2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 2.0T Ultimate FWD Review

Tuesday October 17th, 2017 at 9:1010 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 2.0T Ultimate FWD

Hypes: Does Everything Well
Gripes: Stickier Tires Would Improve Handling

You have to love an SUV with a list price of $35,650 that carries the notation “Included” 37 times on its window sticker. Unlike many other manufacturers, such inclusionary generosity is par for the course at Hyundai. On a cold and dreary week by the seaside in Northern California, my favorite “included” item was the heater for the front seats and steering wheel. That steering wheel warmer turns itself on each time you re-start the Santa Fe. It’s a small detail, but one that a lot of other car companies need to learn: you don’t have to reconfigure your car every time you restart it.

2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 2.0T Ultimate FWD

Hyundai has quite an assortment of Santa Fe configurations available for 2018. There are two model lines, one with 3 seating rows providing 7 seats (Santa Fe) and one with two rows providing 5 seats (Santa Fe Sport). All 7 seat Santa Fe models use a 290hp V6, while all Sport models use either a base 2.4 liter inline 4 (185hp) or a turbocharged 2.0 liter inline 4 (260hp) fitted to our test Sport. All versions of both models utilize an excellent 6 speed automatic gearbox. Our turbo Sport proved exceptionally lively, with more than enough power to break the front wheels loose under full throttle acceleration from a standing start. If you need All Wheel Drive, the Sport is available with such a system which will tame the front axle wheelspin we experienced. The transmission features a floor mounted select lever which permits individual gear ratio choice and retention. Hyundai calls this very effective control mechanism “Shiftronic” and conjoins it to a Drive Mode selector that also tailors shift points to normal or sport oriented driving styles.

2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 2.0T Ultimate FWD

At a curb weight of just 3,760 lb., the 5 seat Sport is significantly lighter than its bigger sibling, the 7 seat Santa Fe (4,210 lb.). This weight reduction contributes to the Sport’s solid handling on twisting two lane roads. 235/55R19 mud and snow rated Kumho Crugen radials, mounted on 19 inch alloy rims, with a treadwear rating of 440, yield good but not great traction while maintaining a comfortable ride. The airy cabin offers excellent sight lines to all quarters, and the standard panoramic sunroof exposes both front and rear seat occupants to plenty of sky and fresh air. Hyundai instituted several safety improvements to the Sport for 2017, which resulted in improving its IIHS small overlap crash protection rating from Marginal to Good.

2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 2.0T Ultimate FWD

Our test Sport enjoyed further safety augmentation from a $1,600 “Ultimate Tech Package” that provided Smart Cruise Control with Stop/Start, Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Warning, Electronic Parking Brake, and swiveling head lights called Dynamic Bending Lights. The Electronic Parking Brake proved easy to use because it was well positioned on the center console between the front seats. The Lane Departure Warning proved more annoying than helpful because it chirped loudly and incessantly even when we were well clear of adjacent traffic.

2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 2.0T Ultimate FWD

The rear seats split into a 40/20/40 fold pattern. You can drop them flat by lifting a large lever attached to their base, though you may have to slide the front seats forward to clear the back headrests. Doing so opens a vast amount of space for storage, with 35.5 cubic feet of cargo room available with the rear seats dropped. We managed to carry a full size bicycle back there, with plenty of room to spare for 6 bags of grocery goods at the same time. The rear hatch opens with the touch of a button on the remote fob, and shuts with the push of a button located on the edge of the rear liftgate.

2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 2.0T Ultimate FWD

The Hyundai Santa Fe Sport proved itself to be an adept and resourceful companion on a daily basis. It was plenty fast, economical enough, and ingeniously well thought out. All the cabin controls work so well you never have to give their design or placement a second thought. Clearly, the engineers at Hyundai are well versed in making the complexities of the modern SUV convenient, straight forward and intelligible. You really can’t ask for a more amenable beast of burden than the latest turbocharged version of the Santa Fe Sport.

