The Truth About Cars » Hyundai http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 30 Jul 2015 19:00:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars » Hyundai http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/reviews/hyundai/ Hyundai May Actually Make The Tucson-based Santa Cruz, But… http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/hyundai-may-actually-make-santa-fe-based-truck/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/hyundai-may-actually-make-santa-fe-based-truck/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 18:00:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1128001 Hyundai America chief Dave Zuchowski told Car and Driver that he expects the Santa Cruz Concept, seen here, to be given the go-ahead from Korean bosses this year. That means the Subaru Brat-inspired pickup, based on the Hyundai Tucson, could go on sale sometime soon, for which you can pay actual money for a real one of these (maybe […]

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Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept

Hyundai America chief Dave Zuchowski told Car and Driver that he expects the Santa Cruz Concept, seen here, to be given the go-ahead from Korean bosses this year.

That means the Subaru Brat-inspired pickup, based on the Hyundai Tucson, could go on sale sometime soon, for which you can pay actual money for a real one of these (maybe with a diesel!) compact pickups. However, the pickup’s viability hinges on a couple key points.

The concept, which was unveiled in Detroit last year, was received very well by most accounts. But that may not be what spurs Hyundai into making it. The recent crossover and pickup boom leaves Hyundai’s sedan-focused fleet a little high and dry, C&D correctly points out. Variants based on their few crossovers could come fast and furious from the Korean automaker.

However, the challenges with bringing the Santa Cruz are its form factor and what sits underneath its stylish skin.

For starters, the pickup is … well, a pickup. To get around the dreaded Chicken Tax, Hyundai will have to build the Santa Cruz within the NAFTA zone or face a 25-percent tariff upon importation to the United States.

The next problem compounds the first: The Tucson, on which the Santa Cruz is based, is only built outside the NAFTA zone. Currently, the only vehicles Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama builds are the Elantra and Sonata. Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia builds the only American-assembled Hyundai, the Santa Fe.

Looking south of the border might be the solution. Kia is set to open a new facility in Mexico in 2016 that’s tipped to assemble sub-compact and compact cars, as well as crossovers.

If the concept does get the greenlight from decision makers in South Korea, it’s unclear what from the concept will make it to the production model. The yellow Brembo brakes and side-view mirror accents may get left on the floor, but its diesel engine could survive. The engine in the concept was a 2-liter, turbocharged oil burner that made 190 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque. It could be a smaller-displacement version lifted from a Santa Fe — or complete fantasy.

In Detroit, Hyundai hinted that it could get a gas-powered option, but didn’t specify if that would be the 2.4-liter naturally aspirated engine or the company’s 2-liter turbo.

Apparently we won’t have to wait long to find out with a decision expected in November. But how many can they realistically sell?

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Hyundai May Bring Subcompact Crossover, but It Won’t Be Creta http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/hyundai-may-bring-subcompact-crossover-wont-creta/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/hyundai-may-bring-subcompact-crossover-wont-creta/#comments Thu, 23 Jul 2015 21:00:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1124249 Hyundai is looking to jump into the subcompact crossover fold in the States with the Nissan Juke, Honda HR-V, Chevrolet Trax and everyone else, but it won’t be with the Creta, Edmunds is reporting. The Creta recently went on sale in India, but executives in America told Edmunds that it wasn’t the right fit for U.S. […]

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Hyundai is looking to jump into the subcompact crossover fold in the States with the Nissan Juke, Honda HR-V, Chevrolet Trax and everyone else, but it won’t be with the Creta, Edmunds is reporting.

The Creta recently went on sale in India, but executives in America told Edmunds that it wasn’t the right fit for U.S. buyers.

“We have decided to wait a little bit longer to get the right vehicle,” said Dave Zuchowski, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America.

The Creta would enter an already crowded field of subcompact crossovers that’s getting more crowded every day. Already the HR-V, Trax and Juke duke it out with the Jeep Renegade and Subaru XV Crosstrek, with the Mazda CX-3 on its way this year. (EcoSport, Ford?)

According to Zuchowski, the Creta was too conservative for the segment and too closely resembled a smaller version of the Santa Fe.

“In our opinion, as we go into this segment, it is a great segment for Millennials, for Gen Y. It is a good youth vehicle and we think in order to tap that market, the thing should be styled less conservatively and more aggressively,” he said.

Last month, Hyundai released a rendering of the Creta that would have fit the “aggressive” bill, but as always many features didn’t make it into the production version.

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2016 Hyundai Tucson Review – Hope On Four Wheels http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/2016-hyundai-tucson-hope-four-wheels/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/2016-hyundai-tucson-hope-four-wheels/#comments Tue, 21 Jul 2015 16:23:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1120417 When you are one of the world’s largest automakers, deep in what is a healthy growth period in American automotive sales, and you can’t muster sales gains … well, it’s time to re-evaluate your strategy. This is the situation in which Hyundai finds itself. After entering the U.S. utility market in 2000 with the Santa […]

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2016 Hyundai Tucson (5 of 7)

When you are one of the world’s largest automakers, deep in what is a healthy growth period in American automotive sales, and you can’t muster sales gains … well, it’s time to re-evaluate your strategy.

This is the situation in which Hyundai finds itself.

After entering the U.S. utility market in 2000 with the Santa Fe, the Korean automaker has never fully expanded a solid line of compelling crossovers and SUVs to tantalize buyers. Instead, Hyundai has focused on building their quasi-luxury Genesis sub-brand as they crank out compact car after subcompact car, and growing when non-utility volume was good. Now, not so much. Utilities are the present and future.

Hyundai’s lineup is getting better, mind you, but there are still gaps. Compounding Hyundai’s sales woes is its smallest offroader offering — the Tucson — wearing age in not-the-most flattering of ways.

A little late to the party, Hyundai is looking to right the ship with a new Tucson. While the third-generation model looks good on the outside, it must be more than a pretty face if it wants to take on the Japanese army of CR-RAVs and their ilk.


The Breakdown

2016 Hyundai Tucson

Engines
2.0-liter GDI, naturally aspirated, DOHC, four-cylinder, all-aluminum with CVVT, direct injection
164 horsepower at 6,200 rpm, 151 lb-ft at 4,000 rpm

1.6-liter Turbo-GDI, DOHC, four-cylinder, all-aluminum with CVVT, direct injection
175 horsepower at 5,500 rpm, 195 lb-ft at 1,500-4,500 rpm

Transmissions
6-speed automatic with OD lock-up torque converter (2.0)
7-speed “EcoShift” dual-clutch automatic [automated manual] (1.6T)

Fuel Economy Ratings (city/highway/combined)
2.0 FWD: 23/31/26
1.6T FWD: 25/30/27
1.6T FWD Eco: 26/33/29
2.0 AWD: 21/26/23
1.6T AWD: 24/28/26
1.6T AWD Eco: 25/31/27

Trims
SE (2.0)
Eco, Sport, and Limited (1.6T)

MSRPs (before freight of $895)
SE: FWD – $22,700, AWD – $24,100
Eco: FWD – $24,150, AWD – $25,550
Sport: FWD – $26,150, AWD – $27,550
Limited: FWD – $29,900, AWD – $31,300


2015 Tucson

Exterior
Before we get into the new Tucson, let’s talk about the second-generation model, because it’s critical to understand one very important aspect of the outgoing version.

The second-generation Tucson — bless its heart — wears a fascia that’s the automotive embodiment of a cleft lip.

When your competition is oh-so-much better looking, it’s no wonder that Hyundai’s SUV sales are down, down, down. Hyundai says a “proliferation of new models” from competitors is one of the reasons their CUV sales are down 14.5 percent so far this year. All those new models are also more pleasing to the eye — by a very considerable margin — than the outgoing Tucson.

However, the new Tucson is what happens when all the UNICEF-funded doctors come into your village and fix all the deformities.

For one thing, the third-generation Tucson ditches its current-generation Elantra design lineage and now sports a face closely resembling its bigger brother Santa Fe, itself wearing a rather trim suit around its decidedly crossover bones.

2016 Hyundai Tucson (1 of 7)

Up front is Hyundai’s hexagonal grille that meets up directly with the headlights a la Ford Edge, Mazda CX-3 and others. The three bars extending across the grille tie the new Tucson together with the Santa Fe, while this smaller model’s trimmer headlight shape evokes a lighter, more sprightly and active persona. Three headlight configurations — projector with LED accents or LED daytime runners, full LED lamps, and full HID lamps with steerable beams — are offered depending on trim.

