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Review: 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT

Friday October 25th, 2013 at 8:1010 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

Hypes: Loaded With Freebies, Clean Lines, Sport Sedan Handling
Gripes: Unpredictable Clutch Engagement, Lethargic Motor

The 5-door GT replaces the departed Touring version of the compact Elantra for 2013. The hatchback was originally intended to sell in Europe, where 5-doors remain popular. But Hyundai decided to import it to North America, where its utility will also be welcome. This Hyundai plays in a tough league dominated by the Honda Civic and newly revamped Toyota Corolla. To be successful against these all stars, the Elantra needs to look good, perform well and save you money on purchase price and fuel expenditure. In terms of appearance and economy, the new GT succeeds. In the performance department, however, this Hyundai needs horsepower help.

For a car with a base price of just $18,395, the GT looks much more expensive than it is. Hyundai stylists have chiseled a shape that looks good from any angle. Even at standstill, the GT’s aerodynamic fluting looks fast. The exterior’s performance orientation carries into the cockpit, which is neatly tailored, businesslike, and efficiently laid out. The 160mph speedometer contains a separate 240kph gauge in its center. Hyundai provides a standard trip computer with notations visible in a boxed screen located between the 6,700rpm redline tachometer and the speedometer. The base model GT also includes such niceties as heated seats, 16 inch diameter alloy wheels, front fog lights, steering wheel mounted cruise control, tilt and telescoping steering wheel, and Bluetooth hands-free phone system. In other words, this diminutive sedan is fully equipped without forcing you to upgrade it with expensive option packages.

Which is not to say, however, that Hyundai refrained from doing just that on our $24,360 test car. The sports-tuned suspension and 17 inch alloy wheel upgrade that made our GT such a fine handling sedan are both included in the $2,750 “Style Package.” These beguiling double 5-spoke chrome and matte wheels mount Hankook Optimo 215/45R17 tires that grip the road tenaciously. You also enjoy perforated leather seating surfaces, nifty aluminum ribbed pedals (including dead pedal), and a generously dimensioned “Panorama” opening roof. Adding another $2,350 to the bottom line is the “Tech Package” which positions a strikingly bright 8 inch Navigation screen on the face of the dashboard. The Tech Package also gives you keyless entry, start and stop functions via a dash-mounted button, and separate temperature controls for left and right side occupants. With all these ancillary upgrades, the GT’s plush cocoon covers any comfort or travel need you might ever need.

The GT’s great suspension, precise steering and flat cornering stance deserve a more powerful engine, however. The 148hp inline four makes just 131lb.-ft. of torque. Although the GT is very quick if you wring its noisy motor by the neck and keep revving it over 5,000rpm, you’ll have to work the 6-speed manual gearbox hard to muster such speed. And working that gearbox can be a chore because the clutch engagement is dodgy, sometimes catching near the floor, other times catching at the top of the pedal stroke. But if you are persistent enough about keeping the engine in its limited sweet spot, the GT is a blast to drive. Just don’t forget that under 4,000rpm, the little four banger is in permanent Sleep Mode.

This is a lot of car for the money, even with $5,000 worth of extras appended to the bottom line. The list of standard features is stunning, a real embarrassment to companies like Audi, BMW and Porsche who charge extra for every single nicety. When you factor in the GT’s exceptional 30 MPG overall fuel economy, Roadside Assistance coverage for 5 years (unlimited miles), plus a 5 year/60,000 mile New Vehicle Warranty, it’s hard not to give this stylish travel module a real close look.

2013 Hyundai Elantra GT

  • Engine: 1.8 liter DOHC Inline 4
  • Horsepower: 148hp
  • Torque: 131lb.-ft.
  • Fuel Consumption: 26 MPG City/37 MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $24,365
  • Star Rating: 8 out of 10 Stars

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Review: 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport AWD 2.0T

Wednesday October 2nd, 2013 at 8:1010 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

Hypes: Spacious Cabin, Great Motor, Real Geared Transmission
Gripes: No Roof Rack With Panorama Sunroof