2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 2.0T Ultimate FWD

  • Engine: 2.0 liter inline 4, turbocharged, gasoline direct injection
  • Horsepower: 240hp @6000rpm
  • Torque: 260lb.-ft. @1450-3500rpm
  • Fuel Consumption: 20 MPG City/27 MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $38,325
  • Star Rating: 9 out of 10 Stars

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2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport M/T Review

Wednesday September 6th, 2017 at 9:99 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport M/T

Hypes: Phenomenal Cornering Grip, Zinger Motor, Slick Manual Gearbox
Gripes: Flat Bottom Steering Wheel Mounted Too High

Hyundai has comprehensively redesigned the Elantra sedan for 2017. In particular, the Sport model we drove features a package of visual enhancements that distinguish it from all lesser models. Hyundai stylists have cleaned up the front end by better integrating new HID headlights into streamlined fender caps. They’ve also added a model specific Sport grill featuring a large one piece hexagonal opening. New LED driving lights meld into slits flanking the central radiator intake. The sedan’s side profile gains sleekness from a higher, more prominent character line that stretches from front to rear wheel wells. At the tail end, a lower valance diffuser enhances both the appearance and aerodynamics of the Sport model. The valence incorporates a pair of chrome tipped exhausts on the passenger side of the panel. New LED tail and stop lights complete the rear redo.

2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport M/T

But the Sport’s attributes are much more than skin deep. Stunning 20 spoke 18 inch diameter alloy wheels mount Hankook Ventus S1 Noble2 tires measuring 225/40R18.

Under the hood of the Sport lies the most important component of the entire exercise: a 1.6 liter turbocharged in-line 4 mounted sideways, with double overhead cams and direct injection. This highly sophisticated engine produces 201hp and 195lb.-ft. of torque. That’s by far the most power available in the Elantra line, which consists of three other lesser engines (128hp, 147hp and 173hp). Our test Sport fed its abundant thrust through a 6 speed manual transmission that proved delightful to operate.

2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport M/T

The Sport is exceptionally quick in a straight line, with sub-7 second runs to 60mph from a standing start easy to achieve. The engine comes alive over 3000rpm, and can be safely twisted to redline at 6800rpm. 6th gear is well chosen for freeway romps, pulling just 2500 quiet rpm at 70mph. But the strong point of this Hyundai is not its ability as a drag racer, rather its utter composure as a twisty road master. The suspension is independent front and rear, with a sophisticated multi-link design in back that keeps the Hankook tires planted all the time. There’s a slight trace of torque steer from the front wheels when you pin the throttle wide open exiting a bend. But other than that predictable feedback, the Sport remains precise and predictable no matter how hard you thrash it through bends. The Ventus S1 tires are exceptionally sticky, belying their mid-range tread wear rating of 500. Overall, this car’s performance behavior is outstanding, with the added benefit of upsized disc brake rotors to help it stop extra short.

2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport M/T

You can comfortably order a base model Sport for just $21,550. As is the custom with press evaluation vehicles, however, our test Sport included a $2,400 optional Premium Package which added an 8 inch Navigation screen and system to the base car’s standard 7 inch screen without Navigation. This option group also adds a power sunroof, blind spot detection with rear cross traffic alert, dual automatic temperature controls, and a boosted stereo system with 8 speakers and a center channel subwoofer. That’s 2 more speakers than the standard issue audio system, plus that thumping base to keep your ears vibrating.

2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport M/T

This is one sport sedan that lives up to its billing. Take the seats and steering wheel, for example. The wheel is a work of art, with its flat bottom, indented pistol grips, and red stitching. The front seats offer tremendous lateral support, and sport double red stitched bolster seams. Lately I have been driving a plethora of so-called “sport” sedans from various manufacturers that are sporty only in looks, not performance. Hyundai has taken the challenge of building a real sport sedan quite seriously here. This Elantra will run the socks off a wide variety of much more expensive Asian and European “sports” sedans.

2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport M/T

The Elantra Sport is without question the best of this pretender filled bunch when it comes to go and handling. In fact, the only real challenger for this car is the VW GTI, which is substantially more expensive and less reliable. Consumer Reports blesses the new Elantra with a “Recommended” check mark and predicts that its reliability will be “Better than Average.” So if you want to have your go-fast cake and eat it too, give this super bargain sleeper one hard long look.

