Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Hyundai Gives The Gift of Charity

Hyundai is helping the homeless this Christmas, supplying a fleet of vehicles for use by national charity Crisis.

Crisis, the charity for single homeless people, will use 16 Hyundais to transport supplies and people around London during the festive period when the people it aims to help would otherwise be at their most vulnerable.

A mix of i30 hatchbacks, i800 people carriers and, naturally, Santa Fes, will travel the streets of the capital between December 22-30.

Jon Sparkes, Crisis' chief executive, said: "Christmas should be a time for family and friends, for warmth and celebration, yet for homeless people it can be one of the hardest times of year - a cold, lonely time to be suffered rather than enjoyed.

"Crisis at Christmas is only possible due to the generosity of our volunteers and donors, such as Hyundai, who have come together to make Christmas happen for some of society's most vulnerable people."

Crisis, says the firm's official statement, aims to end homelessness, helping those affected by offering heath, education and employment services.

More than 9,000 volunteers will support around 4,000 people under the Crisis banner this Christmas.

According to figures quoted in a Hyundai press release, more than 6,000 people slept rough in London "at some point last year".

Hyundai Genesis And Sonata Win 2014 GOOD DESIGN Awards

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif., Dec. 22, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The all-new Hyundai Genesis and Sonata earned GOOD DESIGN™ Awards for their quality design, function and aesthetics from The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design, and The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies.

The GOOD DESIGN Awards honor the yearly achievements of the best industrial and graphic designers, and world manufacturers for their pursuit of extraordinary design excellence. GOOD DESIGN is the oldest and the most prestigious architecture and design awards program organized worldwide, and strives to create a revived awareness about contemporary design.  The awards honor both products and industry leaders in design and manufacturing that have chartered new directions and pushed the envelope for competitive products in the world marketplace. The GOOD DESIGN Awards were judged in Chicago by an international jury of design professionals, architects, experts and cultural leaders.

"By earning GOOD DESIGN awards for the all-new Genesis and Sonata from the most longstanding and respected organization in the architecture and design industry is proof of Hyundai's commitment to developing products that embody anything but ordinary design," said Chris Chapman, chief designer, Hyundai Design Center. "Both Genesis and Sonata were designed to offer the highest quality driving experience, while being eye catching on the road."

Representing a bold step forward for Hyundai, the 2015 Genesis is all-new inside and out with a host of premium features and improved dynamics. Riding on a completely revamped platform, the sedan is stiffer and stronger than before. A suite of advanced assistance features such as Rear Cross-traffic Alert, Lane Change Assist, Blind-Spot Detection and Smart Cruise Control are offered. Two engine options are available: a 311 horsepower 3.8 liter V6 and a 420 horsepower 5.0 liter V8, while an advanced HTRAC AWD system is available for the first time on a Hyundai passenger car. With a base pricing starting at $38,000, a true blend of premium value, safety, bold design and superb driving dynamics can be had with the 2015 Hyundai Genesis.

The all-new seventh-generation 2015 Sonata offers a more refined look through a new Fluidic Sculpture 2.0 design language, stiffer body structure, better ride quality, reduced noise, vibration and harshness and advanced safety and convenience features. Sonata truly democratizes the premium design and convenient technology of the Genesis sedan for the mid-size class. The new 2015 Hyundai Sonata is built at the Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama plant in Montgomery, Ala. and is on sale nationwide.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Wrapping the Boba Fett Inspired Hyundai Veloster

This is artist Rebekah Stieg Knuth's custom Boba Fett wrapped Hyundai Veloster. That way she can tell her Veloster from all the other Velosters in the mall parking lot. You know how I locate my car in a crowded parking lot? Look for the nicest car I can find, then hot-wire it. Joyride! I'm writing this from jail by the way. Apparently, "Grand Theft Auto made me do it, I'm the real victim here," doesn't hold up in court as well as you might think.

Keep going for several more shots and a time-lapse of the wrap being applied in case you weren't sure how they do that.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

2015 Hyundai Azera’s Light Updates Detailed

For the 2015 model year, Hyundai has introduced light design updates and new equipment on the Azera midsize sedan.