2013 marks the birth of the third generation Santa Fe. Hyundai has divided the model line into 2 versions, Santa Fe Sport and Santa Fe. The Sport seats 5, while the larger Santa Fe seats 7. Although the Sport may be smaller, it manages to cram a stunning assortment of delicious ingredients into its 106 inch wheelbase while keeping costs affordable. The base model all-wheel-drive (AWD) Sport retails for just $26,200 but still provides 190hp. from a 2.4 liter inline four borrowed from the Hyundai Sonata. Our test Sport, however, improves performance dramatically thanks to its turbocharged 2.0 liter inline four, which makes 264hp and 269 lb.-ft. of torque. This combo sells for a reasonable $29,450, and even returns 21 MPG overall. When you add ancillary packages like the Leather and Premium Equipment Package ($2,450) and the Technology Package ($2,900), as delivered price rises to $35,925. This still represents a stunning value for an SUV that competes on even terms with a BMW X3 which costs close to $50,000 when optioned like the AWD Santa Fe 2.0T.

In keeping with the patina of its namesake New Mexico town, our test Santa Fe Sport was resplendently painted “Canyon Copper,” a brilliant shade you’re not likely to forget. Stomp the accelerator, and the Sport leaps forward with a vengeance you won’t soon forget either. The turbo motor drives a 6-speed automatic gearbox with SHIFTRONIC manual override control. All-wheel-drive chimes in when needed, but can also be manually selected through a default lock. Because peak torque is available at just 1,750rpm, the Sport lunges ahead from a standstill with such vigor you hardly ever need to resort to manual shift control for thrust enhancement.

The AWD Sport tackles twisting roads with the kind of aplomb reserved for low flying sports cars. Helping in this regard are “Hyper Silver Alloy” 19 inch wheels supporting beefy 235/55R19 Continental CrossContact tires that provide excellent cornering bite. We ran this Hyundai over 38 miles of twisty California Route 128 from St Helena to Winters and were pleasantly surprised by its comfortable ride, poised handling, and passing power. An especially nice feature is “Driver Selectable Steering Modes” which allows you to choose from 3 settings via a spoke mounted button: Normal, Comfort and Sport. On Rte. 128, we settled on the Sport choice, and found just enough resistance to enhance accurate positioning of the Santa Fe. A less slippery leather grip on the steering wheel would be a welcome change, however.

The cabin of the Sport is so spacious and airy that long trips are enjoyable rather than tiring. The “Panoramic Sunroof” which is part of the Technology Package opens up the interior like the twist lid on a sardine can. Even back seat passengers get a dose of fresh air and natural light because this vast roof both slides and tilts. The back seats accommodates 3, and the outside 2 positions get heated seats, which are part of the Premium Package. The spaciousness of the Santa Fe cabin becomes abundantly clear when you drop the rear seats flat to create a vast storage area that will easily accept a mountain bike.

The only shortcoming inside the cabin is Hyundai’s use of multiple vinyl facings for dash, door and console surfaces. The various pebble grains don’t quite match, and the matte black console looks cheap. But mismatched plastic is the only clue that you’re not driving something far more expensive here. From a cost efficiency standpoint, the Santa Fe Sport is one of the best buys in the SUV market today. For $35,000, you simply cannot do better.

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport AWD 2.0T

  • Engine: 2.0 liter DOHC inline 4, turbocharged
  • Horsepower: 264hp @ 6,000rpm
  • Torque: 269 lb.-ft. @ 1,750-3,000rpm
  • Fuel Consumption: 19 MPG City/24 MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $35,925
  • Star Rating: 9 out of 10 Stars

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Review: 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo

Saturday April 27th, 2013 at 11:44 AM
Posted by: Francois

SPECIFICATIONS
2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo

Base Price $ 21,950
Price As Tested $ 25,320
Engine Type turbocharged and intercooled DOHC
16-valve inline 4-cylinder, aluminum
alloy block and head, direct fuel
injection, and continuously-variable
cam phasing
Engine Size 1.6 liters / 98 cu. in.
Horsepower 201 @ 6000 rpm
Torque (lb-ft) 195 @ 1750 rpm
Transmission 6-speed manual
Wheelbase / Length 104.3 in. / 167.3 in.
Curb Weight est 2900 lbs.
Pounds Per Horsepower 14.4
Fuel Capacity 13.2 gal.
Fuel Requirement 87 octane unleaded regular gasoline
Tires 215/40R18 85V Kumho Solus KH25 m+s
Brakes, front/rear vented disc / solid disc,
ABS, EBD, ESC, VSM, TCS standard
Suspension, front/rear independent MacPherson strut /
torsion beam axle
Drivetrain transverse front engine,
front wheel drive