2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport M/T

  • Engine: Inline DOHC 4-cylinder, turbocharged with GDI
  • Horsepower: 201hp
  • Torque: 195lb.-ft.
  • Fuel Consumption: 22 MPG City/30 MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $25,010
  • Star Rating: 10 out of 10 Stars

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2017 Hyundai Veloster Turbo Review

Wednesday July 12th, 2017 at 2:77 PM
Posted by: D.Colman

2017 Hyundai Veloster Turbo

Hypes: Double Hydraulic Hood Struts, Sweet Manual Gearbox, Sweeter Turbo Motor
Gripes: Poor 3/4 Rear Vision

Hyundai originally introduced the 3-door Veloster sports coupe with a rather anemic 132hp four cylinder engine that peaked at just 120 lb.-ft. of torque. Even with that handicap, the original version was a lot of fun to drive because of the car’s sporty design and ingenious packaging. Its pin point steering accuracy, racy seating position, and responsive manual transmission all coalesced into a spry and energetic combination that cried out for more horsepower. Unlike Toyota/Subaru – who have refused to turbocharge their sluggish 86/BRZ – Hyundai responded to the Veloster’s crying need by introducing a twin scroll Turbo version. This stunningly quick 201 hp upgrade of the base motor is also good for 195 lb.-ft. of torque. Coupled to a slick shifting 6-speed manual gearbox, the Turbo transforms the Veloster into a genuine sports car. Its excellent acceleration and handling will match cars costing twice as much.

2017 Hyundai Veloster Turbo

Hyundai’s racy intentions are evident the second you lay eyes on its curvaceous lines. At the front, company stylists have borrowed heavily from Audi design language with an elliptical six sided grill opening that makes the Veloster look predatory. Muscular bulging flares front and rear endow the lightweight (2,765 lb.) coupe with a muscular stance that will instantly attract fans of the Fast and Furious. Under those flares lie diamond faced multi spoke alloy rims that offer intriguing design complexity. Each wheel plants a mildly sticky low profile Kumho Solus radial tire (225/40R18) on the pavement. With its low slung stance, stiff springs, and excellent torque vectoring control system, the Veloster is capable of exceeding the grip of its Kumho tires, which issue audible chirps as they reach their adhesion limit.

2017 Hyundai Veloster Turbo

Inside the cockpit, you’ll think you’ve been transported to the flight deck of a fighter jet. Our Veloster sported a stunning exterior shade called Vitamin C, an opalescent orange that is carried right through to the interior. When climbing aboard, the first item you notice are oversized, door mounted grab handles, painted to match the exterior finish. But instead of using gloss paint like the exterior, these handles are done in a grippy matte paint that makes them easy to grasp. This little touch reflects Hyundai’s exacting attention to detail.

2017 Hyundai Veloster Turbo

Once seated, you appreciate that the deeply bucketed front sport seats feature side panels upholstered in Vitamin C to match the exterior. Finally, you notice the prominent “Turbo” notation embroidered in black on the driver’s outer orange seat bolster. The net effect here is entrancing, like a show car that somehow escaped its rotating display pavilion and actually ended up for sale. And how much outlay is required for this show winning display piece? If the Veloster had a German nameplate attached, it would easily retail for $40-60,000. Because it’s made in Ulsan, Korea, however, the base price of the Veloster Turbo is $22,600. Our test car, with its optional $2,700 Tech Package (Panoramic Sunroof, Navigation System with 7″ Touchscreen) checked out at $26,260. Call it the deal of the 21st century.

2017 Hyundai Veloster Turbo

But there’s more on offer here than visual cortex stimulation. More than the excitement of charging through the gears and peaking the turbo at 6800 rpm with each upshift. Because the Turbo Veloster is in many ways a remarkably practical package. Start with that ever-so-useful third door, which is so inconspicuously incorporated on the passenger side that you wouldn’t know it existed by looking at the flush exterior surface. But it makes packing the kids in back ever so easy. You can even shepherd a couple of adults through this portal for short hops. And when you do some shopping, tossing the goods into the backseat is thankfully simplified by the expedient of this third door. Then too there’s the fuel saving penchant of the Veloster’s efficient Turbo motor, which returns 25 MPG around town and 33 MPG on the highway, and 28 MPG overall. The base model, non-turbo Veloster only exceeds those numbers by 2 MPG. That’s hardly a savings worthy of foregoing the thrust of this affordable and enjoyable Veloster Turbo.