In profile, body cladding flows from the front bumper, follows the asymmetrical wheel wells wrapped around either 17- or 19-inch wheels, and eventually makes its way to the rear uninterrupted. The bentline appears ever-so-slightly higher than the outgoing model, though the Hofmeister kink at the end is tighter and more aggressive instead of the outgoing model’s long and swoopy execution. With an exterior designed in Europe, it should come as no surprise there’s some Germanic influence in the new cute ‘ute.

2016 Hyundai Tucson (3 of 7)

At the rear, the lighting shape and placement is almost identical to the Kia Sportage. That’s not necessarily a bad thing — the Kia is a looker — but if Hyundai wanted something more distinct, they should have pushed their own design just a tad bit further. On the other hand, the second-generation Tucson was distinct to a fault and handsome as a beaten owl, so there’s that.

2016 Hyundai TucsonInterior
Inside, the Tucson has made great strides in quality of materials, but all is not perfect.

The top-trim Limited examples of the Tucson in which I spent my day were fitted with leather seats, a full assortment of infotainment goodies and plastics that were pleasing to touch. However, while many deride “sea of black” interiors from the likes of BMW and others, nothing prepared me for the “single shade of charcoal” in our Tucson testers. Without any noticeable sheen, the interior has an air of surrender to it. Every plastic and leather panel, save the infotainment/vent surround and some of the shinier parts, were the exact same, dull shade of grey. At least there wasn’t 50.

That said, there are many buttons that (nearly) all make sense and Hyundai’s infotainment system with Blue Link is top notch. Heated seats are available for front and rear, and ventilated chairs are available up front exclusively. The 10-way driver and 8-way passenger seats are comfortable, as one should expect in a top-trim offering, and the instrument cluster is simple yet full-featured with its 4.2-inch color LCD screen sitting between the two large speed and rev-counter dials.

Improved NVH and safety are also in the newest ute’s game plan as the interior panels hide an increased usage of high-strength steel to stiffen chassis rigidity; front, side and curtain airbags for safety in a crash (knee airbags are missing, something Hyundai should consider addressing in the future); as well as a new load path for the driver’s side foot well for crush protection.

Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at 11.23.15 AMThat last addition is interesting and comes scarily close to a “teaching to the test” philosophy.

The new small overlap crash test that’s caught many manufacturers is a tough nut to crack, especially in smaller vehicles with less frontal volume. This load path helps pass that test, but why Hyundai didn’t put it on the passenger side as well is baffling.

Well, maybe not. As you see, the small overlap test is only performed on the driver’s side. Makes you think, doesn’t it?

Sure, the majority of small overlap-style crashes are likely to happen on the driver’s side, but a load path for the passenger foot well likely wouldn’t hurt.

Hyundai reached out to clarify the passenger side also has a foot well load path for occupant protection. However, this was not detailed in the presentation on the day of the drive. Sorry for the confusion.

2016 Hyundai Tucson

Infotainment
There’s not much new to talk about with Hyundai’s infotainment system. An enhanced UI is displayed on an 8-inch touchscreen and features the automaker’s Blue Link connected features. One new addition is an integrated Yelp app that allows you to bring up fake recommendations of restaurants in your area. Other telematics features, such as remote vehicle start and car maintenance notifications, are also included in the Blue Link service.

Audio quality in the top-trim Limited model is on par with others in its class, even without leveraging well-known audio brand logos to affix to the speakers and head unit.

2016 Hyundai Tucson (7 of 7)

Drivetrain
Under that new sheet metal is an all-new (for Tucson) 1.6-liter, turbocharged, four-cylinder engine with direct injection and CVVT. With only 175 horsepower compared to the base engine’s 164 horses, one might think the premium option is underpowered, and they might be a little bit right.

The 1.6T’s claim of 195 lb-ft of torque is the bigger news here and it’s the measurement you feel most on the butt dyno. However, in passing maneuvers, the force-fed mill doesn’t instill the same confidence in the driver as the Escape’s 2.0-liter EcoBoost or even the 2.5-liter, naturally aspirated, SkyActiv four-cylinder engine found in the Mazda CX-5. It’s competent, but a little more displacement would go a long way to widening the gap between the Tucson’s two mills and make the top offering feel more special.

Sending power to the front or all four wheels in 1.6T-powered models is a seven-speed DCT that’s incredibly smooth once you get going. From a standing start, there’s only the slightest of hiccups from the automated-manual gearbox when it realizes you’re requesting forward momentum. The SE model, powered by the base 2.0-liter four-cylinder, gets a six-speed automatic as its only transmission. No manuals here, folks.

Together, the 1.6T and DCT deliver better fuel economy than the base model-only 2.0-liter four pot. While the entry engine delivers 26 mpg combined for front-wheel drive models, Sport and Limited trims with the 1.6T give 27 mpg while Eco models stretch a tank even farther to 29 mpg (the increased fuel economy is mostly down to tires, we were told, but there are other tweaks in the Eco model as well).

The Tucson is equipped with user-selectable drive modes, but you’re just best to leave those alone. Nobody drives their compact CUV around town in Sport mode unless they: 1) don’t know what it does and 2) are too daft to figure it out.

2016 Hyundai Tucson

Drive
If you didn’t know it, you’d think you were driving in the Mazda CX-5 as far as the ride quality is concerned. Hyundai is finally (in the last couple of years) starting to take suspension tuning seriously to provide a more pleasurable and comfortable ride. That said, it demolishes the hard-as-a-rock ride in the RAV4.

Our driving was mostly limited to the straight, long roads of Minnesota and Wisconsin, but there was a stretch of gravel thrown in for good measure. The unpaved road — probably the smoothest gravel road in the known universe — didn’t provide much of a challenge for the utility. However, one thing was noticeable: it was almost dead quiet inside.

Sure, you could hear the occasional piece of gravel bang about the Tucson’s underside, but you could also have a conversation without straining your vocal chords.

As stated earlier, the 1.6T could use a tad more oomph — or maybe could communicate the torque a little more to remind you it’s the “premium” engine offering.

Even with all the criticisms above, the Tucson is now a solid contender — if, for the updated styling alone — compared to its predecessor. However, Hyundai will continue to beat the value and packaging drum, as they should. In no other utility, especially the much-praised Mazda CX-5, do you get this sheer abundance of equipment. If you are looking for value and choice (minus a manual transmission), this is the answer, and you no longer need to sacrifice good looks to get it.

Will it right the sales ship at Hyundai? That’s another article entirely.

Additional photography provided by David Tracy of Jalopnik and the manufacturer.

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Hyundai Genesis-Based Large SUV In The Works http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/hyundai-genesis-based-large-suv-in-the-works/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/hyundai-genesis-based-large-suv-in-the-works/#comments Mon, 08 Jun 2015 17:19:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1087809 Late to the party, Hyundai is working on a large SUV based on the luxury Genesis sedan, reports Reuters. It’s part of a plan to turn around the Korean automaker’s misfortunes as its sales have slipped in contrast to record industry growth. According to four separate sources familiar with the matter, Reuters reports there’s “no certainty Hyundai […]

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2015-Hyundai-Genesis-21

Late to the party, Hyundai is working on a large SUV based on the luxury Genesis sedan, reports Reuters.

It’s part of a plan to turn around the Korean automaker’s misfortunes as its sales have slipped in contrast to record industry growth.

According to four separate sources familiar with the matter, Reuters reports there’s “no certainty Hyundai will bring the new vehicle to market,” even as it and sister brand Kia continue to hock passenger cars on a low gas price fuelled market hungry for larger crossovers, SUVs and trucks.

The Tucson, positioned well to leverage the currently hot segment, is old compared to competitors and its sales have been constrained due to a lack of capacity. A next-generation Tucson, revealed in New York and scheduled to go on sale later this year, is expected to help alleviate those problems

Kia has faltered before when it comes to large SUVs. The Borrego (Mohave outside of North America) came to market on the very tail end of the last SUV craze, only lasting a single generation before being killed off in North America by 2011. The model is still on sale today in oil-rich nations.

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2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Review – What, No Entourage? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/2015-hyundai-santa-fe-review-no-entourage/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/2015-hyundai-santa-fe-review-no-entourage/#comments Tue, 28 Apr 2015 15:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1055473 Americans have spoken with their wallets and we can, for the most part, forget minivans. Consumers accept the loss of much of a minivan’s practicality and flexibility so long as their new vehicle still provides three rows of seats and gains a measure of all-weather usefulness. • U.S. Market Price As Tested: $41,545 • Horsepower: […]

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2015 hyundai santa fe xl

Americans have spoken with their wallets and we can, for the most part, forget minivans. Consumers accept the loss of much of a minivan’s practicality and flexibility so long as their new vehicle still provides three rows of seats and gains a measure of all-weather usefulness.


