genesis Coupe would have drawn upon the following technology to protect its occupants: Front and rear crumple zones, a hood which includes "buckling creases and safety stops," airbags in front of the seats plus airbags mounted within the seats, along with side air curtains and "active front head restraints."

This clip from Autoblog shows it all:,

After the rousing introduction of the Genesis Coupe in New York, one can only imagine that the TV commercials that bring the car into peoples' living rooms have a lot to live up to. This new Genesis Coupe from Hyundai is super attractive when performing right in front of you and the choice of engines should make it a major player on anyone's sports car shopping list when it arrives this spring.


Monday, March 24, 2008

Veracruz Earns Winter Vehicle Award From NEMPA

Veracruz Earns Winter Vehicle Award From NEMPA


Boston, Mass, 03/17/2008 In one of the most hotly-contested categories of the New England Motor Press Association's (NEMPA) 2008 Winter Vehicle Awards, the Hyundai Veracruz registered a tie with the Buick Enclave for best All Weather SUV-- $25,000-$35,000.

The award was presented at a NEMPA ceremony at the Boston Globe on the evening of March 11, 2008 hosted by NEMPA president Ezra Dyer.

Bill Griffith of the Boston Globe noted a NEMPA member's praise for the Veracruz in a recent article: "Hyundai keeps surprising with quality and good looks."

NEMPA members voted their choices for top winter vehicle during the annual Winter Vehicle Voting Day on February 2, 2008. All of the eligible vehicles were brought to one designated area, and the assembled NEMPA members had the opportunity to evaluate their merits in winter driving conditions. Vehicles ranging from pickup trucks to high-powered sports cars were included in the test—four-wheel drive was the only common element in all.

In addition to the Buick Enclave, other vehicles tested in the All Weather SUV-- $25,000-$35,000 segment included the Acura RDX, Chevrolet Equinox, Chevrolet Trailblazer, Ford Edge, Ford Escape, Ford Explorer, GMC Acadia, Honda CR-V, Honda Pilot, Infiniti EX35, Land Rover LR2, Mazda CX-7, Mazda CX-9, Mazda Tribute, Mercury Mariner, Mercury Mountaineer, Mitsubishi Endeavor, Mitsubishi Outlander, Nissan Murano, Pontiac Torrent, Saturn Outlook, Saturn Vue, Subaru Tribeca, Suzuki XL7 and Toyota Highlander.

The Hyundai Veracruz impressed the journalists with its refined and powerful performance and a long-list of standard features including six air bags, which include two-roof mounted side curtain air bags for all rows of seating, Electronic Stability Control (ESC), active head restraints and 18-inch 5-spoke alloy wheels. This combination of performance and value put the Hyundai Veracruz at the top of the "All Weather SUV" list.

Judges felt it's a solid effort, saying that the Veracruz is "a Hyundai built like a Lexus.”


Hyundai Motor America, headquartered in Fountain Valley, Calif., is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Co. of Korea. Hyundai vehicles are distributed throughout the United States by Hyundai Motor America and are sold and serviced through more than 780 dealerships nationwide.


The New England Motor Press Association is unique among regional motor press groups. Its members represent all six New England states, reaching one of the densest populations in all of America. Many also have national followings. These automotive writers and talk show hosts influence multi-vehicle owners looking to buy a wide range of cars and trucks to cope with the varied weather conditions of the region.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

All-New Hyundai Genesis Coupe: A New Benchmark For Attainable 300-Horsepower Sport Coupes

All-New Hyundai Genesis Coupe: A New Benchmark For Attainable 300-Horsepower Sport Coupes

2010 Genesis Coupe

New York, 03/19/2008

Genesis Coupe Specifications

Hyundai unveiled Genesis Coupe, the new benchmark for attainable 300-horsepower sport coupes, during a press conference at the New York International Auto Show today. The 2010 Genesis Coupe is a purpose-built rear-wheel drive sport coupe featuring two performance-focused engines - a 212-horsepower (est.), 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a range-topping all-aluminum, 306-horsepower (est.), DOHC 3.8-liter V6 engine. Genesis Coupe is scheduled to join the Hyundai lineup in the spring of 2009.

* Hyundai's second rear-wheel drive performance car
* 306 horsepower (est.)from enhanced 3.8-liter V6 from Genesis sedan
* Std. 212 horsepower (est.) turbocharged, intercooled inline four cylinder
* Genesis Coupe arrives in the spring of 2009 as a 2010 model

Following the introduction earlier this year of the rear-wheel drive Genesis sport sedan, Genesis Coupe is Hyundai's most dynamic performance car ever and the second consecutive all-new model introduction from Hyundai appealing directly to the car enthusiast. Genesis Coupe uses the same flexible rear-wheel drive architecture originally developed for the Genesis sport sedan.

2010 Genesis Coupe

2010 Genesis Coupe

"We think our entry-level Genesis Coupe 2.0t, with its unique combination of rear-wheel drive and four-cylinder turbo power, offers an intriguing alternative to existing front-wheel drive sport coupes," said John Krafcik, vice president, product development and strategic planning, Hyundai Motor America. "The 3.8-liter version of Genesis Coupe takes driving to an even higher level, rivaling the capability of premium-performance coupes like the Infiniti G37."


2010 Genesis Coupe

2010 Genesis Coupe

Genesis Coupe was shown as a concept at the 2007 Los Angeles Auto Show and its transformation from concept to production reveals that its signature design features have emerged intact.

"The mission for Genesis Coupe was to create a pure performance car with a design that would capture the imagination of hardcore automotive enthusiasts," said Joel Piaskowski, chief designer at the Hyundai Design Center in Irvine, Calif. "With its aggressive look from just about any angle, I think we have been able to do that."

2007 Concept Genesis Coupe

2007 Concept Genesis Coupe
Genesis Coupe is also unmistakably linked to several Hyundai concept cars. The powerful curves, undulating beltline, surface detail, and "Z" bodyside lines come straight from the HCD9 Talus and the HCD8 sport coupe concepts.

2006 HCD9 Talus Concept

Designers used the Day Light Opening (DLO -- a designer's term for the side glass) from the 2006 HCD9 Talus Concept on the Genesis Coupe.

2004 HCD8

The 2004 HCD8 sport tourer concept's sensual body forms influenced the overall design direction of Genesis Coupe.

Genesis Coupe's arching roofline and tapering greenhouse highlight the exterior profile and emphasize the car's broad shoulders and wide stance. The Genesis Coupe's rocker panels are drawn close to the ground making the bodysides extra thick and the daylight opening thin, allowing the wheels to be slammed up into bulging fenders. To complete the aggressive sports car look, the depth between the fenders and the greenhouse has been maximized.

Large openings in the front fascia allow for better engine breathing. The dual exhaust tips integrated into the rear fascia with surrounding blackout repeat the design theme of the front fascia graphic.