2017 Hyundai Veloster Turbo

  • Engine: 1.6 liter inline 4, twin scroll turbo , direct injection
  • Horsepower: 201hp
  • Torque: 195lb.-ft.
  • Fuel Consumption: 25 MPG City/33 MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $26,260
  • Star Rating: 10 out of 10 Stars

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2017 Hyundai Elantra Eco Review

Wednesday May 17th, 2017 at 4:55 PM
Posted by: D.Colman

2017 Hyundai Elantra Eco

By David Colman

Hypes: Boxes Above Its Weight Class
Gripes: Navigation Would Be Nice

Are you six times better than you were in 1990? The Hyundai Elantra is. Over the intervening 27 years, Hyundai has introduced six new generations of this model, with the most recent coming just last year. The original Elantra of 1990 was somewhat crude, and rather underpowered, but irresistibly cheap. The mid line Eco version of the 2017 Elantra is still a bit underpowered at 128hp, but far from crude. In fact it is one of the most sophisticated and fully equipped compact sedans on the market today. And like its distant forebear, the latest Elantra still makes a significant value-per-dollar statement with a base price of $20,650.

2017 Hyundai Elantra Eco

Hyundai offers three different versions of the Elantra, with the entry level SE being the least expensive at $17,150, and the Limited being the most expensive at $22,350. But just about the only amenity missing from the mid-level Eco we tested was an on board navigation system which is not optionally available. Everything else you could want or need is standard, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. With those two systems already in place, there’s no reason why you couldn’t use your smartphone for navigation duty. And really, when you buy a new car are you buying a new trip computer? Or are you buying a mobility machine where over-the-road performance comes first? If the latter is true, you will be highly impressed by the capabilities of this diminutive, 2,865lb. four-door, four person compact.

2017 Hyundai Elantra Eco

Whereas other variants of the Elantra utilize a 2.0 liter in-line 4 making 147hp – or 200hp in the new 2018 Elantra Sport – the Eco, true to its name, makes do with less displacement reduced output and stellar mileage. Although its 1.4 liter turbo produces just 128hp, the Eco motor does make 156lb.-ft. of torque. That easily perceptible torque rush is harnessed by an unexpected ally in this low cost family mover – a new 7 speed dual-clutch gearbox Hyundai builds, along with the engine, in Korea. Final assembly of the Eco is done at Hyundai’s Montgomery, Alabama facility. The sporting dual-clutch transmission maximizes the thrust of the Eco’s turbo. If you simply leave the floor-mounted stick shift in Drive range, the transmission reacts quickly to your power demands by dropping down a gear ratio or two when you floor the throttle. Both downshifts and upshifts take place with satisfying immediacy. You can exercise even more specific control by slotting the Shiftronic transmission into its separate manual gate.

2017 Hyundai Elantra Eco

Hyundai has upgraded the interior of the Eco with soft touch surfaces at virtually all human interaction points. The standard heated front seats proved particularly welcome on blustery spring days when we especially appreciated the fact that both the horizontal and vertical cushions of the seat were wired for heat. Unlike some European sedan makers, who charge extra for proximity key operation and push button start, Hyundai includes these unexpected niceties for free on the Eco. You’ll also enjoy the visual clarity of the Eco’s standard 7 inch touchscreen, which offers logical and easy programming for the comprehensive infotainment system. Supplementing the theatrics of the main screen is a smaller 3.5 inch TFT display panel, located between the tachometer and speedometer, which can be configured by steering wheel control to show a variety of travel-pertinent information.

2017 Hyundai Elantra Eco

At first, i was somewhat dismayed to see that the Eco rides on rather narrow and tall 195/65R15 Nexen Priz AH8 tires, mounted on retro-looking five spoke grey ribbed alloy rims. It’s been a long time since any test car has arrived with 15 inch rims, but after spending a week herding the Eco through a wide variety of curves and freeway ramps, these Nexen tires always managed to get the job done without audible protest or loss of grip. The best benefit of 65 Series sidewalls like these is extra cushioning over potholes. With California roads in total disarray this spring, the taller your sidewall, the better your ride. We spent a full day toting four adults up to wine country in the Elantra. We didn’t hear a peep of protest from the back seat, and you already know that the front seat occupants were well looked after.