• U.S. Market Price As Tested: $41,545

• Horsepower: 290 @ 6400 rpm

• Torque: 252 lb-ft @ 5200 rpm

• Observed Fuel Economy: 18.8 mpg


Exhibit A: the Hyundai Santa Fe, which is ostensibly a second-generation Hyundai Veracruz, a vehicle which joined many a three-row crossover in killing off vans like Hyundai’s own poorly named Entourage, which didn’t actually have an entourage of any kind. No following to speak of whatsoever.

Oh, there are still minivans. In 2015, Toyota will likely sell more than 150,000 Siennas in America for the first time since 2006. But total minivan volume is down 12% through the first-quarter of 2015 and minivans only accounted for 3.4% of all U.S. new vehicle sales in calendar year 2014, down from 6.5% a decade ago. 

Perhaps you’ve decided that a minivan isn’t necessary, yet you’re not yet ready to lose all the practicality. You’re asking yourself, “How much seating flexibility do I need?” For those who answer, “Not all that much, actually,” Hyundai has a solution. Take the bigger seven-seat Santa Fe, not the Santa Fe Sport, and allow passengers to luxuriate in the space created by the removal of one middle-row seat.

2015 Hyundai Santa Fe XL rear

Inside the Santa Fe, we’re now distancing ourselves rather far from eight-seat minivans and their near-40 cubic feet of space behind the third row – the Santa Fe has but 13.5 cubic feet of cargo capacity behind the third row – but we’re also dealing with a much smaller vehicle overall. The Santa Fe is seven inches shorter, bumper to bumper, than a 2015 Toyota Sienna, four inches narrower, and two inches shorter at the roof. Compared with a top-trim AWD Sienna, the Santa Fe is 650 pounds lighter, as well.

As a result, we’ve also distanced ourselves from the era where enthusiasts decried the ess-you-vee because, in part, “Minivans are so much more carlike.” True, the Santa Fe is a big crossover with a comfort-minded suspension setup, but it’s no bus. Even compared with the much improved 2015 Sienna, America’s best-selling minivan so far this year, the Santa Fe’s on-road behaviour is markedly superior. You don’t buy either vehicle to film an audition for Furious 8, but if you’re in sudden need of a rural road hustle, this prototypical successor to the SUV of yore is undeniably the one I’d take.

2015 Hyundai Santa Fe interior dark

And not only because the Santa Fe simply doesn’t handle poorly. Frankly, the 3.3L, 290-horsepower V6 feels genuinely mighty in the Santa Fe.

Throttle tip-in is measured, acceleration is brisk, torque is always at the ready, and the 6-speed automatic thankfully does its job as an automatic transmission ought to: by not drawing any attention to itself.

Observed fuel economy of 19 mpg in a mix of city and highway driving was on par with the official EPA combined figure but would have been better had I not sought satisfaction in the act of hurling the Santa Fe down highway on-ramps.

Not remotely unpleasant to drive then, but is time spent inside the Santa Fe enjoyable? Loaned to us for a week in April by Hyundai Canada, this is, in Canadian-speak, a $45K Santa Fe XL Limited, equivalent in the U.S. to a $41,545 Santa Fe Limited with the $4650 Ultimate package. (Santa Fes start at $31,045 in the U.S. All-wheel-drive adds $1,750.)

2015 Hyundai Santa Fe XL collage

Proximity access, panoramic sunroofs, heated steering wheels, heated rear seats, ventilated front seats, two-position memory seats, and power liftgates tend to alter verdicts in the auto reviewer world. Indeed, the predictable Hyundai feature load doesn’t hurt. But I enjoyed the Santa Fe’s interior more because of the appropriate six-seat space utilization than the 19-inch alloys, leather seating, or hands-free tailgate (which never works for me anyway.) The third row is by no means voluminous, but there’s room for adult feet under the second row seats, there are separate climate controls, and access to the third row is more straightforward thanks to the gap in the middle row. Both second-row seats can be moved forward a couple of inches without sacrificing the ability to stretch out and get comfortable. For little people, the beltline will be too high for scenic enjoyment, but then again, if you’ve forked out enough coin, your children can scan the skies through the glass roof.

A minivan buyer who’s considering a Santa Fe, or vice versa, may not be so interested in the six-seat version of the Hyundai. But for consumers who don’t require seven-seat capacity, the removal of that seat makes a big difference in the way people live and move and stretch out aft of the parents.

2015 Hyundai Santa Fe XL collage 2

Yet if the Santa Fe isn’t a minivan alternative, what about more direct rivals? I’d take the Toyota Highlander’s interior layout (and its useful shelf up front), the 2016 Honda Pilot’s space behind the third row, the Mazda CX-9 on a twisty road, the Nissan Pathfinder’s smooth second-row operation, and the exterior styling of the Dodge Durango or Ford Flex. In certain areas, there are three-row crossovers that outperform the Hyundai. But the 2015 Santa Fe is a difficult vehicle to fault, particularly because of its powerplant and the value we’ve come to expect from Hyundai, especially in lower trim levels.

Just don’t assume it’s quite as family-friendly as a minivan. None of those crossovers can pull off that trick.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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Dispatches do Brasil: Renault Re-Invents Itself in Latin America http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/dispatches-brasil-renault-re-invents-latin-america/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/dispatches-brasil-renault-re-invents-latin-america/#comments Fri, 24 Apr 2015 16:00:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1053257 Among the first to come to Brazil when the market was opened up again in the 1990s – after a hiatus of almost 50 years when this country closed itself off to the world – Renault has seemingly reached a limit in Brazil. Its market participation has hovered around 6 percent for years. Now, hungry for […]

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Renault Logan

Renault Logan

Among the first to come to Brazil when the market was opened up again in the 1990s – after a hiatus of almost 50 years when this country closed itself off to the world – Renault has seemingly reached a limit in Brazil. Its market participation has hovered around 6 percent for years. Now, hungry for more, the French company is showing its new plans that will deeply affect their operations in Latin America at large and shake up their manufacturing base in South America, most especially Mercosur (namely Brazil and Argentina).

When their Ayrton Senna factory was opened in São José dos Pinhais in Paraná state, their line was in tune to what they produced in Europe. They offered the Clio, Kangoo, Mégane and Scénic. With an emphasis on safety, even the lowly Clio offered dual frontal airbags. At that time, the relative parity between the Brazilian real and American dollar allowed them to import systems such as the aforementioned airbags on the cheap. The minivan Scénic offered space for five, a large trunk, modular seating and became a favorite for families. The Mégane and Kangoo meanwhile suffered at the hands of more established competition and never made a dent in Volkswagen Golf, Fiat Stilo or Ford Focus sales. The Fiat Doblò passenger and commercial versions plus the Uno-based Fiat Fiorino conspired to keep the Kangoo down.

In the Brazilian market, reception was mixed. At the entry level, the Clio had lukewarm success. The majority of compact level car buyers are not exactly flush with money, so buying a new entry into that market was seen as a risky proposition. The Scénic and other minivans slowly, but surely, decimated the station wagons then available on the market. Together with Citroën minivans, Renault owned that market. As it became a favorite, the prices of this type of car rose above the rest of the competition and became expensive to buy.

Undeniably, Renault and other French makes suffered a perception problem. While most think their engines are robust and can take the pressure, suspension systems were and remain under suspicion in the eyes of Brazilian consumers. So, despite placing rather high in consumer satisfaction surveys, Renaults take a hit at re-sale time.

Brazilian Clio

Brazilian Clio

Over the years the American dollar and euro appreciated against the Brazilian real and growing sales plateaued. Renault’s reaction was to cheapen their offerings. Soon, the Clio lost its airbags, losing its appeal to the better off buyers that seemed to favor it over the VW Gol or Fiat Uno. When it was re-designed, it kept the previous car’s internal design. A new Scénic was launched in Europe, but citing cost complications, Renault chose to keep building the old one. Renault also tried to gain market penetration by locally building and selling a Mégane sedan and station wagon. Inevitably, Renault’s line became outmoded and nothing on offer in Europe was sold here.

