Friday, November 28, 2008

Hyundai Accent Retains Crown as America's Least Expensive Car



November 25, 2008 -- FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif. -- The country's most dependable sub-compact car is also its most affordable.

The high-mileage 2009 Hyundai Accent has a starting price of $9,970, making it the least expensive new car on the market. But it's also the "Most Dependable Sub-Compact Car" available (as determined by the J.D. Power and Associates Vehicle Dependability Study(SM)) and one of the most fuel efficient vehicles on the road today - a trifecta that no other car can match.

"Accent is the perfect vehicle for a customer looking for the ideal mix of price, dependability and fuel economy," said Mark Dipko, Small Car product manager. "And as a brand known the world over for its value, we feel it is important to retain our crown as the most affordable new car available."

At the Los Angeles Auto Show, Hyundai announced even more good news for the Accent, revealing that next year a special high-mileage "Blue" edition will be available that offers even higher levels of fuel economy without adding to the price. Accent "Blue" will feature fuel-efficient modifications to reduce engine friction and rolling resistance, enhance aerodynamics, optimize gearing and revise engine calibrations for maximum efficiency, all adding up to higher fuel mileage and lower emissions than today's model.

The 2009 Accent GS retains the same content as last year's model and has not been reduced to achieve America's best price point. Accent GS offers a 1.6-litre, 110-horsepower engine, power steering, advanced front airbags, front seat-mounted side-impact airbags, roof-mounted curtain airbags, tire pressure monitoring system, front variable intermittent wipers, 60/40 split fold-down seatback, six-way adjustable driver seat, adjustable head restraints for all seating positions and rear spoiler.

Pricing for all other Accent models remains unchanged, delivering outstanding value throughout the lineup. In addition to the $9,970 Accent GS 3-door with manual transmission, the Accent three-door with automatic transmission starts at $12,070; Accent GLS 4-door with manual transmission starts at $12,920; and the sport-tuned and comprehensively equipped Accent SE 3-door with manual transmission starts at $15,070. Freight charges for Accent are $695.

All Hyundai vehicles sold in the U.S. are covered by The Hyundai Advantage, America's Best Warranty. Hyundai buyers are protected by a 10-year/100,000-mile power train warranty, a 5-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, a 7-year/unlimited-mile anti-perforation warranty and 5-year/unlimited-mile roadside assistance protection.

Hyundai Motor America, headquartered in Fountain Valley, Calif. is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Company of Korea. Hyundai vehicles are distributed throughout the United States by Hyundai Motor America and are sold and serviced by more than 790 Hyundai dealerships nationwide.

Hyundai Accent received the lowest number of problems per 100 vehicles among sub-compact cars in the proprietary J.D. Power and Associates 2008 Vehicle Dependability Study(SM). Study based on responses from over 52,000 original owners of 2005 model-year vehicles, measuring more than 250 models. Proprietary study results are based on experiences and perceptions of owners surveyed in January to April 2008. Your experiences may vary. Visit jdpower.com.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Three Hyundai Models Earn Top Safety Pick Awards



FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif., 11/25/2008 For a second year in a row, three Hyundai models earned the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's (IIHS) Top Safety Pick award. The Hyundai Veracruz and Santa Fe received awards in the midsize SUV segment and the Hyundai Entourage in the minivan segment. All winning vehicles are recognized for their ability to protect passengers in front, side and rear crashes.

This marks the fourth year in a row the Entourage has received the Institute's highest honor in the minivan category and second year in a row for the Veracruz and Santa Fe. All three vehicles also earned five-star crash test ratings, the highest government rating under NHTSA's New Car Assessment Program, for both frontal and side impact.

Top Safety Pick awards recognize vehicles that do the best job of protecting people in front, side and rear crashes based on ratings in the Institute's tests. Each vehicle's overall evaluation is based on a variety of measures including injuries to dummies, vehicle's structural performance, restraint performance, etc. Winners are also required to be equipped with the latest crash prevention technology, electronic stability control (ESC) -- which is standard on all three Hyundai Top Safety Pick vehicles and 67 percent of all Hyundai vehicles sold in the U.S.

According to the IIHS, "Consumers are the biggest winners. No matter what kind of vehicle buyers may be considering, now they can walk into just about any dealership and find one that affords the best overall protection in serious crashes."

"Hyundai remains committed to the implementation of advanced safety technologies, such as electronic active head restraints, introduced on the 2009 Hyundai Genesis," said Michael Deitz, manager of product development, Hyundai Motor America. "We're pleased that three of our models are Top Safety Picks again this year."

HYUNDAI MOTOR AMERICA

Hyundai Motor America, headquartered in Fountain Valley, Calif., is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Co. of Korea. Hyundai vehicles are distributed throughout the United States by Hyundai Motor America and are sold and serviced through more than 790 dealerships nationwide.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Genesis The Size Of A Buick

Most of our review cars manage to travel about greater Hartford unnoticed. They blend in, like a single tree in a forest.

There are exceptions, of course. Sporty models, performance vehicles and those with an extravagant price tag attract attention from enthusiasts. Four-door sedans, however, are generally ignored.

The Genesis, Hyundai's new luxury flagship sedan, turned out to be a notable exception. It is neither sporty nor extravagantly priced, yet it drew a surprising amount of attention.

There was the Buick driver at the self service pump who thought the Genesis looked "like a BMW" and wondered about various aspects of its performance, starting with fuel economy. The answer, which I did not know then, since the car was getting its first refueling during our review period, turned out to be 22 miles per gallon on regular gas.

The owner of a Mercury Grand Marquis was more probing. How did it ride, what is the handling like and did the interior, which looks very good, cost any extra? The answers follow, but first some background.

The Genesis is Hyundai's first attempt to break into the so-called near-luxury and luxury markets. It is also Hyundai's first rear-wheel drive sedan offered here and the first model from this maker that can be had with a V-8, though a refined and potent V-6 engine comes in the base version, which Hyundai loaned us for this review.

"Base version," unfortunately, has a negative connotation that does not apply here. It conjures up images of stripped down vehicles with plastic upholstery and a shocking lack of comfort and convenience features.

The base Hyundai Genesis is lavishly equipped. Think of an item you would not motor without and the chances are good that it will be on the standard equipment list. Air conditioning? The Genesis features automatic, dual zone climate control. Power assists? Standard are power windows, power heated mirrors, power remote control locks and power front bucket seats. Hyundai also includes an AM/FM/CD/MP3 playing audio system, keyless starting and, for the safety conscious among us, eight standard air bags (front, front side, rear side and side curtain), anti-lock disc brakes, traction and stability control.

"Hyundai has done a great job," said Steve Katuzney, sales manager at Lia Hyundai in Hartford. "We're taking BMWs and Mercedes-Benzes in trade."

The interior in the Genesis is beautifully done. Heated front seats and leather upholstery throughout are standard. Every surface that a driver or passenger can see or touch is probably padded and definitely highly attractive. The car is beautifully assembled and the body has a solidity that was once the exclusive hallmark of German luxury car makers. In short, there is nothing basic about the base version of the Genesis, except its $33,000 price tag.

For an additional $5,000, buyers can opt for the V-8 version. In addition to this expenditure delivering 85 additional horses, the V-8 version also adds a power tilt and telescoping steering wheel, a power sunroof, memory for the driver√Ęs seat, mirrors and steering wheel settings, an audio upgrade and rain sensing wipers. All of these items are offered in a $2,000 option package for base Genesis customers, suggesting that the V-8 is actually a $3,000 upgrade.

"The 3.8 [liter V-6] is the most popular," Katuzney said.

Regardless of the engine, a six-speed automatic transmission that shifts with near perfection is standard. Performance with the V-6 is impressive. Our review car made it to 60 miles per hour in just 6.7 seconds. The V-8, tried on the track at Pocono two months ago, is faster yet. Both drivetrains offer world-class refinement.

The ride is generally smooth, if firm. Comfort is enhanced over bumps by the taut body structure and the complete absence of squeaks, buzzes or rattles. Cruising is especially quiet with the windows closed. Handling is predictable and reassuring, though the Genesis is not particularly sporty.

The front seats offer all-day comfort and ample room for six-footers. In the rear, two more six footers will fit, even with the front seats moved back on their tracks. The Genesis is officially a five-passenger car, but the center rear seat passenger will find a large hump in the floor that ruins leg room. The hump is there for the driveshaft; remember that this is a rear-wheel drive car.

The trunk is large and easily accessed through a nicely sized lid. The rear seat back is fixed, however, so what you see once the trunk is opened is what you get. There is no expansion option here, though there is an arm-rest pass through for skis.

On the road, the Genesis easily earns its luxury car stripes. It is placid yet responsive, luxurious and comfortable. It may not be a sports sedan, but it delivers just what buyers who prize comfort, silence and style want. And it does so at a surprisingly low price.

"People who come to look at it love it," Katuzney said. "Those who just read about it and who don't come in to look at it and drive it are losing out."