2017 Hyundai Elantra Eco

For comparatively minimal outlay, the Eco Elantra makes sound sense if you’re looking for a new set of wheels that will keep you humming to the tune of 35MPG in overall use. The Elantra has indeed come a very long way from that tractor-like sub compact Hyundai first shipped to our shores nearly three decades ago.

2017 Hyundai Elantra Eco

  • Engine: 1.4 liter DOHC inline 4, turbocharged, direct injection (GDI)
  • Horsepower: 128hp
  • Torque: 156lb.-ft.
  • Fuel Consumption: 32MPG City/40 MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $21,610
  • Star Rating: 9 out of 10 Stars

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2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited Ultimate AWD Review

Saturday April 22nd, 2017 at 9:44 AM
Posted by: Judy Colman

2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited Ultimate AWD

By Judy Colman

Hypes: Numerous standard features for the price, sophisticated interior design
Gripes: Small cargo area if you need all available seats

Jeff Foxworthy once noted “You might be a redneck if directions to your house include ‘turn off the paved road’”. That’s exactly what I was dealing with on my recent trip to visit family in Wyoming. Actually, the pavement ends a few miles before the driveway. I tested the 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe, my ride for the week, in Wyoming’s winter snow, mud, cold, and wind.

2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited Ultimate AWD

Driving in eastern Wyoming is like dying and going to No-Traffic Heaven. Yes, I had the adaptive cruise control on, but there was virtually no traffic to test it adequately. Likewise with the blind spot warning system with rear traffic alert. However, I expected the lane departure warning to go off often when I saw the signs for ‘Tip Over risk. Expect wind gusts of 50-60 mph”. It didn’t happen. The wind howled but the Santa Fe stuck like glue in my chosen lane. Fortunately, I had no opportunity to test the emergency braking provided by the forward collision mitigation system.

Shod with Kumho P235/55 R19 tires, the Santa Fe handled admirably in the ice, snow and the slush that covered the town streets had to offer when I first arrived. When the snow melted and gave way to mud, the all wheel drive felt equally confident and secure.

2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited Ultimate AWD

The 3.3 liter, direct injection V6 engine, paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission, performed better than expected. Due to the altitude in Colorado and Wyoming, I anticipated a little hesitation or sluggishness from the six cylinders but found none. Every one of the 290 horses (at 6400 rpm) and 252 lb-ft of torque (at 5200 pm) was ready and available. Fuel mileage has increased slightly over the prior model to 19 mpg combined city/highway. All Santa Fe models can be ordered with either front-wheel or all-wheel drive. All wheel drive adds $1,750 to the price tag.

2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited Ultimate AWD

The six- or seven-passenger Santa Fe offers many creature comforts in its three row configuration. Leather seating, heated and cooled front seats, heated steering wheel, and a multitude of seat adjustability options combine to make road trips more enjoyable. Even the second row passengers benefit from heated seats. In the San Francisco Bay Area a heated steering wheel is a nice feature. When you look at the exterior thermometer in Wyoming and see 18 degrees, heated everything is good. The panoramic sunroof allows enough light in to keep the third row dwellers from feeling claustrophobic.

With the second and third row seats folded, the cargo space measures about 80 cubic feet. That gives you plenty of room for the trip to the home improvement or feed store. Available space shrinks to 41 cubic feet with only the third row seats down. 13.5 cubic feet is all that is left with all three rows of seating up. And it’s best to relegate the kids or very small adults to the third row seats as room for people in that area is quite limited. You can send the kids back there with their devices and they’ll be happy campers as the third row seats come with a handy USB port.

2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited Ultimate AWD

Finding climate and audio controls on the dash as well as on the 8-inch touch screen
makes perfect sense. Trying to turn the fan speed up or the temperature down using only a touch screen is akin to distracted driving in my estimation. The gauges and controls are laid out in a straightforward manner and are easy to read and engage. Bluetooth connectivity, AM/FM/HD radio with SiriusXM radio, QuantumLogic surround sound, and Android Auto smart phone integration keep the tunes coming and the techies engaged.

Base price for this model is $41,150. The only optional package available is the Ultimate Tech package ($2,100) which adds Smart Cruise Control, Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, High Intensity Discharge headlights, Electronic Parking Brake with Auto Hold, and Dynamic Bending Light to the standard options.