From a design point of view, changes are discreet compared to the 2014 model and limited to a slightly updated grille and revised bumpers. The front bumper now includes new LED fog lights (available on the Limited model), while the rear bumper houses reshaped exhaust tips. The 2015 Azera also gets new 18-inch alloy wheels.
Inside, the sedan features a new center stack design, new standard illuminated door sill plates, as well as a standard 8-inch color LCD navigation and audio display. There are also new navigation and multimedia system features such as enhanced Google POI search, Apple “Eyes Free” Siri integration with voice-command recognition, HD Radio capability, Blue Link next-generation telematics system function and Wi-Fi client available for Apps, among other things.

In terms of safety, the 2015 Hyundai Azera gets standard Blind-spot Detection with Rear Cross-traffic Alert and Lane Change Assist, while Limited models also benefit from systems like Lane Departure Warning (LDWS), Forward Collision Warning (FCW), and Automatic High Beam Assist. Additionally, all models get a standard hands-free Smart Trunk opener.

Nothing changes under the hood, as the 2015 Azera retains the 3.3-liter V6 gasoline engine producing 293hp and 255lb-ft (345Nm) of torque. The engine is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with Shiftronic manual control, with EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings of 19 mpg city/29 mpg highway/23 mpg combined.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Hyundai's Elantra is a Refined Ride


Hyundai Elantra 1.6 Premium

20 years after first landing on our shores, the Hyundai Elantra has grown and evolved into a courageous and competent fighter in the C-segment sedan war, where names like Corolla and (to a lesser degree) Jetta tend to dominate the sales battles.

The Elantra's real coming of age coincided with the launch of the current generation, which hit the scene in 2011 and then marched on to victory in both the South African and North American Car of the Year competitions.

Much has changed since then - not least the arrival of a much-improved Corolla - and Hyundai's response to the sands of the hourglass was a mid-life refresh a few months ago.

Hyundai hasn't really messed with the basic recipe as three years down the line, this Elantra is still among the most striking designs in its segment. It's a rather elaborate collection of swoops and curves that Hyundai would call 'Fluidic Sculpture'. At worst you might call it a bit fussy but it should ultimately swing more thumbs towards the sky than the ground.

The upgrade saw stylists polish a few details here and there, resulting in fresh front and rear bumpers, a new grille, modern-looking projection headlamps, LED light guide and LED taillights.

The 1.8-litre version falls away, leaving you with a single 1.6-litre option mated to either a six-speed manual or automatic gearbox. Thankfully Hyundai has added some glamour to the 1.6 by binning those rental-spec plastic-shod steel wheels in favour of snazzy new two-tone, 17-inch alloys. Throw in one of the tasty new colours, like the Tropical Blue you see in the pictures, and the Elantra looks more at home in your driveway than in the rental return bay.


Some notable plastic surgery also makes it better to look at inside. The previous version looked rather cartoonish around the central dashboard, but Hyundai has given it a far more mature look by moving the central air vents to the upper dash, among other tinkerings that mainly affect the ergonomic systems.

Finicky as this might sound, it is still let down by a few details, such as the Plain Jane gear knob that looks like it was nicked out of a 1988 Mazda 323 and the abundance of covered-over switch housings lower on the console. Sure, you could hardly fault the overall appearance of the interior and the quality of the materials, it's just that if Hyundai is charging almost-premium money for a car then it should at least get the little details right, like Volkswagen does.

When it comes to the bigger details, like ensuring enough space for you and your brood to stretch out, this car feels spacious front and rear, while the boot is suitably enormous.
IOL mot dec17 Elantra c Repositioned air vents give the cabin a more mature appearance.


Pack it up for a cross country trip and the Elantra will quietly get on with its business of getting you there in comfort. The ride quality is cushy and it's really quiet inside - Hyundai has been really prolific with the NVH engineering, which was further improved in the latest facelift.