Paula Says...

As a passenger, I loved the Genesis. It was quiet, comfortable and serene. The back seat was accommodating and, for me, limousine-like, thanks to its comfort and room. Interior treatments, materials, design and assembly are all top notch.

Driving the Genesis, however, was not quite as thrilling as I expected. Granted, the V-6 engine has lots of pep. It is so lively that I would have to question the need for the V-8, which while more powerful is less economical and calls for premium fuel. (The V-6 happily consumes regular.)

The vehicle's steering response is perfectly okay, but not exceptional. Of greater concern, the view ahead for a shorter driver is marred at intersections and in parking lots by the left outside mirror. Piloting the car through a busy mall calls for lots of head movement to overcome this. It also calls for a careful touch on the accelerator pedal, which I found a little sensitive at first.

On the plus side, the gauges are clear and the controls are easy to use thanks to a layout that has everything just where you think it should be. Getting in and out is a breeze, too.

By JIM MACPHERSON

Monday, November 24, 2008

2009 Hyundai Genesis: Luxury at a deep discount



The chocolate-brown leather is softer than a Hershey bar in a cop's back pocket. The topstitched upholstery across the dash and doors seems sewn with a needle borrowed from Miuccia Prada. The interior wood accents are carved from the most majestic lumber in the old-growth faux forest.

If you didn't know better -- and really, Hyundai would prefer you didn't know better -- you'd think the South Koreans had been at this luxury-car business a long time. In fact, the Genesis is the company's first full-size, rear-drive luxury car, an audacious shot whistling across the sport-sedan bows of BMW, Mercedes, Audi and Lexus.

And the Genesis -- $33,000 with the base 290-horsepower V-6; $38,000 with the optional 375-hp V-8 -- undercuts whatever relevant competitor you care to name by a good $10,000.

Cut-rate luxury is a complicated notion. It is true that when you buy a BMW or Mercedes, some incalculable percentage of the cost resides in the badge. But there is value in those names, and not just as a matter of getting good spots in valet parking.

Premium-brand cars keep more of their residual value and offer owners the satisfactions of heritage -- Mercedes at Monza, BMW at Le Mans -- and the sense of belonging to a great automaking tradition.

Hyundai, storied maker of cracker boxes such as the Excel and Accent, has no such poetry to fall back on. But it does have an extraordinarily lean and efficient manufacturing process, cheap labor and great relationships with its suppliers. So it's possible for the company to offer this near-peer to Euro sport sedans at about a 20 percent discount. In these leaner times, many customers will forgive the Hyundai its relative lack of brand cachet.

To make that compromise easier to swallow, Hyundai has taken the extraordinary step of de-badging its own car: There is no flying H on the big grille of the Genesis. This is a first, in my experience, and it's a move that subverts the grammar of luxury in ways I can scarcely wrap my head around. It's like taking a Rolex knockoff -- a Romex, say -- and scratching off the name. A real counterfeit, a fake genuine article? I'm dizzy.

Doubling down on its own perverse anonymity, the Genesis' styling is hyper-generic -- a ransom-note collage of cues from BMW (tail lights), Mercedes (grille) and Lexus. Check out that Hofmeister kink in the C-pillar. Been to Munich lately, have we?

Still, there's no denying that, like Hyundai's Sonata and Azera, the Genesis is a staggering amount of car for the money. Our test vehicle was the 4.6-liter, V-8-powered model with the $4,000 technology package (528-watt, 17-speaker sound system with XM radio; navigation system; adaptive front headlamps; heated and cooled driver's seat; and more).

In some ways, the Genesis delivers a deep-pile luxury that betters the badge-bearing competitors. The cabin ambience is exceptionally quiet. The windshield and side windows are glazed with double-laminated acoustic glass; the unibody and body panels are crammed with sound-deadening panels and adhesives that all but mute the outside hurly-burly.

The creamiest and most luscious part of the car, though, is Hyundai's new 4.6-liter, all-alloy V-8, a lovely watch-work of reciprocation that hits all the right notes. Near-silent and under-taxed around town, the engine is capable of big torque and acceleration -- zero to 60 mph is well below 6 seconds -- and a bit of a feral growl. At 80 miles per hour, I slipped the six-speed ZF automatic transmission into third and kicked the slats. The car pulled like a rabid malamute up to its 6,850-rpm redline. Another shift, another redline, and without much ado I was exceeding the posted speed limit of most Autobahnen.

Interestingly, the overhead-cam V-8, with dual-intake runners and variable timing on its 32 valves, will happily digest both regular and premium fuel, Hyundai says.

The company even offers horsepower figures for both fuels: 368 hp on regular and the nominal 375 hp on premium. Fuel economy is 17 miles per gallon city, 25 mpg highway, though I lead-footed my way to an 18-mpg average.

The Genesis has respectable undergirding: five-link suspension front and rear, with all the bits in cast alloy. The suspension tuning on the 4.6-liter model (by Sachs) is firm but compliant, though it lacks the silk-wrapped dreaminess of a comparable Lexus.

On a vigorous flog up the secret canyon test road, the Genesis acquitted itself well enough, with good body control and well-damped transient behavior.

The steering has a nice heft to it but isn't particularly communicative. The car will hustle, but given the all-season radials' relative lack of bite and the car's significant weight, it doesn't seem to enjoy it.

This car is much happier defying expectations in a straight line than confirming them in aggressive cornering.

I'm far too much of a romantic to buy this car. I like a brand with provenance and I'm willing to pay for it. For more hard-nosed, practical types, the Genesis 4.6 presents an all-but-irresistible case of value per dollar. And they won't be wrong.

Hyundai Genesis 4.6
Base price: $38,000
As tested: $42,000
Powertrain: 4.6-liter DOHC, 32-valve V-8, with dual intake runners and variable valve timing; six-speed automatic transmission; rear-wheel drive
Horsepower: 375 at 6,500 rpm
Torque: 333 foot-pounds at 3,500 rpm
Weight: 4,012 pounds
0-60 mph: 5.6 seconds
Wheelbase: 115.6 inches
Overall length: 195.9 inches
EPA fuel economy: 17 mpg city, 25 mpg highway

Compare with the similarly equipped:
BMW 550 or Mercedes-Benz E550: north of $60,000
Lexus LS 460: north of $70,000

By Dan Neil
Los Angeles Times
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

Friday, November 21, 2008

Hyundai Genesis: Rewarding luxury at a bargain price

Hyundai's new foray into the luxury car market is eerily reminiscent of the Japanese -- and specifically Toyota's -- entry into BMW and Mercedes territory more than 20 years ago.

Toyota, builder of small, fuel-efficient bargain-basement cars in the '70s and '80s, announced a new luxury nameplate in 1987 to the snickers of European and American manufacturers. Well, as we all know today, the joke was on BMW, Mercedes, Jaguar, Cadillac and Lincoln. One of the first two products of the oddly named Lexus brand was a full-sized clone of the Mercedes S-Class. Hitting showrooms as the LS 400 in the fall of 1989, it was as good as the Mercedes in most ways, but at a price many thousands less.

The meteoric rise of Lexus is automotive history. Lexus rapidly expanded its lineup and went on to become the top luxury-car builder in the world with a level of quality and reliability never before achieved. South Korean automaker Hyundai, reviled for its cheap and shoddily built products after it entered the U.S. market in 1985, has steadily improved its vehicles over the last decade until now it sells some of the most well-built, well-designed and fuel-efficient cars and sports utilities in the world.

Hyundai is as ambitious today as Toyota/Lexus was 20 years ago. That ambition is evident in Hyundai's first luxury undertaking, the 2009 Genesis full-sized rear-wheel-driven sedan. We think that this time there won't be any snickers from the Europeans or the Japanese luxury manufacturers over the Korean's first attempt at a premium sedan. There might even be some consternation because, for the most part, Hyundai has hit the nail squarely on the head. The one thing that may hold the Genesis back is its Hyundai nameplate.

Will a Genesis shopper seeking a less expensive alternative to his Lexus or Infiniti, think twice about driving off in a Hyundai, known for its inexpensive family of compact and mid-sized sedans, no matter how impressed he is with the car? You can hear his slightly aghast status-driven neighbor proclaiming, "I knew things were bad George, but trading your Lexus for a Hyundai? Didn't know they were that bad, partner." Of course if old George can overcome the Mercedes/Lexus status issue, it won't take him long to wow his neighbors who then may think him the wisest shopper at the country club.

We say you can get 50 grand quality and substance for a fraction of the cost with the Genesis that tops out at around $42,000 for a lavishly equipped 4.6-liter 375-horsepower V-8 model. As usual, Hyundai has taken the best from the competition and molded it into a well-rounded automobile. This has been their modus operandi for the past decade. The styling is handsome yet conservative. The front end resembles a S-Class Mercedes and the profile has a striking resemblance to a Lexus LS 460. The rear end includes some BMW traits. And the Hyundai insignia is purposely missing from the grille.