Genesis Coupe rides on standard 18-inch alloy wheels or optional 19-inch wheels, both delivering a bold stance and aggressive handling.


In keeping with its mission to be the most exciting, attainable sport coupe on the road, the Genesis Coupe boasts a cockpit designed to enhance the driving experience. An information display screen features an outside temperature reading and audio system information. Analog gauges include a large speedometer and tachometer positioned so the driver can immediately access critical driving information. The instrument cluster features Hyundai's signature blue gauge illumination.

Bucket front seats with large side bolsters offer excellent lateral support for enthusiastic driving. High-quality seating surfaces range from full black fabric on the Genesis Coupe GS and GT, to optional full black or brown leather on the GT, to red cloth inserts with black leather bolsters on the SE.

Among the other refinements are an Infinity audio system and two-stage front seat warmers. Genesis Coupe also offers the convenience of a Smart Key and push-button starter.


2010 Genesis Coupe Architecture

2010 Genesis Coupe Architecture

Genesis Coupe's body shell is rich in ultra-high-tensile steel. Genesis Coupe is lighter than the Infiniti G37, and its chassis is also 24 percent stiffer in bending rigidity than the BMW E46 M3. Rear-wheel drive provides a 55:45 front/rear weight distribution.


2010 Genesis Coupe 3.8-Liter Lambda DOHC V6 Engine

2010 Genesis Coupe 3.8-liter Lambda DOHC V6 Engine

Two engines infuse Genesis Coupe with performance. The 3.8-liter Lambda DOHC V6 engine delivers an estimated 306 horsepower (310 horsepower using premium fuel) and 263 lb.-ft. of torque on regular unleaded. This engine will launch the Genesis Coupe from 0 to 60 miles per hour in under six seconds. To maximize the power band, the 3.8-liter engine utilizes Continuously Variable Valve Timing (CVVT) on intake cam shafts and a new Variable Intake System (VIS) that helps cylinders breathe efficiently at both low and high RPM. The better breathing results in outstanding off-the-line acceleration and passing performance, and remarkable fuel efficiency. The V6 engine uses an alloy block and cylinder heads for lighter weight and thermal efficiency, and features timing chains with no scheduled maintenance.

The turbocharged, intercooled 2.0-liter DOHC inline four-cylinder benefits from CVVT on both the intake and exhaust camshafts. The 2.0-liter turbo generates an estimated 212 horsepower (223 horsepower using premium fuel) and 217 lb.-ft. of torque. It also features a cast-aluminum cylinder block and cylinder head. Both engines feature a free flowing dual cat-back exhaust and an available limited slip differential to put the power to the ground.


Genesis Coupe employs a MacPherson strut dual-link front suspension and a five-link rear suspension setup. The front suspension is mounted to the body via a solid subframe which is lighter and stronger than a multi-piece component would be. To help reduce body roll and tune the Genesis Coupe's at-the-limit handling for maximum predictability, 23-mm diameter front and 18-mm diameter rear stabilizer bars are used.

2010 Genesis Coupe MacPherson strut dual-link front suspension

2010 Genesis Coupe MacPherson strut dual-link front suspension

2010 Genesis Coupe Five-link Rear Suspension

2010 Genesis Coupe Five-link Rear Suspension

While all Genesis Coupe models offer a fun and sporty driving experience, the high-performance Genesis Coupe SE is a most willing partner for the true enthusiast. The SE's track-tuned sport suspension features a stiffer front spring rate, stiffer rear spring rate and unique shock valving. Genesis Coupe SE delivers an increase in roll control over the GS. Superb structural rigidity sets the foundation for precisely-tuned handling performance in all Genesis Coupes.


Hydraulic rack-and-pinion steering with a quick ratio gear delivers both linearity and agility. The steering is also engine-RPM sensing.


Both engines are mated to a standard six-speed manual transmission. The Genesis Coupe 2.0t offers an optional five-speed automatic with SHIFTRONIC® while the 3.8-liter V6 offers a ZF six-speed automatic transmission with SHIFTRONIC to handle the additional torque.

Drivers can access the SHIFTRONIC® feature by moving the gear selector into a separate gate. Pushing the selector forward or pulling it rearward will shift the transmission up or down sequentially, adding to driver control. A clear LCD readout on the instrument panel shows the gear that's in use.


Brembo four-piston calipers clamp down on 13.4-inch front brake rotors and 13-inch rear rotors on SE models. All other models get substantial 12.6-inch front ventilated rotors and 12.4-inch rotors in the rear with floating single piston calipers.


The 2010 Genesis Coupe offers Xenon high-intensity discharge (HID) headlights. The advantages of HID headlamps include greater lighting power, daylight-type lighting and reduced power consumption. In addition, the cut lines of the new HID headlights are extremely precise, providing maximum nighttime visibility without distracting other drivers.

Music lovers will welcome the 2010 Genesis Coupe's standard auxiliary input jacks (3.5 mm mini-jack and USB input) to accommodate and charge audio devices such as iPods®. When an iPod or flash drive is connected through the USB port, located in the center storage compartment, not only does it play music through the vehicle's audio system, but it also charges the iPod and allows the driver to access tracks with the steering wheel audio controls. This system also allows both driver and passengers to easily view song/artist/title information and control the music from the audio head unit rather than only the iPod itself.


In keeping with Hyundai's focus on offering segment-leading standard safety technologies across its lineup, the 2010 Genesis Coupe includes a wide range of both active and passive safety features. Standard safety technology includes driver and front passenger advanced frontal airbags, along with front seat-mounted side airbags, side air curtains and active front head restraints.

Genesis Coupe has strong unibody construction, along with front and rear crumple zones, bodyside reinforcements, and five-mph energy-absorbing bumpers. The hood also includes buckling creases and safety stops.

The front seatbelts have pretensioners and force limiters, and the rear seats feature LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children), which make affixing child safety seats easier.

All Genesis Coupe models feature standard four-channel ABS with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) to optimize brake performance under various dynamic loading conditions. The system also includes Brake Assist, which provides maximum ABS-level braking force when a panic stop is detected.

Electronic Stability Control (ESC), one of the industry's most effective life-saving technologies, is standard in all Genesis Coupes. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) studies suggest vehicles equipped with ESC experience 56 percent fewer fatalities in single-vehicle crashes.


The Genesis Coupe is offered in three trim levels: the stylish and affordable GS, the premium-sport GT featuring the 3.8-liter V6, and the high-performance SE, available with either the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine or the 3.8-liter V6 engine.

