Thursday, December 29, 2016

Next Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell to have 30 percent more range

The current Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell was the first of the recent crop of hydrogen fuel-cell cars to go on sale; its first U.S. deliveries started back in June 2014.

Since then, The Toyota Mirai and Honda Clarity Fuel Cell sedans have also become available in the U.S., though all three makers limit sales to specific regions of California.

Hyundai has also transitioned the gasoline Tucson to a new platform, while keeping the hydrogen fuel-cell model on the previous-generation platform.

Now it appears that Hyundai is planning a second-generation fuel-cell crossover, with a new and improved powertrain.

This new Hyundai fuel-cell model will arrive within two years, and will have 30 percent more range than the current Tucson Fuel Cell, according to a recent Nikkei report.

The Tucson Fuel Cell has an EPA-rated range of 265 miles, putting it well behind the 366 miles of the Honda Clarity Fuel Cell, and 312 miles of the Toyota Mirai.

The next-generation model will arrive in January 2018, supposedly priced at around $50,000.

A 2018 launch date was mentioned by Hyundai eco-vehicle development director Ahn Byung-ki, who said it would coincide with the Winter Olympic Games in Hyundai's home country of South Korea.

The Pyeonchang Games will give Hyundai a chance to show off its fuel-cell technology, he noted.

All reports so far indicate the next Hyundai fuel-cell vehicle will be another crossover like the current Tucson Fuel Cell.

But last year, Hyundai fuel-cell research boss Sae-Hoon Kim said the new model would be based on a dedicated platform distinct from internal-combustion vehicles.

That means that the hydrogen-powered crossover utility could become a separate model with its own name, rather than an adaptation of the gasoline Tucson model.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Walking again: Hyundai’s exoskeleton helps paraplegics move on their own

LAS VEGAS – At the same time Hyundai brings autonomy to driving, the company is bringing walking to paraplegics. Soon, people who have use of their arms but not their legs can strap on H-MEX, the Hyundai Medical Exoskeleton. Wearing H-MEX, it’s possible to walk, climb stairs, sit and return to standing. The user needs canes to maintain balance and to trigger the next action: step, sit, or climb. Hyundai is also showing off H-WEX, the Hyundai Waist Exoskeleton, a powered back-and-thigh mechanism with bending and unbending capabilities. It augments the ability of able-bodied workers to pick up and put down heavier loads, subject to limits on the worker’s arms, which are not augmented. I tried both and they do work.

H-MEX: 4 hours of mobility per charge

The Hyundai Medical Exoskeleton is an 18kg (40 pounds) aluminum frame that straps to your feet, legs, and back, with hinges at the knee and waist; the module in back contains electronics and a 222 watt-hour lithium battery (a 15-inch MacBook Pro battery is 76-Wh) that operates for up to four hours. The user is strapped in at the waist, knees and feet.
This is not a self-balancing Segway walker for the handicapped. You must be able to use the carbon fiber walking canes to lean (slightly) so H-MEX knows which way to move and turn. The left cane has four buttons in a diamond pattern for the various motion functions: sit, stand, walk, stair walk, turn. Press the front-most button and you take one step forward.

What it’s like: H-MEX beats the alternative

Hyundai technicians strapped me in and I got a chance to try walking with H-MEX. Suiting up takes a couple minutes and you need help to get the exoskeleton lined up and to attach the farthest of the straps at the knees and feet (there’s a metal walking plate that goes under the feet / shoes).
Walking is simplicity itself: Lean forward, extend, say, the left cane forward farther than the right, press the front button on the left cane, and your right foot and leg lifts up and takes one step forward. Move the right cane forward, press the button, and your left leg takes a step. Wash, rinse, repeat. It takes only a couple dozen steps to get the hang of walking, although you’d need more time to be really proficient. Max speed is 2.5 km per hour, or 1.6 miles per hour, about half the speed of a person out for an exercise walk. But it’s mobility. A person who needs a wheelchair to get around isn’t constrained by the lack of wheelchair ramps to get into a non-ADA building.
Your turn left or right in a shuffle step, little movements, guided by the cane placement. It works, better if you (as a person who walks) don’t try to guide the shuffling movement with the legs, since that’s not an option available to Hyundai’s eventual audience.
Hyundai exoskeleton

