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 [s]Cadillac[/s] 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.
At some point in the past few years, the word “basic” began being used as a pejorative, aimed at young men and women whose personal style and interests were “ exceedingly ordinary,” in the words of the great Urban Dictionary.
You know the stereotype: pumpkin spice lattes and Ugg boots for women; untucked button-down shirts, Axe body spray, and dingy baseball hats for men.
Basic doesn’t have to mean bad, boring, or ordinary, though. It can also mean simple. And the 2020 Hyundai Venue is just that: Simple. And that’s not meant as a pejorative.
Which isn’t to the say the Venue is without flaws. But it’s meant for basic – there’s that word again – transport, and not much else, and it’s poised to do that job well.
We all have that one friend who puts Tabasco sauce on everything. Even foods that aren’t meant to be spicy are doused – this person has to give their food a kick.
Hyundai’s 2020 Sonata N Line is sort of the midsize sedan equivalent of that.
I flew to Arizona to test the redesigned 2020 Hyundai Sonata, and while there I got a surprise – I’d be driving an N Line prototype part of the way back to the hotel from lunch.
I drove the racetrack-ready Hyundai RM19 prototype, and I didn’t crash it.
The day after the Los Angeles Auto Show, while most of the rest of the assembled automotive media was either at home or in an airplane heading that way, I was in a shuttle bus heading north from Westwood/Beverly Hills towards the desert. Awaiting me would be the RM19 high-performance version of the Hyundai Veloster N.
The bus was ferrying me to Hyundai’s Proving Grounds located in/near California City, California. In addition to driving the RM19, I’d autocross a production Veloster N against the clock – something I did on the launch last year, outside of Sacramento – and be offered the chance to ride right-seat with a pro driver on an autocross in a race-prepped Veloster N. I’d also get to off-road a Palisade SUV and take a Nexo fuel-cell crossover around the high-speed track.
I skipped the right-seat ride due to lack of time, and I have little to say about autocross or the off-road. Those were merely repeats of experiences I’ve had before. The story here is the RM19, which Hyundai claims is a preview of future N products.
That exact future isn’t yet clear.
Near the start of this decade, I thought the Hyundai Sonata was perhaps the most attractive mid-size sedan on the market.
I also thought it drove like crap.
The steering was disconnected from the road, it felt slower than its rivals, et cetera.
Hyundai’s next Sonata was better in terms of driving dynamics and on-road behavior, but its styling was conservative to the point of boring. It felt like Hyundai was flailing about, unsure how to build a car that both drove well and looked good, while its rivals were having no problem doing the same. Even its corporate sibling, Kia, was offering up an engaging and handsome Optima.
Enter the 2020 Sonata. It looks good (better from certain angles and with certain colors), but does it drive well? Can it walk and chew gum at the same time?
Crossovers are our future, it seems. Every time I crack open another issue of this dusty website, I’m confronted and confounded by the proliferation of tall (and not-so-tall) hatchbacks in every possible size category.
The 2019 Hyundai Kona is, for the moment, the smallest of five crossovers in the Hyundai lineup – at least until the inexplicably-smaller Venue shows up very soon. Where does it fit? Or is it destined to be a misfit?
The 2019 Hyundai Elantra Sport makes a compelling case for saving the manual transmission. But perhaps not compelling enough, as between the time I drove this car and wrote this review, Hyundai killed the stick in the 2020 Elantra Sport.
I daresay that’s not the car’s fault — the stick-shift Sport would be on my shopping list if I were eyeing a sporty compact commuter. Market forces continue to kill off manual transmissions and, while some brands are fighting the good fight, Hyundai must not have seen a business case in doing battle.
That’s too bad, because the budget buyer looking for value in a sporty compact car just lost one option.
After eight consecutive years of striking, South Korean Hyundai employees decided to take a season off. Preliminary reports are indicating that the workers’ union has reached a tentative wage agreement with the automaker, resolving any need to picket.
Top-notch negotiating skills likely played a role, but union members also noted that it was best not to temp fate. According to Reuters, the group said it had considered “the uncertain political and economic situation” before agreeing to terms. That’s a reference to the degrading political situation between South Korea and Japan, as well as the ongoing Sino-American trade war.
You’re probably thinking two things right now. First, what’s up with suggesting an upcoming compact crossover will be anything approaching wild and crazy and, secondly, why no spy shot of a camo-clad Tucson?