GENESIS COUPE GS (Preliminary packaging subject to change)

Key Standard Equipment:
* 2.0-liter turbocharged, intercooled four-cylinder engine
* Electronic Stability Control
* Traction Control System
* Tire Pressure Monitoring System
* Front, side, side air curtain air bags
* Active front head restraints
* Manual A/C
* Keyless entry
* Power windows, door locks, and mirrors
* AM/FM/XM/CD Player/USB/iPod connectivity
* Steering wheel audio controls
* Cruise control
* Vanity mirror illumination
* Bluetooth

GENESIS COUPE GT (Preliminary packaging subject to change)

GS equipment Plus:
* 3.8-liter DOHC V6
* Leather steering wheel / Shift knob
* Metalgrain /chrome interior accents
* Automatic temperature control
* Fog lamps
* Premium door sill plates
* Trip computer
* Chrome front fascia accents
* Auto light control

GENESIS COUPE SE (Preliminary packaging subject to change)

Unique SE equipment:
* 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder or 3.8-liter DOHC V6
* HID headlights
* Aluminum pedals
* Manual A/C
* 19-inch alloy wheels
* High performance Bridgestone Potenza RE050A summer tires
* Brembo braking system with monobloc four-piston calipers
* SE track-tuned suspension / front strut brace
* Limited-slip differential
* Black leather bolsters / red cloth insert seats
* Rear spoiler
* Aero wiper blades


Hyundai Motor America, headquartered in Fountain Valley, Calif., is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Co. of Korea. Hyundai vehicles are distributed throughout the United States by Hyundai Motor America and are sold and serviced through more than 780 dealerships nationwide.

2010 Genesis Coupe

2010 Genesis Coupe Specifications

Turbo I4
Type Intercooled-turbocharged 2.0L DOHC Dual CVVT (Dual Continuously Variable Valve Timing)
Materials Aluminum block and cylinder head
Bore & Stroke (mm) 86 x 86
Displacement 2.0 liters
Horsepower 212 @ 6,000 rpm (estimated)
Torque 217 lb-ft @ 2,500 rpm (estimated)
Valves per cylinder 4
Top speed 137 mph, fuel cut (estimated)
Type 3.8L Lambda DOHC V6
Materials Aluminum block and cylinder head
Bore & Stroke (mm) 96 x 87
Displacement 3.8 liters
Horsepower 306 @ 6,000 rpm (estimated)
Torque 263 @ 4,700 rpm (estimated)
Valves per cylinder 4
0-60 mph time Under 6 seconds (estimated)
Top speed 149 mph, fuel cut (estimated)
Turbo 4-cyl., 6-speed manual / 5-speed automatic with SHIFTRONIC®
Gear ratios 6MT / 5AT
First 4.229 / 3.827
Second 2.467 / 2.368
Third 1.671 / 1.520
Fourth 1.233 / 1.000
Fifth 1.000 / 0.834
Sixth 0.794 / N/A
Reverse 3.985 / 2.613
Final drive 3.909 / 4.181
V6, 6-speed manual / ZF 6-speed automatic SHIFTRONIC®
Gear ratios 6MT / 6AT
First 3.848 / 4.171
Second 2.317 / 2.340
Third 1.623 / 1.521
Fourth 1.233 / 1.143
Fifth 1.000 / 0.867
Sixth 0.794 / 0.691
Reverse 3.985 / 3.403
Final drive 3.538 / 3.727
Front MacPherson strut dual link with springs, gas shock absorbers and 23 mm stabilizer bar
Rear Five-link design with gas shock absorbers and 18 mm stabilizer bar
Type Hydraulic rack-and-pinion, engine-RPM sensing
Overall Ratio 14.5:1
Turns, lock to lock TBA
Turning circle, diameter 35.0 ft
Front 12.6-inch (Standard) / Brembo, 13.4-inch disc, 4-piston calipers (Optional)
Rear 12.4-inch (Standard) / Brembo, 13.0-inch disc, 4-piston calipers (Optional)
ABS 4-channel ABS with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD)
Tires Front: 225/45R18, 225/40R19
Rear: 245/45R18, 245/40R19
Wheels 18-inch alloy wheels
19-inch alloy wheels, five-spoke
Wheelbase 111.0 in.
Overall length 182.3 in.
Overall width 73.4 in.
Overall height 54.3 in.
Track, front TBA
Track, rear TBA
Coefficient of drag (Cd) TBA
Head room
Front 39.0 in.
Rear 34.6 in.
Leg room
Front 44.1 in.
Rear 30.7 in.
Shoulder room
Front TBA
Rear TBA
Hip room
Front TBA
Rear TBA
EPA passenger volume TBA
EPA cargo volume TBA
EPA total volume TBA
Turbo I4/V6
Fuel TBA
Coolant TBA
V6 3,549 lbs.
2.0-liter 3,439 lbs.
4-cylinder Models
2.0-liter manual TBA TBA
2.0-liter automatic TBA TBA
V6 Models
3.8-liter automatic TBA TBA
3.8-liter manual TBA TBA

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Luxury Car That Hyundai Always Wanted to Build

The luxury car that Hyundai always wanted to build

2009 Hyundai Genesis

The Genesis is the beginning of something radically different for Hyundai.

This is a serious luxury machine built around a rear-wheel-drive platform and an available V8 engine. The resulting premium-grade sedan, due to arrive this summer, will take on some of the best sedans that Europe, Japan and North America have to offer.

That's a lofty goal and it remains to be seen whether this mainstream Korean automaker, which began a couple of decades ago selling modest little vehicles, can be accepted into an exclusive club dominated by the likes of Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Jaguar, Lexus and Cadillac, to name some of its key members.

Let the critics scoff. Hyundai seems to think the Genesis deserves to be taken seriously as a true luxury contender and at a price that just might embarrass the competition.

Of course, we've heard that rhetoric from Hyundai before. The company's Azera sedan boasted a similar claim when it arrived for the 2006 model year. It was - and still is - a pretty decent ride, but falls short of making the luxury claim stick.

This time, however, the luxury tag has some serious backing. For starters, there's a new rear-wheel-drive platform with a sophisticated independent front and rear suspension on the menu, a first for Hyundai in North America, although this type of setup has been employed in its native Korea for a number of years. Secondly, the Genesis will be offered with a 4.6-liter V8 that delivers between 368 and 375 horsepower, depending on whether you pump regular- or premium-grade gasoline into the tank. The output level beats nearly every direct and indirect competitor in sight, including the Infiniti M45, BMW 550i, and Chrysler 300C and comes whisker-close to topping the Mercedes-Benz E550 and the Lexus LS460. However, it's important to note that the Hyundai's 324 pound-feet of torque falls short of these potential competitors. As well, the Genesis is the only sedan in the group that fails to offer all-wheel-drive as an option, a feature that nearly every luxury car worth its salt can be equipped with these days.

Of course, it's the Genesis' V8 powerplant that's attracting significant attention, but it's not the only available motor. Base versions will come with a 268-horsepower 3.3-liter V6, while mid-range models will get a 290-horsepower 3.8-liter V6. Both are derived from the Azera and Sonata's front-wheel-drive architecture but, like the V8, they're connected to six-speed automatic transmissions.

