FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif., Dec. 3, 2015 - Green Car Journal has named Hyundai's all-new 2016 Tucson a finalist for the 2016 Green SUV of the Year™ award. Each year, five finalists are considered for the award, an honor that recognizes the most fuel-efficient SUV/crossover vehicles and the environmental leadership they bring to the auto industry. The 2016 Green SUV of the Year™ winner will be announced at next year's Washington Auto Show on January 21, 2016.

Green Car Journal's vetting process considers a wide range of SUVs and crossovers to determine their environmental advantages and breakthroughs, and then narrows the field to five finalists. The overarching goal is to identify nominees that move personal transportation in a more environmentally positive direction without sacrificing the joy of driving or the functionality expected of an SUV or crossover. Fuel efficiency, weight reduction, advanced drivetrain technologies, use of alternative or clean fuels and more are considered during the process. Finalists must be available for sale by January 1st of the award year.

"The Hyundai Tucson shows that new-generation crossovers can offer desired performance and loads of versatility while still delivering impressive fuel economy," said Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of Green Car Journal and "Crossover drivers tend to want it all - style, functionality, advanced features, and efficiency - and there's no lack of that in the new Tucson."

The all-new Tucson comes with a choice of two engine and powertrain options. Base models offer Hyundai's 2.0-liter, direct-injected four-cylinder engine with 164 horsepower and 151 lb.-ft. of torque, coupled with a six-speed automatic transmission. Eco, Sport and Limited models offer Hyundai's new 1.6-liter, direct-injected, turbocharged four-cylinder engine. This new powertrain is mated to a first-in-segment seven-speed EcoShift® dual-clutch transmission (DCT), which offers quick, efficient shifts and even better fuel economy. The Tucson is offered in both FWD and AWD variants.

"Being a finalist for Green SUV of the Year™ is acknowledgment of Hyundai's dedication to delivering fuel efficiency without sacrifice," said Mike O'Brien, vice president, Corporate and Product Planning, Hyundai Motor America. "In a segment typically filled with relatively thirsty vehicles, we are proud to offer consumers a choice that delivers on size, functionality and fuel economy in equal parts."


Technology Innovation Seminars Aimed at School's Master's and Ph.D. Level Students on the Future of Transportation

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif., Dec. 2, 2015 - Hyundai Motor America and the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Irvine, have developed a new seminar series on advancements in transportation. Master's and Ph.D. students at the university will hear from innovation leaders at Hyundai and share insights from the school's forward-thinking transportation research.

"This new relationship allows Hyundai to both share its industry knowledge and help inspire the future leaders of the transportation industry," said Mircea Gradu, Ph.D., director, Engineering and Quality, Hyundai Motor America. "UC Irvine is right in Hyundai's backyard and presents a great opportunity for us to connect with students while leading thought-provoking discussions on a range of important transportation topics."

Hyundai executives will lead talks on a variety of subjects, including alternative energy vehicle infrastructure, advanced diagnostic tools, active vehicle safety systems, dealer stock management, delivery logistics and forecasting technologies. The series is scheduled to begin Thursday, Dec. 3 and will continue with two lectures planned for each quarter.

"We are delighted to partner with Hyundai in this new initiative," said Professor Stephen Ritchie, Director of UC Irvine's Institute of Transportation Studies. "Learning more about cutting-edge industry innovations will be invaluable for our graduate students, who represent the next generation of transportation leaders. Exciting new insights and synergies will result, for the benefit of all."
The first talk will be on fuel cell refueling stations and PHEV/EV charging stations. This is an important area of focus for Hyundai, as its Tucson Fuel Cell is the first mass-produced fuel cell vehicle available for consumers today, and the Sonata Plug-In Hybrid leads its class with 27 miles of all-electric range.

2016 Hyundai Veloster Turbo Rally Edition Review

By Jake Holmes, posted October 9, 2015

In the four years since the Hyundai Veloster hit showrooms, the car hasn't managed to attract much of an enthusiast following. Even the optional punchy turbocharged engine couldn't draw our attention away from similarly priced cars like the Fiat 500 Abarth, Ford Fiesta ST, and Honda Civic Si. But when Hyundai recently dropped off a Veloster at the AUTOMOBILE office, we wondered if we might be ready to change our tune. The car wore matte blue paint, imitation carbon-fiber trim, and lightweight 18-inch Rays wheels, and it came equipped with an upgraded suspension. Perhaps the Hyundai Veloster Turbo has more performance hidden beneath its unusual bodywork than we thought.

