We return to the story of Kia’s midsize and larger sedans today, around the point when Kia found itself under the watchful eye of Hyundai. The larger South Korean company purchased a controlling stake in its competition in 1998, which meant big changes to Kia’s product almost immediately after.
The union led to the first full-size luxury sedan Kia developed from the ground up, the Opirus (Amanti to you). It turned out the Amanti was the derivative and rather ugly sedan few in North America desired, though it fared a bit better elsewhere. But by the time the Amanti arrived, Kia was already selling a new midsize that North Americans did want. Let’s talk Optima.
In our last installment of Kia’s larger sedan history, we covered the midsize Credos. The Credos was an important first for Kia, as the first midsize the company produced where it had a bit of leeway with the design. Ultimately, the Credos hid its Mazda 626 bones decently well and did a good impersonation of a late Nineties Ford Contour after a refresh.
But just as Kia settled into Mazda platforms and designing their own sedans, the goalposts were moved courtesy of the 1997 Asian financial crisis. Kia was left without much money, and few options. We pick up there.
Those of us with memories longer than a goldfish can think back all the way back to last year and remember the hype surrounding the Hyundai Santa Cruz. A hype train that quickly derailed when Ford’s Maverick launched just a few months later and proved itself better at doing “truck things” than the Santa Cruz.
Thing is, as great as the Maverick is, the Santa Cruz is still a pretty cool little trucklet – if you understand its limits.
Hyundai Motor Group has been considering where to establish its planned EV manufacturing hub for the United States for roughly a year now and is reportedly zeroing in on the State of Georgia as a final destination. It’s even said to have conducted some preliminary meetings with local leaders about the possibility of breaking ground in an area that could be strategically aligned with its existing facilities – namely Montgomery’s Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama (HMMA) and West Point’s Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia (KMMG).
I got to thinking about one particular big old Kia from the late Nineties the other day, and upon searching it on The Internet, I realized the Korean manufacturer had a much longer history with large cars than I’d thought previously. Given most of them were (or are) off-limits to the North American market, it might be time for a history lesson. We begin today with Kia’s first large car. It’s one you’ve probably heard of, because it was a Peugeot.
The 2022 New York Auto Show isn’t the first major auto show to be held since COVID-19 shut the world down in March 2020 – Chicago had shows in 2021 and 2022, and Los Angeles was in its usual slot last year. And there was Motorbella in Detroit last summer.
Still, for whatever reason – the loosening of COVID restrictions, the fact it was the first New York show since COVID, the presence of NY-based journos who don’t deign to travel west of the Hudson for those other shows – there was a pre-show feeling that this was it. This would be the show that marked the return of normalcy. Not LA in 2021 or Chicago just a couple of months ago – no, it would be this one.
Hyundai’s Palisade separates itself from Kia’s Telluride, at least in terms of appearance, by being the more “urban”, stylistically speaking, of the two.
The former looks boxy and rugged, while the latter has curves that evoke urban luxury — at least to this author’s eye.*
The “hot compact” segment has its players, and they all seem to have a defined role.
This is especially true when we’re talking about compacts with more than two doors, especially if they offer a three-pedal option and are priced under $40K.
The Subaru WRX is the all-wheel-drive one. The Honda Civic Si is the bargain one. The Volkswagen GTI is the balanced hatchback one. The Hyundai Veloster N is the quirky three-door one. The Volkswagen Jetta GLI is the refined one.
Compact crossover land is a funny place. It’s a place where every vehicle is broadly similar, and where the most subtle of differences can distinguish one vehicle from the next. It’s not a world where standing out with something radically different either in styling or engineering will typically yield wins.
Subtle differences certainly show with the 2022 Hyundai Tucson. The styling is a touch different than the rest, with an unusual front lighting setup and interesting character lines throughout. One difference, however, can cause some consternation among some drivers.
The North American International Auto Show, aka the Detroit Auto Show, isn’t taking place in January anymore. It’s set for a move to September.
But that didn’t stop the traditional North American Car and Truck of the Year award ceremony from taking place at
Cobo Center Huntington Place this morning.
