Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Hyundai steps up battle of the small-car giants

Hyundai steps up battle of the small-car giants

Published December 10, 2006
By: Jim Mateja
Chicago Tribune

You fight fire with fire or, in the case of automobiles, minis with minis.

That's what Hyundai of South Korea has done for 2007.

Now that the Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris and Nissan Versa have invaded the mini car segment that the Hyundai Accent plays in, Hyundai has raised the ante with a pair of new Accents: the GS and SE two-door hatchback companions to the GLS four-door sedan.

"We welcome Toyota, Nissan and Honda to this segment and trust that consumers will see the value and quality advantage that our continuous dedication to this segment provides," said Owen Koh, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America.

That's a nice way of saying Hyundai considers Toyota, Honda and Nissan carpetbaggers in a market segment the South Korean automaker has been in for years, though Toyota had been there with the Echo but dropped it and opted to focus on larger cars. It wasn't until a gallon of gas became more expensive than a bottle of designer water that the Japanese brought out new entries, or, like Toyota, came back into the segment.

Considering Toyota, Honda and Nissan typically attract more attention than Hyundai, the Korean company has a battle on its hands.

Having tested Fit, Yaris and Versa, we turned to the new Accent hatchback offered in GS and SE version. We tested the SE, which is about 2 inches longer and half an inch wider than a Honda Fit.

Nice styling touches include body-color grille, sideview mirrors and door handles along with a spoiler.

Small, yes, snug, no. But it would be wise for driver and passenger to stow their parkas in back to keep claustrophobia from setting in.

There's decent room in the back seat, providing you can get into it. It requires sliding the front seat forward and taking a really deeeeep breath.

Cargo room behind the seat is more than ample. A parcel shelf strapped to the hatchlid hides whatever is stowed beneath. Need more room? The second-row seat bottoms slip forward and lift up against the front seats and then the backs fold flat.

The cloth seats are well cushioned and supportive for the short commute or long trip. But the driver's seat is bowed like the letter "C." Unless you don't mind driving with your chin on your chest, you have to recline the back a little to snap your spine back into a natural position. It's best to also raise the headrest a tad to keep it from digging into your neck.

Keep in mind this isn't a family car. It's more of a low-cost, high-mileage commuter.

There were times when Hyundai was serving its apprenticeship in the U.S. that you could slam door or hood and listen to the metal twang and watch it shimmy. No more. Small, yes, but very solid.

The 1.6-liter, 110-horsepower 4-cylinder shows more than a little spirit taking off from the light and merging into traffic on the expressway.

Good spunk in an engine that boasts 32 m.p.g. city and 35 highway. With its 12-gallon tank, it could easily deliver a week's worth of commuting or a weekend's worth of cavorting before having to refill.

What drives people to the mini segment is gas prices, so 32/35 is a lure. Putting more time and distance between refills tends to not only lower fuel bills but also divert attention from the commotion upon acceleration.

The SE comes with a sports-tuned suspension complemented by 16-inch radials (14 inch on the GS). Good road-holding ability from a sporty little hatchback thanks to stiffer spring rates, larger stabilizer bars, larger radials and low-effort steering response versus the GS.

At higher speeds, however, the agility borders on light footed on twisty pavement, perhaps because those 16-inch radials are narrow profile.

There's also standard side-impact air bags as well as side-curtain bags. Data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows that vehicles with the seat-mounted side bags and head-protecting curtains have 45 percent fewer fatalities in side impacts.

Though the car's small, it packs a number of storage areas, including the front center console, driver storage tray, storage pockets in the front doors and a rear storage tray. There's also the required dual cupholders and a pair of 12-volt power outlets.

The Accent SE starts at $13,915, the GS at $10,415. Standard equipment includes air conditioning, power windows/door locks/(heated) mirrors, remote keyless entry, rear-window wiper/defroster, illuminated vanity mirrors, AM/FM/CD audio system with six speakers and four-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock.