Not for everybody yet

There are some initial limits on H-MEX. It’s designed to work today with people 162-181cm (64-71 inches) tall, the average height female through the average height male. Larger or smaller exoskeletons can be built, and the test unit I walked in could be adjusted, just not quickly.
The only problem I had was with the fit on the buttons on the left cane; the front button seemed too far away and I wound up triggering the sit-down button instead, with no chair nearby. I was trailed by a pair of Hyundai technicians, so I was in no danger. It’s a small engineering matter to adjust button placement, have several sizes for different people, or for the user to adapt to button placement. Hyundai hasn’t priced H-MEX. It still needs another year or two of development before it goes into widespread testing. The components are probably several thousand dollars; the big question is how much of the R&D costs Hyundai wants to recoup and how quickly.
The market is certainly big enough. In 2009, the US population of seniors (65 and over) was 40 million or 13% of the population; by 2030 when the last baby boomer turns 65, it will be 72 million or 19% of the population.
At the start of the current decade, Americans with disabilities numbered:
  • 30.6 million, difficult walking or climbing stairs
  • 12.0 million, require assistance with daily tasks
  • 8.1 million, vision difficulty
  • 7.6 million, hearing difficulty
  • 3.6 million, using a wheelchair, the potential market for H-MEX
  • 2.4 million, Alzheimer’s, senility or dementia
Hyundai lifting-assist exoskeleton
Hyundai H-WEX lifting-assist exoskeleton

H-WEX for power lifting

Hyundai sees its wearable robots product line as an extension of autonomous driving: Some of the technology crosses over (AI, recognition technologies, ergonomics design). More broadly, assistive robots help you get around before and after your trip in a self-driving car. Its robots include H-MEX (farther above); H-LEX (Hyundai lifecaring exoskeleton) for lower limbs and modular exoskeleton (no acronym) for knees/hips; H-WEX (here) for “waist assist”; and HUMA, a full exoskeleton for effortless load carrying up to 60 kg or 132 pounds.
Hyundai exoskeleton
Hyundai H-WEX
H-WEX, the Hyundai Waist Extension, augments the strength of a worker and helps him/her somewhat heavier loads with less risk of back injury. This smaller exoskeleton includes a hard back brace (with the electronics and battery), a pair of backpack-like straps, a large waist strap, and metal arms going halfway down the upper leg, with a metallic curved half circle going across the front of the legs.
Bend down, H-WEX bends with you. (Just not easily down to pick up something at floor level, I found.) Start to lift, and H-WEX applies lifting force in the back brace, transmitting torque to the leg braces, which tighten in front. I picked up one box with almost no effort, then a second box with a noticeable amount of weight, but still with little difficulty except for more strain on my arms. The first carton felt as if it had 5 or 10 pounds, the second 10 or 15. Open the cartons and the first one had a cannonball looking weight marked 20 (pounds), the second had two of the weights, 40 pounds total.
These are amounts you could lift on your own, but doing it all day would leave you with a sore back and at some point during the work year, possibly a bad back. The only downside is that the H-WEX exoskeleton doesn’t flex enough to make it easy to bend over and pick a carton off the floor. A carton at chair height or higher, no problem. The H-WEX system goes on and comes off easily. If you need more lifting power, Hyundai is also working on a full-body exoskeleton, HUMA.
If we’re looking at self-driving cars within five years, it’s possible these robotic exoskeletons could be here even sooner. It’s not yet clear if Hyundai sees its robo-skeletons as a profit center or as corporate good works. Hyundai says it has not issued any pricing, even rough numbers. The demand is there.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The Hyundai Elantra Wins The Midsize Sedan Award At The Car And Bike Awards 2017