PERFORMANCE
EPA Fuel Economy – miles per gallon
city / highway 24 / 35
0 to 60 mph 6.6 sec

For: Third door, Brilliant seating front and rear, Neat looks, Modern electronics and ergonomics
Against: Handling is not as refined as European counterparts

PERFORMANCE: Add 63 horsepower and 72 lb-ft of torque with the turbo and consider the regular Veloster completes the vision of this creative design. Here, a twin-scroll turbo gives most of the advantages of twin turbos on a four-cylinder engine with less weight and complexity. An intercooler keeps the intake charge denser, improving efficiency and power. A motor-driven electric waste gate allows precise boost control. Direct fuel injection allows a higher compression ratio than otherwise without ill effects — and this high specific output (125.6 bhp/liter) turbo engine makes its power on unleaded regular, not premium, gasoline. Maximum horsepower is 201, at 6000 rpm. That takes care of the top end. At the bottom, maximum torque is 195 lb-ft, at a low 1750 rpm. For best performance, though, keep revs above 3000. No lag at all then. There’s no real need to go above 6000, as there is plenty of urge in that wide sweet spot. Good shift linkage and well-chosen gear ratios add to the pleasure factor.

RIDE AND HANDLING: Perhaps surprisingly, the Turbo’s suspension is identical to that of the regular Veloster. With independent MacPherson struts in front and a torsion beam axle in the rear, it’s tuned moderately firmly, for a good real-world balance of comfort and cornering power. Response is improved by a quicker steering ratio. The ride can be a bit choppy on poor surfaces. So when pushed to the limit on twisty mountain roads, this is not quite as refined or as pleasurable as the new Mini Cooper Turbo or the Volvo C30. Turn-in is not great either as the car tends to oversteer. But it does remain flat through the corners and it can get uphill quite fast.. And when it comes time to squeeze into a tight parking space or garage, the Veloster will fit with ease.

Other than that shortfall, the Veloster is an ingenious package, with a third door on the passenger side that allows 2 adults to clamber into the surprisingly roomy rear seat. Mazda developed their RX-8 along similar lines, but unlike the RX-8’s tomb-like and airless back seat, the Veloster is designed to accommodate real people. If you intend to carry passengers in the back seat, be sure to order your Veloster with the $2,000 optional “Style Package,” which includes a “Panoramic Sunroof” that extends from the windshield header all the way back to the rear seats. This giant greenhouse really opens up what would otherwise be a claustrophobic interior. In addition, back seaters get to enjoy lounge slouch seating, and an extended upper rear window that sheds even more light on their seating position.

In addition to the extended sunroof, the Style Package also includes 18 alloy wheels shod with surprisingly sticky Kumho Solus KH25 mud and snow rated tires measuring 215/40R18 front and rear. These Kumhos enhance the agile Veloster’s nimble handling. If you want to dress up the exterior appearance of the alloy wheels, you can spend another $2,000 to purchase the “Tech Package” upgrade, which adds startling body color inserts to the 5 spokes of each alloy wheel. The Tech package also includes backup warning sensors, a 7 inch Navigation screen complete with rearview camera, and keyless entry and starting. Even with all the bells and whistles the Veloster, base priced at $17,300, carried a bottom line of just $21,300.

Up front, the sports seats are superb. They fit your body’s contours so closely that you’d swear they were molded individually to your form. The door panels feature oversize grab handles that make closure a pleasure rather than a chore. The entire dash is laid out with the same kind of felicitous practicality, from the thickened grab surfaces at 10 and 2 o’clock on the steering wheel, to the large central HVAC knob that takes care of everything you need for climate control.