The Genesis is wrapped in one of the most inviting bodies ever designed for a Hyundai. There are strong hints of Mercedes, BMW and Infiniti in the shape, but not in an overt or awkward way. In other words, no new ground is broken, but none of the design elements look glaringly out of place. Overall length and width is with an inch of the Chrysler 300, placing the Genesis firmly in the full-size category and providing more limo-like stretch-out space than either an E-Class Mercedes or BMW 7-series.

All Genesis models should arrive with a very high degree of standard equipment (final base content has yet to be announced). At the top end, though, you'll be able to load up with a heated and cooled driver's seat, power rear sunshade, backup camera, auto-leveling Xenon headlights, 17-speaker 500-watt sound package, navigation system, UV-reflective leather-covered steering wheel that stays cool to the touch in bright sunlight when the windows are up and adaptive cruise control that maintains a set distance from the vehicle directly in front.

Genesis pricing is not yet known, but a $30,000-$40,000 range is likely. That certainly undercuts many of its peers, which is exactly what Hyundai needs to attract buyers to the upscale side of its newly revised business plan.

What you should know: 2009 Hyundai Genesis

Type: Four-door, rear-wheel-drive full-size entry-luxury sedan

Engines: 3.3-liter DOHC V6 (268 hp); 3.8-liter DOHC V6 (290 hp); 4.6-liter DOHC V8 (375 hp)

Transmission: Six-speed automatic

Market position: The Genesis will attempt to carve out a niche within an established group of premium-priced rear-wheel-drive passenger cars.

Points: * A whole new direction for Hyundai. * Optional V8 among the most powerful in class. * All-wheel-drive option should be part of the program. * Planned Genesis coupe will follow sedan launch. * Available 17-speaker high-performance audio system enhances car's character. * Existing long-term Hyundai warranty already up to luxury-car standards.

Safety: Front airbags; front- and rear-side-impact airbags; side-curtain airbags; anti-lock brakes; traction control; stability control.

The numbers: MPG (city/hwy): 17/24 (3.3, est.) Base price: $30,000 (est.)

By comparison

Chrysler 300

Base price: $25,300

Available from tame to torrid with optional 425-hp SRT8 model.

BMW 5-series

Base price: $45,100

Sporty sedan offers superb handling, impressive V8 power.

Infiniti M35/45

Base price: $43,800

Splendid V6 and V8 performers are roomy and well appointed.

By Malcolm Gunn
Wheelbase Communications
March 15, 2008

Monday, March 17, 2008

Early Look: 2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe

Early look: 2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe

Fourteen images of the new 2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe have leaked online, ahead of its official debut next week at the New York Auto Show. The coupe is based on the same rear-wheel-drive platform as the Genesis sedan. It was previewed with a concept version late last year, and later to a marketing study group in pre-production form.

The car is expected to hit the market in Spring 2009, making it a 2010 model.

Hyundai officials recently revealed that the base car will be powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder engine with up-level models being propelled by a 3.8L V6 -- not the previously rumored V8 from the Genesis sedan. While official performance numbers remain unknown, Hyundai is tauting the production Genesis Coupe as the most affordable 300+ horsepower car on the market. Because Hyundai is specifically going after the Ford Mustang, look for final horsepower ratings in the 310 to 320 range. The car pictured in the leaked photos has a redline of 6,500 rpm.

The car's center stack features a large LCD screen, while the gauge cluster has a futuristic, two-pod design. The Genesis Coupe will have a 2+2 setup, with cup holders separating the rear buckets. Despite only having two doors, rear seat legroom looks surprisingly ample.

"Genesis Coupe is the most thrilling, most emotional Hyundai yet," said John Krafcik, vice president, product development and strategic planning, Hyundai Motor America when the concept was first shown. "When it hits the market in early 2009, we aim to deliver a driving experience that challenges cars like Infiniti G37, at prices more like Mitsubishi Eclipse."

Source: March 16, 2008

Genesis Coupe Genesis Coupe

Genesis Coupe Genesis Coupe

Genesis Coupe Genesis Coupe

Genesis Coupe Genesis Coupe

Genesis Coupe Genesis Coupe

Genesis Coupe Genesis Coupe

Genesis Coupe Genesis Coupe

Genesis Coupe Genesis Coupe

Genesis Coupe Genesis Coupe

Genesis Coupe Genesis Coupe

Genesis Coupe Genesis Coupe

Genesis Coupe

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Car Book 2008 Honors Five Hyundai Models With "Best Bet" Selections

The Car Book 2008 Honors Five Hyundai Models With "Best Bet" Selections

Hyundai's Accent, Elantra, Sonata, Tucson And Entourage Recognized For Meeting The Safety And Performance Needs Of The American Buyer

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif., 03/13/2008 Hyundai continues to collect awards for its revamped model lineup adding "Best Bet" distinction for five of its vehicles in The Car Book 2008. Accent, Elantra, Sonata, Tucson and Entourage all earned the title "Best Bet" from author Jack Gillis and the Center for Auto Safety. For 28 years, The Car Book has selected vehicles for this distinction based on how well they respond to the safety and performance needs of today's consumer.

The Car Book analyzes new vehicles each year to identify vehicles that make a significant contribution to bettering the market. "Best Bet" ratings designate The Car Book's highest-rated cars in each of the size categories. Ratings are based on expected performance in ten important categories: crash tests, safety features, fuel economy, rollover, repair costs, preventative maintenance, warranties, insurance costs and complaints, with the heaviest emphasis on safety.

The following are the "Best Bet" categories for each winning Hyundai model:
Accent: Subcompact
Elantra: Compact
Sonata: Intermediate
Tucson: Small SUV
Entourage: Minivan

Hyundai Motor America, headquartered in Fountain Valley, Calif., is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Co. of Korea. Hyundai vehicles are distributed throughout the United States by Hyundai Motor America and are sold and serviced through more than 780 dealerships nationwide.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Joy Ride: 1000 Miles in the 2008 Hyundai Veracruz

Joy Ride: 1000 Miles in the 2008 Hyundai Veracruz

Back from a weekend driving up and down the state of California, rolling nearly 1000 miles onto the odo of our long-term 2008 Hyundai Veracruz crossover. Just me and five beautiful Persian ladies. Allow me to tell you more. About the Hyundai.

This is one sweet ride. I was impressed by the Veracruz during last fall's 2008 Sport/Utility of the Year competition; though it didn't win, the Hyundai was easily in the top three or four among a strong field. And now that we've got a fully loaded Limited AWD in our long-term fleet, my admiration for the Veracruz grows every time I get behind the wheel.