Hyundai might not be your first thought for a six- or seven-passenger crossover vehicle, but you would do yourself a favor to consider the 2017 Santa Fe. With numerous options in this market segment, the Hyundai offers a competitive product packed full of standard features.

2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited Ultimate AWD

  • Engine: 3.3 liter Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) V6
  • Horsepower: 290 hp
  • Torque: 252 lb-ft.
  • Fuel Consumption: 17 city, 22 highway, 19 combined
  • Price as Tested: $44,295
  • Star Rating: 9 out of 10 Stars

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2016 Hyundai Sonata Sport 2.0T Review

Wednesday December 21st, 2016 at 11:1212 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

2016 Hyundai Sonata Sport 2.0T

By David Colman

Hypes: Easy on the Eyes, Quick, Well Furnished
Gripes: Gnarly Brakes, Too Much Understeer

For the 2015 model year, Hyundai recast the mid-size Sonata, giving it better insulation, a roomier passenger compartment, and more up-to-date looks. For 2016, they added a hybrid version and a plug-in electric model good for 20 miles on a charge. For sportier types seeking higher performance, the Sport model we test here features a 2.0 liter turbo motor packing a 245hp wallop. This svelte looking front-wheel-drive sedan is beautifully sculpted, with graceful lines stretching from the front end’s signature 7 LED driving light cluster to the tail’s rear diffuser containing quad exhaust tips. The inline 4 really gets with the acceleration program. It’s coupled to a 6-speed automatic gearbox featuring paddle shifts plus a manual control gate on the console stick as well. Since the engine makes 260lb.-ft. of torque all the way from 1,350rpm to 4,000rpm, you almost never need to bother with the paddles or gear selection. Just floor the Sport’s model-specific ribbed aluminum accelerator pedal, and enjoy this sedan’s prodigious passing prowess. When bidden, it jumps.

2016 Hyundai Sonata Sport 2.0T

In addition to the exterior sporting clues, Hyundai has freshened the interior with such performance-oriented features as a D-shaped (flat bottom) steering wheel, and sport leather seating surfaces with standard front seat heating. These handsome pedestals are quite supportive during hard cornering maneuvers. Sports-tuned suspension and steering help raise the lateral limits of the Sonata Sport. If the basic ride quality and steering feedback is too soft for your liking, you can engage a Sport setting via a “Drive Mode Select” button on the center console that stiffens the steering feedback, and favors higher rpm engine operation. There’s also an Eco setting available which makes feedback sludgy and softens throttle response. Really, the Sport Sonata is well enough tuned that you could easily do without either of these Drive Mode Select options. In fact, I chose to spend most of my week in Normal mode, which offered good steering response without artificial heaviness, and lower-rpm shift points which eliminated noise and jerkiness. The standard 18 inch alloy rims bear mid-level Kumho Solus XT tires (235/45R18) that squeal when pushed to the limit. At that limit, this 3,315 pound sedan develops profound understeer, which is safe to control, but not very rewarding to manage.

2016 Hyundai Sonata Sport 2.0T

The list of standard attributes for the Sonata is long and surprisingly complete given its modest $28,925 base price. I really liked “Proximity Key Entry with Push Button Start,” since this allows you to approach the Sonata with hands full and slide right in without fumbling for keys. Likewise, once seated, just bump the large Start button on the dash while the key fob is still buried in your pocket or purse, and the Hyundai lights off without further ado. The remote fob also features a trunk release button that eases the toil you need to expend when loading groceries. These are niceties that many sedans costing twice as much fail to offer as standard equipment. Our rear seat test rider commended the spaciousness of the aft passenger compartment, which is fitted with twin floor mounted rear vents for A/C and heat. The cabin is quiet enough at 65mph to carry on a conversation with aft seat passengers, Despite the fact that our test Sonata lacked a sunroof, we hardly noticed its absence thanks to this sedan’s large and expansive side and rear windows.