The well-thought-out dashboard looks much like some layouts in the current-generation Infiniti. After a couple of hours behind the wheel and in the passenger seat it was easy to reach the conclusion that the Genesis is much more than a well-executed clone. It carries its own unique personality. It breaks no new ground, but it's a well-rounded and well-executed luxury sedan with all the current technology.

Hyundai says it used the Chrysler 300C, Lexus ES 350, Pontiac G8 and Cadillac CTS as its "primary competitive set" and the Lexus GS, Infiniti M, BMW 5-Series and Mercedes E-Class as its "image target competitors." We're not sure what that means. Hyundai officials seem to be saying they have set their sights on a wide range of competitors to match up with the least expensive 3.8-liter V-6 trim level up to the well- equipped 4.6-liter V-8. The base 3.8 makes 290 horsepower mated to a six-speed automatic. One published performance number has it rocketing from 0 to 60 in 6.3 seconds and completing a quarter mile in 14.8 seconds at 95 mph. Considering gas mileage of 18 city and 27 highway on regular fuel and a well-equipped starting price of $33,000 including destination charge it's a solid package and matches up well with the Acura TL, Cadillac CTS, Lexus ES 350 and Mercedes C-Class.

The real kicker, however is the 4.6-liter V-8, which generates 375 horsepower and 333 pound-feet of torque. It can nail a 0-to-60 run in a heart-pounding 5.5 seconds and finish off a quarter in 14 seconds at nearly 104 mph. Gas mileage on premium fuel is rated at a class-leading 17 city and 25 highway. Hyundai says its acceptable to pump in regular if you don't mind losing six or seven horsepower. This car can go head-to-head with the big boys including the 5-Series BMW and E-Class Mercedes.

We know that's a bold statement, but it was made after spending a morning inside a extremely quiet Genesis 4.8 cockpit with its rich- looking and rich-feeling leather interior, a dashboard that sweeps gracefully from side to side, a well-designed center stack and comfortable chairs. The doors shut with a solid thunk. The one-touch power windows silently go down and up with a touch. The ride is ever so slightly on the firm side with a smile-inducing smoothness over rough road surfaces.

Back-seat passengers will find stretch out room in comfortable seats. That's because the Genesis is a relatively big car stretching out 196 inches with a 74.4-inch wheelbase. That's six inches longer than the Lexus GS 460 and five inches longer than the E-Class Mercedes.

Trunk space is relatively generous at 16 cubic feet, but the rear seat does not fold down for those pesky long items.

For $33,000 including destination charge you can purchase a very well equipped 3.8. Standard stuff includes a full array of safety features, leather interior, a sunroof, dual-zone climate control and full power accessories including power tilt and telescoping steering wheel.

A $7,000 technology package adds navigation, rear backup camera and what Hyundai officials say is the most advanced audio system in the industry, a 500-watt 17-speaker Lexicon surround sound system that includes an 11-channel amplifier.

A similar technology package can be ordered up for the 4.6 at $4,000. That means that for $42,000 you can have every amenity available on the Genesis. We call that a bargain.

And by the way, don't forget Hyundai's standard five-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper and 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranties.

Jim Meachen, www.car-data.com
Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Hyundai Initiates CO2 Offset Program for All 2009 Genesis Sedans



Genesis Forest Project Will Offset More than 93,000 Metric Tons of CO2

LOS ANGELES, 11/19/2008 Hyundai Motor America and Carbonfund.org, the nation's leading non-profit carbon offset provider, unveiled the Genesis Forest Project today, at the 2008 Los Angeles Auto Show, to offset the entire first year of emissions for all 2009 Hyundai Genesis sedans sold in the United States. Hyundai anticipates that the Genesis Forest Project will offset 93,170 metric tons[1] of CO2 through the permanent conservation and reforestation of 3,000 acres of tropical forest in Brazil. The offset program reduces emissions and improves efficiency across the Hyundai model line-up. Hyundai is inviting its owners and others interested in helping preserve the environment to learn more at hyundai.carbonfund.org.

The Genesis Forest Project is one of the first voluntary carbon offset projects that will meet the high standards of the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standards as well as the Social Carbon™ methodology. The Genesis Forest Project is the only program of its kind to offer seed grants for new projects and allow consumers to contribute to the expansion of the forest. Carbon offsets will be retroactively applied to all 2009 Genesis sedan sales, which began in June, and continue through the end of the year.

"We realize this is a small step toward making a positive impact on climate change," said Justin Osborne, national manager, Brand Strategy, Hyundai Motor America. "As the fifth-largest car company in the world, we are proud of our efforts to develop cars that are better for people and the planet. Hyundai is introducing new technologies and raising the bar for fuel-efficient vehicles, which will be introduced over the next several years. As we strive to improve, we are making a humble contribution to make the planet we all share a better place."

The Genesis Forest Project will serve as a model of sustainability for the surrounding region by balancing the needs of local communities while helping to fight global climate change. In addition to its environmental benefits, the Genesis Forest Project will create local economic opportunities, improve the regional environment and help preserve biodiversity.

Carbon Offsetting and Environmental Conservation

Carbon offsets can mitigate carbon dioxide emissions produced by everyday activities, including driving. Carbon offset programs support renewable energy, energy efficiency and reforestation projects where they are most cost effective.

Hyundai chose to locate the Genesis Forest Project in Tocantins, Brazil - an area known as the Cerrado region, which is classified as a Biodiversity Hotspot. It features a wide array of unique plant and animal species including the giant anteater, giant armadillo, jaguar and maned wolf. With less than two percent of the region protected in national parks and conservation areas, this area is threatened by the rapid deforestation it has experienced over the past 50 years due to unsustainable agricultural practices. Two-thirds of the project is dedicated to avoiding deforestation and conserving land. The other third of the project is dedicated to reforestation, which will introduce 30 native plant species back to the area.

In addition to partnering with Carbonfund.org, Genesis Forest Project will partner with Brazil's Ecological Institute. Hyundai and CarbonFund.org will administer the offset program using the Social Carbon™ methodology which, developed by the Institute, ensures that the long-term contribution of the project lead to the sustainable development of the local region through constant monitoring and analysis. The project's carbon offsets will be registered on the Social Carbon registry. In addition, Cantor CO2e will be involved in the project.

Environmental Research Support

The Genesis Forest Project also supports ongoing research that will benefit the Cerrado and similar regions for years to come. Hyundai's program calls for an on-site eco-tropical research center that will provide scholarships for the advanced study of the region, as well as assist with training and research needs. Hyundai also has pledged financial support for the work of the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA), the international leader in setting accepted standards of land-based carbon offset projects with multi-faceted environmental and social benefits. Finally, Hyundai will sponsor the Hyundai Climate Grants Program in conjunction with the CCBA to award three $35,000 grants to developers of similar initiatives creating new forestry projects that meet the CCBA standards.

Support for the Local Community:

"Social Carbon" programs designed to create jobs and provide income for the local community, as well as gain support in conserving the region, are important elements of the Genesis Forest Project.

Local communities are offered land preservation workshops focused on informing farmers and the community about the long-term damage caused by the common practice of burning forests to release nitrogen and other nutrients into the soil for crops.

The program also supports the local fire brigade, which is ill-equipped to counter forest fires. This project provides financial support to the brigade to put out and prevent forest fires at the project site and within the region.

The Genesis Forest Project will educate community members about utilizing the forest's natural resources responsibly, including the development of an agri-forest system which supplies fruit, soil, tree oils and more that can be sold or used by the community.

The program will institute a nursery program to produce seedlings to plant at the project during the reforestation phase. The nursery is an ongoing effort to supply plant species throughout the region.

ABOUT CARBONFUND.ORG

Carbonfund.org is the country's leading non-profit carbon reduction and offset organization, making it easy and affordable for individuals, businesses and organizations to reduce their climate impact. Carbon offsets enable individuals and businesses to reduce carbon dioxide emissions they are responsible for in their everyday lives by supporting renewable energy, energy efficiency and reforestation projects where they are most cost effective. Carbonfund.org works with over 1000 corporate and non-profit partners including Discovery, Volkswagen, Amtrak, Dell, Orbitz, Staples, and JetBlue.

ABOUT HYUNDAI MOTOR AMERICA

Hyundai Motor America, headquartered in Fountain Valley, Calif. is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Company of Korea. Hyundai cars and sport utility vehicles are distributed throughout the United States by Hyundai Motor America and are sold and serviced through almost 800 Hyundai dealerships nationwide. [1] Carbon sequestration forecasts are based on CCB standards and validation.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

2009 Hyundai Genesis Fuel Economy Test Drive: Can V8 Muscle Hit V6 Gas Mileage?



DETROIT -- The all-new 2009 Hyundai Genesis luxury car is something of a revelation. It's the first rear-drive sedan Hyundai has ever produced; it's the first Hyundai powered by an optional V-8 engine and it's the first Hyundai to package real luxury in a Korean-built sedan. That's certainly a lot of firsts. The Genesis sedan, which will be followed by a high-performance coupe in the spring of 2009, fits into the same class, size-wise, as the much more expensive BMW 550i and the Mercedes-Benz E550 sedans, yet the Genesis V8 is priced more like a loaded Chrysler 300C Hemi at around $37,250.