Of course, errors in reading the market collaborated to their downfall. In the early 2000s, Renault was challenging Ford for fourth place in the Brazilian market. Ford reacted by launching the EcoSport and new Fiesta, new engines, and soon saw the distance between it and Renault grow. Besides the cheapening and non-updating of the line, beginner errors abounded. In Brazil, the Scénic was a solid middle class car, even higher middle class, and not the cheap and cheerful family transportation pod it was in Europe. As such, Brazilian dealers clamored for black and silver Scénics while the French continued offering it in purple, red and other colors the middle class rejected. The Clio, besides keeping the same interiors forever, never changed wheel cover designs or had new versions launched (tricks in which the traditional Brazilian Big Four – Fiat, GM, Volkswagen and Ford – are experts).

In the late 2000s, Renault re-made itself in Brazil. The Scénic was gone. The Kangoo was now only a commercial vehicle. The Clio soldiered on unmolested and seemingly only existed so Renault could keep a foot in the entry-level market. A solution was found though and it was the result of the deepening of the synergies and integration within the scope of the global Renault-Nissan Alliance.

Renault underwent the so-called “Dacia-lization” (Dacia being a Romanian company that Renault uses as its low-cost brand in Europe). The Logan, Sandero and eventually the Duster were launched. In spite of the insipid design, the cars used a Renault-Dacia version of a modern Nissan platform. The Logan family’s claim to fame and a space in the market was that it offered a lot of space for modest prices. Size-wise similar to Focus and Toyota Corolla type cars (sometimes even bigger, trunks tended to be larger), but priced similarly to smaller cars like Gol or Fiat Siena, they appealed to a more rational buyer. After a few years, with the launch of the Duster CUV, Renault was again encroaching on Ford and distancing itself from the Asian brands that were finally “acclimatizing” (by offering compact cars similar to market favorites) to Brazil and had been threatening Renault’s (by then traditional) fifth place in Brazilian sales rankings.

Nov-Ford-Ka-SEL-2015 (3)

As the 2000s became the 2010s, Renault was again under assault. Competition grew. Everybody copied their idea of a larger cars for more modest prices. Fiat launched a bigger Palio and a Grand Siena. Volkswagen do Brasil got into the compact sedan market again with its Voyage. Ford brought the new Fiesta and conjured up the highly competitive new Ka. GM came strong based off of its GM Korea know-how and re-invented themselves in Brazil, becoming the leader of in-car mobile electronics. Toyota got serious in Brazil and the Etios family has been gaining ground, horrible design notwithstanding, based on modern mechanics and a good ride. Hyundai’s HB20 has done the opposite: it has conquered image conscious consumers due to the success of it fluidic design language, in spite of the bad ride. All these companies and cars offered up new technologies and engines, bringing more fuel economy to buyers, extra gadgets and crept up on the Logan family’s cost benefit advantage.

Reacting, Renault has launched a re-designed Logan and Sandero. Though the new designs have been well-accepted and increased sales, this growth has been deemed insufficient. Both Hyundai and Toyota routinely sell more than Renault on a monthly basis and could soon take fifth place in overall sales. As such, Renault studied its South American operations and has cooked up a plan.

Renault Oroch Concept

Renault Oroch Concept

An “un-Dacia-lization” of sorts seems to be in place. Logan and Sandero production is being moved to Argentina. The company is investing heavily in their ancient Santa Isabela factory in that country. Duster production will be kept in Brazil and soon the Oroch pickup (based on the Duster and rumored to be a 1 ton pickup) will be launched. From what the press has been able to piece together, both Duster and Moroch will be produced off of the current platform and updates will be infrequent, following the age-old strategy of competing on price and, also, space. The Duster is larger than EcoSport and the recently launched Jeep Renegade, Honda HR-V and Peugeot 2008. The Moroch will dwarf the current Fiat Strada (new, larger version of which has been seen tooling around the factory), VW Saveiro and the old-as-the-hills, barely competitive Chevrolet Montana.

The Moroch however is an indication of the deepening of the CUV event horizon presciently seen by our recently departed Derek Kreindler. Renault is going all-CUV-in. The Renault Captur, a current Clio-based mini CUV is a foregone conclusion. Renault is not even hiding it anymore and it has been seen around the factory in Paraná and on highway tests. This lends credence to the thesis Renault is re-inventing itself. The new Brazilian Clio, the same again as the Euro Clio, should also appear soon, albeit placed in a category above the current Brazilian Clio’s status. Suppliers also say Renault is quoting prices for a sedan version of the Clio (non-existent in Europe) and indicative of the soon to come demise of its midsize sedan offering, the Fluence. Informed journalists in Brazil have stated that the Espace, Renault’s large (and former) minivan, which has turned into a sort of a CUV, is slated to be introduced in Brazil in 2016 as a locally-produced offering.

The current Brazilian Clio is also on its last days. Though reports are conflicting, either a version of Nissan’s own low-cost brand Datsun Go will be built here in Brazil, or a version of the concept recently shown in world Auto Shows by Nissan called the Sway (supposedly an early version of a substitute for the March/Micra line), could gain a Renault badge and come strong in the lower echelons of the Brazilian market.

Meanwhile, in Argentina, besides the heavy modernizing investments at the local plant and the responsibility of building the Logan family, current cars will remain in production. And very interestingly, the new Frontier/Navara pickup that will used by Mercedes Benz to offer its own global midsize pickup (compact PU for Americans) will also gain a Renault badge for sale, initially, all over Latin America. Internally called the Raptur, this will be Renault’s first incursion into the traditional midsize pickup market. It is an important step and will allow Renault to compete in an important market spanning the entirety of Latin America. Coming soon (reports say early 2016) you could soon take your pick and buy your midsize pickup in your preferred flavor – Nissan, Mercedes or Renault – as they will all be built side-by-side at the Argentinian factory.

The next few years will be very important for Renault in Latin America. It will keep and modernize entry-level cars. It will continue offering competitively priced compact cars that offer a bit more and are the bulk of the Brazilian market. It will make new tries, with new product, to gain a presence in upper middle-class garages by “Euro-pizing” its Brazilian production. It will sell CUVs for all pockets. Pickups, small and large will further broaden Renault’s Latin American presence.

If this will be enough to keep Toyota and Hyundai at bay remains to be seen. However, it seems if they will be offering cars, CUVs and trucks, the market wants. Sounds like a plan.

Brazilian Clio Ayrton Senna Factory Hyundai HB20 Nissan Frontier Renault Oroch Concept Santa Isabela Factory Renault Logan Renault Captur European Clio Renault Fluence Renault Kangoo Express Toyota Etios

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Autoleaks: 2016 Hyundai Elantra Revealed Ahead Of Local Market Launch http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/autoleaks-2016-hyundai-elantra-revealed-ahead-local-market-launch/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/autoleaks-2016-hyundai-elantra-revealed-ahead-local-market-launch/#comments Thu, 12 Mar 2015 13:00:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1020457 This might be the 2016 Hyundai Elantra sedan, set to launch in South Korea next month. AutoGuide reports the image was posted by Korean online publication auto.hankyung, showing the Elantra’s Sonata-influenced styling and new headlamps with LED accents. For the North American market, the Elantra GT has already been revealed, but not the standard Elantra. […]

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2016-Hyundai-Elantra-copy

This might be the 2016 Hyundai Elantra sedan, set to launch in South Korea next month.

AutoGuide reports the image was posted by Korean online publication auto.hankyung, showing the Elantra’s Sonata-influenced styling and new headlamps with LED accents.

For the North American market, the Elantra GT has already been revealed, but not the standard Elantra. A Hyundai representative says the above is likely a local market prototype, and to expect the upcoming Elantra early in 2016.

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Sources: Hyundai Expanding SUV Production In US Market http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/sources-hyundai-expanding-suv-production-us-market/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/sources-hyundai-expanding-suv-production-us-market/#comments Thu, 12 Mar 2015 11:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1020409 Per inside sources, Hyundai is planning to increase SUV production in the United States in an effort to capture more consumers amid low fuel prices. Reuters reports the automaker’s sales of the Elantra and Sonata have slowed as some consumers in the U.S. spend their money on SUVs and crossovers, prompting the company’s shift toward […]

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Per inside sources, Hyundai is planning to increase SUV production in the United States in an effort to capture more consumers amid low fuel prices.

Reuters reports the automaker’s sales of the Elantra and Sonata have slowed as some consumers in the U.S. spend their money on SUVs and crossovers, prompting the company’s shift toward more SUVs. The expansion would come in the form of a new assembly line in Alabama, augmenting the line in Kia’s Georgia facility where the Santa Fe is assembled, and exports of the Tucson from Hyundai’s factories in South Korea.