Easy answers! We’re promised something nutso from Hyundai. This won’t just be a visually updated compact CUV, Sangyup Lee, veep of design at Hyundai, told Motor Authority back in April. No, no. “The whole world will freak out over (next-generation Tucson),” he said following the release of the 2020 Sonata, suggesting that the controversially radical Sonata might be the tame, demure one in the family.
Freak out. Hyundai Tucson. That’s some promise.
The answer to the second question is that the corporate mothership ain’t likely to spend dough on pics of a vehicle that, while covered in camo, isn’t likely to cause anyone to freak out. Not around here, at least.
Hyundai is bringing a retro-future concept vehicle to the Frankfurt Motor Show next month. Called the 45, the car appears to be an electrified hatchback and has the stated mission of helping the brand shape future EV designs. While we’ve only seen a single teaser image of the model thus far, we like where this is heading.
The automaker says the 45 was “inspired by looking back at the brand’s first model in the 1970s,” meaning the Ford Cortina is (and probably always was) off the table. The South Korean manufacturer is likely referencing the rear-drive Pony subcompact. It certainly appears to be the correct shape and the taillight location is similar enough for us not to rule it out. However, the total package seems to be more inspired by the DeLorean DMC-12 and 1980s concepts like the Citroën Karin or Ford Maya.
While Hyundai’s compact Ioniq hatchback is most commonly seen in hybrid and plug-in hybrid guise, there’s also an all-electric model that took its sweet time breaking out of California. It’s notable not for its range (which, at 124 miles, puts it on par with also-ran EVs like the Volkswagen e-Golf), but for its price, which undercuts even the Nissan Leaf.
Hyundai unveiled an updated crop of Ioniqs back early this year, relegating the news to the more EV-friendly European market, but with the model line also on sale here its eventual arrival is a given. The biggest news to come from the reveal? A significantly larger battery for the Ioniq Electric.
Now that details are flowing on the imminently available 2020 Ioniq from overseas, we’re able to guess the model’s range.
Hyundai and sibling brand Kia were once known for being cheap, but not necessarily the best value. That’s because cheap and value aren’t always synonymous — especially when it comes to consumer products.
That’s changed over time. Both brands have mostly shed their reputation for crap quality and have been steadily offering up products that can compete with everyone else on that front while still offering value pricing.
Kia’s Telluride is an example of that — it’s a well-built machine with premium content available at a price that undercuts rivals like the redesigned Ford Explorer. Logically, it follows that the Hyundai Palisade would pursue a similar path, since it and the Telluride are strongly related.
I’ve owned this pair of New Balance running shoes for at least 10 years. I don’t know why I call them running shoes – I’m a fat, middle-aged guy who doesn’t run unless being chased by a predator. Anyhow, they are old, worn, with dark stains from 10w-30 and greenish stains from mowing the lawn. These are not casual shoes to wear out on the town – unless your idea of date night is a run to Home Depot. They aren’t fancy, but they are always comfortable and will seemingly never wear out.
This 2019 Hyundai Tucson is the automotive equivalent of those shoes. I’m not saying it’s covered in grass stains or is otherwise ugly – but neither is it a flashy special collectors-edition limited colorway pair of hypebeast sneakers. It’s simply a solid, comfortable car that is incredibly easy to live with. I put a ton of miles on the Tucson in my week with it, and it felt like home. Like those old suburban dad shoes.
It seemed like it’s been ages since Hyundai showed off the Santa Cruz concept at the 2015 North American International Auto Show. Since then, people have been begging for the company to build it. While firm details of when it’ll go into production aren’t available, the company has been vocal about wanting to build it and the challenges that it would face.
Allow me to take you on a trip in the Wayback Machine for a moment. The year was 2001, and a 23-year-old Bark (that’s me) had just gotten a job as a Kiosk Sales Representative for Verizon Wireless. My first month, my sales quota was 55 new phone activations — I ended up selling over 120. If you doubled your quota, you qualified for a 300 percent payout. The regular commission was $27 an activation, which meant that I earned $81 per activation on 120 or so sales. I literally didn’t know what to do with all of the money — my dad was still paying my rent, and I didn’t have a dime of debt. A lot of it ended up going to a lovely young professional dancer named “Skyy,” if I remember correctly.