To see if this new Hyundai really hits the marks when it comes to bargain luxury and to find out if that V8 returns the fuel economy many consumers expect these days, we hit the highway for a road trip.

The Specs
Hyundai's Genesis is a relative lightweight (4000 pounds) thanks to the fact that 75 percent of the body is made of high-strength steel. It uses no struts underneath, but rather an expensive five-link front and rear suspension systems that look and act much like the ones you'll find on a Mercedes-Benz. The all-new 4.6-liter engine is a double-overhead-cam, 32-valve V8 with variable valve timing on both intake and exhaust valves, a design that yields 375 hp at 6500 rpm, or 82 horsepower per liter. That's higher than most of the competitive V8 engines. Plus, there's a solid 333 lb-ft of torque that peaks at 3500 rpm. The V8 is matched to a butter-smooth ZF six-speed manumatic transmission. Plant the skinny pedal and the Genesis V8 is good enough for 0 to 60 mph in about 5.5 seconds.

We couldn't find much missing from the Genesis package. The base price includes plenty of hardware, including stability control, leather, sunroof and a 14-speaker Lexicon sound system with Bluetooth. The safety package is replete with front, side and roof airbags, and the Genesis carries a quintuple five-star rating for front, side and rollover crash ratings from the NHTSA.

For a nice, round $4000, the Technology package adds a 528-watt, 17-speaker, 7.1 surround-sound system, with an HD radio tuner and XM satellite radio, a six-CD changer, navigation, a rearview camera, driver information system, HID headlamps with auto leveling, adaptive headlamps, parking assists front and rear, and a heated and cooled driver's seat. All this stuff bumps the price up to $41,250-still well below that of a German luxury sedan.

The Drive
Our Genesis V8 arrived with little more than 1200 break-in miles on the odometer. The plan was to challenge the window sticker's 17/25 rating with a long weekend trip from Detroit to Columbus-the one in Indiana, not Ohio. Why Columbus, Indiana? Because there are some significant motoring milestones along the way, and because tiny Columbus (population about 40,000) is one of the most architecturally significant small towns in America, with half a dozen national historic landmarks and more than 70 homes, buildings, businesses and parks worth exploring. Not to mention it's the hometown of two-time NASCAR champion Tony Stewart.

We set the nav system for our hotel in Columbus, zeroed the trip odometers, reset the mileage meter and hit the road, using only interstates. We immediately noticed the comfy leather seats, tilt and telescope steering wheel, and the quiet cabin. We were quite impressed by the fit and finish of the Genesis cabin too. All these factors meant we arrived in Columbus refreshed instead of worn down by the journey. The human-machine interface, the master controller on the console for the sound and navigation system, worked simply and easily-without the usual guessing games, repeats or delays that plague many luxury cars.

The instruments showed 355 miles on the trip odo, an indicated average mileage for the trip of 26.7 mpg at an average speed just over 61 mph. Not too shabby for a 2-ton V8 luxury car.

We spent the entire day driving the Genesis around Columbus, trying to deteriorate our average mileage figure. But that did not happen. After an effortless, trafficless Sunday morning drive back to our headquarters near Detroit, we had posted a 27 mpg average on the driver information center's meter at an average speed of 67 mph over a distance of 736 miles. But that's the Genesis calculating its own fuel economy. We posted a more accurate 23 mpg overall when we calculated odometer mileage divided by fuel used for the entire trip.

The Bottom Line
Throughout our experience with the Genesis, we were impressed by the way it goes about its business with quiet competence. It's Lexus-like in this regard. The Genesis is no sport sedan, but on our drive it handled fast sweepers with little body roll. The suspension again felt very plush over the undulating freeway transitions. And our fuel economy of 23 mpg matches up well to the figures we recorded for our Infiniti M35 PM long-term test vehicle-a V6-powered luxury car of about the same size. If this is what a Korean car company can do on its first attempt at a luxury car, we can't wait to drive the next one.

Popular Mechanics

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Hyundai Sonata takes on rivals



This sedan can give the other Asian automakers a run for their money.

It's actually kind of exciting, or maybe intriguing, to watch Hyundai's progress through the world of auto sales in the United States.

It's been here barely 20 Years. It stumbled at first, but it learned its lessons and is now producing a raft of cars that seem able to play strongly in the same sandbox as such Japanese successes as Toyota, Honda and Nissan.

The case in point is the 2009 Sonata, Hyundai's dead-on competitor to the Camry, Accord and Altima.

So, consider the Sonata. The car comes in three trim levels GLS, SE and Limited and with two different engines, the 2.4-liter four cylinder, 175 horsepower, and 3.5-liter V6 with 249 horses.

Prices range from about $18,000 to a bit more than $27,000. Our tester had the optional $1,250 navigation system (new this year for the Sonata) and had a sticker price of $27,685.

Inside, Hyundai has spruced up the interior with wood accents and all the farkles (that's a motorcycle term for added goodies) that consumers think are almost standard Bluetooth capability, Homelink garage door opening gizmos, USB/iPod inputs, steering wheel redundant controls, and the like.

All the controls fall readily to hand and the steering wheel is coated with a stitched leather covering Hyundai pays particular attention to interiors, viz. its Veracruz SUV hauler, which strives for (and, to my mind, mostly achieves) a kind of Lexus RX series ambience.

So, yes, the Sonata's V-6 is smooth, quiet and unobtrusive and the five-speed automatic holds each gear long enough and will hold it even longer if you take advantage of the manumatic shifting, which allows you to choose when to shift. Everything was swimming along quite well, when I encountered a few rough patches of road.

By this I don't mean Rough Road, just your normal city streets, a block or three that had not seen city work crews for years. When the Sonata's wheels encountered Pothole No. 1, not to mention Nos. 2 through 5, its suspension jarred noisily.

It sounded, frankly, like an old and worn automobile. It was out of character for the rest of the car.

But it does do well on gas. Even the V-6 gets EPA fuel economy figures of 19 and 29 mpg; the four-banger gets 21 and 32, respectively. And as long as we're talking numbers, the Sonata's trunk capacity, at 16.3 cubic feet, is larger than Camry/Accord/Altima, and, yes, there's a 60/40 split and folding rear seat.

If the new Sonata is any example of what Hyundai can do, the other guys better check their rearview mirrors. Often.

By Michael Taylor
San Francisco Chronicle

Monday, November 17, 2008

Will Hyundai's obvious value appeal to your emotion?

When you get beyond emotions, the car game is all about numbers. In this respect alone, the new 2009 Hyundai Genesis is a winner.

Pitched directly into the entry-level luxury segment against respected names like Audi, BMW, Lexus and Mercedes, the Genesis is more powerful and fuel efficient, longer and wider, has a stiffer chassis, slipperier shape and costs thousands of dollars less. Hyundai quality, both initial and longer term as judged by J. D. Power and other industry studies, has become the equal of the best in the industry and better than most in this class. Helping the cause is a warranty that covers the longest period of time in the business. On a purely rational scale, the Genesis is a done deal.

But for many buyers, emotions play a major role in vehicle acquisition decisions, from the looks, content, driving dynamics and in this class, image. The latteris the reason Hyundai is entering the luxury arena. It wants the world to know that it is building vehicles that stand up to comparison with anything on the market. It might take a while before luxury-car owners put Hyundai stores on their buying tour, after all these are people willing to pay a hefty premium for a brand and an image. But it shouldn't take long for people wanting to move up to a luxury car to catch on that this is a screaming bargain.

The styling is somewhat familiar. Each time you look atthe Genesis from a different angle you see a reminder of another luxury car, whether it be a Mercedes, BMW or a Lexus. The lines are all there someplace. To continue that effect, there is no identification on the front of Genesis. There's no logo, badge or name. You have to walk around to the back to learn of its genetics. The overall look is one of conservatism, which is something owners in this class apparently look for.

The interior on the other hand is a stand out. Stunning in looks and execution, it is a distinct departure, well furnished and finished as expected in this class. There is plenty of legroom front and rear and there's a massive trunk. In addition to eight airbags, the Genesis comes with electronic head restraints to reduce the risk of whiplash. The instruments and controls are large, legible and well positioned.

The Genesis is based on a brand new rear-drive platform specifically designed for this vehicle. The next to share these underpinnings will be a two-door version coming along in a few months. The four-door model comes in V6 and V8 formats. Standard equipment includes 17-inch alloy wheels, heated front seats, leather interior, automatic climate control, push-button start, Bluetooth connectivity, AM/FM/CD/MP3/satellite audio system with iPod and USB inputs. The V8 adds 18-inch wheels, power moon roof, park assist, a special two-tone leather that's slathered on both the instrument panel top and door panels where you can both see and feel the incredibly soft finish. The option list is peppered with neat stuff like an amazing 17-speaker audio system, navigation system, back-up camera, power rear sunshade, high-intensity-discharge adaptive headlights and a cooled driver seat.