The Veloster represents a delightful departure from the norm in terms of appearance, design and usefulness. From the outside, its stunningly different architecture makes heads swivel, especially if you fit those alloys with body color spokes. From the inside, the sensible approach to passenger and space packaging makes you wonder why no one’s done this third door trick as successfully as Hyundai has here. If the lethargic performance of the present drivetrain is a stumbling block to purchase, be advised that a turbo motor is on the way, but still a year off. But if looking fast is more important to you than actually going fast, beat it down to your Hyundai dealer right now, because there’s already a lot to like here.

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2013 Hyundai Elantra Coupe SE Review

Saturday January 12th, 2013 at 8:11 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

Hypes: Good Looks Flatter You
Gripes: Good Looks Flatter to Deceive

Easy on the eye, easy on the wallet, the coupe version of the Elantra dishes out a pretty good trip down easy street. Hyundai hasn’t done an Elantra coupe before, so if you wanted a personalized two-door from this Korean maker, their Genesis coupe was the only model available. But opting for a Genesis meant spending more ($24,250 – $34,250), fueling more (21 MPG City/30 MPG Highway), and giving up front-wheel-drive traction for rear wheel-drive fun. The new Elantra two-door checks in at a base price of $20,745 ($23,965 loaded with $2,350 woth of Navigation), posts significantly better mileage figures than the Genesis (27 MPG City/37 MPG Highway), and powers the front wheels rather than the rears. And despite the fact that it offers only 2 doors, they open wide enough to make access to the back seat easy. Since that back seat folds flat, this diminutive, 2,661 lb. coupe totes baggage as well as 4 passengers.

The SE shares many of the same facial features as the redesigned Genesis coupe. The smile of the grill, the sparkle of the headlight jewelry, the rising character line from front to rear are Hyundai-specific styling cues that distinguish the brand. The Elantra is handsome in a fresh-faced, breezy Abercrombie sort of way. It will appeal to style-conscious first time buyers who want to look sporty without paying a price in ride discomfort or lack of practicality. Given the coupe’s modest power output of 148hp, however, you’ll soon discover that the SE looks a lot more sporty than it behaves.

Our test car’s standard 6-speed automatic SHIFTRONIC gearbox offers fully automated shifting, plus manual gear selection through the console-mounted stick. Hyundai does not provide steering wheel paddles for this chore. The manual shift provision is useful only to a point: no matter what gear you’ve selected, the SHIFTRONIC will automatically upshift to the next higher gear at 5,500rpm. It does so despite the fact that engine redline begins at 6,700rpm. Even so, you’ll want to avail yourself of manual gearbox operation to extract maximum oomph from the 1.8 liter inline 4. The premium suspension and tire fitment beg for more engine vitality. Hyundai has selected sporting spring and swaybar dimensions for the coupe, and fitted 215/45R17 Hankook Optimo tires on striking split spoke alloy wheels. But you’ll rarely put this vibrant combination to the test due to power limitations under the hood.

Inside the roomy cabin, the coupe looks more expensive than competitors’ products like the Honda Civic and Nissan Sentra. The perforated seating surfaces are made from leather and standard fitment. The front passenger seat is ingeniously designed to slide and tilt forward when a latch on its back is released. This enhances back seat entry/exit. A B-pillar mounted front seatbelt retainer folds out of the way as well. Hyundai engineers have clearly devoted themselves to the human dynamics of loading and unloading this coupe’s back seat. The low roofline, however, limits rear occupants to 5’8” in height.

You would expect to find a few rough edges in a car of this price class, and the SE doesn’t disappoint in this regard. The multi-function steering wheel includes spoke-mounted buttons to control voice activation of the standard 360 watt Infotainment system plus cruise control. The inner edges of these buttons are so sharp they will snag your hand when touched. Likewise, the tail lamps on the rear fascia harbor knifelike edges when the trunk is open. An examination under the trunk mat reveals an aerosol flat fix bottle but no spare tire.

Despite these minor sins of omission and quality, the Elantra coupe is a solid bargain in this price range, and would make an excellent first car for a anyone leery of spending much time at a gas station.