The engine does as much as you could expect from a normally-aspirated 1.6-litre, which delivers 96kW and 157Nm. It would be a stretch to call it fast, but the motor delivers more-than-adequate performance both in town and on the open road, providing you work the gearbox when overtaking and climbing steep hills. It's a pleasant and comfortable car to drive, with no major ergonomic flaws - although the electric power steering system does still feel rather artificial, albeit better than earlier Korean products.


As far as the value cookie crumbles, the R252 900 Elantra is priced right in the thick of its segment - there isn't any real price advantage here nor is there a notable features advantage.

It does trump its rivals with a few items, such as dual zone automatic climate control, automatic windscreen wipers and park distance control, but it lacks the Corolla's rear-view camera and leather seats and you don't get cruise control like you do in a Cerato or Focus. Like its competitors, the Elantra also comes with Bluetooth connectivity, a sound system with Aux/USB inputs, multi-function steering wheel and a five-year/90 000km service plan. The only real Elantra/Cerato after-sales standout is a five-year/150 000km warranty.


Priced well within the mainstream, the Elantra has to stand on its own merits to get the nod in a segment that's not short of fierce contenders. Thankfully, it puts up a strong enough fight by being a solid, stylish and refined sedan in its own right. Though it's not quite strong enough in any particular area to tower above its rivals and claim class victory, the Elantra is worthy of a spot on your short list.


Hyundai Elantra 1.6 Premium

Engine: 1.6-litre, four-cylinder petrol

Gearbox: Six-speed manual

Power: 96kW @ 6300rpm

Torque: 157Nm @ 4850rpm

0-100km/h (claimed): 10.1 seconds

Top speed (claimed): 200km/h

Consumption (claimed): 6.4 litres per 100km

Price: R252 900

Warranty: Five-year/150 000km

Service plan: Five-year/90 000km

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Hyundai Bringing New 'Display Audio' In-Dash System With Apple CarPlay to 2016 Models

Hyundai today confirmed that it will showcase its new CarPlay-enabled Display Audio system next month at CES 2015. Display Audio is a dash-installed color touchscreen display that supports the latest in-car handsfree technology.

Hyundai's Display Audio forgoes built-in navigation and CD player features, instead including support for Apple's CarPlay and Android Auto to allow drivers to make phone calls, listen to music, send messages, and get directions using the car's in-dash display. The system also integrates with the voice command button on the steering wheel, providing drivers with an easy way to launch Siri Eyes Free commands.

    Hyundai will offer more technology than ever before inside affordable Hyundai models, allowing owners not only to text message through voice commands and stream their favorite music apps, but also to make calls in a safer way, and navigate using phone-based, off-board navigation through the car’s screen and controls,” said Cason Grover, senior group manager, cross-carline planning, Hyundai Motor America. “As affordable car buyers are often younger, Hyundai aims to provide what they want most in their car – all the latest smartphone-enabled technologies at a lower price.”

Hyundai plans to roll out the Display Audio system with CarPlay support in select 2016 Hyundai models, which debut later in 2015. The system then will become the default head unit across the company's automobile lineup.

Hyundai was among five brands of automobile manufacturers featured by Apple during its CarPlay announcement earlier this year. Following the CarPlay launch, Hyundai confirmed it would integrate CarPlay in its 2015 Sonata line, although the feature has yet to made available in those vehicles.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

First Drive: 2015 Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell

California doesn't suit everyone's tastes -- innumerable out-of-staters will now happily run down everything that is geographically, climatically, philosophically, and fiscally W-R-O-N-G with the Golden State. But everyone knows ol' Cali is where it's at when it comes to alternative propulsion. Actually, allow me to rephrase that. Everyone knows it's Cali's front-page-making, trendsetting, big-money, coastal metropolitan sprawls that spur on alt-propulsion's gallop. (Well, it's currently more like a trot.) 