The 3.8-liter V6 is the same silky smooth and quiet engine found in other Hyundai products. It comes paired with a six-speed automatic transmission and stands up well in comparison with other six-cylinder powerplants in the field.

The optional V8 is a source of great pride for Hyundai. The all-aluminum DOHC unit is as refined as they come and propels this big sedan to 60 mph in less than six seconds, which is pretty stout by any comparison. It, too, comes with a six-speed automatic, in this case the same ZF unit supplied to BMW. Hyundai suggests the use of premium fuel with the V8, but says that you lose only seven horsepower should you opt for the less-expensive propellant.

The Genesis offers the luxury, performance and features of the more expensive and established brands. If you're not prepared to pay a hefty premium for a logo, buy a Genesis, a second new daily-use car and treat yourself to a Caribbean vacation... for the same outlay.

RICHARD RUSSELL

Friday, November 14, 2008

Hyundai's luxury Genesis rivals best of Japan, Europe

2009 Hyundai Genesis

Hyundai's new Genesis full-size sedan takes aim at established luxury cars like the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class with its rear-wheel-drive layout, available V-8 power and upscale features. Competitive pricing should enhance the Genesis' appeal when it hits dealerships in summer 2008. Primary competitors include the Buick Lucerne, Chrysler 300 and Toyota Avalon.

In 1990, when Toyota wanted to enter the luxury-car market, company executives were unconvinced that customers would pay premium prices for a Toyota, so they created a luxury brand called Lexus. Nissan thought the same thing, so they created Infiniti. Mazda very nearly launched a luxury brand call Amati.

These thoughts have to be circulating at Hyundai, with the launch of the all-new 2009 Genesis, the company's first real luxury vehicle. Will people pay more than $40,000 for a Hyundai when it's parked on the dealer's lot next to an $11,000 Accent?

Hyundai is convinced that won't be a problem, and the rest of the industry is watching with interest. Especially because the last time a mainstream manufacturer tried to jump into the luxury business -- Volkswagen, with its short-lived Phaeton -- the result was disastrous.

The 2004 VW Phaeton started at $65,000, though, and topped out at close to $90,000, admittedly a long way from the Genesis' base price of $32,250 for the V-6 model, and $37,250 for the V-8 model we tested. But still, it's a reach for Hyundai.

To succeed, the company knows it has to overdeliver for the price, and it has. The Genesis 4.6 -- so named for the size of its V-8 engine, the first ever for the Korean manufacturer -- is a genuine surprise in almost every area.

The Genesis, Hyundai's first rear-wheel-drive car, has an overall length of 195.9 inches and width of 73.4 inches, roughly the same size as an Acura RL. The base engine is a 3.8-liter, 290 horsepower V-6, with the 4.6-liter V-8 as an option. Horsepower for the V-8 is rated at 375 on premium gas, 368 on regular. The transmission is a built-in-Germany ZF six-speed automatic, the only major component not built in Korea.

Inside, the Genesis is plush and roomy up front and slightly less roomy in the rear. Two adults fit fine, but a third will have to sit on a hard console that folds up into the seat back. Trunk space is average for a car this size.

The Genesis 4.6 is absolutely loaded with standard features, ranging from a power rear sunshade to a 14-speaker Lexicon sound system. A $4,000 optional "Technology Package" on the test car upgraded the stereo to 17 speakers, and adds a navigation system, rear backup camera, automatic leveling headlights and a cooled driver's seat. With $750 in shipping, the price was an even $42,000.

While the leather- and wood-trimmed cockpit suggests that Hyundai designers have been studying BMW, the outside looks more like an Infiniti than anything else. This is a handsome car, if not particularly distinctive.

On the road, it's another story: This is one of the quietest cars I've driven at any price.

The engine is superb -- Hyundai has often been a beat behind the competition in that area -- and the ride and handling rival the best from Europe and Japan. Coming next is a performance-oriented Genesis coupe, and I'm looking forward to that with a lot more anticipation now than I was before.

This is not an exceptionally good time to be introducing

Hyundai's luxury Genesis rivals best of Japan, Europe

2009 Hyundai Genesis

Hyundai's new Genesis full-size sedan takes aim at established luxury cars like the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class with its rear-wheel-drive layout, available V-8 power and upscale features. Competitive pricing should enhance the Genesis' appeal when it hits dealerships in summer 2008. Primary competitors include the Buick Lucerne, Chrysler 300 and Toyota Avalon.

In 1990, when Toyota wanted to enter the luxury-car market, company executives were unconvinced that customers would pay premium prices for a Toyota, so they created a luxury brand called Lexus. Nissan thought the same thing, so they created Infiniti. Mazda very nearly launched a luxury brand call Amati.

These thoughts have to be circulating at Hyundai, with the launch of the all-new 2009 Genesis, the company's first real luxury vehicle. Will people pay more than $40,000 for a Hyundai when it's parked on the dealer's lot next to an $11,000 Accent?

Hyundai is convinced that won't be a problem, and the rest of the industry is watching with interest. Especially because the last time a mainstream manufacturer tried to jump into the luxury business -- Volkswagen, with its short-lived Phaeton -- the result was disastrous.

The 2004 VW Phaeton started at $65,000, though, and topped out at close to $90,000, admittedly a long way from the Genesis' base price of $32,250 for the V-6 model, and $37,250 for the V-8 model we tested. But still, it's a reach for Hyundai.

To succeed, the company knows it has to overdeliver for the price, and it has. The Genesis 4.6 -- so named for the size of its V-8 engine, the first ever for the Korean manufacturer -- is a genuine surprise in almost every area.

The Genesis, Hyundai's first rear-wheel-drive car, has an overall length of 195.9 inches and width of 73.4 inches, roughly the same size as an Acura RL. The base engine is a 3.8-liter, 290 horsepower V-6, with the 4.6-liter V-8 as an option. Horsepower for the V-8 is rated at 375 on premium gas, 368 on regular. The transmission is a built-in-Germany ZF six-speed automatic, the only major component not built in Korea.

Inside, the Genesis is plush and roomy up front and slightly less roomy in the rear. Two adults fit fine, but a third will have to sit on a hard console that folds up into the seat back. Trunk space is average for a car this size.

The Genesis 4.6 is absolutely loaded with standard features, ranging from a power rear sunshade to a 14-speaker Lexicon sound system. A $4,000 optional "Technology Package" on the test car upgraded the stereo to 17 speakers, and adds a navigation system, rear backup camera, automatic leveling headlights and a cooled driver's seat. With $750 in shipping, the price was an even $42,000.

While the leather- and wood-trimmed cockpit suggests that Hyundai designers have been studying BMW, the outside looks more like an Infiniti than anything else. This is a handsome car, if not particularly distinctive.

On the road, it's another story: This is one of the quietest cars I've driven at any price.

The engine is superb -- Hyundai has often been a beat behind the competition in that area -- and the ride and handling rival the best from Europe and Japan. Coming next is a performance-oriented Genesis coupe, and I'm looking forward to that with a lot more anticipation now than I was before.

This is not an exceptionally good time to be introducing a new flagship, but by all accounts Hyundai has the patience to wait for the Genesis to find a market. They certainly have the product down pat: Considering that Hyundai only began selling cars here in 1986, it's astounding how far they've come.

Steven Cole Smith | Sentinel Automotive Editor

a new flagship, but by all accounts Hyundai has the patience to wait for the Genesis to find a market. They certainly have the product down pat: Considering that Hyundai only began selling cars here in 1986, it's astounding how far they've come.

Steven Cole Smith | Sentinel Automotive Editor

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Hyundai Genesis Coupe has BMW's 335i Coupe in Its Sights

2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe

Is there a segment of the market that Hyundai isn't targeting? Whether through its namesake brand or via its subsidiary Kia, every category from subcompact hatchbacks to V8-powered luxury sedans and full-size 4x4-capable SUVs has a competitive model vying for its piece of the action.

The first vehicle to truly stun auto industry pundits was the full-size Veracruz crossover, and that only came after a Santa Fe that did its fair share of jaw dropping. Comments such as Lexus-like appointments were followed up with BMW-like handling and breathtaking acceleration when the Genesis sedan arrived, overshadowing its own full-size front-drive Azera and near best-in-class Sonata. Now the Korean segment shaker is taking on BMW's sacrosanct 3-Series Coupe with its new Genesis Coupe, making some pretty bold claims that it will have to live up to as soon as the first test drives take place.

By targeting BMW's 3, Hyundai knows that all other comers will be pushed to the side, the German car revered above all direct competitors, other than possibly the Infiniti G37 Coupe for handling prowess. Therefore other rear-drive sport coupes like Ford's Mustang, Dodge's new Challenger and Chevy's upcoming Camaro, at least in V6 trim, will be automatically disqualified. Right off the mark its 310-horsepower 3.8-liter V6 and 3,402 pound curb weight give it a better power to weight ratio than the top-line 335i, Infiniti's G37, the Camaro LS and the Challenger.