2013 Hyundai Elantra Coupe SE

  • Engine: 1.8 liter DOHC, 16 valve inline 4
  • Horsepower: 148hp
  • Torque: 130 lb.-ft.
  • Fuel Consumption: 27 MPG City/37 MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $23,965
  • Star Rating: 7.5 out of 10 Stars

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Video: 2012 Hyundai Veloster Review

Monday September 26th, 2011 at 2:99 PM
Posted by: Derek

We’ve have been eagerly anticipating the arrival of the Hyundai Veloster since it was announced at the NAIAS in Detroit earlier this year. Our friends at Driving Sports TV were invited to the launch event and posted a video review of the 2012 Veloster which features a 1.6-liter, GDI 4-cylinder, 138-horsepower engine and a 6-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The interior design, inspired by sport bikes, adds to the Veloster’s unique flair. Additionally, the Veloster’s sleek and lightweight design, and direct-injected engine give it an extremely efficient estimated highway 40-mpg.

YouTube Preview Image

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2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Review – Who said hybrids have to look ugly?

Tuesday July 5th, 2011 at 8:77 AM
Posted by: AKramer

2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
By Alex Kramer

Pros:

  • Seamless gas-electric hybrid system
  • Smooth shifting 6 speed automatic transmission
  • Eye-catching exterior design
  • Spacious interior with lots of features

Cons:

  • Less than sporty handling
  • Automatic transmission robs a few MPGs
  • Drab interior gray color

It seems like almost every major car company has at least one hybrid model on the road these days, and why not, with gas prices still clinging to almost $4 a gallon. Although a bit late to the party, Hyundai finally has its own hybrid sedan with the new Sonata Hybrid.

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Posted in Expert Reviews, Feature Articles, hybrid, Hyundai |Tags:, , , || 1 Comment »


2012 Hyundai Veloster

Thursday May 12th, 2011 at 5:55 PM
Posted by: aquadog

2012 Hyundai Veloster

The brand new 2012 Hyundai Veloster features a 1.6-liter, GDI 4-cylinder, 138-horsepower engine and a 6-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The Veloster’s sleek and lightweight design, and direct-injected engine give it an extremely efficient estimated highway 40-mpg.

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2012 Hyundai Accent

Thursday May 12th, 2011 at 4:55 PM
Posted by: aquadog

2012 Hyundai Accent

The 2012 Hyundai Accent features a 1.6-liter, I4, 138-horsepower engine and a 6-speed manual transmission. The all-new Accent has a bold front fascia and rear bumper giving it an eye-catching, fluid and modern design.The Hyundai Accent GLS achieves 40-mpg on the highway and 30-mpg in the city and includes distinctive 16″, 8-spoke alloy wheels with low rolling resistance silica tires for maximum fuel economy. Active Eco System modifies engine and transmission control for improved fuel economy and the Accent’s aerodynamic body, kick-up design on the trunk edge, shielded tire and optimized engine undercover help minimize resistance.

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2011 Hyundai Elantra

Thursday May 12th, 2011 at 3:55 PM
Posted by: aquadog

2011 Hyundai Elantra

The redesigned, fuel efficient 2011 Hyundai Elantra features a 1.8-liter, I4, 148-horsepower engine and a six-speed automatic transmission. It comes in three trims, the GLS M/T, GLS A/T, and the Limited, which all achieve 40-mpg on the highway and 29-mpg in the city. The 2011 compact Elantra has an all-new chassis with a fully independent suspension and a body that’s up to 49% stiffer.

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Posted in Hyundai, Press and News |Tags:, , , || 1 Comment »


40 MPG Cars – Affordable and Fuel Efficient

Tuesday March 29th, 2011 at 12:33 PM
Posted by: aquadog

2011 Chevy CruzeWith fuel prices continually rising, 40+ mpg cars are looking like a great option for consumers who can’t afford or don’t want hybrid technology. Without breaking the bank, these affordable fuel efficient cars range from $15,000 to about $20,000 and all provide 40 mpg or more highway mpg driving. Companies that have joined the 40-mpg club are Ford, Honda, Kia, Mazda, Hyundai, Chevrolet, and Smart.

Automakers are achieving the 40 mpg mark by using lighter-weight materials, modern gasoline powered engines with direct injection and six-speed automatic transmissions along with additional fuel-saving technologies such as low-rolling-resistance tires.

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Posted in Audi, Chevrolet, Feature Articles, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mazda, Press and News, Volkswagen |Tags:, , , , , , , , , , , , || 4 Comments »


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