The SE also comes with a five-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. In addition, Accent buyers receive 24-hour roadside assistance at no extra cost for five years. That includes emergency towing, lockout service and limited coverage for trip-interruption expenses. There's no deductible.

Only option on the test car was floor mats at $85. Missing was a power sunroof, which comes only with an audio upgrade at $1,250. If you prefer automatic, add $1,000.

Dealers also offer a number of accessories, from an MP3 player and iPod adapter to a plastic ground-effects package.

What you can't get, however, is a navigation system, not in a $13,000 hatchback aimed at attracting those on a budget.

Accent sales topped 41,000 units in the 2005 calendar year, but should fall a few thousand short of that this year, according to Hyundai spokesman Chris Hosford.

"There was a lengthy strike in South Korea this summer, and we aren't getting as many Accents as dealers want," he said.

Not to mention competitors Fit, Yaris and Versa.

"Sure they are having some effect, but they also are calling more attention to the mini segment," Hosford said.

Even more when gas prices skyrocket again--and they will.

Monday, December 11, 2006

'07 Santa Fe offers safety, style, affordability

'07 Santa Fe offers safety, style, affordability

Sunday, December 10, 2006
Newhouse News Service

Hyundai did it again.

The newly revamped, 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe sport utility vehicle is so well-appointed with safety features and standard amenities and has such pleasant V6 power that it can make consumers wonder why they'd pay more for another crossover SUV.

How much more?

Well, given that the newly styled and larger Santa Fe starts at $22,795 for a base, two-wheel-drive model with automatic transmission and $23,595 for an all-wheel-drive version, any mainstream, family-size SUV over $25,000 ought to force some comparison shopping.

Granted, a Hyundai badge may not be as impressive as a Toyota. The Santa Fe isn't as expressive as a Dodge SUV, either.

The Santa Fe doesn't have a V8, like some Ford SUVs offer, and it doesn't have the kind of off-road capability of a Jeep.

But for American drivers who stay on-road or at most travel dirt roads and paths, the new Santa Fe has appealing style, a five-star, federal government safety rating and, perhaps most importantly, an attainable price.

Don't worry. The Santa Fe doesn't look cheap. Headlights remind me of Audi, and rear-end styling is reminiscent of that on a BMW X3.

For 2007, the mid-size Santa Fe also is slightly bigger than before and offers third-row seats for the first time for a maximum of seven passengers.

The base and buzzy four-cylinder engine is gone. For 2007, there's a new, top V6 with 242 horsepower and a base, 185-horsepower V6. Both have higher fuel economy ratings than the predecessor V6s.

The best mileage rating for a 2007 Santa Fe with automatic transmission and two-wheel drive is 21 miles a gallon in city driving and 26 mpg on the highway, up from 19/25 mpg for a comparable 2006 Santa Fe. This is for a two-wheel-drive model with base, 2.7-liter V6.

The best mileage rating for an all-wheel-drive, 2007 Santa Fe also is up - to 19/25 mpg. This is the same rating as a two-wheel-drive, 2007 Toyota Highlander with larger displacement V6, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

I wouldn't have been so complimentary about a Hyundai decades ago.

South Korea-based Hyundai started selling cars in the United States in the 1980s. But quality was poor, and the brand got a reputation for cheap, less-than-durable models.

Officials sought to invigorate the brand and correct things in the 1990s, culminating in a best-in-the-industry new-car warranty that the company hoped would encourage shoppers to try Hyundai again.

This warranty - with limited, bumper-to-bumper coverage for five years/60,000 miles and limited power train coverage for 10 years/100,000 miles - still comes with every new Hyundai, including the 2007 Santa Fe. So does a five-year/60,000-mile roadside assistance program.

Better yet, this year's Initial Quality Study measuring complaints from car owners after three months of ownership by automotive researcher J.D. Power and Associates showed Hyundai now is third best in the industry, behind Porsche and Lexus.

But Hyundai's older models still bring down the brand in longer-term ownership issues. In Power's Dependability Study this year, which measured com- plaints after three years of ownership, Hyundai still ranked below average.