The numbers speak for themselves, with a 0 to 60 mph time of just 5.7 seconds and EPA highway fuel consumption in the 25 mpg range.

"One of the program targets for the Genesis engineering team was world-class weight efficiency," commented John Krafcik, vice president, Product Development and Strategic Planning, Hyundai Motor America. "When you look at the size and content of both Genesis models, you'll find we lead all our competitors in weight efficiency. We also target leadership in power-to-weight ratio. We think that's just smart strategy in today's world. It pays huge dividends in both performance and fuel economy, and that's especially important in the segments in which these cars compete."

The Genesis Coupe fuel miser is its entry-level 3,303-pound 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four cylinder with dual continuously variable valve timing, good for an estimated 220-horsepower and 223 lb-ft of torque at 2,000 rpm, while using premium fuel (regular fuel is good for 210-hp). It comes mated to a standard six-speed manual, with a five-speed automatic featuring steering wheel-mounted paddle-shifters as optional equipment. The car's top speed is targeted at 137 mph, while highway fuel consumption is estimated to ring in at 30 mpg. But a turbocharged four-cylinder wouldn't offer the kind of refinement you'd want, right? Maybe it will.

"While some turbochargers sacrifice smooth drivability with high operating boost pressures in the 20 psi range, Genesis Coupe uses a refined, low-boost calibration for smoothness and efficiency," said Derek Joyce, Genesis Coupe product manager. "We could have opted solely for big performance numbers, but our focus for the 2.0T was a more balanced package."

While all of the aforementioned is impressive, you might want to sit down about now, as what you're about to hear next might be shocking. Like the Genesis Sedan, the new rear-drive Coupe uses a lot of ultra-high-strength steel, resulting in world-class body rigidity. Slapping the big boys right in the face, the Genesis sedan already enjoys 10- to 12-percent greater torsional rigidity than its Lexus and Mercedes-Benz competitors, while being lighter than either benchmark four-door and delivering more interior room. At a mere 3,303 pounds the Genesis Coupe 2.0T is hundreds of pounds lighter than all of its independent rear suspension-equipped rear-wheel drive rivals, with (take a deep breath) body-bending rigidity that's twenty-four percent higher than a BMW E46 M3! OK, them's fightin' words, Hyundai.

To make matters worse, Hyundai will offer a track model of the four-cylinder and six-cylinder coupe, models that will no doubt be snapped up by drifters and autocross specialists alike. An even edgier R-Spec model will be four-cylinder only, and get stripped of many creature comforts luxury coupe buyers expect in their rides; the latter category will be happier with the Grand Touring model.

The Grand Touring will be surprisingly well stuffed with luxury accoutrements if fully loaded, such as proximity sensing keyless entry and push button start, heated brown leather clad front seats (black leather comes standard in the regular 3.8 model, power actuated for the driver with lumbar support, a navigation system that will soon include a Microsoft co-developed Sync-like Bluetooth interactivity interface, heated power remote mirrors, back-up sensors, a power glass sunroof, and a 360-watt audio system with 10-speakers and a sub. Visibility will be enhanced with HID headlights too, very premium spec equipment.

Back to the Track and R-Spec models, gone are the chrome accents on the front grille, replaced with body-color, while 19-inch gunmetal finish alloy rims will come framed in Bridgestone Potenza RE050A rubber at 225/40 in the front and 245/40 at the rear. Clearly visible through the spokes will be 13.4-inch front rotors clamped down on by four-piston Brembo calipers, while 13.0-inch discs will get the pinch from four-piston calipers in back. At that end a torsen-type limited slip differential gets added, while stiffer coil springs and beefier shocks are joined by a 25 mm front sway bar and a 22 mm one in the rear.

A rear spoiler and fog lamps will be added too. Altogether it should be a particularly formidable foe for weekend warriors, although probably a bit nasty for day to day driving.

The standard Euroflange alloy wheels are sizeable too, at 18 inches, while the standard brakes get single floating calipers squeezing 12.6-inch front and 12.4-inch rear rotors. All Genesis Coupes feature a MacPherson dual-link front and five-link rear suspension setup, plus 24 mm front and 19 mm rear sway bars complemented by a beefy strut brace spanning the engine compartment. Steering is rack and pinion with 2.7 turns lock to lock, and Electronic Stability Control with ABS, Electronic Brake-Force Distribution, Brake Assist, plus a Tire Pressure Monitoring System also comes at no charge. Also part of the base package is front, side and side-curtain airbags, as well as active front head restraints.

Other standard features include power windows with one-touch up/down control, keyless entry, steering wheel controls accessing an AM/FM/XM/CD 6-speaker audio system boasting a hub with USB, iPod and an auxiliary jack connections, Bluetooth, cruise control, and projector beam headlights. A Premium model will be available with the aforementioned navigation system, glass sunroof, proximity sensing keyless entry and push-button start, Homelink, and the 360-watt audio system.

As an overview, the model lineup starts with the base 2.0T model, then moves up to the 2.0T Premium, 2.0 Track, 2.0T R-Spec (late availability), 3.8, 3.8 Grand Touring and 3.8 Track. Nine exterior colors named after famed racetracks (or portions thereof) should make sure you get some exclusivity off the shelf, and include Karussell White, Bathurst Black, Silverstone, Nordschleife Gray, Acqua Minerale Blue, Tsukuba Red, Mirabeau Blue, Lime Rock Green, Interlagos Yellow.

Should BMW be worried? Certainly 335i owners might want to work on their "I could take him if I wanted to" shrug as the Genesis Coupe flashes past, but the German brand isn't about to lose many Bimmer loyalists, at least not right away. Street cred takes time to build and prestige much longer, but those who'd like to own a BMW but don't have the necessary funds will buy the Genesis Coupe in droves, and they'll take pride in knowing that their ride has the stuff to lay waste to many in the premium sector. BMW might not need to be too concerned, but other sport coupe makers ought to sit up and take notice, as Hyundai is about to shake up yet another category, and by doing so enhance its brand image yet again.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Hyundai Genesis can run with 'big dogs'



Hyundai began selling cars in the U.S. in 1986 when it introduced the subcompact Excel here. The less than $5,000 price tag was a hit and prompted Forbes magazine to name it one of the top 10 products of the year.

Then things fell apart when reports about poor quality and reliability began to circulate. Predictably, sales tanked and it wasn't until many years later, in 1998, that the results of new quality-oriented management began to draw attention.

To erase lingering doubts about quality, Hyundai introduced a 10-year powertrain warranty. With a new focus on quality and reliability, sales improved and have done so every year since 1998 with a 20 percent compound growth rate.

Even Toyota vice chairman Fujio acknowledged the company is growing in Toyota's rearview mirror. "Hyundai has quality and prices that have caught customers' attention, not to mention ours," he said in August 2005.

Hyundai positions the all-new Genesis to compete with luxury brands such as BMW and Infiniti. In 2008, Hyundai Santa Fe and Hyundai Elantra were awarded the 2008 Consumer Reports "top pick" and Elantra earned Consumer Reports' "excellent" rating in predicted reliability. Elantra is Consumer Reports top-ranked 2008 vehicle, beating out such high-quality stalwarts as the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla and Toyota Prius.

Considering that in 1998, Hyundai ranked among the worst for initial defects, the turnaround has been extraordinary. Confidence about their capability has prompted Hyundai to challenge the "big dogs" of the luxury segments.

During the design and development of the Genesis, Hyundai benchmarked the luxury brands with the specific goal of being equal or better. This process isn't particularly new since most automakers constantly benchmark their competition. What is new is that a Korean producer of small, low priced cars has the confidence and capability to build a competitive upscale car.

The 2009 Genesis is an all-new, rear-wheel drive sedan with two trim levels identified by the powertrain configuration - 3.8-liter V-6 or 4.6-liter V-8. The styling is neither controversial nor trendy, but has an athletic, well-proportioned look of elegance. The lack of the "H" badge on the grille is intentional. Seeing a Genesis in your rearview mirror for the first time is sure to entice upscale shoppers to take a second look.

The Hyundai marketing folks like to compare the Genesis 3.8 to the Lexus ES, Chrysler 300, Pontiac G8 and Cadillac CTS. Likewise, Genesis 4.6 is compared with the Lexus GS, Infiniti M, BMW 5 Series, and Mercedes E-Class.

The 3.8-liter V-6 is rated at a respectable 290 horsepower and 264 lb.-ft. of torque. That's better than any of its competitors. Fuel efficiency of 18/27 city/highway beats all but the Pontiac G8.

The 4.6-liter engine is Hyundai's first production V-8. It's a state-of-the-art powerplant that produces 375 horsepower and 333 lb.-ft. of torque using premium gasoline and drops to 368 hp. and 324 lb.-ft. with regular grade.