Korea Investment & Securities auto analyst Suh Sung-moon adds that, aside from Hyundai’s need for a second U.S. plant, Santa Fe production could be moved to Alabama, with the Tucson and a truck — possibly in the vein of the Santa Cruz concept from the 2015 Detroit Auto Show — joining the former. Overall production is expected to be 300,000 units annually, with the first vehicles to leave the line in 2017.

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Autoleaks: Hyundai’s 3.3L Turbo GDi Revealed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/autoleaks-hyundais-3-3l-turbo-gdi-revealed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/autoleaks-hyundais-3-3l-turbo-gdi-revealed/#comments Wed, 25 Feb 2015 13:00:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1007754 With a little help from the Internet, images of the firepower for the upcoming 2017 Hyundai Genesis Coupe have escaped, along with some specs. The Korean Car Blog reports the 3.3 Turbo GDi, a 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6, will deliver 365 horsepower and 379 lb-ft of torque to the back of the Coupe, which is expected […]

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With a little help from the Internet, images of the firepower for the upcoming 2017 Hyundai Genesis Coupe have escaped, along with some specs.

The Korean Car Blog reports the 3.3 Turbo GDi, a 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6, will deliver 365 horsepower and 379 lb-ft of torque to the back of the Coupe, which is expected to ride on a shortened version of the Genesis Sedan’s platform when it hits showrooms in late 2016. The new engine gains 27 horsepower and 84 lb-ft of torque over the current 3.8-liter naturally aspirated V6’s 348 hp/295 lb-ft.

Another feature of the 3.3-liter is Hyundai’s Intermediate CVVT technology, though little information was found thus far.

The Genesis Coupe is also expected to receive a V8 alongside the turbo-six, with speculation pointing towards the 5-liter mill in the Genesis Sedan. Hyundai’s HTRAC AWD system is also projected to be an option for the performance coupe.

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Hyundai Bolstering Commercial Business For Go At US Market http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/hyundai-bolstering-commercial-business-go-us-market/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/hyundai-bolstering-commercial-business-go-us-market/#comments Tue, 17 Feb 2015 12:00:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1002794 Hyundai is preparing to enter the U.S. commercial vehicle market through an investment plan to strengthen its current commercial business by 2020. Reuters reports the automaker will invest ₩400 billion ($363.13 million USD) to boost production of its commercial vans, trucks and buses at home by the start of the next decade, with an additional […]

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Hyundai Trago Xcient

Hyundai is preparing to enter the U.S. commercial vehicle market through an investment plan to strengthen its current commercial business by 2020.

Reuters reports the automaker will invest ₩400 billion ($363.13 million USD) to boost production of its commercial vans, trucks and buses at home by the start of the next decade, with an additional ₩1.6 trillion ($1.45 billion) to go into R&D over the same period.

Currently, Hyundai is building its Trago Xcient heavy commercial truck in China for the automaker’s largest market — the U.S. is second — and has plans to assemble the H350 light commercial truck in Turkey beginning next month for the automaker’s foray into Western Europe. Meanwhile, the factory in Jeonji, South Korea will see its production capacity rise from 65,000 units per year to 100,000 by 2020.

However, just like its experience in building its market share in the U.S. consumer market, Hyundai’s assault on the commercial market will take some time. Per Korea Investment & Securities analyst Suh Sung-moon, the automaker would need to boost total commercial production capacity to 10 million units, up from the 8 million made annually.

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Hyundai, South Korean Government Opening Fuel-Cell Innovation Hub http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/hyundai-south-korean-government-opening-fuel-cell-innovation-hub/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/hyundai-south-korean-government-opening-fuel-cell-innovation-hub/#comments Wed, 11 Feb 2015 14:00:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=996650 Hyundai Motor and the South Korean government are coming together to open a hydrogen innovation center to help spur a creative economy. Just-Auto says the automaker plans to attract startups to the center in Gwangju by granting access to 1,000 unused patents related to said technology: The centre will focus on nurturing start-ups, providing key […]

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hyundai-fuel-cell-tucson-california

Hyundai Motor and the South Korean government are coming together to open a hydrogen innovation center to help spur a creative economy.

Just-Auto says the automaker plans to attract startups to the center in Gwangju by granting access to 1,000 unused patents related to said technology:

The centre will focus on nurturing start-ups, providing key infrastructure and creating an “ecosystem” for the hydrogen economy by training workers and strengthening necessary networks.

Hyundai and its investor partners will raise ₩117.5 billion ($164 million USD) to bring the innovation center online, and will be one of 12 centers to be established throughout South Korea over 2015.

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Geneva 2015: 2016 Hyundai Tucson Teased In Sketch Form http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/geneva-2015-2016-hyundai-tucson-teased-sketch-form/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/geneva-2015-2016-hyundai-tucson-teased-sketch-form/#comments Wed, 04 Feb 2015 14:00:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=993626 This design sketch is the first teaser of the 2016 Hyundai Tucson, set to bow at the 2015 Geneva Auto Show next month. Per Hyundai Motor Group’s president and design chief Peter Schreyer, the compact crossover “will be a big step forward for the Hyundai brand globally,” praising the Tucson’s “bold and athletic presence,” stance, […]

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2016 Hyundai Tucson

This design sketch is the first teaser of the 2016 Hyundai Tucson, set to bow at the 2015 Geneva Auto Show next month.

Per Hyundai Motor Group’s president and design chief Peter Schreyer, the compact crossover “will be a big step forward for the Hyundai brand globally,” praising the Tucson’s “bold and athletic presence,” stance, flowing lines and trademark grill.

The Tucson name is expected to make a global impact as well, superseding the ix35 nameplate found in Europe and other global markets.

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Hyundai, Kia $360M US Justice Department Settlement Approved In District Court http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/hyundai-kia-360m-us-justice-department-settlement-approved-district-court/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/hyundai-kia-360m-us-justice-department-settlement-approved-district-court/#comments Wed, 21 Jan 2015 16:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=986762 The $360 million settlement between the U.S. Department of Justice and Hyundai and Kia for overstating fuel economy figures was approved Tuesday by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The Detroit News report the approval also rejected a request from the attorneys general in New York, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Oregon, […]

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2013 Hyundai Accent

The $360 million settlement between the U.S. Department of Justice and Hyundai and Kia for overstating fuel economy figures was approved Tuesday by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

The Detroit News report the approval also rejected a request from the attorneys general in New York, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont, asking the court set aside a minimum of $25 million for their states’ respective electric vehicle programs. The court sided with the Justice Department in its ruling, warning that such a request would threaten the original settlement agreement with more complex and lengthy negotiations.

The agreement includes $100 million in civil penalties, $50 million for independent auditing of the Korean duo’s offerings, and a forfeiture of $210 million in greenhouse emission credits. It also ends the Environmental Protection Agency’s investigation into the overstated figures, and affects 600,000 Hyundai and 300,000 Kia models made between 2011 and 2013.

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Korean Market Hyundai Veloster Receives Seven-Speed DCT For 2015 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/korean-market-hyundai-veloster-receives-seven-speed-dct-2015/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/korean-market-hyundai-veloster-receives-seven-speed-dct-2015/#comments Tue, 20 Jan 2015 11:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=985290 The current Hyundai Veloster will gain some new features for this year, but only in its home market for the time being. Autoblog reports the biggest feature for the hatchback is the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission that will replace the outgoing six-speed unit in the Turbo variant. The DCT will help funnel the 1.6-liter turbo-four’s 204 […]

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KDM 2015 Hyundai Veloster 01

The current Hyundai Veloster will gain some new features for this year, but only in its home market for the time being.

Autoblog reports the biggest feature for the hatchback is the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission that will replace the outgoing six-speed unit in the Turbo variant. The DCT will help funnel the 1.6-liter turbo-four’s 204 horses and 195 lb-ft of torque to the front.

Other features include new wheels, Turbo upholstery graphics on the seats, an engine sound equalizer with six sounds from which drivers can choose, and a revised instrument cluster.

Price of admission for the newish Veloster ranges from ₩18.45 million ($18,550 USD) for the base Younique edition, to ₩23.7 ($22,000) for the Turbo model. No word thus far on whether any of these features will be headed to North American showrooms down the road.