2016 Hyundai Sonata Sport 2.0T

The Sonata is highly rated for crash safety by the US Government. It merits an overall score of 5 Stars, the highest evaluation available. It amasses this score by earning 5 stars for both front AND rear passenger, AND driver impact tests, plus 4 Stars for rollover rating. This highly rated protection accrues from front, side impact, side curtain and driver knee airbags. Additionally, the Sport offers standard blind-spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert. Although ABS brakes, with electronic brake force distribution and brake assist is a standard component of the Sport’s specification, the brakes on our high-mile (10,000 mile) test car were grabby and unpredictable. They failed to release when pressure on the pedal was removed.

2016 Hyundai Sonata Sport 2.0T

Aside from this foible, the Sonata Sport is well worth considering if you seek a family sedan with pretensions of performance at a modest price. This Hyundai checks a lot of boxes for the money.

2016 Hyundai Sonata Sport 2.0T

  • Engine: 2.0 liter 4-cylinder, turbocharged, gasoline direct injection
  • Horsepower: 245hp@6000rpm
  • Torque: 260lb.-ft.@1350rpm-4000rpm
  • Fuel Consumption: 23MPG City/32MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $29,885
  • Star Rating: 8.5 out of 10 Stars

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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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2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Review

Sunday September 1st, 2013 at 9:99 PM
Posted by: Francois


The outgoing Santa Fe was not much to look at.  This new Santa Fe however is in the 90th percentile of good looks when compared to its SUV Crossover peers.  It looks good from every angle and it fits in with the Hyundai brand’s styling direction

But now it’s the Santa Fe Sport’s turn, and we think this is one of the best-looking Hyundais yet, a sleekly sophisticated vehicle in a segment better known for boxiness. It has all the sculpted lines of the new Hyundai’s but none of the overly sharp edges.  It’s easy on the eyes inside and out.

The revolution continues inside, where a curvaceous dashboard and quality materials give the Santa Fe Sport a surprisingly premium feel, especially relative to its generic predecessor. As expected from Hyundai, standard features are plentiful, including iPod/Bluetooth connectivity and the Blue Link telematics suite with features like voice text-messaging, local business search and turn-by-turn navigation.

Hyundai’s lineup is top-to-bottom impressive these days, but the 2013 Santa Fe Sport stands out even among its distinguished relatives. If rival crossover SUVs could express emotion, they’d be none too pleased about Hyundai’s latest.


  • Upscale styling inside and out
  • spacious interior
  • tons of features
  • good power and fuel economy.


  • Can get pricey


Engine Options

The new Santa Fe Sport offers a pair of Hyundai’s Theta II GDI inline-4 engines that also are found in the Sonata sedan. Both direct-injected fours feature continuously variable valve timing to further enhance operating efficiency. The base engine is a 190-horsepower 2.4-liter while the Sport 2.0T carries a 264-horsepower version of the turbocharged 2.0-liter. The sole transmission is a smooth, responsive 6-speed automatic with a Shiftronic manual-style gate. The impressive weight-reduction program imparts a new measure of quickness across the board, along with improved fuel economy.

2.4-liter inline-4
190 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm
181lb-ft of torque @ 4,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/29 mpg (FWD ), 20/26 mpg (AWD)

2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
264 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
269 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750-3,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/27 mpg (FWD ), 19/24 mpg (AWD)


Comfort & Utility

The 2-row Santa Fe Sport is offered in base or 2.0T trim.

Feature highlights for the base Sport include a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine; 17-inch alloy wheels; LED headlight and taillight accents; a rear spoiler; air conditioning; electronically adjustable steering effort; power accessories; a tilt/telescopic steering wheel; cruise control; a trip computer; Bluetooth; and a 6-speaker audio system with satellite radio and iPod/USB connectivity.

The Sport 2.0T adds a high-powered 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine; dual exhaust outlets; 19-in alloy wheels; heated exterior mirrors; automatic headlights; fog lights; keyless entry with push-button ignition; an electroluminescent gauge cluster with a color LCD information screen; a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob; and heated front seats with 8-way driver power adjustments.

Some notable Santa Fe Sport options are a panoramic sunroof, a 4.3-in touchscreen audio display, a navigation system with an 8-in touchscreen, a rearview camera, leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, a power front passenger seat, a sliding back seat and a 2.0T-exclusive Infinity audio system with 12 speakers.