This particular 2016 Hyundai Veloster Turbo features the racy new Rally Edition package, which is limited to just 1,200 units. The car's springs and shock absorbers are retuned, its front anti-roll bar is 0.16 inch thicker, and its six-speed manual transmission has a short-throw linkage from B&M Racing. We headed in search of twisty roads to see if those ingredients make for a truly sporty car.

The 1.6-liter turbo-four engine immediately answers in the affirmative. Lag- and surge-free, the punchy mill hustles the 2,877-pound 2016 Hyundai Veloster Turbo with enough verve that even we jaded speed-freaks crack a smile. The transmission's ultra-short throws and positive engagements bring to mind the gearboxes on cars like the Subaru WRX, although we wish the clutch take-up weren't so light and vague. We wouldn't try to beat, say, a Volkswagen Golf GTI away from a light, but the Veloster Turbo is quick in everyday driving.
Unfortunately, all-season tires limit the Veloster's sportiness. Just as the upgraded suspension digs in to a corner, the Kumho Solus TA31 tires squeal, squirm, and slide. The Veloster is plenty fun to drive on curving pavement, but it's no apex hunter.

Performance aside, the 2016 Hyundai Veloster Turbo is a wholly useful and practical car. Its unusual three-door design means the car can keep its cool coupe-like looks on the driver's side, while still allowing passengers to access the back seat easily from the other side. Once seated in back, passengers have plenty of legroom (only 1.4 inches less than in Hyundai's Elantra sedan), although headroom is tight. The wide, deep trunk is more spacious than in the Elantra and easily accommodates a bicycle if you fold the 60/40 split rear seats. However, the extremely high liftover height means we'd be loath to move heavy objects in and out of the trunk on a regular basis.

If "late-apex" and "heel-toe" are in your vocabulary, you're probably better served by a car like the Ford Fiesta ST. For most people who want a practical daily-driver with a dollop of sportiness and style, the 2016 Hyundai Veloster Turbo is a fun compact car that shouldn't be overlooked. Its unusual design stands out from the crowd and its energetic driving demeanor will keep drivers engaged behind the wheel, yet its affordability and practicality make it a car any buyer can live with.


2016 Hyundai Tucson and Sonata each get TSP+ rating by IIHS

Posted September 24, 2015, at 10:01 AM

Hyundai is no stranger to building vehicles that get Top Safety Pick+ honors from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, but the company is getting two of the awards at once thanks to the latest results from the 2016 Tucson and Sonata. Both models feature a front crash prevention system that's rated highly by the safety agency.

The biggest advancement in this round comes for the new Tucson. In the small-overlap front crash, it now earns the IIHS' best score of Good, versus Poor - the lowest - for the previous generation. In the latest test, the crossover shows at most six inches of intrusion into the passenger compartment, compared to 16 inches last time. The airbags work to protect the head, and the sensors indicate a low risk of injury. The Tucson has Good ratings in all the other safety evaluations, too.

The 2015 Sonata already did quite well when checked last year, but Hyundai apparently wasn't happy with the sedan's Acceptable result in the small-overlap front crash. According to the IIHS, the automaker adjusted the driver's seatbelt and the front suspension in hopes of a better score. However, even with the tweaks, the 2016 Sonata kept the same result. It scored Good in the other safety categories. The company isn't giving up on acing things, though. "Modifications are planned to take Sonata to 'Good' in the small overlap test," Hyundai spokesperson Jim Trainor said to Autoblog.

The IIHS gave the crash prevention tech in both models its top Superior grade. The systems' automatic braking was able to avoid accidents from 12 and 25 miles per hour. The forward collision warning added the last bit needed to give them the maximum six points from the institute.