The DOHC, 3.8-liter six, making 260 horsepower, easily hustled the six of us up the I-5 in a stream of traffic doing a steady 80 mph. Partnering the engine, the six-speed automatic is brilliant, shifting smoothly, keeping the engine in the meat of the torque band without undue fuss. Ride quality is quite good, even though I kicked an extra 4 p.s.i. into the tires in anticipation of our fully loaded, extended high-speed cruise. Perhaps most impressive is the cabin's quiet. Little wind, road, or powertrain noise intrudes. You can hold conversations from front row to third without yelling.

Criticisms? The seats are compliant but lower-back support is lacking. The power rear liftgate is really slow going up or down. And the navigation system is clearly something Hyundai is learning. Even with voice guidance on, on complex street grids it's difficult to judge when the system wants you to turn. The system also offered some truly bizarre routing options, at one point literally guiding us in circles around San Jose and at another juncture sending us in completely the wrong direction (and, yes, I carefully checked the "route options" and "destination" tabs to be certain they were correct). Undoubtedly Hyundai will serve up a better system when it gets around to Nav 2.0.

You wouldn't call the Veracruz an exciting machine; it doesn't have the sizzle or "driver's DNA" of, say, the 2008 SUOTY-winning Mazda CX-9. Yet you have to admire its quality and execution. Panel tolerances are tight, materials are rich-looking, controls are thoughtfully laid out (you can mute the nav system with an easily accessible button). Just opening the driver's door summons an element of luxury, as the chrome step plate lights up "Veracruz" in snazzy blue.

The Veracruz is also a stunning value -- so much so, in fact, that you have to wonder why anyone would buy a Lexus RX 350 instead. The Hyundai flat-out matches the Lexus in driving poise and refinement, and it blows away the RX in standard features. The Veracruz Limited AWD starts at $36,445, including dual-zone climate control, six-speed auto, leather seats (heated up front), power glass moonroof, plus front-side and front/rear head curtain airbags. Add navigation and a few other options (as on our long-term car), and the sticker tops out at just over $38K. The RX 350, in contrast, starts at $$39,665, and it's only got a five-speed automatic. Also, you'll pay extra for leather, heated seats, moonroof...dress it up like the Hyundai, and the Lexus rings up at more than $45,000. The Hyundai even has a better warranty: five years/60,000 miles versus four years/50,000 miles for Lexus. Think Hyundai chose that additional year/10K miles by accident? Neither do I.

Given the virtues of the Veracruz, it's going to be interesting indeed to see what Hyundai develops down the road (starting soon with the Genesis coupe). Meantime, this versatile, roomy, highly refined crossover belongs on any family-vehicle shopping list.

By Arthur St. Antoine - Motor Trend

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Santa Fe's a wheel winner

Santa Fe's a wheel winner

TEST DRIVE | There's little not to like in this 2008 model from Hyundai, which nicely blends features of sport-utility vehicles and cars

The Santa Fe is another mid-size SUV that could be marketed as one of the increasingly popular crossover vehicles -- those combining SUV utility with carlike manners.

The Santa Fe debuted for 2001 and was continually updated over the years to become a solid model with Hyundai's long warranty. But the 2007 model got the Santa Fe's first major changes, being made larger, roomier and more powerful. New features included availability of an optional third-row seat for seven-passenger seating, although the third seat area is strictly for kids.

The changes paid off, as Hyundai saw Santa Fe sales jump to 92,421 units in 2007 from 63,931 in the previous year.

The handsome Santa Fe is nicely built and has an attractive, if rather bland-looking, interior.

The Santa Fe, as with all Hyundais, always has been very price-competitive. List prices for the 2008 Santa Fe go from $20,995 to $29,600. It comes as GLS, SE and top-line Limited models. It's offered with front- or all-wheel drive that permits locking in a 50/50 front/rear power split.

Hyundai dropped a four-cylinder Santa Fe engine in 2005, so even the base GLS trim level has a 2.7-liter, 185-horsepower V-6, air conditioning, tilt/telescope wheel, cruise control, AM/FM/CD/MP3 player, second-row split folding seat and power mirrors, windows and door locks with remote keyless entry. It comes with a five-speed manual gearbox or extra-cost four-speed automatic transmission with manual-shift capability.

Move to the mid-range SE, which starts at $24,100, and you get a 3.3-liter V-6 with 242 horsepower and standard five-speed automatic transmission, also with manual-shift capability. The SE also adds a leather-wrapped wheel with radio controls, heated power mirrors, wiper deicer and wider 60-series tires on larger 18-inch wheels -- up from 70-series tires on 16-inch wheels.

The uptown Limited's features include leather upholstery, heated front seats, power sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate controls, power driver's seat and an upgraded audio system with an in-dash 6-disc CD changer.

All Santa Fe models have safety features galore, including front and curtain-side air bags, traction control, anti-skid system and anti-lock brakes with brake assist.

All seat five, but you can get the SE model with the 50/50 split third-row seat for seven-person seating in a $1,500 Touring Package, which includes rear air conditioning, transmission cooler, heavy duty engine cooling and trailer wiring.

There are a variety of option packages for the GLS and SE, and stand-alone options for the Limited are a $1,750 navigation system and a $1,750 DVD entertainment system.

The Santa Fe is fairly heavy at 3,727 pounds and up, so the 2.7-liter V-6 provides just adequate acceleration. In contrast, the 3.3 V-6 with its added power and torque provides strong acceleration, with an especially good 65-75 mph passing. It works with a very responsive transmission, although the shifter has a rather notchy action.

Estimated fuel economy of the 2.7 is 17 mpg in the city and 24 on highways with front drive and the manual transmission and 18 and 24 with the automatic (or 17 and 23 with the automatic and all-wheel drive). The 3.3 with its extra-gear automatic provides 17 city, 24 highway with either drive system. Only regular-grade fuel is needed.

I tested a Limited with all-wheel drive. It had quick, nicely weighted steering and a tight turning radius for good maneuvering in close quarters. It also had a firm-but-supple ride and almost carlike handling, although it's no sports SUV (or crossover). The brakes pedal has a linear action for consistently smooth stops.

Just a little extra effort is needed to get in and out of the quiet interior, although reaching the third-row seat is easiest for nimble kids. Front seats should offer more side support. But occupants sit high. Visibility is generally good, and a driver has outside rearview mirrors nicely sized for safe lane changes and faces easily read gauges that have colorful red-and-white pointers on a black background. Easily reached sound system and climate controls are large, but the driver's power window controls are set back a bit too far, as are the console's twin cupholders.

Interior door handles are easily grasped for quick exits, and sun visor mirrors have sliding covers and are illuminated by lights in the roof -- a nice touch.

Dashboard vents are strategically placed for good heating and cooling, and there's a deep covered console storage bin.

The large cargo area has a low, wide opening. The hatch has no opening glass area, but it is equipped with a hefty pull-down strap. The cargo area has a moderately deep, covered bin in which to put valuable objects.

The fairly new Hyundai Veracruz, which is larger than the Santa Fe but also classified as a mid-size SUV/crossover, seems to be stealing some Santa Fe sales, but it is more costly, starting at $26,900. The Santa Fe thus remains the bargain child of Hyundai's SUV/ crossover lineup.

