By on October 20, 2020

Genesis has been planning a mid-cycle update for the G70 sedan for a while and has been obliging us with previews showing off how good its designers are at their jobs for months. But Hyundai Motor Group recently previewed the model in South Korea to prove that the improvements made went beyond mere aesthetics.

While the split headlamps and updated grille bring the model more in line with other Genesis products, sacrificing a bit of visual menace for a more upscale appearance, technological changes ensure it’s no less capable from a performance standpoint. Next year, the Genesis G70 will receive a new sports+ driving mode that tightens engine and transmission programming to squeeze out every ounce of performance available, a new dynamic AWD system featuring a built-in drift mode, and an exhaust with active valves to make the V6 sound as sweet as possible on demand.

(Read More…)

By on October 14, 2020

hyundai-sonata-eco-grille logo

It’s often difficult to keep track of who is heading which automotive conglomerate. Topps never issued a trading card line devoted to industry professionals and there’s no show we’re aware of that catalogs the corporate history of car manufacturing focused entirely on management. Whenever someone is named in a car documentary, it’s only because they were incredibly important to the program or instrumental in seeing the company through a difficult period. That, or they happened to be one of those people’s damned children.

Nepotism is a problem in most industries but the automotive sector seems to be among the worst offenders. While some amount falls within the acceptable parameters rooted in the familial ties of yesteryear, when these businesses were much smaller entities, plenty of placements seem designed to keep wealthy offspring occupied through adulthood. It’s probably a sweet gig if you can get it but the phenomenon itself makes it difficult to determine which blood-related hires are placeholder people and who’s the genuine article.

For example, Hyundai Motor Group has just appointed Eui-Sun Chung (49) as its new chairman. He will be succeeding his father, Mong-Koo Chung (81), and comes from the automaker’s founding family. But there’s plenty of evidence to suggest Chung may actually be the ideal man for the job.

(Read More…)

By on October 13, 2020

Hyundai has sent the Santa Fe in for surgery for the 2021 model year, but there was little reason for us to worry about a botched facelift. With the notable exception of the mildly polarizing Elantra refresh from 2019, the brand has been on an extended roll with its refreshes. They’ve come often, typically bringing a model into the brand’s current design language without diluting the visual characteristics underpinning its own individuality. Considering most automakers can’t help but drop a steaming dud onto the carpet at least once every couple of years, we think Hyundai should be praised just for screwing things up so infrequently.

That said, the Santa Fe update goes quite a bit further than simply not ruining anything. The family-focused crossover is getting some meaningful tech upgrades, improved interior options, a whole new platform (despite this being a “refresh”) and a selection of new powertrains. A SmartStream 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine replaces the base 2.4-liter from the outgoing model and doesn’t offer much additional performance at just 191 horsepower and 182 lb-ft of torque (estimated). But Hyundai says customers should notice a bump in fuel economy as the motor doesn’t have to work quite so hard in its daily duties. Those wanting more might enjoy the turbocharged variant  which features a new eight-speed, dual-clutch transmission and 277 horsepower/311 lb-ft of torque (estimated)  or the brand’s soon-to-follow hybrid option. (Read More…)

By on October 8, 2020

Hyundai Motor Co. plans to issue a voluntary recall on Korean-market Kona Electrics as it addresses potential manufacturing defects it’s worried might result in short-circuiting battery cells. Roughly a dozen incidents of fire have been linked to the model, including isolated events in Australia and Canada, and the automaker is particularly keen to address them. Asia has come down hard on battery fires, following a string of high profile examples where battery electric vehicles burnt themselves to the ground.

South Korea’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport has already issued a release confirming Hyundai’s plan to recall 25,564 Kona EVs manufactured between September 2017 and March 2020. Those units will be inspected for defects before being issued obligatory software updates and a battery replacement, according to the government agency.

(Read More…)

By on September 11, 2020

Image: Hyundai

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.