Below are the spec/price sheets for those who can read Hangul:

KDM 2015 Hyundai Veloster Spec + Price Sheet 01

KDM 2015 Hyundai Veloster Spec + Price Sheet 02

KDM 2015 Hyundai Veloster 01 hyundai-veloster-refresh-023-1 hyundai-veloster-refresh-025-1 hyundai-veloster-refresh-022-1 hyundai-veloster-refresh-024-1 hyundai-veloster-refresh-008-1 hyundai-veloster-refresh-028-1 hyundai-veloster-refresh-021-1 hyundai-veloster-refresh-033-1 hyundai-veloster-refresh-032-1

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NAIAS 2015: Hyundai Unveils 2016 Sonata Hybrid, PHEV http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-hyundai-unveils-2016-sonata-hybrid-phev/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-hyundai-unveils-2016-sonata-hybrid-phev/#comments Mon, 12 Jan 2015 21:10:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=979361 Aside from its Santa Cruz trucklet concept, Hyundai also unveiled both the Sonata Hybrid and the Sonata Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle. Power for the standard hybrid is provided by a downsized 2-liter Nu GDI four mated to a six-speed automatic with integrated 38 kW electric motor and clutch. The combination produces a net figure of […]

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2016 Sonata Hybrid

Aside from its Santa Cruz trucklet concept, Hyundai also unveiled both the Sonata Hybrid and the Sonata Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle.

Power for the standard hybrid is provided by a downsized 2-liter Nu GDI four mated to a six-speed automatic with integrated 38 kW electric motor and clutch. The combination produces a net figure of 193 horsepower from the four’s 154 horses and the motor’s 51. Torque is 140 lb-ft for the four-cylinder, 151 lb-ft for the electric motor. Electric power is drawn from a 1.62 kWh lithium-polymer battery pack mounted under the trunk floor.

Meanwhile, the Sonata PHEV uses the same Nu GDI as the hybrid model, but has a 50 kW electric motor and a 9.9 kWh lithium polymer pack instead. Net output is 202 horsepower.

Fuel economy is expected to range from a combined 42 mpg for the hybrid, to 40 mpg with the PHEV, 93 MPGe in EV mode. Recharging for the latter takes between 2.5 to five hours depending on voltage used. Electric-only range is 22 miles before the gasoline engine takes over.

Both Sonatas have improved aero for both reduced drag and to distinguish themselves from the standard Sonata. Both also come in two colors — Graphite Blue Pearl and Seaport Mist — and offer two tones for cloth and leather, as well as a Blue Pearl leather option that includes matching stitching and trim.

Features shared by both vehicles include: driver’s knee airbag; electronic stability; forward collision warning; Apple CarPlay/Android Auto integration; and rearview camera. The PHEV adds a smartphone app for monitoring charging, as well as remote start and other real-time data.

The Sonata Hybrid is set to go on sale this summer, with the PHEV to follow in a handful of states later this year. Both models will arrive via container from Hyundai’s plant in Asan, South Korea.

2016 Sonata Hybrid 2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV), Front 3/4 Exterior 2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV), Front Exterior 2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV), Rear 3/4 Exterior 2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV), Interior 2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV), Interior Touchscreen Display 2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV), Interior 3 2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV), Powertrain 2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV), Plug-In Door 2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV), Plug-In Outlet 2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV), Charging Outlet

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NAIAS 2015: Hyundai Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept Unveiled http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-hyundai-santa-cruz-crossover-truck-concept-unveiled/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-hyundai-santa-cruz-crossover-truck-concept-unveiled/#comments Mon, 12 Jan 2015 20:30:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=979273 Hyundai is aiming hard for the Millennial market with their trucklet, the Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept. Power for this proposed four-door five-passenger “urban adventure” concept comes from a 2-liter turbodiesel producing 190 horsepower, 300 lb-ft of torque, and a fuel efficiency figure north of 30 mpg. The Santa Cruz’s HTRAC AWD system puts the […]

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Hyundai is aiming hard for the Millennial market with their trucklet, the Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept.

Power for this proposed four-door five-passenger “urban adventure” concept comes from a 2-liter turbodiesel producing 190 horsepower, 300 lb-ft of torque, and a fuel efficiency figure north of 30 mpg. The Santa Cruz’s HTRAC AWD system puts the power to the ground, though the transmission used to direct said power wasn’t mentioned.

Other features include: expandable bed; integrated tonneau cover; Brembo brake calipers; LED fog lamps; lens-free honeycomb headlamp projectors; tie-down cleats on the roof, wheel arches and bed rails; and a footprint comparable to a small crossover.

Hyundai states that the concept isn’t aimed at traditional truck buyers, instead choosing to pursue crossover and sedan buyers looking for a vehicle that’s truck-like, but better suited to city life. No word on whether or not the automaker will make the Santa Cruz a reality, however.

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Supplier Woes Lead To Lada’s First-Ever Loss Of Monthly Sales Crown http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/supplier-woes-lead-ladas-first-ever-loss-monthly-sales-crown/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/supplier-woes-lead-ladas-first-ever-loss-monthly-sales-crown/#comments Thu, 08 Jan 2015 11:00:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=973537 Since the first Ladas left the assembly line in the 1970s, the automaker has always held the top spot on the sales podium, month after month, year after year. Until November 2014, that is. Automotive News Europe reports that problems between parent company AutoVAZ and several of its suppliers helped to bring Lada’s continuous dominance […]

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Since the first Ladas left the assembly line in the 1970s, the automaker has always held the top spot on the sales podium, month after month, year after year. Until November 2014, that is.

Automotive News Europe reports that problems between parent company AutoVAZ and several of its suppliers helped to bring Lada’s continuous dominance over the Russian domestic market to an end that month, when Kia moved 10,834 Rios over the former’s 10,520 Grantas to take the monthly gold. Those problems have since been resolved, per an AutoVAZ representative.

Despite the hiccup, Lada is still the czar of the Russian market, having sold 351,992 units between January and November of last year; Kia holds a distant second with 175,491 sold. The Granta is also holding its own overall, with 139,405 copies taking to the highway over the same timeframe. Hyundai’s Solaris (105,142) and the Kia Rio (84,350) round out the top three.

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113th US Congress Leaves $8K Hydrogen Credit On The Table http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/113th-us-congress-leaves-8k-hydrogen-credit-table/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/113th-us-congress-leaves-8k-hydrogen-credit-table/#comments Tue, 23 Dec 2014 11:00:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=964370 For the few who will be purchasing a Toyota Mirai in 2015, you may be out of luck as far as tax savings are concerned. For now, anyway. Autoblog reports the 113th U.S. Congress has called it a day without renewing an $8,000 tax credit for hydrogen vehicles entered into service after December 31, 2005, […]

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For the few who will be purchasing a Toyota Mirai in 2015, you may be out of luck as far as tax savings are concerned. For now, anyway.

Autoblog reports the 113th U.S. Congress has called it a day without renewing an $8,000 tax credit for hydrogen vehicles entered into service after December 31, 2005, and purchased before the same date in 2014. The credit is among other credits that didn’t get the once-over from Congress, who were busy looking over — and renewing a few of — credits from 2013.

That said, Honda wants the credit brought back in time for its FCV’s U.S. showroom arrival in 2016, the next concept version of which is set to bow at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show January. Robert Beinefeld, assistant vice president of the automaker’s Environment and Energy Policy, says his employer is working with “many partners on the legislative front to address this situation,” in the belief that legisators don’t intentionally pick “winners and losers by providing tax credits to some technologies and not others.”

As for Hyundai, whose Tucson Fuel Cell entered Californian showrooms earlier this summer, a representative didn’t give any further comment on the hydrogen credit as of this writing.

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Accuracy Issues Real Reason For Free Hydrogen For FCV Owners http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/accuracy-issues-real-reason-free-hydrogen-fcv-owners/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/accuracy-issues-real-reason-free-hydrogen-fcv-owners/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 13:00:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=949129 Toyota Mirai and Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell owners will be able to refuel their new FCVs for free for three years, but only because it’s hard to put a price on hydrogen. According to Autoblog, a seminar held at the Mirai launch regarding hydrogen revealed the fueling stations currently in place in the United States […]

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Toyota Mirai and Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell owners will be able to refuel their new FCVs for free for three years, but only because it’s hard to put a price on hydrogen.