Prices: $20,995-$29,600

Likes: Fast with larger V-6. Roomy. Nice ride and handling. Key safety items. Strong warranty.

Dislikes: Power window controls too far back. Notchy transmission shifter. Third-row seat just for kids.

March 8, 2008
BY DAN JEDLICKA Chicago Sun-Times Auto Editor

Monday, March 10, 2008

Sonata Grows in Popularity

Sonata Grows in Popularity

The Hyundai Sonata has become a hit in a fiercely competitive segment for new- and used-car dealers.

Automakers made huge efforts to crack into the small sedan category, which is dominated by the Toyota Camry and the Honda Accord. The latest example is General Motor Corp.'s much-hyped new version of the Chevrolet Malibu.

Hyundai launched the new Sonata last year and many analysts said they did the best job so far of creating a true Camry competitor.

According to AutoData Corp., Hyundai sold 145,568 Sonatas in 2007, down 2.6 percent from 2006 but still a strong performance.

"They've done a great job battling the notion that it's not as good a vehicle as a Toyota Camry or a Honda, not just the vehicle, but the name brand," said Joe Spina, senior remarketing manager for "They started to get great reviews and consumers are starting to notice."

The vehicle's popularity as a used car also increased. The Sonata spent much of 2007 among AuctionNet's Top 10 units sold.

A recent online review said the "2002-2005 Sonata was solid proof that Hyundai could build a solid, well- appointed and attractive automobile to hold its own among a horde of mid-size competitors."

Spina said increased quality, on top of the 100,000-mile powertrain warranty, has made the Sonata almost on par with the competition.

One major obstacle for Hyundai products in the used-car market has been the subpar certified pre-owned program. But the manufacturer recently relaunched its CPO program with a five-year/ 60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

According to John Sullivan, sales manager at Fairfax Hyundai in Fairfax, Va., the new CPO program has helped the Sonata compete in the used-car market.

"It is definitely competing with the Honda Accord a lot better than it was," he said. "It feels heavier, and it's a little roomier."

By David Piestrzynski
Used Car News Staff Writer

Thursday, March 06, 2008

2008 Hyundai Veracruz: It's New... and It's Spectacular!

2008 Hyundai Veracruz: It's New... and it's Spectacular!

A lot of folks haven't heard much about the new 2008 Hyundai Veracruz, but we are going to let you in on a little secret. It is about as close to a Lexus RX 350 as you are ever going to get for a mere $22,000. We spoke with editor James Bell this week about his top favorite SUV's for 2008 and his top personal choice for the crossover class was without a doubt, the Veracruz.

The first thing that you have to realize as a consumer, is that Hyundai has been in a pickle since their release of the "grossly misnamed" Hyundai Excel, which could have been called a lot of names in its day, but "excel" would certainly not have been one of them. While the car wasn't a complete flop, if left little to the imagination beyond a shoe box with a few untamed rats spinning within its tires.

It's a big job to overcome something like that, but Hyundai has set a goal in motion and they are indeed changing their mental image with an entire generation from that shoe box on wheels, to a very sleek and stylish luxury SUV. In fact, according to James, the Veracruz has every bit as much detail and material quality as the Lexus flagship.The beautiful interior is a well planned combination of brushed metal and deep wood textures. The seating is very plush and comfortable for the driver and passenger. In fact, in the case of the Veracruz, even the back-seat "steerage" passengers get deep contoured seating with personal climate control adjustment.

For the base price of about $22,000 a consumer can look forward to a base GLS which offers 17-inch alloy wheels, power everything, seven-passenger seating, navigation assistance, and CD/MP3 audio. The SE adds 18-inch alloy wheels and a convenience package of automatic headlights and dimming mirror. The Limited edition adds leather seating with driver memory, heat (to the seats), automatic climate control, sunroof, rain sensing wiper blades, and rear parking sensors.

No matter which flavor you go with, you can expect Hyundai's unsurpassed 10 year/100,000 mile warranty and standard 3.8 liter V-6, with 260 horsepower and 257 lb-ft of torque. The standard automatic six-speed transmission offers a brisk manual shift mode capable of MPG's of 18 city/25 highway. Drop one MPG for the AWD (All-Wheel-Drive) option.

By Eric J. Leech | March 6th, 2008
Auto Trend News -

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

2008 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited AWD

2008 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited AWD

The Hyundai Santa Fe is an SUV offered in both FWD and AWD versions. The standard configuration has two rows of seating for up to five passengers. An optional seven-passenger version adds two more seats that fold out of the cargo floor. The internal dimensions of the Santa Fe suggest a mid-sized vehicle, but its taut exterior styling belies the actual size of this SUV.

With so many vehicles in the segment, it is difficult to identify direct competitors. Depending on what is important to the prospective buyer, there can be dozens of available alternative vehicles. The Santa Fe effectively splits the gap between smaller SUVs like the Ford Escape, and slightly larger models such as the Toyota Highlander. Dimensionally, the Santa Fe is similar to the Honda CR-V and the Toyota RAV4, but the five-passenger model has an interior volume comparable to the Nissan Murano and Ford Edge. Select the optional seven-passenger seating, and the only vehicles that can rival the Santa Fe's accommodations and refinement cost $5,000-$10,000 more.

The Santa Fe can be equipped in GLS, SE and Limited trim levels. All three models are well equipped with standard stability control, anti-lock brakes, alloy wheels, power windows, door locks and a 6-speaker audio system. Entry-level GLS models start at just over $21,000 and include a 2.7L V-6 under the hood. The SE and Limited models add a larger displacement 3.3L V-6, standard five-speed automatic transmission, and larger wheels/tires. SE models list at just over $24,000 and include a leather-wrapped steering wheel and premium cloth seats. The range-topping Limited trim level starts at about $28,000; Limited models add heated leather seats, a sunroof, and dual-zone climate controls. All three models offer either FWD or AWD drivetrains. All-wheel-drive adds about $1,500 to the price. To get seven-passenger seating, the Santa Fe SE and Limited models must be equipped with an optional Touring package.

Our test vehicle was a 2008 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited AWD. The MSRP for this model was $29,600. An optional navigation system was included for $1,750, as were carpeted floor mats for $120. Price, as tested, was a reasonable $31,470. With the healthy list of features, the Santa Fe is comprehensively equipped for its price.

The first pleasant surprise is the interior. The headliner, seats, center console and lower half of the instrument panel were finished in light beige. The top of the dash, upper door panels, cargo area, carpeting, and scuff-prone areas are all finished in a contrasting charcoal color to hide stains. A band of plastic "wood" trim with aluminum highlights separates the transition between the light and dark-colored interior moldings. Although most plastic surfaces are hard to the touch, they are pleasantly grained and will not mar or scratch easily. More importantly, there very few visible panel gaps which lends to an overall impression of a very high-level of fit and finish. The Santa Fe's upscale interior is more befitting of vehicles with much higher price tags, and is a cut above the Toyota RAV4 and other smaller SUVs.