It's rather perfect, then, that Motor Trend is based in influential Southern California. The Tesla Model S is everywhere, it seems; the brand's pioneering Roadster still creeps up occasionally. Nissan Leafs, Chevrolet Volts, and CNG-charged Honda Civics flaunt their white (Civic, Leaf) and green (Volt) carpool lane stickers. The unmistakable BMW i3 and Fiat 500e flock to the 405 freeway. On the H2 front, the Honda FCX Clarity occasionally shows its face, there are Toyota Highlander FCHV-adv cameos (probably driven by Toyota employees nearby), and I've seen exactly one (possibly lost) Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-Cell roaming our neck of the woods. Soon, Toyota's bizarrely styled Mirai will take to the streets. But as of this writing, there's only one electric vehicle on the market sucking down compressed hydrogen that anyone can seek and acquire: the Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell. Naturally, "anyone" refers to Californians.

After a $2,999 down payment and for the price of $499 per month over a 3-year lease, carefully prescreened (by Hyundai) drivers from Los Angeles and Orange Counties can help move society another step closer toward the long lusted-over hydrogen future. Funds willing -- $74.9 million in the coffers last I checked -- there's a monetary incentive in the form of a $5,000 rebate through the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (sponsored by none other than the California Air Resources Board). 

Consider the Tucson Fuel Cell a well-equipped Tucson Limited FWD with the Technology Package ($29,875 total) and a few vital changes. First, the Tucson FC loses the Tech Package's panoramic sunroof but gains its own front grille. Then the multilink rear suspension, front anti-roll bar, and 18-inch wheels get exchanged for a space-clearing torsion beam, an 11-percent thicker front anti-roll bar, and the 17-inch alloys from the 2010-2013 Tucson. Last, but certainly not least, the 100-kilowatt fuel cell stack, 134-horsepower electric drive motor, and hydrogen reservoir supplant the 2.4-liter I-4 and 15.3-gallon fuel tank. Winter White is the sole paint choice and the leather for the seats is cut in black. Maintenance is fully covered under the manufacturer's At Your Service valet program (shared with the Equus luxury sedan). Hydrogen fuel is complimentary courtesy of Hyundai, so customers can pump in all the H2 their hearts desire. 

Since the rumored true cost of assembling one Tucson FC is well in excess of $100,000, lessees are getting a bargain, particularly when accounting for the unusual driving and ownership experiences. As it's an EV, the Tucson FC was exceptionally quiet and serene inside during our drive in the O.C., especially since it relies on "low pressure" ambient induction to feed the fuel cells. In contrast, air compressor noise permeated the Project Driveway Chevrolet Equinox's passenger compartment. The Mirai and FCX Clarity incorporate compressors too. The Tucson FC rides more smoothly than the conventionally powered Tucson and carries a much greater sense of heft. You sit up high, as one would expect from a crossover SUV, and feel all the heaviness beneath your seated position.
There's a lot of weight. The Tucson FC's 4,101-pound estimated curb weight is 720 pounds heavier (plus 21 percent) than a 2014 Tucson Limited FWD we had in for testing. The Mirai sedan isn't much better, as it's 22.5 pounds lighter than the Tucson FC, about the weight of a large Thanksgiving turkey. Our scales ascertained 4,369 pounds for a hydrogen Equinox back in 2008; an FCX Clarity of the same vintage checked in at a Lotus-esque 3,571 pounds. Payload capacity is reduced from the Tucson Limited's 1,116 pounds to the FC's 859. As is cargo volume: 23.8 cubic feet to the Limited's 25.7 because the load floor is about an inch higher to accommodate the H2 tank.

But at least there's room for five inside the Tucson Fuel Cell's straightforward, nicely furnished cabin (bum warmers for 4 out of 5 seats!) The single biggest reason for the Volt to lose out on a prospective sale is its four-seat arrangement. The John Q. Public that's embraced alt-propulsion has made it clear that they can live and even fall in love with different refueling routines, but they'd still like the package qualities of normal cars. The FCX Clarity has four seats out of necessity; its fuel cell stack runs down the spine of the car. The Mirai has four seats because Toyota had a weight target and wanted to make sure the rear passengers had plenty of space. 