This new V-8 is impressively powerful, smooth and refined, just like the Lexus V-8. Fuel efficiency of 17/25 beats all V-8 competitors.

The V-6 and V-8 are coupled to six-speed automatics with manual shift mode are supplied by ZF and Asian, respectively. They were selected for their smooth upshifts and well-controlled downshifts.

The 52/48 front/rear weight distribution is nearly ideal for rear-wheel drive handling. The five-link front and rear independent suspension hardware is mostly lightweight aluminum to minimize weight. Only the Lexus GS offers the superior five-link suspension front and rear.

Knowing that most of their buyers are more interested in comfort than all-out performance, the suspension and steering are calibrated for comfort and ease of handling.

The anti-lock brake system is integrated with the electronic stability control, traction control, electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist systems.

Inside, the fit and finish materials of the cabin are first class and easily match any of Genesis's competitors. The feel of real wood, smell of real leather and look of hand stitching contribute to a sense of luxury and quality.

With a base price of $33,000, the Genesis 3.8 with the premium package is $8,000 less than a comparably equipped Infiniti M and $22,000 less than a BMW 535i. With a starting price of $38,000 a Genesis 4.6 is $17,000 less than a comparably equipped Lexus GS 460 and $26,000 less than a Mercedes E 550.

Given just a little time, Hyundai could very well dominate the luxury scene, and if you think that's impossible, consider this: It took the Japanese 25 years to dominate the luxury car segment with Lexus. The Koreans are planning to do it in half the time starting with Genesis.

Dave Van Sickle MOTOR MATTERS

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

First Drive Of Hyundai Genesis Coupe Published By Car Middle East Magazine



We've given you manufacturer-supplied details about the new Hyundai Genesis Coupe, but now Car Middle East has taken it upon themselves to publish the first drive review of the upcoming Mustang-fighter. Thanks to Car's question-and-answer session with themselves we can tell you that, thanks to the Hyundai-built 3.8-liter V6, and combined with a limited-slip rear, the testers were able to engage in "some top quality rear-wheel slidey fun accompanied by a thoroughly enjoyable sound track from the dual exhausts." The package is good enough to get four stars from the buff book, but is there anything they didn't like?

The Koreans have moved their game on considerably in recent years. The dash is soft touch, the gear knob is a handsome beast and the chunky sports seats grip you around the bends just as they should. There are also some very fetching aluminium pedals and door sills to spruce up an otherwise fairly standard interior, and there's full iPod and USB stick compatibility. The instrument binnacle and some of the switchgear still feels a little on the plasticky side though - Volkswagen and Toyota won't be worrying about the Korean's quality levels yet. But this is a car that isn't just about functionality. It has soul to it, emotion - something we haven't really seen from Korea before.

With the high rating and lack of real complaints other than switchgear, Car Middle East basically claims the Genesis Coupe marks the ascension of the Koreans to a new level. If Hyundai goes the way of Nissan, in ten years perhaps we'll have a Hyundai-built GT-R competitor for Porsche to attempt to discredit. Or, if they go the way of Ford, in ten years perhaps we'll have a Hyundai-built Mustang-killer in every possible variant under the sun.

Source: Car Middle East

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Hyundai Genesis: High fidelity on a budget



When we're sitting in traffic, top speed and quarter-mile times tend not to mean that much. What's really important is how comfortable are the seats and how good is the stereo? With regard to the new Hyundai Genesis luxury sedan, the first question must remain unanswered until Dan Neil puts his tush on the case. But the other question can be answered now.

To call this system a stereo is to do it a grave disservice. Like Jaguar has its Harmon/Kardon and Lexus has its Mark Levinson, Hyundai has gone to Lexicon. This may not be a familiar name to many people, but almost everyone will have heard the fruits of Lexicon's labor. The company's products abound in every serious music recording studio and in many cinema sound facilities. Lexicon processing is heard on more than 80% of all professional audio recordings.

The only other car manufacturer that offers a Lexicon sound system is Rolls-Royce. So nothing too shabby. The mission is to reproduce sound as neutrally as possible, with the minimum of coloration and distortion, to be the most faithful of high-fidelity systems.

Mission accomplished. It surrounds the listener -- no matter where he or she is sitting -- with clear, detailed sound. It's meaty enough to cope with heavy bass, even explosions on a DVD soundtrack, and sufficiently delicate to handle light cymbal touches. Door speakers are set into the metal to provide a vibration-free response, while the front screen and passenger windows are double-laminated to help insulate the cabin from exterior noise.

The system comes in two forms, the Premium Package Plus is the least expensive. For $3,000, it adds 18-inch wheels, rain-sensing wipers and a few other bit and bobs. The most significant being a 528-watt, 14-speaker setup with a six-CD changer in the dash and a compact 11-channel digital amplifier in the trunk. This system has the ability to take a conventional two-channel (stereo) recording and open it out so the listener feels more enveloped by the sound.

With the Technology Package, there's a 17-speaker, 7.1 surround sound system (same wattage); that's seven separate channels. This option costs $4,000, but it also includes such toys as a reversing camera, parking sensors, auto-cornering and -leveling headlights, and a cooled driver's seat. And in a way, it's still a bargain; to get something sounding this good for a home system could easily cost twice as much.

It's a more ingenious arrangement that can read DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1 recordings and play them back through seven separate channels. Genesis owners probably will be tempted to go out to the garage, sit in the car and watch a DVD just for kicks.

Lexicon's engineers have been working with Hyundai since the car's design stages, which has given a far better result than just trying to install an audio system as an afterthought. If Hyundai is to pull off this luxury-on-a-budget ploy with the Genesis, then it needs to be convincing in every relevant area. Audio-wise, it's already there.

-- Colin Ryan

Friday, November 07, 2008

"Autobytel Inc. Announces 2009 Autobytel / MyRide.com Editors' Choice Awards"

The editors and analysts of Autobytel Inc.'s automotive information sites MyRide.com and Autobytel.com today announced their sixth annual Editors' Choice Awards, revealing the vehicles on the current market that they'd most recommend to car buyers.

"With a shrinking economy, radically changing buyer tastes, the green and the powerful on a collision course, and more choices than ever before, the industry is in total flux, which made choosing our 10 picks more difficult but ultimately more significant than ever," said Autobytel/MyRide.com Road Test Editor Keith Buglewicz. "Buyers really need help navigating this market - and we're happy to provide it."

And the Winners Are...

Best Kept Secret: 2009 Kia Borrego

The 2009 Kia Borrego is a V-8 powered, four-wheel drive SUV that's capable, comfortable, roomy, and a worthy competitor to any other mid-sized SUV. Sure, the market for trucks like this is shrinking, but even in contracting markets, there's money to be made and customers to be won, and seeing such a winning formula from Kia was a pleasant, but definite, surprise.

Car of the Year: 2009 Hyundai Genesis

When Autobytel/MyRide.com editors first drove the 2009 Hyundai Genesis, they opined that they were on the verge of a sea change in the automotive landscape on par with the introduction of the Lexus luxury brand in 1990. After more time with the Genesis, they stand by this claim, and award Hyundai the Editors' Choice Car of the Year award.

Methodology

Autobytel's editors compiled a list of every new or substantially revised vehicle, assigned them to their respective categories based on factors such as segment and price, and deleted vehicles not driven by at least one editor prior to voting on Oct 28, 2008, with the exception of the Dream Car category. To be considered, a vehicle must be available for sale during the 2008 calendar year. Each editor voted for the vehicle they'd most often recommend, with winners determined by a simple majority.

For more information, or to speak with an Autobytel editor about this year's selections, please contact: Melanie Webber at 949-862-3023 or melaniew@autobytel.com.

About Autobytel Inc.

Autobytel Inc. (Nasdaq:ABTL) is an Internet automotive marketing services company that helps dealers and manufacturers sell cars and related products and services. The company owns and operates consumer-facing automotive websites, including its flagship site, MyRide.com, which is designed to help consumers find, see, buy and learn anything related to automobiles. The company's other websites are: Autobytel.com, Autoweb.com, Car.com, CarSmart.com, AutoSite.com, and CarTV.com.

By providing a convenient and comprehensive automotive consumer experience across the purchase and ownership lifecycle, Autobytel seeks to provide dealerships with opportunities to connect with a steady, diverse stream of motivated, serious shoppers, while providing manufacturers with precision-targeted brand and product advertising opportunities. In addition to its websites, the company generates leads and advertising opportunities for dealers and automakers through its marketing network, which includes the AutoReachsm ad network, co-brands, such as ESPN.com, and marketing affiliates such as AOL, Edmunds and Kelly Blue Book.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Hyundai Showcases Genesis, Its Rear-Wheel Drive Performance Platform, at SEMA Show 2008



LAS VEGAS, 11/04/2008 The seven custom Genesis Coupes and sedans to be unveiled at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show demonstrate Hyundai's commitment to its rear-wheel drive performance platform. From the Genesis sedan's more luxurious take on performance, to the more overtly athletic nature of the Genesis Coupe, Hyundai has a wide range of performance and capability covered with the Genesis platform. The seven Genesis SEMA cars highlight this wide-ranging capability, from Rhys Millen's 2.0T Genesis Coupe, inspired by the Japanese Super GT series, to the Euro-inspired RKSport Genesis sedan, with its Hyundai-engineered 460-horsepower supercharged 4.6-liter V8 engine concept. Hyundai's custom concepts will be displayed at its SEMA booth (#24387) at the Las Vegas Convention Center from November 4-7, 2008.