The instrumentation is clear and useful with few gimmicks. A medium sized speedometer is front and center, with a tachometer to the left, and fuel and temperature gauges to the right. A small display inset in the tachometer shows the tire pressure monitoring system status. The speedometer includes a small trip computer that shows fuel economy, range, and trip mileage. The steering wheel has controls for the cruise control on the right, and the audio system on the left. The buttons are simple and easy to find without looking down. One complaint with many steering wheel-mounted controls is that they are sometimes too easy to hit accidentally while steering around corners. In the Santa Fe, we kept inadvertently hitting the audio system mode button.

The center stack starts at the top with an LCD clock and the passenger airbag indicator. Below that, our test model had the optional navigation system, which supersedes the audio system head unit. The dual-zone automatic climate control system is below; it consists of an LCD display with large temperature adjustment knobs on each side. Buttons for the defrosters and hazard lights are near the bottom. A small ashtray-sized container resides at the bottom edge of the instrument panel.

The center console contains a large tray for holding cell phones, mp3 players, etc. In a recessed area on the console are the heated seat controls, and a 12V power point. We wish all vehicles had a simple storage bin like this at the front of the center console. It is handy, yet out of the way of the cup holders and shifter. The armrest and center console cover a shallow bin above a deeper storage compartment. The rearview mirror is auto-dimming with an integrated compass. Above the mirror are the pushbutton controls for the sunroof, map lights and a sunglass holder.

The Santa Fe's passenger accommodations are above average. The sculpted leather seats are properly shaped for comfort, while the perforated middle cushions help to manage perspiration. Front headrests adjust both up/down and fore/aft. The driver's seat contains basic power-operated controls, but the front passenger makes do with manual adjustments. Rear seat occupants benefit from the reclining 60/40 split rear seatback. The outer seating positions are somewhat contoured and should be comfortable for most, but the middle passenger sits on a flat cushion and seatback acceptable for only short trips. All seating positions contain sufficient headroom and ample legroom.

Open the rear hatch via the unique side-mounted grab handle and the Santa Fe becomes surprisingly versatile for hauling duties. There is over 34 cubic feet of storage behind the second row seat. With the second row folded flat, stowage increases to over 78 cubic feet. In addition, there are two large storage compartments beneath the load floor. The rearmost compartment holds the tire changing kit, and has a spot for first aid supplies. The forward dividable compartment features a large deep well that is sufficient to hold a decent load of groceries. Seven-passenger models give up this cargo area for the third row seats. The spare tire mounts under the vehicle for maximum interior room.

Our test model was equipped with an optional navigation system, which is the first time Hyundai has offered a factory-installed navigation system. The system, made by LG Electronics, features a touch-screen with a small number of physical buttons for commonly accessed functions. The screen is ordinarily bright and legible, but like many other factory systems, automatically dims to an unacceptably low brightness level when headlamps are required during daylight hours. Relatively speaking the Hyundai navigation system is feature-rich and useful for $1,750, but falls short of the usefulness and value of an aftermarket unit like those from Garmin.

Hyundai offers the Santa Fe with two different V-6 engines. A 3.3L V-6 producing 242-bhp and 226 lb-ft of torque resides under the hood of the Santa Fe Limited. With almost two tons of mass to move, this is the preferred engine. The fuel economy penalty is negligible compared to the 2.7L V-6, because the 3.3L V6 is equipped with a five-speed transmission. Our only real complaint with the Santa Fe is the transmission. The shift logic seems biased towards fuel economy, and often leaves the vehicle in the wrong end of its torque band for swift acceleration. Switching the transmission to the manual input mode provides a significantly more rewarding driving experience. Working the V-6 harder significantly diminishes fuel economy. We averaged about 17 MPG in mixed duty, and significantly less with frequent starting/stopping.

In the ride and handling department, the Santa Fe never shows its weight. While the larger Veracruz, feels disconnected and quiet, the Santa Fe is lively and fun to drive. The body structure is tight, and the test vehicle showed no signs of flex or rattles. The rack-and-pinion steering is direct, with an appropriate level of feedback. The fully independent suspension provides a ride that is comfortable, yet sporty enough to appeal to SUV buyers. There is noticeable body roll, and at times a little pitching over very rough surfaces, but nothing out of the norm for a tall vehicle with 18-inch wheels. Our Santa Fe came shod with Bridgestone Dueler H/T all-season tires. The tires provided reasonable traction in dry, wet, snowy and icy conditions. The standard four-wheel disc brakes stop the vehicle with confidence.

In summary, the Hyundai Santa Fe is a vehicle that belongs on many shopping lists. It offers most of the size, equipment, utility and refinement of larger SUVs at a far more agreeable price. Buyers will make few sacrifices and will end up with a pleasing vehicle that is attractively styled and fun to drive.

Greg A. Godsell 02/26/2008
Velocity Automotive Journal

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Check out the Hyundai Tucson

Check out the Hyundai Tucson

Hyundai's reputation for undercutting the competition looks increasingly attractive in a weakening economy.

In the competitive crossover segment, for example, Hyundai can offer a top-of-the-line Tucson Limited with 4-wheel drive for a base price of $24,585. That window sticker might be hard to believe once you've seen and driven this attractive, well-mannered sport utility imitator.

Standard equipment on the Limited is extensive, including leather upholstery, seven-speaker AM/FM stereo with six-disc CD changer and MP3 functions, power accessories, six air bags, fog lights, tire-pressure monitoring system and a number of other attractive features.

Sharing the Elantra platform with the Kia Sportage, the Tucson is a sport utility body atop a car chassis. It can go off-road but is chiefly designed for less demanding duty.

Crossovers represent a middle ground between gas-guzzling full-size SUVs and cars that lack the utilitarian functions of a ute. They also attract buyers who shun the domesticated aura of a minivan.

They tend to attract the safety-conscious, as well. Tucson boasts the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration's highest five star safety rating. The compact also received top honors in J.D. Power and Associates' Initial Quality Study in 2005.

Sold in three trim levels in a price range of $17,235 to $24,585, the Tucson is offered in front-drive or 4-wheel-drive formats.

The entry-level GLS comes with a 2 -liter inline four cylinder engine, five-speed manual transmission and front-wheel drive. Electronic Stability Control, traction control and ABS are standard, as are 16-inch alloy wheels, advanced front airbags, front seat-mounted side-impact airbags and side-curtain airbags covering both rows of seating.

Other standard features include power windows, door locks and exterior mirrors and an 80-watt AM/FM/CD audio system. Active front head restraints are standard across all trim levels for 2008. Automatic transmission, air conditioning and cruise control are optional.