2015 Hyundai Santa Fe, Santa Fe Sport: What's Changed

Most significant changes: Available hands-free, automatically opening power lift gate
Price change: Zero to $600 higher depending on model

One reason to buy a new 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe or Santa Fe Sport is to get a new hands-free power lift gate. Unlike Ford's, which requires a kicking motion under the rear bumper, Hyundai's opens automatically when someone with a proximity smart key comes within a few feet of the rear bumper. Sounds good, but it comes at a hefty price.
It is standard on turbocharged Sport 2.0T models (which start at $32,125 including destination) and part of the $3,500 2.4L Tech Package on Sport models with the 2.4-liter engine. To get the Tech Package you also have to buy the $1,350 Popular Equipment package and the $3,300 Premium Equipment Package for a grand total of $8,150. On three-row Santa Fe models, the automatic lift gate is standard on the Limited and part of the $3,750 GLS Premium Package.

Among other changes for 2015, Hyundai says it has re-tuned the electric power steering and suspension for a firmer feel, and the Sport wears a new grille. Powertrains are unchanged. Sport models have a choice of a 2.4-liter or turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, and the Santa Fe comes with a 3.3-liter V-6. All models have a six-speed automatic transmission and a choice of front- or all-wheel drive.

Prices are unchanged on the Sport 2.4L models and $600 higher on the 2.0T models. Prices are up $250 across the board on the three-row Santa Fe.

Hyundai ranks at or near the front of the crowded crossover SUV market with the Santa Fe Sport, the two-row/five-passenger version, and the larger three-row Santa Fe, which seats seven in the GLS or six in the Limited. The Santa Fe won our $40,000 SUV Challenge, and the Sport impresses with its style and performance.

That's good stuff, but Hyundai has moved upscale in content and price, so it no longer sticks out as a bargain. Costs climbs quickly as you add option packages. Most Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport SUVs in's national inventory are 2014 models, so shoppers will likely have a decent variety if they're looking for a bargain. Because there are so few changes the 2014 should be the better bet.


2015 Hyundai Genesis: More car, less snob appeal

Posted by: Dan Jedlicka August 18, 2014

Would you prefer a well-known luxury car or saving thousands for a worthy but less-prestigious rival? The new, redesigned 2015 Hyundai Genesis is a fast, luxurious sedan designed to compete with foreign rivals (mainly German) that cost thousands more.

This Genesis has slicker, more imposing styling. It's highlighted by a new, very aggressive-looking hexagonal grille and dynamic rear design. The wheelbase is longer at 118.5 inches and there are shorter body overhangs than its predecessor.

There is a new ultra-rigid platform, and the fully-independent 5-link front and rear suspension designs have more stiffness, with increased front and rear travel for greater bump absorption over a variety of roads. The car rolls on stronger new 18- and 19-inch alloy wheels and has electronic stability control. Also, a Continuous Damping Control suspension offered for the Genesis V-8 helps increase control of body motions and body roll, allowing sportier road holding and a more comfortable ride.

There are no disappointments in the power area. The $38,000 Genesis has a sophisticated 3.8-liter V-6 with 311 horsepower and 293 pound-feet of torque while the $51,500 Genesis has a 5-liter V8 with 420 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque. My test Genesis had the V-8.

All-Wheel Drive (AWD) is offered for the first time for the base Genesis V-6 model. The more-powerful V-8 version comes only with rear-wheel drive (RWD).

This big, imposing four-door is equipped with plenty of luxury and convenience equipment. It's 196.5 inches long and weighs from 4,138 to 4,541 pounds. It's not a sports sedan, but has excellent roadability, due partly to nearly 50/50 weight distribution and a new rear multi-link suspension.

The V-6 uses regular-grade fuel and is expected to be chosen by most Genesis buyers. It has been improved to deliver a flatter overall torque curve at low rpm for enhanced driveability. The Genesis V-6 model is lighter than the V-8 version. It's more nimble. The V-6 model has standard RWD, with optional AWD, while the V-8 model only comes with RWD.

Both engines work with an enhanced, butter-smooth eight-speed automatic transmission with an easily used manual-shift feature that uses paddle shifters. A new available Intelligent Drive mode lets a driver select from four drive modes, depending on conditions and driving preferences. Each mode alters transmission mapping, throttle responsiveness, stability control and suspension damping settings.