Hyundai Motor Company has revealed teaser images of the Ioniq SEVEN, an all-electric SUV concept scheduled to debut at AutoMobility Los Angeles later this month. The model is supposed to preview the automaker’s future design and technology innovation as it transitions toward electric vehicles, potentially previewing the upcoming sport utility vehicle to be added to the brand’s Ioniq lineup. Though it doesn’t resemble the Ioniq 5 all that much and we were under the impression that was the model foreshadowing the brand’s upcoming EVs.
No matter. Hyundai has a lot of uniquely designed models that share just enough to make it apparent that they’re still part of the larger family and most of what we’re seeing of the SEVEN concept is of its comfy, cozy interior. These teasers really make you want to curl up inside the SEVEN with a Tolstoy novel and a blanket to see how long you can get by uninterrupted.
The Rare Rides series has featured just two Hyundai offerings in past entries, the affordable Pony that Canadians loved, and a Mitsubishi Precis that was a rebadge of the Excel. Today’s larger Rare Ride was sold alongside those two in places outside the United States. Meet Stellar.
I got my first, in-person taste of the upcoming Kia EV6 this past weekend in Irvine, California. It was a beautiful 77-degree day spent amid rolling hills under blue, sunny skies – even the people I met were wonderful. They were tanned, attractive, “California” people who were cheerful and engaging. No matter what California sent to distract me, though, my eyes kept turning back to the EV6.
There’s simply no escaping it. The Kia EV6, especially in the matte metallic gray finish, is an incredibly good-looking car.
It’s probably exciting to be working in transportation media at a dawn of an all-new product category. Imagine the journalists in 1964 witnessing the birth of the pony car. What about those in the mid-Nineties covering the birth of the crossover – never mind, that probably wasn’t all that thrilling. I’m picturing, instead, the newsroom at The Truth About Buggies in 1884, with cigar-chomping editors looking at telegraphed press releases touting the first automobile, sending poorly-paid flunky journalists on junkets via train with a typewriter.
Perhaps we’ve witnessed our own segment birth – or, really, re-birth – with the reimagining of the compact pickup truck market. The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz, it would seem to anyone watching, would be the first entrant into that category. Hyundai, inexplicably, would rather you not call it a truck.
Have you ever seen those wobbly hitch-mounted cargo carriers obscuring the license plates on slow-moving SUVs – usually with a Yeti cooler and some camp chairs strapped down? Perhaps the Santa Cruz is more like that – a Tucson with a well-integrated, weather-resistant (when properly equipped) cargo carrier.
There’s a great scene in The Commitments where Jimmy Rabbitte, the main kid, puts an ad in his local paper to recruit talent for his band. If you’ve never seen the movie, it’s definitely worth the two-hour – a er, commitment (sorry), but that’s off-topic. Rabbitte puts out this ad, and would-be musicians knock on his door. When he opens the door, he asks them one question: Who are your influences?
It’s a great question, isn’t it? It cuts through lots of the usual interview BS and small-talk and hand-wringing and gets right to the meat. In The Commitments, the right answers were Al Green, Wilson Pickett, and Otis Redding. Over at Hyundai/Kia, however, it seems like the right answers were Lancia Delta, Lancia Stratos, and Porsche 959.
What the heck is Jo talking about this time? I’m glad you asked.
I was still rubbing sleep from my eyes when I checked my phone upon waking. I was scheduled to drive the Hyundai Santa Cruz, and here was a notification of an email saying something about driving the Hyundai Kona N instead. Was Hyundai short a truck or something?
Nope, they just had two Kona Ns around for media to drive at the lunch stop, and those Ns had to get there somehow. Would I like to drive one?
We seem to be living in an era where appearance frequently trumps substance. Enter the Hyundai Santa Fe XRT, South Korea’s attempt to convince shoppers that modifying a vehicle to look the part is just as good as making it genuinely capable.