The rest of it, I took to Hatfield Hyundai for a down payment on a 2001 Hyundai Santa Fe GLX. Hyundai Finance was kind to young buyers back then, and they allowed me to pay something like 5 percent APR over 60 months for the new-for-2001 SUV. My black and gray version had every box checked — leather, V6, and all-wheel-drive. My Santa Fe was the only one I had ever seen with chrome door handles, and I door-handle checked every other model I saw on the road just to confirm. I think the princely sum I paid was somewhere around $23k.
Yes, it’s true that Hyundai overstated the horsepower numbers, and the car had some minor issues along the way, but when I traded it in on my RX-8 in 2005, I had gotten about 100,000 worry free miles from Hyundai’s first SUV effort. Overall, I was incredibly pleased with the ownership experience — bland, perhaps, but reliable and competent.
Well, fast forward about eighteen years or so, and Hyundai has another small SUV on the market, and it’s roughly the same price that my Santa Fe was in 2001 (yes, I’m aware of inflation). But unlike that Santa Fe, this one is awful. It’s called the Kona, and what I’m about to tell you about it flies directly in the face of every other review you’ve read. Why? Read on.
As much as I’d like to write every review the instant a loaner car leaves my site, sometimes travel or other duties take precedent and the review gets back-burnered for a while. Sometimes, a long while.
That’s usually okay – I take notes and have a pretty good memory for each vehicle. But on rare occasions, a car starts to fade from memory before the taillights even disappear from sight.
That’s usually a bad thing. Usually. But I get the sense that sometimes a certain car is engineered to be unmemorable.
Hyundai turned itself into a successful brand by building sensible, reliable cars and crossovers that match up nicely with the competition. Where rival carmakers have a product, Hyundai has a very similar alternative. Making a sale by imitating the class leaders is generally a winning strategy.
And then you have the 2019 Hyundai Veloster Turbo – a car that really has no similar rival. No other automaker offers an asymmetrical three-door, sloped-rear-light hatchback. No matter how functional it is or how well it drives, all conversations about the Veloster start with its funky layout.
One of my personal auto reviewer “rules” is that I try to test any vehicle I drove on a press junket later, at home, even if it’s months later (and even if it’s many months before I get around to writing about it). I do this because the potholed roads and unpredictable weather of the city I call home stand in stark contrast to the pleasant places where automakers hold their splashy first drive events.
I also do this because driving a car in normal grocery-getting duty is different than driving it hard on a twisty road, because I don’t always get to drive on the freeway on a junket, and because a car reveals things about itself over the course of several days or a week that it wouldn’t in just a few hours.
Enter the 2018 Hyundai Kona. Several months after driving it on the Big Island of Hawaii (not long before that volcano erupted — the same one I toured while there. Did I piss off the volcano gods somehow?), I took possession of one here in Chicago. Would I think differently about the Kona, in one way or another, after a week behind the wheel? Or would I just end up confirming my first-drive review?
Spoiler: It’s more the latter than the former.
Ah, the mainstream compact crossover. Quickly overtaking the traditional midsize sedan as the new family vehicle of choice, every manufacturer has to have one or more with which to fill the lot. The formula is simple — usually two rows with five seats, a reasonably powerful four-cylinder, benign handling, and striking-but-instantly-forgettable styling. No need to trawl manufacturer websites or dealer lots, either. Five minutes of searching for an open space at the grocery on a busy Saturday will allow you to closely inspect every possible contender in this hot class.
Hyundai’s been playing in this market with a pair of similar models for a few years — the Santa Fe with three rows, and the shorter Santa Fe Sport, with two rows. No longer (or shorter). The old embiggened three-row soldiers on as the Santa Fe XL, while the two-row model is now simply this 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe. Now that we’ve sorted the names, does this Santa Fe satisfy?
That asterisk exists in the headline because the Smart EQ Fortwo is not a vehicle many families would consider useful as a lone driveway denizen. With two seats and a range of — wait for it — 58 miles, the Smart brand’s city runabout manages to be more impractical that the late, unloved Mitsubishi i-MiEV. A difficult feat!
Moving up the practicality ladder, EV buyers looking for better range and a backseat now have a new option for low-priced motoring. Assuming, that is, that they live in one of the 13 states that signed on to California’s emissions laws.
Ignore that slight dip in U.S. sales volume last year, Hyundai Motor America’s chief operating officer, Brian Smith, says. It’s just because the automaker stopped flinging so many cars at rental agencies.