The Hyundai Elantra has won the award for the best midsize sedan at the Car and Bike Awards 2017. Hyundai launched the Elantra in a segment which has not seen much growth in recent years and car manufacturers have been shying away from launching new products. Skoda launched the Octavia to get things moving but still, the premium sedan segment didn't really take off, until Hyundai decided to bring in the Elantra this year.
The 6th generation of the Elantra has been extensively worked on the design and styling bit. It's edgy and bold, compared to the older model. Hyundai has claimed that the new generation model is made of 53 per cent Advanced High Strength Steel (AHSS) that allows higher structural rigidity. This will improve both the driving comfort and handling. In addition to that, the car is now also 20mm longer and 25mm wider than the previous generation model.

But Hyundai has worked extensively on the suspension of the car and when we found out how balanced the ride was when we drove it. It's more about providing a sporty ride and the Elantra does not disappoint. In fact it sets the ball rolling for what to expect from the South Korean manufacturer, not just in terms of ride and handling but also features.

The car comes with a touchscreen infotainment display with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, but only above the SX variant. Hyundai has also equipped the car with a host of convenience features like drive mode select, hands-free smart trunk, auto cruise control, keyless entry with smart key, armrest for both front and rear seats, and USB/AUX-IN/Bluetooth connectivity to name a few.
In terms of powertrain options, the new-gen Hyundai Elantra comes in both petrol and diesel engine options - an all-new 2.0-litre petrol engine and a 1.6-litre diesel motor. while the petrol motor makes a class-leading 150bhp and develops a peak torque of 192Nm, the oil burner offers a maximum of 126bhp and develops a peak torque of 260Nm. Transmission options for both the engines include a 6-speed manual gearbox and a 6-speed automatic unit.

The Elantra then makes a strong statement in this segment and it's already crossed the 1500 mark when it comes to bookings. The customers are surely happy but so were our jury. So, congratulations to Hyundai then, for making a great car!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Hyundai Ioniq Electric Autonomous Test Drive Thoughts

Things are starting to move pretty fast in the self-driving (autonomous) vehicle technology sector. Every other week or so it seems like there’s a new big news item, whether relating to the Waymo (Google) and Chyrsler partnership, or Uber, or Tesla, or Baidu, or nuTonomy, etc.
However, it’s quite different reading general reporting about a self-driving vehicle pilot in Singapore versus first-hand accounts. When I talk to average people on the street about self-driving cars or taxis, most are very skeptical that the tech will be in widespread use even a decade from now.
Those in the auto industry, though, are more or less all speeding as fast as they can to develop and release such tech. Not a decade from now, but in just a few years. Some companies even claim that there will be widespread use of self-driven taxis within only a few years. All new Teslas reportedly now feature enough hardware to allow for full autonomy once software development catches up and regulatory approval arrives.
With all of that in mind, I read an interesting account of a recent test drive in an autonomous Hyundai Ioniq Electric, and many of the comments seem worth reposting. Here they are (courtesy of Autoblog):
“The trip was mostly uneventful — our driver/engineer didn’t hit anyone, and, unlike Uber’s, Hyundai’s car didn’t run any red lights. … More than once during our ride around a pre-mapped, all-right-turn route in Las Vegas, the Ioniq had to sort things out for itself, and the longer you ride the more you realize the scope of data we humans process without noticing. …
“Braking is often moderate to heavy, more on/off than the modulation range of many human drivers, but we felt no panic braking or ABS intervention. The steering wheel ratchets through turns in what appear to be three- or four-degree increments, then calculates that’s not enough, and adds more or less as needed. That kind of steering movement is a curious thing to watch, and likely not the most energy-efficient or easiest on tires, but it wasn’t abrupt enough to transfer lateral motion or head-toss to occupants. Once the car has satisfied itself the road is clear, acceleration to the limit is electric-car crisp, effortless. and quiet.
“During our ride, the car signaled appropriately, always used the correct lane, and stayed within the lines even on poorly marked curving roads (no lane changes on this route) and dutifully motored past Las Vegas’s finest at the posted speed limit. The only potentially illegal move was a right turn with pedestrians in the marked crosswalk eight lanes away. At our speed they’d have had plenty of time to move aside if they were closer, and with that distance and a center divider the move didn’t seem the least bit unsafe, especially with the two regular cars behind following suit.
“Observing from inside the cabin, the details and variety of situations the car faces become more focused. Much of the process is dependent on the accuracy and detail of the mapping the car’s using, so a dip in the road or rough railroad crossing might be done faster than a human thinking about comfort or suspension longevity. It has to know if a left-turn arrow has a no-U-turn limitation, as this car did and calculated properly. It does not have the ability to separate more-dangerous pedestrians — those holding a phone or ranting at nothing in particular — and it does not have capacity to detect strobes, warning beacons, or sirens on approaching emergency vehicles. When stopped behind a pickup where the camera could see the red light but nothing below it, we wondered how long it would wait after the red light goes out before honking.”