At $21,035, the SE trim in front-drive brings along a 2.7-liter, double overhead cam, V6 engine and four-speed Shiftronic automatic transmission, 16-inch double-spoke alloy wheels, fog lights, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and upgraded cloth seating surfaces. Air conditioning, cruise control and trip computer are standard.

Options on the Limited include electronically controlled four-wheel drive and a power tilt-and-slide sunroof. A front-drive Limited retails for $22,885, compared to $24,585 for the 4-wheel-drive version.

While the Tucson's ride is generally comfortable, handling is not as crisp as that of the new Nissan Rogue's. The V6's 173 horses are typical for the class, but don't expect the performance to be too spirited.

The independent suspension handles bumps without sloshing your coffee. The setup includes struts up front and multiple links in the rear, along with stabilizer bars front and rear.

The brakes on the Limited are discs with anti-lock features and electronic brake force distribution to keep the driver in control.

The Tucson's power rack-and-pinion steering system provides a tight, 35.4-foot turning circle.

Hyundai took extra measures to dampen outside noise in the 2008 model. The interior is nice and quiet.

I appreciated the back-lit power window and door lock switches that made them easy to find in the dark. The 10-way adjustable driver's seat and tilt-adjustable steering column are unusual in this price range. The Tucson's trip computer, standard in SE and Limited trims, includes two trip modes, each with information relating to mpg, distance to empty, drive time and average speed.

The standard 60/40-split fold-down rear seatback allows you to expand the cargo capacity of the Tucson. The seats fold down with the release of a single lever, and you don't have to remove or adjust the headrests. The front passenger seatback can fold flat either forward or backward, adding more cargo capability.

I appreciated the fact that the lift gate has two modes. You can open just the glass or the whole gate, and the release for each is clearly labeled.

Three bag hooks help secure your groceries, and you can take additional security measures with six flush-mount metal tie-down anchor points and six cargo net mounting points.

Beneath the load floor is a sectionalized storage area with the spare tire below. Other storage bins can be found throughout the vehicle. A two-tier front storage console comes with a two-position padded armrest with two cupholders and two more in each door pocket. The rear armrest also has a cupholder that can hold juice boxes.

While Hyundai has put a lot of years between its early quality problems and its current reputation, the South Korean maker continues to offer one of the best warranties in the business.

The Tucson comes with five-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper protection, 10-year/100,000-mile limited power train warranty and seven-year/unlimited mileage anti-perforation coverage. Buyers also get free 24-hour roadside assistance for five years.

WHAT'S NEW: Active head restraints; new leather interior; XM Satellite Radio free for three months.

PLUSES: Value, standard equipment, safety.

MINUSES: Somewhat vague handling; modest power.

BOTTOM LINE: Very attractive value.

(Richard Williamson writes about automobiles for Scripps Howard News Service.)

Monday, March 03, 2008

Consumer Reports New Top Picks For 2008

Consumer Reports New Top Picks For 2008: Hyundai Elantra SE, Hyundai Santa Fe...

First time a South Korean automaker represented in Top Picks

YONKERS, NY - Consumer Reports has named four new models to its Top Picks list for 2008-the Hyundai Elantra SE and Hyundai Santa Fe as top choices for small sedans and midsized SUVs, respectively; the redesigned Chevrolet Silverado as the top choice for pickup truck; and the Lexus LS 460L as the best luxury sedan.

The announcement was made today during a Washington Automotive Press Association (WAPA) press conference. Details can be found in CR's Annual April Auto Issue, on sale Tuesday, March 4.

This marks the first time that a South Korean automaker - Hyundai - is represented, and the first time since 2005 that a U.S. model - the Chevrolet Silverado - has made the list. Historically, Consumer Reports Top Picks have been a blend of Japanese, European, and domestic models, but for the last two years the Top Picks have all been from Japanese manufacturers.

The Toyota Prius remains the Top Pick in the "green" car category for the fifth year in a row. The Prius demonstrated an excellent 44 mpg overall in Consumer Reports' real-world fuel economy tests, the best of any five-passenger vehicles tested by CR.

Consumer Reports' Top Picks are the most well-rounded models in their categories and must meet stringent road test, reliability, and safety requirements. Each Top Pick scores at or near the top of its category among more than 260 vehicles CR recently tested at its Auto Test Center; has average or better predicted reliability (based on the problems subscribers reported on in CR's Annual Car Reliability Survey of almost 1.3 million vehicles), and performed adequately in overall safety if tested by the government or insurance industry.

Starting this year, they also must provide a critical safety feature, electronic stability control (ESC), either as standard equipment or as a readily available option. That's why the Honda Accord, for example, is the Top Pick in family sedans over the Nissan Altima. The Altima scored slightly higher in CR's testing, but offers ESC only as a pricey option on the V6 and standard on the hybrid model.

"All the vehicles in Consumer Reports' Top Picks list are standouts for performance, versatility, reliability, and safety," said David Champion, senior director of automotive testing, Consumer Reports. "CR's Top Picks list is a great place for consumers to start when they're looking for a new car."

Consumer Reports' testing procedures are the most comprehensive of any U.S. publication or Web site. More than 50 individual tests are performed on every vehicle, including evaluations of braking, handling, Comfort, convenience, safety, and fuel economy. Around 6,000 miles of general driving and evaluations are racked up on each test car during the testing process.

Here, by category, are the issue's best performers. Changes from last year's Top Picks list are noted:

* SMALL SEDAN: Hyundai Elantra SE. The Hyundai Elantra SE ($18,000) is a well-rounded small car thatprovides good fuel economy, a comfortable ride, and an interior that's quiet, roomy, and well-equipped. TheSE also has standard electronic stability control, a proven safety feature that's absent on many other smallcars. The Honda Civic EX and Mazda3 scored almost as well and are more fun to drive, but lack ESC onmore affordable versions. (Last year's Top Pick for Small Sedan was the Honda Civic.)

* MIDSIZED SUV: Hyundai Santa Fe. Redesigned for 2007, the much-improved Santa Fe ($22,000 to $31,000) edged out the Honda Pilot in CR's tests. It provides a quiet and roomy interior, excellent fit and finish, a refined powertrain, a relatively good ride, and an optional third-row seat. Standard ESC helps provide secure handling. (Last year's Top Pick for Midsized SUV was the Toyota Highlander Hybrid.)

CR's Annual April Auto Issue is on sale from March 4 through June 4. The Consumer Reports Auto Issue is available wherever magazines are sold. Free highlights from the April Auto Issue will be available

Consumer Reports is one of the most trusted sources for information and advice on consumer products and services. It conducts the most comprehensive auto-test program of any U.S. publication or Web site; the magazine's auto experts have decades of experience in driving, testing, and reporting on cars. To subscribe to Consumer Reports, call 1-800-234-1645.

Information and articles from the magazine can be accessed online at