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Korean Auto Brands Surpass Japanese And Germans In Quality Ranking

June 25, 2018
David Kiley,  Forbes Magazine

Two decades ago, Korean brands Hyundai and Kia were considered little more than compromise purchases for people who didn't have the cash or credit score to afford a car from Japan, Detroit or Europe. Today, according to vehicle quality tracker J.D. Power, Toyota and BMW and other stalwarts of quality and reputation are chasing Hyundai, Kia and Hyundai luxury brand Genesis for the fewest glitches and design flaws.
The three Korean brands, which are all controlled by the Hyundai Motor Group, have the fewest problems per 100 new vehicles, according to to J.D. Power's 2018 initial quality ranking.

The Genesis luxury brand, launched by Hyundai in 2016 after previously selling a Genesis brand sedan in Hyundai showrooms, topped the list with 68 problems per 100 cars. Genesis-a lineup up of two cars with a third on the way- beat the previous top-ranked luxury brands Porsche (with 79 problems per 100) and Lexus. This honor continues a string of third-party endorsements for the two-year-old Hyundai luxury spinoff. Earlier this, Genesis year also led Consumer Reports' list of top-ten brand rankings.

Power's Initial Quality Study (IQS) measures complaints from owners in the first three months of ownership. Power has found over the decades that brands and models that score high on its IQS ranking also end up ranking high on its Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS), which measures quality/customer complaints over three years of ownership. Hyundai, for example, recently scored third in Power's VDS. Hyundai Tucson is top ranked small SUV Hyundai scored 14 fewer problems per 100 vehicles this year versus 2017, moving from sixth last year to third this year.

Besides build quality, Hyundai and Kia (which share a technical development center in Ann Arbor, Michigan), have succeeded on developing one of the best telematics systems in the industry. Hyundai's BlueLink and Kia's UVO systems have proved easy to use, and other companies have lost ground in this study because their connected-car smartphone interface systems have trailed leaders like Hyundai and Kia.
Kia Soul has been popular model for Kia, which is the top ranked mass-market brand on J.D. Power's IQS.Kia USA

The Genesis-Kia-Hyundai trifecta of leadership may take some consumers by surprise, but their improvement is part of a broader improvement in quality in the industry, as well as a steady climb in quality at the Korean automakers.

The industry average of 93 problems-per-100 vehicles is a four-point improvement over last year. "There's no question that most automakers are doing a great job of listening to consumers and are producing vehicle quality of the highest caliber," said Dave Sargent, Vice President of Global Automotive at J.D. Power. "That said, some vehicle owners are still finding problems. As vehicles become more complex and automated, it is critical that consumers have complete confidence in automakers' ability to deliver fault-free vehicles."
One of the biggest benefits of improved quality for consumers, besides fewer trips to the mechanic, is longevity of ownership. Twenty-five years ago, automakers built cars to last 100,000 miles before major parts and systems would need to be replaced. Today, it is very common to find a wide array of used cars offered through websites like Autotrader.com with 180,000 and 200,000 miles.

While the Koreans cleaned up on brand rankings, there were other notable results for Detroit, European and Japanese brands.

The top ranked car in the survey is the Porsche 911 with just 48 problem per 100 vehicles. Toyota Corolla is the top ranked compact car. Kia Sorrento is top-ranked mid-sized SUV. Chevy Silverado is the top ranked light-duty pickup. Nissan Altima is the top-ranked mid-sized car and the Hyundai Tucson is the top-ranked small SUV.

HYUNDAI TUCSON NAMED FINALIST FOR 2016 GREEN SUV OF THE YEAR™

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 CarsOfChange.com. "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."

https://www.hyundaiusa.com/about-hyundai/news/Corporate_hyundai-tucson-named-finalist-for-2016-green-suv-of-the-yeartm-20151203.aspx

HYUNDAI LAUNCHES ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY SPEAKER SERIES AT UC IRVINE'S INSTITUTE OF TRANSPORTATION STUDIES

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.

https://www.hyundaiusa.com/about-hyundai/news/Corporate_hyundai-launches-advanced-technology-speaker-series-at-uc-irvines-institute-of-transportat-20151202.aspx

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.

Source

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.

Source

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 Cars.com'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.

//blogs.cars.com/kickingtires/2014/11/2015-hyundai-santa-fe-santa-fe-sport-whats-changed.html


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