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Hyundai Hope on Wheels Announces $7 Million in Funding Available for Research in Pediatric Cancer

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif.Dec. 20, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Hyundai Hope on Wheels® announced $7 million dollars in available funding for pediatric cancer research. The latest round of funding is another benchmark toward the foundation's effort to find innovative treatments and a cure for childhood cancer.  
Hyundai Hope on Wheels® research grants aim to expand the knowledge of pediatric cancer and develop novel approaches for associated tumors. This year, there are two types of grants available: Hyundai Scholar and Hyundai Young Investigator grant. The Hyundai Scholar grant is for $250,000 and the Hyundai Young Investigator grant is for $150,000, both over a period of two years. The awards are limited to Children's Oncology Group ("COG") member institutions in the U.S.

"The Hyundai Scholar and Young Investigator grants offer strategic investments to help provide innovative solutions for the most challenging pediatric cancer cases," said Scott Stark, Board Chairman, Hyundai Hope on Wheels.  "By funding early career clinicians, we have a greater chance of improving the quality of life and survival rate of every child fighting cancer."
The Hyundai Scholar Award is presented to scientists involved with translational research and who work directly with pediatric cancer patients. The Hyundai Young Investigator Award provides funding for principal investigators whose research projects are likely to have a significant impact on improving the understanding of the biology of childhood cancer.
"For the past 18 years, Hyundai Hope on Wheels® has funded research targeted at some of the most promising pediatric cancer initiatives in the medical community. We want the kids, their parents and loved ones to know Hyundai Hope on Wheels is fighting with them and will not stop until we find a cure to end childhood cancer," said Dave Zuchowski, President and CEO of Hyundai Motor America.
Applicants will be notified by April 3, 2017 on grant selections.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Hyundai’s self-driving system aims at affordability

Automaker Hyundai wants you to know that it’s also embracing the race to autonomous driving — but it’s also hoping to do so in a way that differs from the approaches of most automakers, in striving for tech that will both be available in vehicles owned by individuals, and that will actually be affordable for a good portion of car buyers.
Hyundai debuted its self-driving tech this week, with the first public rides provided on the streets of Las Vegas ahead of CES in January. Hyundai’s using the Ioniq as the base for its test vehicle, and surprisingly its prototype vehicles actually look pretty much like stock Ioniq’s — lacking the crown of large, obvious sensors that we’ve become accustomed to seeing in self-driving cars brave enough to tackle city streets.
That doesn’t mean these cars are running blind; Hyundai’s vehicles include four optical cameras behind the windshield, front- and side-facing LiDAR units, front mid- and long-range radars and rear-facing radars, too. That’s still a more conservative sensor loadout than you might get on, say, Uber’s autonomous vehicles, but there’s a reason for Hyundai’s restraint: a smaller overall volume of input means less onerous compute requirements on board the vehicle, which ultimately means lower cost for the system overall.
Hyundai’s looking to fill gaps in its overall sensor picture using downloadable, high-accuracy mapping data, which means an area needs to be fully mapped out before autonomous driving can take place there using these vehicles. But as Engadget found in its test drive, if the mapping is there, the system seems to handle on-road obstacles, like pedestrians, with ease, or at least it did during a Las Vegas public road demo.