Barring some unexpected disaster, 2019 should see the brand’s sales climb in the U.S., Smith said, adding that Hyundai’s not planning on pulling a Ford or GM anytime soon. Honest-to-God cars will live on in Hyundai’s lineup, but utility vehicles will continue earning an ever greater share of its total volume. No surprise, what with a big ‘ute on the way.
While the new Kona and upcoming Palisade will no doubt swell the ranks of Hyundai light truck buyers, Smith feels fans of the company’s Santa Cruz pickup concept will be pleasantly surprised by what the brand has in store for them.
What new products will Albert Biermann spearhead? That’s what Hyundai watchers wonder as they read that the former BMW M performance head — and later boss of Hyundai’s fledgling N division — has in store for the Korean automaker.
Late last week, Hyundai announced that Biermann would become the first foreign-born executive in charge of the automaker’s R&D. He does so after getting the Kia Stinger and Hyundai N line off the ground; clearly, those at the top approve of his vision. With this latest appointment, Hyundai Motor Group now finds itself with a former Bimmer performance chief and a design head from Bentley. Not a bad place to be.
If you’re enamored by the thought of a high-torque, compression ignition Hyundai crossover, dream on. After promising a diesel version of its new-for-2019 Santa Fe, which began arriving at dealers this past summer, Hyundai has announced a diesel is off the table.
The automaker admitted as much to Green Car Reports following a plant tour in Seoul. Apparently, Hyundai feels Americans just aren’t interested. With the diesel’s stillbirth comes another change for the revamped crossover: the removal of its third-row option.
Hyundai’s hottest hatch isn’t breeding any smoking lease deals. The pinnacle of the revamped, second-generation Veloster three(?)-door definitely puts the power down, providing a Korean entry in a class dominated by Germany, Japan, and, until recently, America (via Germany), but the first lease seen for the Veloster N might leave potential owners shopping elsewhere.
There’s cheaper alternatives for those wanting 250-plus horsepower in a small package.
Over the years, the Hyundai Sonata has gone through more changes than the White House duty roster. Technically, there have been seven generations of the sedan, six of which have been sold on our shores. Even during those generations, frequent and extensive styling tweaks have been the norm. Hyundai takes the mid-cycle refresh very seriously. Click through to see what I mean.
For 2019, a year in which most shoppers rush past sedans to look at tall crossovers, the Sonata remains on the High Value list. They’re probably getting ready to introduce fresh styling as we speak.
Hyundai’s hydrogen-powered Nexo is so ludicrously specialized that it’s utterly impossible to make a case for it outside of California. In fact, even that might be overstating its usefulness — allow me to try again. The Nexo Fuel Cell works near Los Angeles or San Francisco and absolutely nowhere else in North America. And, while that’s primarily due to its dependency on hydrogen fueling stations, which exist almost exclusively in two relatively small corners of the Golden State, it’s not the only reason.
You need to be a certain type of person to want to drive the Nexo. Someone who likes making a statement, is interested in green tech, and possesses absolutely zero interest in spirited bouts of driving. It’s slow, appliance-like, and offers nothing to the typical enthusiast crowd, save for some interesting styling. However, if you want something eye-catching that runs on alternative energy and routinely spend a large portion of your day in horrible LA traffic, it could be the right tool for the job.
Hyundai’s front-drive Kona Electric began appearing on Norwegian streets back in August, slowly proliferating to other European countries ever since. Backing up the model was its enviable status as the longest-range EV on the market.
Using the new Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP), testers rated the Kona EV’s range at 292 miles, more than enough to travel between tightly spaced European cities. Now, the vehicle faces a double blow of bad news. First, the testers got the test wrong, and second, a new Tesla his poised to arrive on the east side of the Atlantic.
Reservation holders of a base-model Tesla Model 3 aren’t the only consumers who’ve grown tired of waiting. Aficionados of the Hyundai brand have been champing at the bit for a Korean pickup ever since the delightful Santa Cruz concept debuted at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show, only to see their dreams of ownership placed in a hazy limbo.
In October, Hyundai Motor Company CEO Wonhee Lee suggested the model still isn’t greenlit, despite earlier assertions to the contrary, with R&D still in the initial phases. With the brand’s U.S. comeback still an uncertain thing, top brass were on the fence about the model’s ability to carve out its own compact niche in the burgeoning downsized truck market. Now, we hear it’s totally a sure thing.