The XRT is the newest trim for the Santa Fe crossover and introduces some aesthetic ruggedization as a way to entice customers that fantasize about weekend blasts at the dunes but have no intention of ever going. It’s an appearance package for an otherwise capable daily driver that can already be customized to suit your needs and price range. But perhaps you’re still curious and want to know everything XRT has to offer — just in case it happens to slot into your lifestyle.
Though I would doubt it.
Hyundai’s commitment to performance vehicles is really starting to become impressive. Despite the brand’s decision to terminate the standard Veloster for 2022, it’ll be retaining the crackling N model in order to appease a small number of fun-loving customers. While not unappealing, the model had some quirks that likely made it less appealing to the average commuter. Packaged as a three-door hatchback prioritizing style over utility, the Veloster made less practical sense than a similarly priced sedan or crossover. We’d wager some would-be owners ultimately settled upon the Elantra or Kona unless they were in the market for the N and the backroad shenanigans it encourages.
But future customers will have an even more difficult choice ahead of them now that the 2022 Elantra N is officially on the docket. Rather than build a performance sedan that simply offers more go than the standard model, the South Korean manufacturer has opted to target the big dogs.
This got me thinking — if we’re on the cusp of a return to truly “compact” trucks (well, relatively compact), which other brands should be getting in on the action, and soon?
Hyundai is sharing heavily doctored images of the upcoming Elantra N, offering a taste of what its performance arm plans to do when unleased upon the rest of the company’s lineup. Unlike N-Line products, which are more about supporting modest performance upgrades with visual embellishments, N models are basically as hardcore as the manufacturer can build a vehicle while still attempting to turn a profit.
Thus far the formula has only had sufficient time to produce the 275-horsepower Veloster N — a hatchback that seems intentionally designed to dunk on the more reserved Volkswagen GTI. But the Elantra is rumored to embrace the Veloster’s powertrain and a similar personality, resulting in something relatively unique for our market.
We love to daydream about Hellcats and TRXs and Shelbys and even affordable sports cars like a Type R, but there are many among the masses who care not for such iron, and don’t have enough paper for those things even if they did.
Some of these folks need and/or want something even more basic than your standard Civic or Corolla. Or they want some boxy utility with paying the premium commanded by so many crossovers.
The Hyundai the Ioniq 5 compact crossover made its debut Monday evening and it’s another win for the brand’s styling department. Despite being known as budget-minded automakers by Hyundai and Kia have delivered some of the most interesting designs the industry has to offer and with surprising consistency. The Ioniq 5 simply carries that formula into a product line that offers a healthy variety of battery, powertrain, and charging options without aiming too high or low.
Based on the Hyundai 45 EV concept from 2019, the Ioniq crossover looks as though it could be a show vehicle. But Hyundai has confirmed that this is actually the production version. The model’s angular design is interesting in itself and requires minimal embellishment, though the Parametric Pixel headlamps are a great touch and really help set the vehicle apart. While it won’t be the car for everyone, it certainly has its charms and will turn plenty of heads until more automakers decide to ape its style.
Imagine for a moment you’re not a well-heeled connoisseur of expensive cars and high finance, and there’s not a Bentley Mulsanne and a Land Cruiser in your garage. Instead, imagine you have to buy one of the three cheapest sedans on sale in America in 2021.
Over the weekend, Hyundai Motor Group addressed rumors that Kia had been in negotiations to build an electric vehicle for Apple. While the scuttlebutt seems to have been true, talks were indeed underway, the automaker confessed that they had ended without an agreement.
It’s known that Apple has been hunting for potential partners after its EV program was placed into an extended stasis and was hoping to gain access to a skateboard-type platform. Hyundai’s E-GMP architecture certainly qualifies, too. But it’s just one of many entities entering the field as most manufacturers strive to build their own.
Following reports that Hyundai Motor Company managed to purchase American engineering and robotics firm Boston Dynamics from Japanese financial conglomerate SoftBank for a cool $921 million, we’ve learned that the South Korean automaker has also fallen into embracing on-demand features. The trend, which is sweeping through the automotive industry to our dismay, basically involves manufacturers hiding vehicle options behind a subscription paywall instead of just letting you purchase the options you wanted upfront.