(Read More…)

By on September 9, 2020

Genesis has predictably brought the G70 onboard with the rest of its lineup’s familial styling. Fortunately, the look the company has gone for has successfully merged disparate concepts by being both spectacular and incredibly tasteful. While your author would have argued that prior Genesis models had aped German exteriors so effectively that they might actually be beating Deutschland at its own game, the new designs only serve extend its advantage. It seems as though everything Hyundai Motor Group touches these days can’t help but have a stunning exterior and it’s true from the sub-$25,000 Kia K5 right on up to the $72,000 Genesis G90.

Quad lamps (front and rear) are now the hallmark of Genesis Motor and have finally been affixed to the G70, giving it a more refined and luxury-focused appearance. It’s also quite unique across the industry and helps distinguish the Korean brand from other nameplates at a distance. While many (including your author) enjoyed the sporting musculature on the current model, 2022 will be a more opulent affair better suited to the frugal fanciness the Genesis has become synonymous with.

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By on June 12, 2020

Image: Hyundai

While we fully expected to issue rolling updates on factory shutdowns as industry suppliers struggled to catch up to manufacturers in the aftermath of coronavirus lockdowns, the last few have been impossible-to-predict curveballs.

Honda found itself at the mercy of digital criminals who held its network for ransom, forcing numerous factory shutdowns around the globe as it tried to make sense of the attack. Meanwhile, Hyundai has had to belay assembly in South Korea after an employee at supplier Duckyang Industry Co. fell into the machinery.

The fatal incident stopped production at the supplier, leading to parts shortages at Hyundai that required work stoppages on numerous production lines — including those responsible for the Palisade and Kona.  (Read More…)

By on May 15, 2020

While Kia has managed to add a fair number of crossovers to its lineup, successfully catching up to modern consumer tastes, it hasn’t scarified sedans to make that happen. According to the manufacturer, this is because high-riding utility vehicles fail to match the driving experience of a ground-hugging sedan — something Korean automakers have a keen interest in since Hyundai launched N-badged performance models and Kia dropped the Stinger on our heads.

Once famous for their commitment to budget-friendly models frequently mentioned in amber alerts, the duo now manufacture vehicles people actually want to buy at a price that’s frequently difficult to criticize. Following Hyundai/Kia for the last few years has been analogous to that scene in every teen drama where the awkwardly nerdy girl comes down the stairs for prom dressed to the nines and brimming with newfound confidence. Except in the Hyundai/Kia version, she winks suggestively and offers to pitch in for dinner.

Having convinced themselves that they’ve found a winning strategy, Koran automakers are doubling down on what’s worked already. That includes maintaining a clear distinction between crossovers and sedans — the latter of which Kia believes holds the secret to enjoying yourself behind the wheel.  (Read More…)

By on March 18, 2020

Hyundai has plumped up the Elantra for the 2021 model year — a task made possible by the manufacturer swapping to the new K3 platform. The architecture switcheroo means extra body but not the corresponding bulk. Despite adding roughly an inch to the model’s wheelbase and 2.2-inches to the vehicle’s entire length, Hyundai says the revamped sedan is lighter than before, with a lower center of gravity. That ought to pair well with its wider track during spirited bouts of driving.

However, let’s not pretend the Elantra is a sports sedan — not yet, anyway. As Hyundai works on the hotter N-Line variant (something the manufacturer just confirmed, with a full-blown N model rumored) most cars will be optioned closer to base. This is still a vehicle most people will buy to save money on their daily commute. Knowing this, the factory focused the brunt of its attention to enhancing passenger comfort, standard features, efficiency, and style.  (Read More…)

By on March 6, 2020

Hyundai is reportedly recalling around 207,000 Sonata models in the U.S. over a fuel hose issue that could create a fire hazard. Kia issued a recall on 142,000 Optima sedans and 51,000 Sedonas minivans for the same issue. While there doesn’t appear to be any injuries stemming from the problem, Hyundai Motor Group has notified the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that the vehicles could incur a fuel leak that runs the risk of starting fires within the engine compartment.