Oh, and there could be a Kia pickup, too.
Outside of a Nissan-hosted panel preceding the first media day, the typically mobility discussion was muted at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show (and even that panel wasn’t nearly as eye-roll inducing as the usual Ford pronouncements — at least this panel included actual experts making reasonable points, even if I disagree with some of them.)
L.A. was all about the cars – cars you’ll soon be able to buy, should you have the means.
It’s been a rough couple of years for Hyundai of America, but the automaker’s crossover-stacked product strategy is now bearing fruit. It’s not alone in this. The addition of new utility models like the subcompact Kona helped the brand shrug off slagging car sales, posting crucial monthly sales gains in 2018, just as the large Ascent crossover helped keep rival Subaru on a good sales footing.
While there’s change afoot among Hyundai’s car offerings, it’s big vehicles that fill both coffers and imaginations, and the Korean brand needs a large (but not too large) three-row utility to stimulate sales and profit in the North American region. Hyundai feels the Palisade is just the ticket. In fact, you’re already forgetting the Santa Fe XL nameplate as you read this.
Prosecutors may be looking into a vehicle recall affecting certain Hyundai and Kia vehicles equipped with the company’s turbocharged 2.0-liter and naturally-aspirated 2.4 liter engines. It’s not an investigation to determine if a recall is needed; rather, it’s a look-see to find out if existing recalls were conducted correctly.
It remains to be seen in these early stages if any charges will be filed. If action is taken, however, the fines levied would likely cut deeply into the company’s balance sheet.
By all accounts, the Hyundai Kona Electric is a zippy little crossover endowed with surprising range and the same basic utility as its gas-powered sibling, minus the whole all-wheel drive thing. However, a battery shortage afflicting the Korean automaker has added uncertainty to a model arriving on American shores this year.
Will it actually show up when a customer wants one?
Don’t worry about that, Hyundai’s telling dealers. There’s a plan to get Kona Electrics to America.
A couple of weeks out from the LA Auto Show at which it is scheduled to debut, a Russian car enthusiast site has published a picture of what certainly appears to be the 2020 Hyundai Palisade.
Cribbing a few styling cues from other recent Hyundai crossovers, including a grille vaguely shaped like a pointy mushroom bookended by low-slung headlight peepers, the ride shown here looks all set to appear in a school drop-off queue near you.
It was generally believed that Hyundai didn’t just wake up one morning and run off to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to secure rights to the Palisade model name for no good reason. The trademark filing came up last April, leading observers to rightfully believe that this large, imposing moniker was set aside for use on a large, imposing vehicle — such as the replacement for the current Santa Fe XL, which Hyundai assured us would appear with a standalone name. No more of this “Santa Fe/Santa Fe Sport” crap.
Sure enough, Palisade it is, but the Korean automaker, long known for value-packed automobiles, didn’t throw a dart at a map of the continental U.S. and land on a small town in Colorado. No, no — Hyundai’s all about the coastal life now. Gwyneth Paltrow and Elon Musk are coming over for tennis.
A hearing that was expected to bring together representatives of Hyundai and Kia and the Senate Commerce Committee, scheduled for November 14th, has been called off.
The committee hoped to gleam information and answers on reports of engine fires in certain Hyundai/Kia products — a long-burning issue, pardon the pun, that’s increasing ever greater attention, especially from public safety groups. Recent media reports made it look like representatives didn’t plan to attend.
Hyundai is bestowing upon the Elantra Sport the same visual refresh that will modernize its less-aggressive twin. Like the standard Elantra sedan, the Sport will receive a new hood, triangular headlamps, fascias, and updated taillights for 2019.
In fact, the only apparent visual difference between the two is that the Sport has unique exhaust tips and a honeycomb mesh grille while the plain-jane sedan uses chromed slats. That could change, however, as what we’re actually seeing is the Korean equivalent of the car — the Avante. But there’s little reason for Hyundai to make any major alterations for the U.S. market; the Elantra Sport might even keep that bedazzled bar running between the headlights and will assuredly have a set of unique wheels to further differentiate itself.
The hot hatch segment is about to lose two stalwarts in the Ford Focus ST and Fiesta ST. Who, oh who, now will compete with the class-leading Volkswagen Golf GTI and Honda Civic Type-R?