That means tomorrow’s car shopper might find themselves buying a vehicle that’s already fully loaded from the factory only find themselves forced to unlock heated seats or an upgraded sound system via monthly payments. In our estimation, the whole concept is ludicrously wasteful, diminishes the private resale values of automobiles, and seems like the kind of corporate nonsense reserved for dystopian fiction novels.
Hyundai Motor Co. is recalling roughly 129,000 vehicles sold in the United States over an engine issue that may pose a fire risk. While we’ve been generally kind to the manufacturer of late, thanks to a rather good lineup of well-designed vehicles, it’s been mucking things up with recalls.
Last week, Hyundai Motor Group (including Kia) agreed to shell out up to $210 million in civil penalties after American safety regulators said it was dragging its feet on enacting a recall that encompassed 1.6 million automobiles. Apparently, there was some confusion on what needed to be reported to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. But let’s begin with the latest problem covering the company’s 2.4, 2.0, and 1.6-liter engines.
If you feel like you’ve had your fill of news relating to electric cars, you’re not alone. Sadly, that’s just about all the industry is willing to let out of the bag right now. Whether you’re trying to pump staffers for information using sweet talk or waggling a crowbar in front of their face, they don’t have much else to discuss ahead of the holidays.
But that doesn’t mean there can’t be good news. Hyundai Motor Group, one of the few manufacturers that (mostly) hasn’t left us clenching our teeth when announcing decisions, has announced it’s building an all-new, electric platform that won’t have a laughably pathetic rang e. Unveiled in Seoul, South Korea, on Wednesday, the Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP) promises sports-car levels of acceleration, outstanding flexibility, and production models boasting ranges in excess of 300 miles.
Car Twitter is a weird “place” (as much as an ephemeral part of social media can be a “place”). There are all kinds of arguments about all sorts of things on that part of the Twitterverse, including new and upcoming products, and the next Hyundai Tucson was as divisive as anything I’ve seen in recent weeks.
Some journalists loved it. Some hated it. Others were in between. And that’s just in reference to the exterior styling.
Love it, like it, hate it, or indifferent, you can’t deny that Hyundai took some chances.
Hyundai and Kia are recalling nearly 200,000 vehicles in the United States over a potential short in the antilock brake system of select models. Problem vehicles include around 180,000 examples of the 2019-21 model year Hyundai Tucson and roughly 9,000 Kia Stingers from 2019.
Based on the recall information provided by the manufacturers, around six Stingers have caught fire over the issue. Regulators have confirmed that the issue lies in the ABS control module and that combustion is still possible when the vehicle has been shut down. That has led us to believe this might be related to an earlier recall involving 283,803 Kia Optima sedans (MY 2013-15), 156,567 Kia Sorento crossovers (2014-15), and 151,205 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport crossovers (2013-15). Each of those models ran the risk of brake fluid seeping out onto the hydraulic electronic control unit and causing a fire.
Hyundai’s promised something radical in the C-segment crossover space, and the next-generation Tucson is it. A strong-selling bread-and butter model, Tucson will split into two come the 2022 model year, Hyundai claims, broadening the crossover’s market appeal.
The new generation will also bring unmistakable lighting to the table.
The subcompact Hyundai Kona earned itself no shortage of attention on these digital pages after it landed in dealers in February of 2018. Some of that press was, ahem, not favorable to the little Hyundai, which impressed neither in interior volume or in off-roadability.
It’s a subcompact crossover, of course. Its utility will be limited. Still, the Kona proved a success for Hyundai, boosting sales volume for the suddenly-struggling brand and helping get it to where it is today. Despite the pandemic, July saw the model’s fourth-best monthly showing since its debut.
Committed to fielding the freshest lineup around, Hyundai already has changes in store for the Kona. If power was once a concern, a new variant should put that issue to rest.