According to Autoblog, a seminar held at the Mirai launch regarding hydrogen revealed the fueling stations currently in place in the United States aren’t able to accurately measure how much hydrogen is pumped into a given vehicle. Without that accuracy, no FCV owner can be charged for the fuel, a problem the California Air Resources Board is working to fix. Deputy Executive Officer Alberto Ayala explains:

If you think about it, it’s a real simple yet real practical challenge. If you’re going to pay for X amount of hydrogen, you’re actually getting that amount of hydrogen… We are at a point where we are solving multiple remaining questions [with hydrogen infrastructure], and that just happens to be one of them.

National Fuel Cell Research Center director Scott Samuelsen adds that this was once the issue with gasoline, with agencies like California’s Department of Food and Agriculture and Department of Weights and Measures setting standards for fuel pumps, then routinely inspecting said pumps to ensure they remained accurate. Once “the right meter” to measure hydrogen is in place, the new consumer fuel source would fall in line.

A solution to this problem is expected to arrive within a year’s time at the latest.

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Hyundai, Kia Fined $300M By State, Federal Agencies Over Erroneous Fuel Economy Numbers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/hyundai-kia-fined-300m-state-federal-agencies-erroneous-fuel-economy-numbers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/hyundai-kia-fined-300m-state-federal-agencies-erroneous-fuel-economy-numbers/#comments Tue, 04 Nov 2014 11:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=940209 Being an asterisk regarding fuel economy numbers isn’t the only penance Hyundai and Kia must pay: The U.S. Department of Justice, the Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board dropped a collective $300 million penalty on the South Korean brands for mistating fuel economy numbers on their respective 2011-2013 lineups. Autoblog reports the […]

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Being an asterisk regarding fuel economy numbers isn’t the only penance Hyundai and Kia must pay: The U.S. Department of Justice, the Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board dropped a collective $300 million penalty on the South Korean brands for mistating fuel economy numbers on their respective 2011-2013 lineups.

Autoblog reports the two alone will pay a total of $100 million to the EPA, the highest such fine in the agency’s history. Hyundai’s part of the bill comes to $56.8 million, while Kia will foot the remaining $43.2 million. The brands will also forfeit 4.75 million greenhouse emissions credits, worth approximately $200 million, and contribute a requested $50 million in investments “to prevent future violations of the Clean Air Act” by automakers.

In-house, parent company Hyundai is establishing “an independent certification test group” to handle future fuel economy testing and reporting, along with training proctors on the proper methods. The company maintains the erroneous reporting was due to the methodology used in the EPA’s test schedule, as well as errors from the coastdown portion of the test.

Hyundai and Kia are also auditing 2015 and 2016 models for accurate fuel economy numbers in light of the previous errors.

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Hyundai Developing Dedicated Hybrid To Battle Toyota Prius http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/hyundai-developing-dedicated-hybrid-battle-toyota-prius/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/hyundai-developing-dedicated-hybrid-battle-toyota-prius/#comments Fri, 31 Oct 2014 11:00:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=938833 Though one can already purchase a hybrid from Hyundai — the Sonata Hybrid, to be exact — the South Korean automaker is now planning to follow in the footsteps of Toyota and Honda by building a hybrid that always was from the get-go. Reuters reports the Korean Prius will add onto Hyundai’s green portfolio, which […]

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Though one can already purchase a hybrid from Hyundai — the Sonata Hybrid, to be exact — the South Korean automaker is now planning to follow in the footsteps of Toyota and Honda by building a hybrid that always was from the get-go.

Reuters reports the Korean Prius will add onto Hyundai’s green portfolio, which also includes the Tucson Fuel Cell FCV, as well as act as a hedge against ever-tightening fuel economy and emissions standards. CEO Kim Choong-ho explained as much during the launch of his company’s latest premium sedan, the Aslan:

We will take the lead in the future by raising the competitiveness of our environment-friendly cars like hybrid-only cars, plug-in hybrid cars and fuel cell hydrogen cars.

Hyundai won’t be alone in bringing a new dedicated hybrid to market; Ford plans to do the same on a compact platform by 2019. Kim did not offer a timetable or other details about Hyundai’s hybrid, however.

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Hyundai/Kia Reconsidering US Diesel Market Stance http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/hyundaikia-reconsidering-us-diesel-market-stance/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/hyundaikia-reconsidering-us-diesel-market-stance/#comments Tue, 14 Oct 2014 13:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=930882 With their portfolio of hybrids and EVs in place in the United States, Hyundai/Kia are now reconsidering their stance on bringing diesel power over to the market. According to Ward’s Auto, Hyundai/Kia America Technical Center powertrain director John Juriga says his employer sees “some value with diesels,” stating the South Korean duo had planned to […]

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With their portfolio of hybrids and EVs in place in the United States, Hyundai/Kia are now reconsidering their stance on bringing diesel power over to the market.

According to Ward’s Auto, Hyundai/Kia America Technical Center powertrain director John Juriga says his employer sees “some value with diesels,” stating the South Korean duo had planned to bring them over as far back as 2009, only to back out due to then-upcoming regulations for cleaner diesels, the costs in creating them, and the higher price of diesel compared to gasoline. He says that while those issues “haven’t necessarily been eliminated, they’ve been understood better,” leading to a “more direct path” toward a U.S. diesel lineup.

Additionally, CAFE targets — especially the 2025 fleet target of 54.5 mpg — could necessitate Hyundai/Kia to add diesel to its green weapons arsenal. Juriga stated Hyundai may bring cylinder deactivation, PHEVs and EGR between 2016 and 2021, while nine- and 10-speed automatics could further its fuel efficiency game between 2021 and 2025.

That said, the duo’s diesel efforts would need to find the right fit in the U.S. in order to achieve success. Juriga explained that the Chevrolet Cruze Diesel made up just 3 percent of overall Cruze sales, and that the vehicle chosen by Hyundai/Kia would also have to go against Volkswagen strong diesel lineup. Though he didn’t offer what vehicle the duo had in mind, he believes the automakers’ customer base would be “more accepting of the technology and willing to pay a premium for the engine type in the correct product.”

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Hyundai’s Gangnam Style Leads To Partial Strike http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/hyundais-gangnam-style-leads-partial-strike/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/hyundais-gangnam-style-leads-partial-strike/#comments Wed, 24 Sep 2014 13:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=917626 Due to a Gangnam-style real estate deal in the Gangnam district of Seoul, South Korea, workers at Hyundai and Kia have gone on partial strike for the next few days. Bloomberg reports the unions leading the strike will do so through September 26, while wage talks with the parent company are indefinitely postponed. In turn, […]

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Due to a Gangnam-style real estate deal in the Gangnam district of Seoul, South Korea, workers at Hyundai and Kia have gone on partial strike for the next few days.

Bloomberg reports the unions leading the strike will do so through September 26, while wage talks with the parent company are indefinitely postponed. In turn, shares in Hyundai fell 2 percent to close at ₩191,500 ($184 USD) on the Korea Exchange, the lowest since May 2013.

The trigger for the strike was ₩10.6 trillion ($10 billion) real estate deal for property in the Gangnam district of the South Korean capital between Hyundai, Kia and affiliate Hyundai Mobis. The unions claim this move as not only proof Hyundai can pay its workers better, including bonuses — which have been mandated by the country’s supreme court to be a part of a worker’s base pay — but that company chair Chung Mong Moo’s management style leaves a lot to be desired.

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Capsule Review: 2015 Hyundai Sonata Limited http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/capsule-review-2015-hyundai-sonata-limited/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/capsule-review-2015-hyundai-sonata-limited/#comments Fri, 12 Sep 2014 12:13:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=910729 In the corners of our brain where the abstract controls the synapses, trains run on time only if we allow a car to charm us, to woo and seduce and enchant. I find the sound of a Jaguar F-Type V8 S appealing and the wind-in-my-hair romanticism of a Mazda MX-5 captivating and I’m fascinated by the roofline […]

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2015 Hyundai Sonata LimitedIn the corners of our brain where the abstract controls the synapses, trains run on time only if we allow a car to charm us, to woo and seduce and enchant.

I find the sound of a Jaguar F-Type V8 S appealing and the wind-in-my-hair romanticism of a Mazda MX-5 captivating and I’m fascinated by the roofline of Mercedes-Benz’s CLS Shooting Brake.

There are other corners of our brain, however, that look a lot like spreadsheets. And on those spreadsheets, there are no columns for charm or seduction or fascination.

Increasingly, midsize cars perform very poorly in the corners of my brain first mentioned, and exceedingly well in the latter.

Hyundai’s 2015 Sonata is one such car.