The important thing about Hyundai’s approach is that it might make it possible to include autonomous-driving features on an affordable, even entry-level vehicle, whereas others targeting self-driving systems for individual-owned cars are generally planning to offer them as high-end options on high-end vehicles, like Volvo.
Hyundai says that its work in Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) are helping chart its path toward full autonomy, with a planned sensor standardization deadline on vehicles and functional benchmark in place in the 2019-2021 range. Full autonomy still has a number of barriers to overcome, however, beyond the technical — including regulatory and customer acceptance — so vehicles with full autonomous capabilities in the hands of everyday drivers are still quite a while off.
Still, Hyundai is already thinking ahead to mass production, and that could be a big help in the future, especially if the cost of components like LiDAR decrease considerably between now and then, as they appear likely to. Aiming for affordability for individuals, and not just fleets or luxury buyers, is also a noble undertaking. Tesla, it’s worth noting, also seems to have interest in making this happen with the sensor suite and compute stack that will ship in the Model 3, but Hyundai’s approach still could do a lot for the affordability of autonomy at scale.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Review: Hyundai's Genesis goes elite with luxurious G90

You can't drive the new Genesis G90 without reminding yourself how far this brand has come.
The first time we got behind the wheel of what was then the new Hyundai Genesis was 2009. At the time, the notion of a luxury car from South Korea's largest automaker seemed far-fetched.
Even worse. The notion that buyers would shell out more than $40,000 for a Hyundai seemed absurd. The automaker had not yet overcome a lingering (and undeserved) reputation for poor quality and only the first inklings of a styling renaissance were showing up. Yet we were oh-so-wrong. That Genesis, a true luxury car without the snob appeal, was kind of a breakthrough that made the auto industry take notice of Hyundai.
Now, less than a decade later, Hyundai has taken another leap to be competitive in the big leagues.
Genesis has been spun off from Hyundai and is a standalone brand. The cars will still sell for less than a Mercedes-Benz or BMW, but the gap will narrow because, over time, the bet is that the Genesis logo will come to be seen as just as prestigious.
Which bring us to the G90. This is the brand's new flagship sedan, a chance to show off the best that it can be. And there is plenty to admire.
For starters, it's a big car. The G90 comes in at 17 feet in overall length with a wheelbase alone has been stretched 4.5 inches compared to the Hyundai's last full-size luxury sedan, the Equus. One reason is that this is one of those luxury sedans, like Lexus' LS, that feels as though it's designed around the back seat.
There's ample space in back for executives who want to be chauffeur-driven. A nifty pull-down armrest lets honored rear-seat guests control the entertainment and climate-control systems. Not quite the customized massage unit in the LS, but still sophisticated.
With an analog clock on the dash and all the comfort, a car like the G90 risks being seen as stodgy. But in this case, it actually feels quite modern.
Genesis sweated the details. The center infotainment screen is large and  has sharp detail. All the buttons and dials are surfaced in a way that makes them a delight to touch. Then there's the quiet. The car was given touches like triple-sealed windows to shut out noise. When you gently close the rear doors, they sort of suck themselves to the closed position.
The quietness of the cabin is profound enough that you have to strain to hear the car going through the gears of its eight-speed automatic transmission.
Likewise, the engine options are just as slick. The base is the new twin-turbocharged Lambda V-6, good for 365 horsepower. We've always liked the Tau V-8, which produces 420 silky horses.
The Genesis considers its competition to be the flagship sedans of the world's best-known luxury car makers. At $68,100 plus $950 in delivery charges, the price is a bargain compared to a BMW 7 Series sedan at $81,500 or Mercedes-Benz S Classat $96,600.
And so it goes. We weren't entirely enchanted by the G90. There were a few things we'd change, mostly involving the convenience of the controls. The climate-control knobs are situated too close to the auto-control knobs and it was hard to know which one you were grabbing without looking. Likewise, some other buttons, like the one that opens the trunk from the inside, are hard to reach.
But all-in-all, this sedan sets just the right standard for the level of luxury and detail that Genesis is going to need to establish if it is to go up against the best in the industry. Indeed, it has come a long way in short time.