As you read recently, the former Hyundai Elantra Sport has morphed into the Elantra N Line for the 2021 model year. While the redesigned compact sedan’s warmed-up version carries the same powertrain as before, there’s more heat on the horizon.
The purveyor of that added oomph can be seen in spy photos circulating the net today, showing a well-camouflaged (and well-spoilered) Elantra designed to carry the N badge.
Perhaps feeling that this would be its last opportunity to woo American midsize sedan buyers, Hyundai pulled out all the styling stops when it crafted the current-generation Sonata. Heavy on lines and curves and sporting some impressive front-end lighting, the Sonata makes the Camry and Accord look stodgy by comparison.
But the automaker didn’t stop there. It went to work crafting a hotter Sonata — a variant that’s almost here. And thanks to someone’s mistake and another person’s quick reflexes, we can see what that sedan will look like.
Genesis, Hyundai’s luxury arm, is the new kid on the block. And it’s already fitting in well, if not embarrassing the established players.
Consider a flagship luxury car that’s priced below most of the competition while performing on par and offering the requisite comfort and convenience features. The new kid might just be showing up the regulars.
This one’s a bit of a bummer, though it’s not surprising. The 2021 model year will bring a Hyundai model lineup bursting at the seams with crossovers, but there’s apparently no room for a lowly compact hatchback.
The sun in that photo is setting, not rising.
Offered since the early 2000s, the five-door version of the Elantra sedan (actually a wholly different car underneath) has met its end in the North American market.
Maybe established automakers can impress investors with electric promises, after all. Following Hyundai’s announcement that it will turn the Ioniq nameplate into an electric vehicle brand encompassing several models, the company’s stock lit the afterburners, achieving its best share price showing since 2017.
Lofty electric ambitions aren’t a sure-fire way to juice a stock, as Ford has shown year after painful year, but they can achieve results.
Low-end electric cars don’t get a lot of press these days, not with Silicon Valley upstarts and established OEMs rolling out mega-torque, high-zoot green vehicles at a steady clip. Yet the Hyundai Ioniq Electric has provided an alternative to the base Nissan Leaf since 2016, combining a usable-but-not-class-leading driving range with a relatively bargain basement price tag.
Joined by a super-efficient hybrid as well as a plug-in variant, the Ioniq lived in the shadow of competing nameplates its entire life. It’s bound to get more attention now, given that
Cadillac Hyundai is turning the model into a brand.
If you’re like this writer, you pine for the long-ago days when walking into a bar only carried the risk of embarrassing inebriation and possibly violent confrontation, not a viral infection that could leave any of us on gasping on life support. We all wish things were normal.
While the coronavirus hasn’t cleared out, you wouldn’t know that looking at Hyundai’s U.S. sales tally for July. The automaker raised eyebrows and bucked the industry trend by posting a year-over year gain last month.
The idea of Honda and Toyota slugging it out for midsize sedan supremacy, with every other contender — from the very good to the mediocre to the also-rans — fighting it out for sales scraps, is pretty much an auto-journalism cliché at this point.
Other contenders dance in and out of the ring, but never quite stay part of the conversation. Hyundai’s Sonata has long been one of those. Certain generations of the Sonata were very much a part of the mix at the top of the class. Others were forgettable, hanging out in the muddled middle.
After putting the finishing touches on its sales-seeking crossover expansion, Hyundai realized something already well-known by domestic truck makers — if you offer a new trim above your loftiest level of luxury, plenty of people are liable to buy it. Assuming the basic bones of the vehicle are competent enough, of course.
After looking at early sales, it seems the Palisade has earned Hyundai plenty of sales, and perhaps more importantly, plenty of first-time buyers.
Time to crank up the lux!
Until the appearance of the Chrysler 200 and the current generation of Mitsubishi Mirage, the fastest average showroom-to-junkyard speed I’d ever seen with a new car took place with the first-generation Hyundai Excel. Even the wretched Yugo, its rival for the title of Cheapest New Car Available In America, seemed to hold together until at least age six or seven before going to The Crusher, but I started seeing plenty of solid-looking ’86 and ’87 Excels at Southern California U-Wrench yards by 1990 or so.