Will it be Subaru, bringing back a hatch version of the WRX? Chevy with an actual hopped-up Cruze hatchback? Perhaps Toyota with a performance version of the new Corolla hatch?
No. As you no doubt know by now, the newest player in the hot-hatch game is Hyundai, with the N version of its Veloster three-door entering the fray. Positioned above the sport-trimmed R-Spec Veloster and the top-trim Veloster Turbo (which blends luxury with sport), the N is meant to be an affordable track-ready toy that’s ready to go from the moment it leaves the showroom while still being usable a daily driver.
A peach in the streets and a freak off the streets, as it were.
Imagine a parked vehicle that slowly sucks dino juice from vast, underground deposits through its tires. That’s essentially what Hyundai Motor Group wants to do with its vehicles, the only difference being the energy source and the direction it’s coming from.
Despite being talked about for years, solar roofs on automobiles haven’t seen widespread adoption. Cost, practicality, and rollover safety concerns mean the largest user of the technology is the Japanese and European-market Toyota Prius Prime. Now, Hyundai wants to go solar in a big way, starting next year.
The automaker wants buyers to know that solar roofs aren’t useless for regular, gas-swilling vehicles, either.
Happen across a Hyundai Ioniq in your daily travels, and it’ll almost inevitably be a hybrid or plug-in hybrid model, not the fully electric variant. That’s because, unless you live in California, the Ioniq Electric is off limits. For now.
With a range that might have once impressed and an entry price starting below $30,000 before government incentives, the Ioniq Electric is an affordable five-door for those who aren’t concerned about brand snobbery or lengthy road trips. Still, Hyundai knows that models that don’t compete, don’t sell. That’s why the little hatch will soon be able to go further on a tank of charged particles.
The timeline of Hyundai’s long-anticipated pickup calls to mind Lt. Frank Drebin’s description of lovemaking: “It’s a painstaking and arduous task that seems to go on and on forever, and just when you think things are going your way, nothing happens.”
While a production version of Hyundai’s 2015 Santa Cruz concept once seemed like a sure thing, the would-be model still doesn’t have the backing of Hyundai brass, meaning it won’t trundle down an assembly line for at least two years. If it does receive the green light, however, Hyundai’s sticking with its plan to create its own niche in an increasingly crowded small pickup market.
After barely a year in the biggest office at Hyundai Motor America, CEO Kyung Soo Lee has returned to South Korea, leaving the automaker’s American arm looking for a new boss. Lee served as an interim leader after Hyundai sacked former CEO Dave Zuchowski in December 2016, taking on the top spot last September.
The CEO search comes as Hyundai attempts to reverse falling sales in the United States with a product offensive. There’s also a engine fire problem the feds want Hyundai to answer to.
Until recently, anyone wanting a purely electric vehicle capable of driving beyond the confines of a daily commute was stuck shelling out the big bucks. Then Chevrolet introduced the Bolt in 2016, proving that 200+ miles of range wasn’t out of the question. With most EV competitors achieving just over half that, it seemed like it might be awhile before we saw another mainstream nameplate surpass that achievement.
Keen to one-up the Americans (even though the Bolt was technically developed by GM Korea), Hyundai has come forward with the 2019 Kona Electric. This subcompact crossover replaces its standard four-cylinder and fuel tank for an electric motor and 64-kWh battery pack. The end result is a familiar platform with an unfamiliar powertrain that’s capable of 258 all-electric miles, according to the manufacturer. It also happens to be quite enjoyable to drive. The Kona even hums like an an angel at low speeds, something I found wildly entertaining as I wheeled it around Los Angeles.
If I had to be run over by a car, I would love for that noise to be the last thing I heard before the world went dark.
Someone once uttered several unkind words about the name “Veloster,” claiming it to be one of the most convoluted and forced names to grace a car since the Mitsubishi Mini Active Urban Sandal.
I’m not sure I agree. After all, at least it is an actual name and not something plucked from an upset bowl of Alphagetti. The 2nd-generation Veloster bowed for the 2019 model year and, given Hyundai’s M.O. of high content and low price, we figured it’d be wise to inspect one for this week’s Ace of Base trial.
For some, dirt cheap wheels are all that’s required. Nothin’ fancy; nothin’ extra. Four tires and a steering wheel are the main requirements of these shoppers. Oh, and a warranty for worry-free driving. Anything further is just gravy. This outlook accurately describes about half of the Quebec market, by the way. Especially the gravy. Poutine is delicious.