What Stands Out

Luxury details: Love the texturing on the buttons and controls
Quiet: Triple sealed windows.
Rear seat: The place to be.

2017 Genesis G90

What? A luxury sedan
When? On sale now
Where? Made in South Korea.
How big? 17 feet long
What makes it go? A 3.3-liter twin-turbo V-6 that puts out 365 horsepower or a 5-liter V-8 with 420 horsepower.
How thirsty? For the V-6, 17 miles per gallon in the city, 24 mpg highway and 20 combined. For the V-8, 16 mpg in the city, 24 mpg on the highway and 19 overall.
Overall? A cost-competitive choice for luxury car buyers

Friday, December 16, 2016

Mark Wahlberg buys his mom a Hyundai Azera!

Mark Wahlberg bought his mom a new car as an early Christmas present.
The 45-year-old actor has splashed out on some lavish gifts for his family this year, not least of all the brand new Hyundai Azera that the star handed to his mother Alma before they headed out to the Boston premiere of his new movie 'Patriots Day' - which is based on the terrible events of the Boston bombings - on Wednesday (12.14.16).
Speaking to 'Entertainment Tonight', Alma said: "I looked out my front door today, and there was this brand new car sitting out there with the big red bow on it!
"Don't laugh! He bought me a brand new Hyundai Azera, my favorite car in the world!"
But the 'Deepwater Horizon' actor has admitted the car probably wasn't as big of a surprise as he would have liked, as his mother "kept asking" him if he could buy it for her.
He said: "She was in love with this Hyundai. She kept asking me, and I kept saying no, and she told my sis that I was getting one anyway, so then I was like, 'Alright, let's just get it for her.'

"I wanted it to be a surprise. If you're going to do it, you gotta do it right."
The starting price for the flashy car is a cool $34,100, but money is no object for Mark when it comes to making his mother happy, as Alma says he's "grateful" to have her.
She revealed: "I don't know if there's words [to describe how proud I am], but he's come a long way.
"About a year and a half ago, I said to him, 'You know the rules, call your mother! You have to call your mother!' And he's like, 'Well I was busy.' I said, 'No, no, no, all you have to do is: 'Hi Ma, how ya doin? OK I gotta go!'
"So, he's called me every day for the last two years. Every day...And you know what I love? He's grateful, and so that makes me really happy."

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Hyundai to show self-driving technology at CES

South Korea’s leading automaker Hyundai Motor Co. is planning to show off its self-driving technology at the largest consumer electronics show in Las Vegas next month, the company said Thursday.

Two models of Hyundai’s Ioniq hatchbacks -- one electric and one hybrid -- will hit the road without a driver during the annual Consumer Electronics Show, which will be held from Jan. 5-8. 

Hyundai unveiled its self-driving Ioniq concept car at the the Los Angeles Auto Show on Nov. 16. The car has received the highest level of driving automation from the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 

Hyundai Motor and its sister company Kia Motors last year joined a growing list of companies pushing autonomous driving. In November 2015, the group unveiled its plans to invest $1.7 billion by 2018 to develop a smart car which integrates autonomous driving and the latest IT technologies. The company has a goal to produce self-driving cars by 2020. 