Company officials respond that as older models are replaced by newer ones, the overall dependability results will go up, too.

Certainly, the fit and finish and operation of the test, 2007 Santa Fe GLS built at Hyundai's new Montgomery, Ala., factory was laudable.

This was a base model with carpeted cargo and floor mats - a bit pricey at $90 - as the only option, so the sticker total was $22,885.

The base V6 wasn't overbearing in its power, yet it responded quickly to get the Santa Fe merging into traffic and passing others.

I just wish the four-speed automatic was a five speed, which could boost fuel economy further.

The ride was quieter than I expected. Hyundai boasts that at highway speed, the Santa Fe is quieter than Toyota's Highlander.

Many road bumps were nicely kept away from passengers. This second-generation Santa Fe has a new platform and new MacPherson strut front suspension.

But there was an occasional "grunch" sound that came from the front left wheel area when I'd pull into my driveway, and on potholed roads I sometimes wished for a tad more sophisticated suspension.

Standard tires on Santa Fes with the base engine are 16 inches in diameter. Buyers of the larger V6 get more noticeable 18-inchers.

Steering was mainstream in its feel, neither twitchy nor loose.

The Santa Fe sits up decently above the pavement. So at 5 feet 4, I had to boost myself a bit to get onto the cloth driver seat, but it wasn't a big chore. And I liked that I could see several cars ahead of me in traffic as I sat behind the wheel.

I also appreciated that even in the base Santa Fe has "active" front head restraints that help reduce whiplash injuries in a rear-end crash.

Other standard safety features are curtain airbags, side-mounted, front-seat airbags, traction control, stability control and anti-lock brakes.

But Hyundai doesn't offer, even as an option, a backup assist system to help drivers see what's behind them, and visibility is limited back there.

All Santa Fes, however, can be fitted with the optional third row for approximately $1,300.

Note that third-row leg room is more than what's in the third row of the Acura MDX, so kids and adults can sit back there.

Maximum cargo space is a competitive 78.2 cubic feet.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Hyundai to make Convertibles

Hyundai Motor will start production of its first convertibles at a plant in the Czech Republic to be completed in 2009. A senior source in the company said Monday the firm will produce a convertible mid-size sedan tentatively named FD at the Czech plant. “We are in the midst of discussion with European convertible manufacturer Webasto on the development of the model,” he added. It is the first time a Korean company is getting into mass production of convertible models since Kia Motors produced the Elan in cooperation with Lotus. Hyundai’s motive is improving its brand image. “Convertible cars are not profitable because the volume of sales is small, but they are effective in bringing the image of high-end products to foreign customers,” a Hyundai executive said. Hyundai introduced a concept convertible model of the Tiburon at the Frankfurt motor show in Germany back in 2003. Kia Motors developed the Sepia convertible model but abandoned it judging that it was not marketable enough. The FD, which targets the European market, will be a mid-size car with a 1,600-2,000 cc engine. Hyundai plans to produce the standard FD sedan at its Ulsan plant first, and then make the sedan and convertible at the Czech plant once it is finished.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Longmeadow High School Field Restoration Raffle