Still, some of those early Excels stayed on the road for decades, and I try to document those miraculous survivors when I find them. Here’s the cleanest first-gen Excel I’ve seen in at least 25 years, found in a Denver self-service yard last week.
Commenter Chocolatedeath is absolutely adamant we talk about today’s trio of unpopular sedans. They’ve all got V8s, rear-drive, and found few buyers in their day, but that won’t stop us from choosing one among them to take home.
So, without further adieu, let’s take a look at Chocolatedeath’s car comparison, shall we?
The Kia is boxy and bold, looking trail-ready, even though it’s not an off-roader (nor will it ever see much off-roading beyond a grass parking area at the soccer complex). Hyundai’s counterpart, however, softens the edges as bit, rounding things off. And while both have interiors that belie their pricing, Hyundai’s is more modern minimalist than what’s on offer in the Kia.
We all know what happens to you and me when we assume, and a lot of folks will assume the 2021 Kia Seltos shares its bones with the also-new Hyundai Venue.
I know I did, and when I questioned Hyundai to fact-check myself, I didn’t get a clear answer (as the two companies tend to silo their information from one another).
The assumption that the Seltos is just a re-boxed Venue is wrong. The Seltos, despite playing in the same class as the Venue and being similar in size, is actually based on a different Hyundai – the Kona.
Not that you’d know it from looking at it. The Seltos has a busier, more futuristic look than the Kona, although it doesn’t have the latter’s odd headlight placement. Like the Venue, it offers two-tone styling, and at first glance it looks more like the boxy Venue than the wedge-shaped Kona.
Hence, the assumptions.
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- Crown They need to put the EcoDiesel back in the Grand Cherokee. I have a 2018 and it has been the most reliable vehicle I ever owned. 69,000 miles and only needed tires, and regular oil and fuel filter changes.
- El scotto Y'all are overthinking this. Find some young hard-charging DA seeking the TV limelight to lock this kid up. Heck, have John Boehner come up from Cincy to help the young DA get his political career going. Better yet, have the young DA spin this as hard as he or she can; I'm the candidate for Law and Order, I defied our go-easy office and leadership to get this identified criminal locked up. Oh this could be spun more than a hyper active kid's top.Now I'd do some consulting work for Little Kings Original Cream Ale and Skyline Chili.
- El scotto Pondering if he has a clean brandy snifter. Well but, ah, I mean the original Grand Wagoneer was fully loaded and had a V-8. The original Grand Wagoneer had an almost cult-like following with a certain type of woman. Attractive, educated high earning women; or those that put on the appearances of being that way.Our esteemed HerR DOKtor Perfessor again shows how ignorant he is of the American market. What he deems "bread-vans on stilts" are highly coveted by significant others that are also highly coveted. The new Grand Cherokee with the new well engineered V-6 will sell as well as the ones from the 80s some of us get wistful over. The only real question will be: LL Bean or Orvis edition?
- El scotto Well, I've had cats that are smarted than a great many members of congress. I rather doubt that any of the congresspeople Matt named are engineers, finance people or project managers. Ya know, professionals you call in to get a job done.Today is Wednesday, this will be out of the 36 hour news cycle by Friday. Oh it might get mentioned again on OCT 6. Unless there are cute animals to put on TV that day.
- El scotto Oh My Good Lord Yes! Gents, this is a Caddy that carries on the soul of Caddy. Loud, brash, and apologetically American. Also large and in charge and one of GM's best evah engines. What used to be a flash roll is now bottle service.Can't deal with that reality? There are plenty of excellent SUVs/CUVs on the market. I'm a former Escape owner. The Escape was a sensible lil CUV, this Caddy is just way over the top.Canyon carver? Not a chance, this is based on a Silverado frame. Easy to park? Toss the valet the keys. Will some of the other high-end SUVs have better "soft touch" materials that make car journalist get tingly all over? Of course.This Caddy is designed to eat up huge and I mean huge amounts of American interstate miles. Four people and their luggage? Easily.