The source of the issue has not been discovered; the NHTSA recall report stipulates that the manufacturer “believes the material used to produce the fuel feed line might be more susceptible to heat under certain vehicle operating conditions.” Be on the lookout for a less responsive motor, engine warning lights and the faint aroma of gasoline.  (Read More…)

By on December 18, 2019

Hyundai Motor Group India hopes to grow interest in the Kona Electric by having the subcompact crossover become the first EV to drive to Mount Everest’s base camp. While demand for the model has so far been relatively low, with deliveries averaging roughly 100 units per month in the U.S., it’s performed rather well globally (for an EV). Hyundai has one of the best ratios of plug-in sales in the industry — with about 5 percent of global sales going toward something rechargeable.

The figures vary month to month, but Hyundai has been able to consistently rely on at least 4,000 EV sales per month through 2019. In October, Hyundai said it shipped over 8,000 plug-in models, with continued growth anticipated through the end of this year.

Unfortunately, Indian auto sales aren’t particularly healthy. Volume is down over 30 percent vs last year and Hyundai promised $250 million to the nation to further the sales of electric and hybrid vehicles. EV sales are particularly bad, with estimates of all-electric passenger vehicles being no higher than 10,000 units (total) over the last five years. The brand likely figured a regionally focused publicity stunt might help boost interest in Asia while giving international markets a similar bump. After all, everyone in the world has heard of Everest and the dangerous ascent to its peak.  (Read More…)

By on December 16, 2019

Kia

Kia recently revealed the best bundle of teaser images we’ve ever seen, as those pics left nothing to the imagination. And while we now know what the 2021 K5/Optima will look like, as it turns out, we don’t know what it will be called. Piqued by the brand filing patents for a new logo in Korea, everyone started digging to see what other changes Kia might be making behind the scenes… and it would appear that the Optima may adopt the Korean market’s K5 moniker for use overseas.

While that should help minimize international confusion, ditching the Optima name comes with a few risks. The sedan is among the brand’s best selling models in the United States. It also has a real name, like most Kia products, instead of an alphanumeric jumble that’s supposed to be indicative of its place in the lineup.  (Read More…)

By on December 12, 2019

While Kia and Hyundai have taken major strides in improving their product lineup, their logos aren’t the prettiest in the industry. This is an extremely shallow way to judge an automobile but, with the companies moving away from their former roles as purveyors of cheap steel, it might be time to freshen up their emblems.

Volkswagen recently did so, and it’s had one of the most consistent logo designs (minus those early swastika/ginfaxi years) you’re ever to come across.

Several trademark applications dated November 26th indicate that Kia might be following suit. The brand has a new design pending with the Korea Intellectual Property Rights Information Service (KIPRIS), and it’s a major departure from the last update.  (Read More…)

By on November 21, 2019

Kia’s Seltos was probably the worst-kept secret at the 2019 LA Auto Show. Hyundai Motor Group had already confirmed it as a global model earlier this year, teased it numerous times, and featured it on a gigantic banner outside the Los Angeles Convention Center prior to its official debut. But Kia still managed to surprise us.

Along with the U.S.-spec version of the Seltos, Kia also paraded two off-road concepts meant to preview future offerings. Positioned above the Soul, the new crossover is basically an oversized subcompact aimed at fleshing out the brand’s “SUV” lineup. While mostly conventional, it does offer some of the industry’s hottest trends (hidden pillars, contrasting roof, butch plastic cladding, etc) with enough attitude of its own to remain semi-distinctive. Most of that comes from a presumed ruggedness, enhanced by the brand’s edgy marketing.

Kia’s tagline for the vehicle is “Inspired by the Badass in You.”  (Read More…)

By on November 12, 2019

Noise-canceling technologies have become a handy little tool wedged inside the belt of many automakers. Aimed at reducing unpleasant road noise, most systems invert incoming sound waves to produce an exact negative of the ambient sound you don’t want to hear. They work best when you don’t notice them, which is pretty much always, but Hyundai Group claims there’s more work to be done before the tech is perfect.

As a result, the Korean manufacturer has developed an upgraded version of its current active noise control setup (ANC), one it calls “the world’s first Road Noise Active Noise Control.” Rather than simply piping in sounds designed to offset road noise, the new system (referred to as “RANC” by the automaker) also analyses in-cabin sound to make adjustments to help nullify unpalatable engine and road drone.  (Read More…)

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