A Field of Dreams! The crack of the bat on a warm spring afternoon, boys in their baseball uniforms pitching and fielding balls, stealing bases, and sliding into home! parents, grandparents, friends and neighbors coming together to watch and celebrate the wins or comfort the losses. Young men learning about the importance of teamwork, discipline, commitment and sportsmanship. This, quite simply, is what baseball and kids is all about. A Field in Need The Longmeadow Diamond Club, a group of parent volunteers committed to long-term financial support of Longmeadow High School Baseball, is embarking on a major community-wide initiative to restore our own field of dreams: the Russell Field Baseball Diamond at LHS. Russell Field is well used, by the Varsity and Junior Varsity teams as well as American Legion, Mickey Mantle and adult summer leagues. Over the years, the infield has greatly deteriorated, resulting in conditions dangerous to players. The town budget funds only minimal maintenance, and the many additional hours of volunteer time and expense to groom and repair the baseball diamond before and after games is no longer enough. The Project The work has already begun this fall and the new field will be ready in time for the spring 2007 season. The infield will be completely replaced: the soil conditioned and laser-leveled, pitcher’s mound and home plate areas rebuilt, and the infield replanted with hardy Kentucky bluegrass. A comprehensive field maintenance plan will be put into place. The cost of restoration is $18,100. We have already reached a third of our goal. Will You Help Us? As a town of Longmeadow resident, baseball lover or business with an interest in the Longmeadow baseball community, we ask for your support in helping us make our dream a reality. Here is your chance to win a new 2007 Hyundai Sonata SE valued at $18,800 for just $100. Your odds are great with only 500 tickets to be sold. All proceeds will benefit the Field of Dreams Restoration Fund. Drawing date: May 26th at the Longmeadow Baseball Field. Need not be present to win. No prize substitutions. Taxes and fees are the sole responsibility of the winner. A minimum of 300 tickets must be sold or all funds will be returned. A maximum of 500 tickets will be sold. Car courtesy of Gary Rome Hyundai. To purchase a ticket, contact Bob Michael at 565-2586. For information on the car, log onto GaryRomeHyundai.com

Santa Fe named SUV of the Year, again

Just as well the new Hyundai Santa Fe is a sturdy vehicle, with the accolades being heaped upon it. The glamorous newcomer has now been named Recreational SUV of the Year by New Zealand 4WD Magazine, New Zealand’s leading publication in the specialist market. Distinct from Utility SUV of the Year, this award normally goes to the vehicle with greater off-road ability, but the magazine says the Santa Fe demonstrates superior all-round performance and simply cannot be ignored. The diesel version of the stunning new off-roader has already been named SUV of the Year at the NZ Automotive Awards by AutoTrader Magazine. In the important business market, Santa Fe was chosen as National Business Review’s SUV of the Year. And the diesel was recognised as the most efficient large lifestyle/leisure vehicle with its victory in this week’s EnergyWise Rally. This on top of the vehicle’s success in the Fair Go Ad Awards, where its compelling TV commercial featuring the cute surfing toddlers was given Best Ad Award by the programme’s biggest-ever margin. Hyundai is only now delivering vehicles to New Zealand customers who have had to wait for their new Santa Fe as its popularity pushed orders beyond availability. “We are honoured the new Santa Fe is being recognised by the major media of New Zealand so soon after its introduction,” commented the Managing Director of Hyundai Automotive NZ, Philip Eustace. “We always knew this model would be something special, especially for New Zealanders, but its instant popularity even caught us a little by surprise.” Five different models cover diesel and petrol options of the South Korean masterpiece, which is available with five and seven-seat options for New Zealand families.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Hyundai Accent And Azera Earn Edmunds.Com

Fountain Valley, Calif. (November 6, 2006) – Two of Hyundai’s newest additions to its entirely refreshed model lineup were honored as Edmunds.com Editors’ Most Wanted winners. Edmunds.com, the premier online resource for automotive information, named the 2007 Hyundai Accent the Edmunds.com Editors’ Most Wanted Sedan Under $15,000, and the 2007 Hyundai Azera the Edmunds.com Editors’ Most Wanted Sedan Under $30,000. The dual awards mark the first time that two Hyundai models have been selected to the Most Wanted list in the same year. "The Editors' Most Wanted winners provide class-leading performance, quality, style and value," said Karl Brauer, Editor-in-Chief at Edmunds.com. "These are the vehicles that our editorial team would choose to have in our own driveways." In selecting the 2007 Hyundai Accent, Edmunds.com’s editorial staff proclaimed it to be “pleasant to drive and loaded with features.” The 2007 Hyundai Azera was said to “deliver plenty of high-end features and performance…and worth a good look when shopping in this category.” “Accent and Azera represent the wide range of high quality vehicles across Hyundai’s revamped model lineup,” said John Krafcik, vice president, Strategic Planning and Product Development, Hyundai Motor America. “It’s fitting that these two vehicles would win the Edmunds.com Editors’ Most Wanted honor in the same year, demonstrating the strength of our lineup from top to bottom.”