I suspect there's another inescapable rationale for anyone picking the Tucson Fuel Cell over the Mirai. I spent the majority of my days driving our extended-stay Honda Accord Hybrid because I enjoy, among myriad details, the anonymity it affords on the road. I just look like any other schmuck who went out and bought one of the 356,785 Accords sold in the U.S. this year (through November). In all likelihood, the Mirai will serve as the poster child for the hydrogen fuel cell movement and therefore needs its funky skin. But I have a hard time comprehending its exterior. Your least car-savvy friend will muse aloud of the Toyota: "Something's…not right here." Admittedly, the Hyundai is visually more my speed.
Boy, speed is not one of the Tucson FC's virtues. Its H2 canister refills plenty quickly, capable of gulping 12.4 pounds of 10,000-psi goodness in around 8 minutes (assuming the H2 dispenser is up to the task). The quantity nets the CUV an EPA-endorsed range of 265 miles. And remember, the fuel is free. The kicker is that with 4,101 pounds to lug and 134 hp at its disposal, the crossover is restrained doling out acceleration. Hyundai quotes a 0-62 mph time of 12.5 seconds (3.5 off the 151-hp Mirai's dash to 60 mph) and a top speed of (going downhill?) 100 mph. In real-world driving, the Tucson FC handles itself well in the city before onward motion falls off noticeably approaching freeway speeds. 

Accelerator pedal response is much crisper than in the last fuel cell vehicles I put time in. Both the fuel cell versions of the Equinox and Kia Mohave felt much more languid in comparison. (The two are also bigger and heavier than the Tucson.) The electric motor isn't packing a lot of heat but it delivers what it has swiftly. To offset how naturally not fleet of foot it is, the CUV doesn't tiptoe, but shoots forward once you release the brakes from a standstill. It surprised the hell out of me at first encounter. Some -- but not all -- EVs with single-speed gear reduction and lack of torque converter simply sit stationary at a stop with your foot off the brake pedal. 

While it moseys at its own pace, the Tucson FC is a pro at arresting its momentum. Four-corner discs are paired with a regenerative braking setup, and a 0.95-kW-hr lithium-polymer battery acts as the CUV's second energy reserve. The electric motor becomes a generator as the crossover decelerates, allowing the battery (mounted underneath the cabin) to store energy for later use. Rated for 32 hp, the battery assists the fuel cell stack in powering the e-motor when the driver dials in for hard acceleration. The E (Eco) and L (Low) "gears" on the patterned transmission gating (the present Tucson has a straight-pull shift action) inspire more environmentally conscious driving habits if the driver is into that.

My main point of contention is that, from a purely technical viewpoint, the Hyundai fuel cell system cedes packaging and power efficiency to Toyota and Honda. At its 1.7 kW per liter fuel-cell volume-power density, the Tucson FC trails the discontinued FCX Clarity (1.9 kW/L) and has 55 percent of the Mirai's rating (3.1 kW/L). Honda's next fuel cell vehicle (due in 2016) has trained its reticle on the 3.1 kW/L mark as well. As it's been offered in Europe as the ix35 Fuel Cell since March 2013, and knowing the lease-only Tucson FC isn't the long-term fuel-cell answer, I'm excited to see and experience Hyundai's follow-up.

Opinion aside, the sheer novelty of piloting something as ahead of our times as the Tucson Fuel Cell is quite the sales proposition. The instrument cluster shows how many times the H2 cistern has been refilled (twice on our test Tucson) and an mpg-e readout. The precautions taken for the CUV have been extensive too. Any accidents involving a Tucson FC require it to travel to Hyundai HQ in Fountain Valley, California, to inspect the powertrain, though the goal is to eventually move all repairs to the dealers. With that said, let's all get back to griping about there not being enough hydrogen fueling stations around. Vehicles that mix hydrogen and air with a little magic (the magic of electrolysis) and then squirt out water vapor but not carbon dioxide are already upon us. And L.A. and Orange Counties, both F-rated for air quality by the American Lung Association, will continue to be their eager and happy receivers.