In our interior evaluation, we found the Santa Fe Sport’s front seats to be notably more supportive than last year’s forgettably flat offerings. As ever, the seats are mounted high, so you get that SUV-style commanding view of the road that many shoppers want. Thankfully, the Santa Fe Sport comes standard with a tilting/telescoping steering wheel (not all Hyundais do), so you can adjust the wheel for reach as well as angle. There’s even some woodgrain trim sprinkled around the cabin that adds a touch of class. Overall materials quality has improved as well.

Whereas the old Santa Fe Sport’s gauges and controls were rental-car generic, the new one’s are a quantum leap forward. The dashboard is full of appealing angles and curves, while the deeply hooded gauges with available electroluminescent backlighting further attest to the Santa Fe Sport’s suaveness. Fortunately, the controls remain straightforward and easy to use despite the dramatically different look.

The Santa Fe Sport’s back seat has a pleasantly elevated bottom cushion and ample room for adult passengers. Hyundai emphasizes that even the 2-row Sport is considerably larger than rivals like the Ford Escape, and that’s evident in the airy feel inside. We’re pleased that a sliding back seat is available for 2013; the old model’s back seat was fixed.

On the hauling front, the Sport offers 35.4 cu-ft of cargo space behind the back seat and 71.5 cu-ft with the rear seatbacks folded. That’s a lot of cubes at this price point.

A properly equipped Santa Fe Sport can tow up to 3,500 lb.



The outgoing Santa Fe actually had a respectable roster of standard equipment, but it seemed like a band-aid given how dated everything looked. That’s obviously not an issue with the 2013 Santa Fe Sport. Like we said, there’s a thoroughly modern dashboard this time around, and it’s bursting with desirable standard and optional technology features, including iPod/USB and Bluetooth connectivity, Blue Link telematics, a color LCD driver information screen and a crisp 8-in touchscreen navigation system.

Blue Link is standard in one form or another on every Santa Fe Sport, and it deserves a paragraph of its own. Using the built-in voice-recognition software, you can search for local points of interest, send text messages or have them read to you, follow turn-by-turn directions to your destination and get help in an emergency. Blue Link also allows you to check the weather, receive traffic alerts and keep track of your driving habits to improve fuel economy. Hyundai’s even got operators standing by to provide assistance. It’s pretty neat.

Performance & Fuel Economy

All Santa Fe models come with a responsive 6-speed automatic transmission and are available with either front- or all-wheel drive.

Standard on the base Santa Fe Sport is a 2.4-liter inline-4 rated at 190 horsepower and 181 lb-ft of torque. Blessed with a broad powerband and good manners, this is largely the same engine that we’ve lauded in the Sonata midsize sedan. The Santa Fe has a little more weight to lug around, of course, but it’s a lot lighter than it used to be, and this engine is more powerful than the old 2.4-liter four. Fuel economy is a praiseworthy 22 mpg city/33 mpg highway with FWD and 21/28 mpg with AWD.

If “satisfactory” isn’t going to cut it, the Sport 2.0T solves that problem with a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 good for 264 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque. Thanks to twin-scroll technology, the 2.0T delivers every bit of that torque starting at just 1,750 rpm, so there’s not really any turbo lag in the traditional sense. It just pulls hard on demand, and it’s smooth enough that one well-respected colleague of ours initially mistook it for a V6. Fuel economy is also a strong suit, checking in at 21 mpg city/31 highway with FWD and 20/27 mpg with AWD.


The 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport comes with standard stability control, 4-wheel antilock disc brakes, active front head restraints and seven airbags (front, front side, driver knee, and full-length side curtain).

The Santa Fe Sport had not been crash tested as of this writing.

Driving Impressions

On the road, the Santa Fe Sport is about as good as it gets for a crossover at this price. The highway ride is quiet and smooth, while bumps are dispatched with impressive poise. The handling isn’t bad either, as the new suspension adds a welcome carlike athleticism. AWD models even get what Hyundai calls Torque Vectoring Cornering Control, a system that can send either extra torque or braking power to individual wheels, limiting understeer and generally making the Santa Fe Sport feel more responsive.


Unless we needed a third-row seat, our pick would be the Sport 2.0T. The little turbo is a great motor, and Santa Fe models so equipped are reasonably priced alternatives to a wide range of costlier crossovers.

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Review: 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo

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

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

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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