Get Garmin Sat Nav with your new Hyundai

Garmin has confirmed that Hyundai America will offer the Garmin nuvi 360 portable GPS through its 725 U.S. car dealerships.Hyundai car dealers starting this month will sell the nuvi at prices determined by the dealer and with the option to roll the purchase price into the financing of a car.
Garmin, which has about a 50 percent share of the portable GPS market, said that in less then a year the nuvi has become its most popular line. The agreement with Hyundai is significant because it is Garmin’s first such U.S. arrangement with a car company and it allows the car dealers to offer state of the art portable GPS to consumers “when they are in a buying mood,” in the words of a Garmin spokesman, and at a price that can be negotiated along with the price of the car. “Customers see the Garmin kiosks at the dealership and it becomes really easy for them to say, let’s roll that into the deal,” he said.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Hyundai Azera and Tucson Names Best-in-Segment in Strategic Vision 2006 Total Value Awards

Hyundai Azera and Tucson Names Best-in-Segment in Strategic Vision 2006 Total Value Awards
Fountain Valley, Calif. (October 10, 2006) - The Hyundai Azera and Hyundai Tucson were each named winners in the Strategic Vision 2006 Total Value Awards. Survey results placed the Azera atop the large car segment, and Tucson in a tie (with the Saturn Vue) for the top spot in the small sport utility vehicle segment. The Strategic Vision poll surveyed more than 64,000 new vehicle buyers after 90 days of ownership. Results from this information spotlight vehicles that give drivers the best economic value paired with the highest emotional satisfaction. Consumers were asked an array of questions about their ownership experience including buying, owning and driving their new vehicles, as well as questions about their economic expectations of the car. The Hyundai Azera and Tucson outclassed competitor vehicles with a combination of distinct styling, outstanding safety features, and the Hyundai Advantage, America's Best Warranty". "We are proud that the Azera and Tucson lead their segments in balancing economic value with emotional satisfaction," said John Krafcik, vice president of Product Development and Strategic Planning, Hyundai Motor America. "It's quite a feat to provide consumers with the best of both worlds, and the Hyundai model lineup offers the right mix of comfort and convenience features, paired with standard safety technologies and unbeatable value, to appeal to consumers on both an emotional and economic level." 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 725 dealerships nationwide.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Gary Rome Hyundai and the Jimmy Fund

Gary Rome Hyundai is pleased to announce its support once again for the annual Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk. Last year, Gary Rome Hyundai donated $10,000 to pediatric cancer research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Through the support of New England-area Hyundai dealers, other Hyundai dealers across the country, and Hyundai Motor America, nearly $7 million total has been donated to the Jimmy Fund since 1998. Although donations, are mainly generated through vehicle sales, dealers like Gary Rome come up with innovative ways to further their support. Through Gary Rome Hyundai, contributors to the Jimmy Fund can now be a Buddy to help research pediatric cancer. In return, they'll receive their own cuddly "Buddy" in return. "Buddy" has been a popular character in TV commercials and at Gary Rome Hyundai for years. Now you can have your very own Red Sox jersey Buddy and help fund pediatric cancer research at the Jimmy Fund. A $20 donation gets you the cuddly Buddy and proceeds will go to The Jimmy Fund at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Last year, Gary Rome Hyundai donated $10,000 to the Jimmy Fund. To get your own Red Sox jersey Buddy and help strike out cancer, visit our store at 1000 Main St. in Holyoke Massachusetts or order online at http://www.hyundaiaccessorystore.com/Jimmy_Fund_Buddy.html today. Supplies are limited. For more information about Gary Rome Hyundai's support of pediatric cancer research, and Hyundai products, please visit our website at http://www.garyromehyundai.com.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