On Monday, the company signed a memorandum of understanding with the city government of Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province, to develop “Vehicle to Everything Communication System,” or V2X. V2X is a core communication technology among vehicles, passengers and infrastructure, aimed to improve safety. The company said it will be building infrastructure for V2X system while the city will provide necessary traffic signal data and assistance. 

At the CES, Hyundai will also be introducing its technology under the theme of ‘innovation for mobility freedom’ at the CES, the company said. 


Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Hyundai's new Genesis brand nabs former Bugatti designer

Former Bugatti designer Alexander Selipanov has been hired as Chief Designer at the Global Genesis Advanced Studio, a part of Hyundai's new luxury arm. He will be starting his new position in January 2017.

“I am sincerely excited about this opportunity, because it will be a new chapter in my career. As I have been working with well-established brands so far, Genesis is a new and refreshing challenge to me,” said Selipanov. “In addition, I am also honored to join this exciting journey, as it is a very rare chance to launch a luxury automotive brand and be part of its history. With growing expectations and curiosity around Genesis, I cannot wait to contribute my expertise and passion to the brand.”
Selipanov, a Russian national born in 1983, began his design career at the Volkswagen Design Center in Potsdam, Germany after he graduated from the Art Center College of Design in California in 2005. After VW, he joined Lamborghini, working on the exterior design team for the Huracán. In 2014, he was appointed Head of Exterior Design at Bugatti where he was responsible for the exterior design of the Bugatti Vision Gran Turismo show car.


Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Money Order: Hyundai Adds Value Edition to 2017 Elantra Lineup

“Value” might be the perfect Elantra mantra. It’s already a popular buzzword for the entire Hyundai brand, and now it’s officially becoming a trim option on some of its cars. The $22,285 Elantra GT Value Edition came last year, then the $17,285 Accent Value Edition about two weeks ago, and now the 2017 Elantra Value Edition joins the party, priced at $21,085.

The Elantra lineup is getting pretty crowded. It already has the base SE, the Earth-minded turbocharged Eco trim, the more spirited Sport model, and the range-topping Limited. There’s also the GT, if you’re looking for a hatchback. The Value Edition slots in between the $18,985 SE with a six-speed automatic transmission and the $21,485 Eco with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic and brings a nice allotment of features for less cash than it would cost to add them individually.

Motivating the Value Edition is the same 147-hp 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder that’s found in the SE and the Limited. It’s paired with a six-speed automatic transmission, and that’s the only available powertrain. But that’s not where the Value Edition’s $1215 in savings comes from.

The car comes equipped with a bevy of tech features, including LED running lights, blind-spot detection with lane-change assist, a proximity key with push-button start, a 7.0-inch infotainment display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capabilities, and a motion-activated trunk release. It also has a power sunroof, heated front seats, a power driver’s seat, Bluetooth, dual climate controls, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a leather-covered shift knob, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. It’s basically a combo of the SE’s $800 Popular Equipment package and its $1300 Tech package (which would bring the SE to $21,085, the same price). But then it also adds the power sunroof, lane-change assist, and the power driver’s seat, which are not included in those packages. And therein lies the value.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Hyundai plans 'Hyper Connected Car' for 2020

Hyundai Ioniq

Hyundai Motor is stepping-up its efforts to develop connect car technologies ahead of the launch of a ‘Hyper-connected Intelligent Car’ in 2020.

The Korean brand’s independently-developed ccOS (connected car Operating System) will bring advanced integrated technologies to customers by optimising high-speed transmission and reception of data within the vehicle to support increasingly complex features, a statement said.
Earlier this year, Hyundai Motor established an Infotainment Software Development Team in its Namyang Research and Development Centre dedicated solely to developing ccOS technologies.
Hyundai Motor’s strategy to develop its own platform optimized for connected car operation is centered on advancing how vehicles communicate with their internal and external environments but intelligent remote support, fully autonomous driving, smart traffic functionality and mobility hubs will also be a focus of the developments.
A spokesman for Hyundai said: “The first ccOS-installed vehicles are set to be available in 2020 under the concept ‘Hyper-connected Intelligent Car’, after conducting substantial simulation tests to ensure compatibility.
“As for the new ccOS-installed concept vehicle, Hyundai Motor is to explore a variety of applicable connected car services such as OTA (Over-The-Air) software update with which customers can wirelessly update their vehicle’s infotainment system, without the need to visit a service center in person.”
Advancing its ‘Open Innovation’ plan, Hyundai Motor and Cisco are working to develop car network technology, another core platform requirement to enable the rapid development of connected cars.
Hyundai Motor has also opened a new Big Data Centre in China to reinforce its venture toward connected car development.