Enter the Hyundai Accent. This entry-level Korean sedan has been finding its way into the hands of new drivers and frugal shoppers for 25 years now. As it turns out, even the base model of one of the cheapest new cars in America is laden with standard equipment.
“Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”
Former British PM Winston Churchill used this somewhat confusing quote to describe the status of the war following the defeat of Axis forces in North Africa, and it popped into my head while scanning Hyundai’s U.S. sales data for the month of August.
The sales slump experienced by a once-skyrocketing Hyundai is well covered. Last year was a grim one for the brand, as a combination of falling passenger car sales and not enough crossovers saw the automaker’s U.S. fortunes tumble. Since then, Hyundai’s been on a new or refreshed model tear, and it’s not over yet. Has the automaker’s recovery seen the end of the beginning?
Hyundai’s Elantra GT is an oft-overlooked compact hatch, muscled aside by Honda’s compact king Civic, the handling (and snob) appeal of Volkswagen’s Golf and GTI, and further threatened by the impending release of a Toyota Corolla hatch that doesn’t suck.
Still, it remains a compelling vehicle with a pleasing design and an available Sport variant. All well and good, but the shrinking compact car segment means competition grows fiercer by the year. Having just refreshed Elantra sedan for 2019, Hyundai wants more eyes on the Elantra GT. It has a plan.
Calling something “unremarkable” is usually a bad thing. No one likes being called unmemorable or bland. But when it comes to crossovers, which are primarily meant to haul lots of people and stuff, it’s a term that can easily be used in a complimentary manner. After all, few people are looking for crossovers that drive like tall sports cars, and no one wants something so bad that it’s remarkable.
Not to mention that only a few crossover buyers want or need significant off-road capability – and only a few crossovers really offer that, anyway (which hasn’t stopped brands, including Hyundai, from touting their crossovers’ “off road” ability. More on that later).
If you’re selling a crossover in 2018, all you really need to do is come up with something comfortable that isn’t terribly boring to drive. Something that has all the right safety and convenient features, has a price in line with the competition, and won’t require a stop at every gas pump.
Hyundai has most of that covered here.
Currently the seventh best-selling sedan in the United States, the Hyundai Elantra is an fairly important model for the Korean brand. Sound engineering and some inoffensive bodywork has also made it a serious contender in a rather vicious little segment. Still in its sixth generation, the Elantra has undergone a mid-cycle update to maintain its edge within the group.
We’d like to give Hyundai credit for having the balls required to conduct a meaningful refresh. The 2019 Elantra almost looks like an entirely new model, rather than something slapped together to entice shoppers. Serious thought was put into this and, while we’re not ready to commit to it hosting superior styling to the comparably reserved 2018 model year, it’s definitely an acute car.
Hyundai has spend the majority of its life as a value company. While there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s not a role that comes with a lot of prestige or upmarket appeal. It’s ready to grow up. However, for an automaker, part of growing up includes a performance line. Because you can’t be a serious carmaker if you don’t have an iconic brooch for specially designed vehicles — and the emblem that sporting Hyundais will wear is the mighty N.
Last year, Hyundai revealed the i30 N for the European market. This caused an uproar in North America because it appeared as if the company was producing something created for the sole purpose of besting the industry standard for hot hatchbacks — Volkswagen’s GTI. Fortunately, the South Korean brand decided to throw us a juicy bone by unveiling the Veloster N a short time later.
The model takes the i30 N’s 271-horsepower 2.0-liter engine and places it inside of a slightly different (more aggressive) body. Hyundai is confident it will be a success and, based on how things are playing out in Europe, it has every right to feel that way.
In 2011, Hyundai was flying high. No longer the butt of reliability jokes, and buoyed by the ten-year 100k mile warranty, Hyundais no longer needed to be sold as the “value” choice. Thus, the stunning 2011 Sonata, which flaunted eye-catching styling to generate plenty of showroom traffic.
Fast-forward seven years, and every midsize sedan has bold styling features. Big grilles and swoopy C-pillars are the name of the game as automakers try and eke out bigger slices of the ever-shrinking midsize sedan pie. Hyundai has, surprisingly, been conservative when restyling their entry. The 2018 Hyundai Sonata SEL may not be a big hit like its predecessor, but it’s no mere B-side.