End Of Summer


The 'Dog' Days Of Summer

It may not feel like it outside, but the dog days of summer are here. As we start to wind down yet another summer, it's time to ramp up our new accessories for the Hyundai 2007 models. The 2007 Entourage, Santa Fe & Accents are already in the showrooms, and the 2007 Elantra is on the way soon! Labor Day & Back To School times means a lot of driving as the busy fall months start up. So make sure you keep your Hyundai vehicle in top shape by using only Genuine Hyundai maintenance parts. See our new tune-up parts page for more ordering information. Remember, we're a genuine Hyundai Dealer so if you do not see what you are looking for contact us and we will do what we can to get it for you. As always we appreciate your business and thanks for helping to make us #1 in customer satisfaction. The HyundaiAccessoryStore.com Team

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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Mid-Summer Notes

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Whew! The heat's definitely on now as summer rolls along, and we here at the Hyundai Accessory Store & Gary Rome Hyundai continue to work hard providing the quality, sales and service that has made us number one in the nation.

With the arrival of the 2007 Hyundai Accents, the Hyundai Accessory Store also has the parts and accessories in stock and ready to go.  With over 30 accessories already out for the Accent, suited for both the 3 and 4-door, we were one of the first to get these in.  We also have the accessories and parts needed for the recently launched 2007 Hyundai Entourage as well!

Don't forget the mid-summer months are a great time to check and make sure your Hyundai is running in top shape.  With the warmer weather and driving conditions, make sure your oil changes are up to date and your engine coolant and all other related fluids are clean and topped off. Also, check to see the air in your tires is inflated to vehicle recommendations and the tread is in good shape. Not only will the drive be smoother, proper tire maintenance gives you better fuel economy at the pump (which we all could use right now).

As always, any questions, concerns or problems can be directed to us at 1-800-852-4216.

We thank you for your continued business and look forward to continually servicing your Hyundai vehicle.

The Hyundai Accessory Store Team
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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Where's The Sun?!

Where's The Sun?!

Yes, Summer may be here, but apparently the sun didn't decide to follow. No worries, we're still here at Gary Rome Hyundai and the Hyundai Accessory Store continuing to provide you with the best in customer service. We're also here providing you with the #1 Non-Premium Brand of cars in Hyundais. Yes, the recent JD Power Survey and Rankings Report has been released and Hyundai came in ranked at number 3 overall, ahead of Toyota and Honda. Furthermore, five of the seven 2006 Hyundai models sold were ranked in the top 3 in their classes. Now you know why you chose a Hyundai. Between its superb reliability with America's Best Warranty, high quality and our Outstanding Service Department helping to keep your Hyundai in top shape, there's virtually no reason why you shouldn't be having any serious problems with your Hyundai. And that should allow you to drive with peace of mind. With the new 2007 Accent set to hit showrooms very soon (and priced below $11,000 to start), we at HyundaiAccessoryStore.com have already received the new accessories for the Accent. Go see what's available to customize the Accent, then get ready when it hits the showrooms. Thanks as always for your business! The HyundaiAccessoryStore.com Team

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Monday, June 05, 2006



With the warm weather upon us, it's time to fire up those grills, jump into the pool, kick back and enjoy the good times that summer has to offer.

Make sure while you're planning your trip this summer that your Hyundai is up-to-date and serviced. Schedule your appointment right on our site.

We are just around the corner with the launches of the all new redesigned 2007 Santa Fe and 2007 Elantra. Keep checking back here at HyundaiAcessoryStore.com and be the first to get your accessories for these vehicles.

Don't forget, we just launched our new affiliate program! Link your site to HyundaiAcessoryStore.com through text links, banner ads, or virtual storefronts. When visitors click on the link and buy any product from our online store, you will make a commission on that purchase. It's a great way to make a little extra cash this summer. Sign up today!

As always, it's your life and your Hyundai.

The HyundaiAccessoryStore.com Team

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