The Genesis V-6 provides an estimated 18 miles per gallon in the city and 29 on highways with RWD and 16 and 25 with AWD. The Genesis V-8 provides a mediocre 15 city, but 23 on highways.

My test Genesis V-8 was truly muscular, moving the car from 0 to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds and providing seemingly effortless passing abilities and highway cruising. However, the Genesis V-6 also is lively, being several hundred pounds lighter than the V-8 model.

Curiously, my test car's nicely geared motor-driven electric power steering felt "soggy" for a few miles when I initially drove the car, then felt normal. The steering was quick, and the turning circle was commendably tight.

Handling was remarkably good for a large luxury auto. It took tricky decreasing radius turns in stride at above-average speeds and went where you pointed it with no lag. The rather firm ride was supple, and braking was strong, with good pedal feel. The anti-lock brakes have brake assist and electronic brake distribution features.

Safety features include nine air bags. Offered is a new "Smart Cruise Control" system that allows full function down to zero m.p.h. and enables the Genesis to help maintain safer, consistent spacing with the vehicle ahead. A new blind spot detection system helps monitor traffic around the car, using radar sensors. And there's a parking assistance system to safety get a driver in and out of tight spots.

The interior is spacious, ultra-quiet and luxurious, but generally isn't quite up to the best European standards. Large door handles help allow quick entry. Front seats provide good side and thigh support, and all seats are comfortable.

It's easy to go faster than you think in the Genesis V-8, so it's nice that a prominent digital speedometer keeps track of speed, along with a conventional speedometer. The attractive gauges are easy to read in bright sunlight. Inspired by aircraft technology, an optional heads-up display projects a virtual image on the windshield, letting a driver keep eyes concentrated on the road.

The steering wheel design and grip have been improved, and switchgear has been redesigned and is easier to reach. The push button engine starter is convenient. There are a good number of small controls, but they're clearly marked for simple use. The analog clock in the center of the dashboard gives the interior a touch of old-fashioned class. Power plugs are easy to reach near the dashboard.

The trunk is large, but there are no split folding rear seat backs to increase cargo room. However there's a moderately large pass-through area from the trunk to the rear seat area.

A "Smart Trunk" system opens the trunk lid automatically if the car's smart key is detected within a new feet of the rear bumper for longer than three seconds for hands-free ease of opening. The system lets a driver keep both feet on the ground, simply waiting by the trunk a few seconds for it to open automatically. Rivals with hands-free trunk opening use a leg-kick sensor under the rear bumper to enable a driver to open the lid, but Hyundai found this method to be difficult when someone is carrying cumbersome packages.

Such clever touches likely help sell a car, especially if it's a solid package like the Genesis. Also helpful in promoting sales is the significant amount of money that can be saved by passing up costlier, although better known, luxury class foreign cars. And not minding that the Genesis doesn't have their prestigious nameplates.

Pros: Redesigned. Stylish. Luxurious. Roomy. Fast. Excellent roadability. New AWD option. High-tech features. Competitively priced.

Cons: Lacks snob appeal of rivals. Marginal V-8 city fuel economy. No folding back seat.

Bottom Line: A lot of luxury car for the money.

Dan Jedlicka has been an automotive journalist from more than 40 years. To read more of his new and vintage car reviews, visit:


The 2015 Sonata Shows That Hyundai Can Play With the Big Boys

JULY 24, 2014

Driving a ratty car through Greenwich, Conn., a wealthy suburb just outside of New York, just isn't to be done. But when Hyundai gave a group of journalists a chance to drive the all-new 2015 Sonata there on Wednesday, the automaker proved three things: The car drives very well, it looks good to journalists and rich people won't be offended by it.

Those who like to take surreptitious tours of huge mansion country on Sunday afternoons may want to take notes. This car is not likely to attract unwanted attention, either from fawning car aficionados or annoyed hedge-fund managers. But it will be a nice, comfortable way to make the trip.