I’ve operated under the impression that there was a certain subjective appeal to the outgoing car, a vehicle which was, at the very least, good enough on spreadsheets to allow some consumers to buy the car almost on the merits of its unique exterior design alone. On sale in early 2010, the sixth-gen Sonata didn’t look at all like any of its rivals, with swept-back headlights, a long chrome beltline, and a coupe-like roofline. It was a revolutionary departure for Hyundai, especially given the stodginess of its predecessor.

2015 Hyundai Sonata LimitedMany of the same themes have been carried forward for 2015, but the revolution has ended. Hyundai clearly feels as though they’ve made it, as though they’ve established a place for the Sonata in America’s competitive midsize sector and no longer need to market the most eye-catching car in the class.

You’ve probably seen the car live by now and rendered your verdict; you can look at the images if not. Personally, I’m let down, as it feels to me as though the seventh-generation Sonata looks like it could have been the car that arrived before the sixth-generation Sonata, before Hyundai decided to make the Sonata less stodgy; less upright; less formal. Instead, so-called progress has resulted in a car that simply doesn’t appear like the next new thing.

2015 Hyundai Sonata LimitedIts wheelwells are too big for its wheels, which on this specific car are terribly Buick circa 1996. There’s a vast amount of acreage between the top of the rear wheel and the C-pillar. Visually, the car rides too high. LEDs have been too liberally scattered across the front end.

Inside, however, a return to a more conventional layout – more horizontal, less vertical – has caused the 2015 Sonata to seem quite a bit more Genesis-like. Regardless of equipment levels, and despite the fact that the current Elantra is no poor car, the outgoing Sonata always felt more or less like an Elantra Plus, particularly inside. Meanwhile, the current Accord comes across as much more than one single step upmarket from the Civic. With improved material quality and a more modern design, the Sonata is now class-competitive inside.

In terms of the simplicity of its controls and its overall intuitiveness, I’d argue that the 2015 Sonata is class-leading. There’s no getting-to-know-you process with the latest Hyundai/Kia infotainment units, and in this case, there’s no difficulty reaching across to the most distant buttons, either, as the whole centre panel is canted nicely toward the driver.

2015 Hyundai Sonata LimitedUnfortunately, the softening of the exterior design has been matched by a softening of the Sonata’s suspension. On the plus side, this pays dividends in ride quality, which is excellent. Compared with the previous Sonata, the most notable improvement in ride quality is out back. But the Sonata lacks the edge of the Mazda 6, the firmness of the Honda Accord, and the European undertones of the Ford Fusion, which quite artfully balances ride quality with a degree of athleticism.

The Sonata’s three drive modes present slight differences, with Eco definitely being eco-minded in its throttle mapping and shift strategy, and Sport clearly generating more steering weight, but none of the modes seriously alters the intentions of the car.

Not for a minute am I suggesting that this emphasis on total comfort isn’t what buyers want, only that Hyundai’s successful drive to improve the Sonata’s suspension calibration could have been executed with more of a blend.

Then again, we spent our week with a Sonata Limited, a very well-equipped car, but one that was fitted with conservative Kumho P215/55R/17s. Riding on the Sport’s 235/45R18s, with its slightly different steering setup (rack-mounted, rather than column-mounted electric power assist) and altered suspension, the Sport 2.0T could produce rather different on-road character traits.

2015 Hyundai Sonata Limited interiorLimited trim Sonatas start at $27,335 (freight included), but in fully optioned form, the Ultimate and Tech packages add $5050, bringing to the Sonata’s equipment portfolio a panoramic sunroof, premium audio, heated steering wheel, adaptive cruise, lane departure warning and some other doodads.  The aforementioned turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder adds 60 horsepower to the base Sonata’s 185; torque is upgraded from 178 lb-ft to 260.

All these numbers are lower than they were just one model year ago, and lower than the kind of mind-boggling V6 numbers you’ll find in, for instance, the Chrysler 200. In the 2.4L, however, torque thankfully comes on stream early, at just 4000 rpm, and the Sonata therefore doesn’t feel slow. The 2.4L does become too buzzy at high rpm, and it runs out of gumption as revs rise. Thus, if you want care to acquire turbocharged 2.0L powerplant, pricing starts at $29,385. A solitary Ultimate package costs $4950, creating a car that’s equipped like our Limited test car.

That’s a lot of car for the money, particularly now that the Sonata feels as nicely assembled inside (with materials of similar – if not better – quality) as the segment’s top sellers.

Love it or hate it, the outgoing Sonata was a car which, stylistically speaking, stood out from the midsize pack. Any hope that Hyundai would once again move the game forward on the design front has most certainly been lost.

2015 Hyundai Sonata Limited steering wheel controlsYet no one specific individual, save for the midsize sedan buyer himself, is the final arbiter on the success of Hyundai’s exterior revamp. Is this new 2015 Sonata half as intriguing a proposition as the old model was in its first model year? Probably not, at least not in the dark recesses of my subjective mind.

But is it twice as appealing on purely objective terms? Quite possibly, with improved all-around dynamics, ride quality that’ll shame most premium cars, an enhanced cabin, and observed fuel economy in mixed driving of 31 miles per gallon.

In this transition year for the Sonata, its U.S. sales growth is outpacing the figures achieved by the Camry, Accord, Altima, and Fusion, rising 8% in the first eight months of 2014 and 25% during the month of August. After peaking at 230,605 units in 2012, volume tumbled 12% in 2013 and the Sonata very nearly fell into sixth place in the category. At the current rate, because Hyundai appears to be giving the people what the people’s spreadsheets want, the Sonata is back on track for a 2012-like year.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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Only In Canada: 2015 Hyundai Genesis 5.0 HTRAC AWD http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/canada-2015-hyundai-genesis-5-0-htrac-awd/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/canada-2015-hyundai-genesis-5-0-htrac-awd/#comments Thu, 11 Sep 2014 23:24:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=911001 The list of Canadian-exclusive vehicles is scant, with a large number of them being small minivans and badge-engineered Acuras – in other words, nothing terribly interesting. What you’re looking at here is something that only Canadians will get – for now. But rather than carrying out a concerted effort to bring Canadians something unique, it […]

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The list of Canadian-exclusive vehicles is scant, with a large number of them being small minivans and badge-engineered Acuras – in other words, nothing terribly interesting. What you’re looking at here is something that only Canadians will get – for now. But rather than carrying out a concerted effort to bring Canadians something unique, it gives an insight into how product planning decisions are made.

American consumers are limited to getting AWD only on the Genesis 3.8 models, which come with Hyundai’s ubiquitous V6 engine. Even then, it’s an option. Canadian consumers, on the other hand, have only AWD models, but they can get four driven wheels on the five-point-oh V8 engine, unlike those south of the 49th parallel.

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A recent trip to the Canadian Rockies saw us behind the wheel of a Genesis 5.0 equipped with the Magna-developed HTRAC AWD system. Since it was an unseasonably warm August week, there was no foul weather to test the system’s mettle, nor did we have the gumption to take the $64,123 (Canadian) press loaner off-road.

The only way the Canadian 5.0 comes equipped is in the loaded Ultimate trim level, which is packed with every passive and active safety feature imaginable (including a CO2 sensor that supposed helps detect driver drowsiness), a 17 speaker Lexicon audio system (brilliant) and a wonderfully simple infotainment system with a 9.2 inch screen.

There’s no tangible similarity between the RWD 5.0 and its AWD sibling. The chassis is surprisingly adept for a 4687 lb luxury sedan, but the added heft versus 4294 lb AWD V6 models is noticeable, and seems to cancel out whatever performance gains may come from the bigger motor, both in terms of acceleration and handling. Fuel economy is frankly atrocious. Hyundai’s Canadian fuel economy ratings for this car sit at 14 mpg city, 22 highway and 16 mpg combined. We struggled to crack 15 mpg in mixed driving, and a full tank of 91 octane, at $5.32 a gallon, was an expense that didn’t seem worth it compared to the slightly less thirsty 3.8L, which can be had in top-spec for $9,000 less.

When Hyundai announced the Canada-only V8 HTRAC, I asked a source of mine at Hyundai Canada why they went through the expense of creating a whole new variant for such a small market. “Because nobody would buy it if it was rear-drive only,” was the reply. Even so, the Genesis 5.0 is likely to be a very small portion of Hyundai Canada’s total sales. It’s great to see auto makers starting to respond (albeit slowly) to the unique needs of the Canadian market. A $64,000 all-wheel drive V8 luxury car isn’t the first thing you’d think of in that context, but it’s a neat oddity in a product portfolio dominated by frugal subcompacts.

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