Hyundai SEMA Custom Concepts:
Tuner Vehicle Engine Features
Rhys Millen Racing 2010 Genesis Coupe Turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder Full-functioning race car is track- ready with a Turbonetics turbocharger, custom roll cage and all body panels replaced by carbon fiber
Street Concepts 2010 Genesis Coupe 3.8-liter V6 Stealth Fighter-inspired design includes black camouflage paint
HKS 2010 Genesis Coupe Turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder Modeled after HKS Time Attack racecars, the vehicle features HKS GT2835R Turbo, HKS Hipermax III fully adjustable suspension and other HKS performance parts
RKSport Sedan Supercharged 4.6-liter V8 (concept) 460-horsepower (est.), 27-mpg supercharged Tau 4.6-liter V8 engineered by RKSport and Hyundai America Technical Center (HATCI)
RIDES Magazine 2009 Genesis Sedan 4.6-liter Tau V8 Technology center on wheels features Wi-Fi, 2 Mac Mini computers, MacBook Air laptop, iPod Touch and iPhone 3G
DUB Magazine 2009 Genesis Sedan (2) 4.6-liter Tau V8 DUB Edition makeovers accentuate the original styling and lines of the Genesis design, adding signature 22-inch TIS wheels


"The Genesis rear-wheel-drive architecture matched with Hyundai's state-of-the-art engine technology offers a scalable and attractive package for the aftermarket," said John Krafcik, vice president, Product Development and Strategic Planning, Hyundai Motor America. "Genesis is short-hand for rear-wheel-drive performance at Hyundai, and SEMA is the prefect place to highlight these vehicles."

RHYS MILLEN RACING GENESIS COUPE



Rhys Millen Racing (RMR), one of the industry's most respected tuners, designed the "Art of Speed" Genesis Coupe 2.0T with the visual impact to turn heads at the 2008 SEMA Show and the performance necessary to put the driver in the winner's circle the following weekend.

The RMR Genesis Coupe is powered by a 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine enhanced by a Turbonetics turbocharger, wastegate and blow-off valve to provide extra horsepower and torque. It is equipped with a heavy-duty HKS sequential transmission and a KW coilover suspension to put that additional power to the ground.

The RMR Genesis Coupe sports a silver and blue paint scheme and a RMR dry carbon fiber wide body kit, functional hood scoop and an APR GTC-500 carbon-fiber wing. RMR added SSR Type-F competition lightweight wheels and Bridgestone Potenza racing slicks, which partner well with the race-ready factory Brembo brake system. Inside, the vehicle interior has transformed into a racing cockpit with a Sparco steering wheel and seat, eight-point roll cage and a RMR carbon fiber dash.

STREET CONCEPTS GENESIS COUPE



A long-time Hyundai tuner, Shawn Williams from Street Concepts delivered a modified Genesis Coupe outfitted with a black camouflage, Stealth Fighter-inspired paint design that compliments its aggressive styling. The exterior also features a custom grille design, tinted taillights and an APR rear wing.

The Street Concepts Genesis Coupe showcases Volk 19-inch racing wheels, Pirelli performance tires, a modified suspension and Brembo brakes. A Magnaflow cat-back exhaust and K&N cold air intake system enhance the performance of the 3.8-liter V6 engine. Interior modifications include a custom Infinity audio system, Recaro Sportster Topline seats and black suede accents designed to fit the Stealth Fighter theme.

HKS GENESIS COUPE



HKS, known for its premium performance parts, designed a customized Genesis Coupe that maximizes the driving performance capabilities for the serious driving enthusiast. The HKS Genesis Coupe includes a HKS GT2835R Turbo upgrade to maximize horsepower and torque, HKS stainless tubular manifold, HKS intercooler upgrade, HKS super sequential blow-off valve, HKS performance stainless cat-back exhaust, HKS carbon fiber air box and intake duct, HKS Super Fire spark plugs and HKS Hipermax III fully-adjustable suspension.

The HKS Genesis Coupe also showcases functional ground effects designed by Ken Style, HKS Time-Attack cars' aerodynamic partner. The interior emphasizes driver comfort and control, with HKS electronics including CAMP2 that monitors up to 24 data signals from the Genesis OBD2 and programmable calculations for fuel costs, average fuel consumption and fuel efficiency in real time.

RKSPORT GENESIS SEDAN



The supercharged Tau V8 engine in the RKSport/Hyundai America Technical Center, Inc. (HATCI) Genesis Sedan is sure to be one of the main attractions at Hyundai's SEMA display. The supercharged Genesis is powered by Hyundai's state-of-the-art 4.6-liter Tau engine, which produces an estimated 460-horsepower with the help of an IHI screw-type supercharger and 11 pounds of boost for performance driving. It also boasts advanced cylinder deactivation technology, which further improves efficiency and fuel savings at cruising speeds, delivering an estimated 18 miles per gallon in city and 27 miles per gallon on the highway.

The exterior of the RKSport/HATCI Genesis is designed with a European look and feel. The Platinum Silver color scheme highlights the body kit, exterior components, clean lines and contours of the vehicle. Styling modifications to the RKSport/HATCI Genesis include a composite hood, polyurethane front lower fascia, rear lower fascia, left and right side skirts, plus a composite rear roof spoiler and trunk spoiler. RKSport partnered with well-known aftermarket companies to add Enkei Performance LS-5 wheels, a Baer performance brake package, K&N performance air intake, Eibach lowering springs and a Magnaflow performance exhaust.

RIDES MAGAZINE GENESIS SEDAN



RIDES magazine and Hyundai developed a technology center on wheels containing the latest technology both inside and out. As an added incentive to visit the Hyundai display, 5,000 RIDES Digital Genesis iTunes cards will be distributed from the car's Wi-Fi network during the show.

Inside, the RIDES Genesis features the latest in digital accessories including two Mac Mini computers, a MacBook Air, iPod Touch, iPhone 3G, high-speed Wi-Fi Internet connection and movie theater-quality surround sound. The trunk houses its own Mac mini computer, a 20-inch Apple Cinema Display and a motorized tray containing the mouse and keyboard for the rear computer. Within the center console are the iPhone 3G, MacBook Air laptop and wireless keyboard and mouse for the Mac Mini mounted on the rear deck. Each passenger in the back seat has an individual computer with Internet connectivity. The 8.4-inch VGA headrest monitors are wrapped in the original leather to maintain the OE look and feel, while the seats contain suede accents.

Clean, purposeful exterior modifications compliment the high-tech interior. Changes include 22-inch custom-made, staggered fitment MHT three-piece wheels, Pirelli tires, custom-molded front body kit and side skirts, lowered suspension and smoked headlights. Custom dual-tip stacked exhausts and a custom-molded rear bumper accentuate the metallic silver and blue paint job.

DUB MAGAZINE GENESIS SEDAN



DUB magazine took two Hyundai Genesis sedans to the next level by enhancing their appearance with a DUB Edition makeover - one in white, the other in black. Upgrades include color-matched exterior pieces, custom lowering kits, an elaborate audio and video system, DUB emblems and tinted windows.

HYUNDAI GENESIS

The Genesis sedan is built on Hyundai's all-new, performance-driven rear-wheel-drive architecture. It offers two powertrains, including a 3.8-liter V6 engine and Hyundai's all-new 4.6-liter Tau V8. Tau produces 375 horsepower, leading all its competitors in specific output with 80 horsepower per liter while delivering 25 mile per gallon. With technology rivaling more expensive luxury sedans, Genesis showcases features such as XM NavTraffic, ZF six-speed transmission, Adaptive Front Lighting System (AFLS), Smart Cruise Control, Lexicon® audio systems and electronic active head restraints. Additionally, all Hyundai Genesis have standard iPod connectivity.

HYUNDAI GENESIS COUPE HIGHLIGHTS
- Hyundai's first rear-wheel drive sports coupe
- Estimated 310-horsepower from enhanced 3.8-liter V6 from Genesis sedan
- Standard 220-horsepower (estimated) intercooled, turbocharged, inline four-cylinder
- Genesis Coupe production model arrives in spring of 2009

HYUNDAI MOTOR AMERICA

Hyundai Motor America, headquartered in Fountain Valley, Calif., is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Co. of South Korea. Hyundai vehicles are distributed throughout the United States by Hyundai Motor America and are sold and serviced through 800 dealerships nationwide.