A decade ago, I worked in a family-owned automotive repair shop that seemed always to have clients without much money for either repairs or maintenance. As such, we fielded the occasional wretched 10-year-old Hyundai, and my boss usually told these customers that it was time to buy a different beater. Hyundais, he said, were throwaway cars.
Those days are long gone. The Sonata is the final dollop of sparkly frosting on an ornate cake that has been decades in the making. The South Korean automaker has been making good cars, but this is the one that could finally change an American mentality that has made Toyota and Honda vehicles the kings of the quality mountain. Bolstered by Fluidic Sculpture 2.0 - Hyundai's current design language, which may be so pleasant because it seems to borrow successful styling elements from other manufacturers - and value-oriented pricing, Hyundai seems poised to pull off the sort of customer-siphoning coup Toyota did in the 1980s.

Climbing behind the wheel of even the most modestly equipped 2015 Sonata on Wednesday, it was immediately clear that Hyundai has paid a lot of attention to detail in making this car. Unlike some of its competitors, the interior lines in the Hyundai are clean and smooth, don't intrude into the passenger space and seem to be made from good-fitting, high-quality materials. The controls for the climate control and infotainment systems were well-placed and easy to use.

Time behind the wheel of the higher trim levels revealed fit and finish that rivaled much more expensive cars. The leather-wrapped steering wheel felt smooth and soothing to the touch, the leather seats were comfortable and smelled good (albeit not in an overpowering way, which I found to be the case recently in a new Audi RS 7). The bottom line is that the Sonata felt more expensive than a car that, even fully equipped in top-of-the-line trim, costs less than $35,000.

Hyundai is offering five versions of the new Sonata: the SE, the Sport, the Limited, the Sport 2.0T and the Eco. All but the 2.0T and the Eco get a 185-horsepower 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine and a dual-clutch 6-speed automatic transmission. The 2.0T is equipped with a 245-horsepower turbocharged engine mated to a single-clutch 6-speed automatic that can be controlled with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. The Eco comes with a turbocharged 1.6-liter engine and a dual-clutch 7-speed automatic calibrated for maximum efficiency.

The infotainment center on the base SE has a small, two-color screen that leaves much to be desired, and the car also lacks the distinctive body crease that runs along both sides of more expensive Sonatas. But aside from a screen with 2001 flip-phone graphics and slabby sides that looked like they could slide right into a car service fleet, the SE was just as comfortable to drive as the other trim levels.

The Limited and Sport 2.0T models that I drove had the larger, full-color touch screen on the center stack, as well as the eye-pleasing body crease. Power seats, crash-avoidance features such as lane departure and collision warnings and adaptive cruise control were also add-ons that worked well to make the car feel like something that was delivering more for less.

The 2.4-liter engine in the SE, Sport and Limited was capable of smooth around-town driving, and it could bring the car up to merging speed on a fast-moving freeway. The 2.4-liter engine was certainly adequate. The electric steering in all models worked well enough so as to be unnoticeable.

The 2.0T was reasonably fun to drive. It's no racecar, but the extra horsepower from the turbo made passing maneuvers easier on the highway. The 2.0T is not a sports car, but it is sporty, and has black leather-trimmed seats to go with its more powerful engine and ever so slightly stiffer suspension.

John Shon, a product planning manager for Hyundai, said in news conference on Wednesday that there hasn't been any discussion about releasing a diesel-power model. He also said that, because of import regulations, Hyundai was limited as to how many of the Eco models it could sell in the United States. The 2-liter turbo and 2.4-liter engines, and the transmissions for both, are manufactured at Hyundai's plant in Alabama. The 1.6-liter engine and the 7-speed automatic, on the other hand, will be produced in South Korea.

Although Kia has a partnership with Microsoft, Mr. Shon said that Hyundai, Kia's parent company, doesn't have any immediate plans to use Microsoft technology in its infotainment systems. The 2015 Sonata is supposed to get Apple's Carplay system, though it will not be available when the car first goes on sale because Hyundai engineers have not finalized the integration of the Apple technology into the car's electronics. But the Sonata can be updated, so the new program can be uploaded into the car's system later, Mr. Shon said.
Stacked up against similar sedans like the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord and Nissan Altima, the new Sonata looks like a formidable competitor. Naturally, it won't be the sort of car that measures up to similar-size offerings from Mercedes-Benz, BMW or Audi.


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