Thursday, December 08, 2016


Adding a sport trim is a tricky thing. It is easy to set yourself up for criticism. If the changes amount to little more than an appearance package and engineering tweaks to coax more from the powertrain, the brand’s definition of sport can be diluted. And if you go big in an effort to make the variant stand out, it opens the automaker up to comparisons with the best in the field, regardless of whether they are warranted.
The 2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport is treading into this potential minefield as it makes its way from Korea to U.S. dealers.
The current-generation Elantra launched in January with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. The Eco followed in February with a 128-horsepower 1.4-liter turbocharged engine that that gets 40 mpg on the highway. The new Sport slots between the Eco and the top-of-the-line Limited.
In the past, Hyundai fell into the mild upgrade camp because the Sport was largely an appearance package. But in 2015, the automaker hired Albert Biermann from BMW’s M performance division to install new processes and ways of looking at vehicle dynamics. By making Sport models live up to their name, he’s making them a warm-up for the launch of Hyundai’s sports car sub-brand, which will be named N for Namyang after the Korean R & D center and proving ground. N will make its debut in 2018 starting with a completely overhauled and reinvented Veloster.
2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport front three quarters 02

Biermann’s handiwork is evident in the 2017 Elantra Sport, which was designed from the outset to set itself apart from the rest of the Elantra family. The Sport has a more aggressive face with a blacked-out hexagonal grille, standard HID headlights, and horizontally mounted LED daytime running lights. From the side, you see the deeper rocker panels, and the wheels have grown to 18 inches and wear 225/40R18 Hankook Ventus S1 Noble Ultra High Performance all-season tires. (Other models range from 15- to 17-inch wheels.) The back has a unique rear fascia, dual chrome exhaust outlets, standard LED taillights, and a rear decklid.
Hop inside, and the standard interior is black. Everything, including bolstered leather seats with “Sport” embroidered in the back, a flat-bottom steering wheel, and the headliner, is black. Red stitching and needles in the sport instrument cluster are the only nods to color.
What really matters is whether Biermann improved the dynamics. Hyundai ripped up the back end to swap out the coupled torsion beam axle for a multilink rear suspension and added a rear stabilizer bar. It has higher spring rates, stiffer damping, larger front brake rotors, and more insulation to reduce noise and vibration. We got to test its mettle over a 280-mile drive through Death Valley with some uneven pavement, and it showcased a spirited but comfortable ride.
The Sport has the same 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that is in other vehicles, but it has a different intake than the Veloster and is tuned for more horsepower than in the Sonata. To make it sound meaner, engineers added porous material to the air intake pipe so the sound would emanate. It’s enough of an exhaust note to reward the Sport buyer without being overly loud and telegraphing more power than the car delivers.
That being said, the car accelerates smoothly and drops a gear like clockwork at 100 mph to continue to gain speed to its 130-mph max. We hit 125 with confidence. The car remained calm and stable, showing no signs of skittishness at high speeds. Steering held firm but felt somewhat numb.
Performance specs are modest: 201 hp at 6,000 rpm and 195 lb-ft of torque at 1,500–4,500 rpm. It beats the regular Elantra’s 147 hp and 132 lb-ft but doesn’t pretend to take down a Fusion Sport with 380 lb-ft of torque. Nor does it aspire to topple the VW GTI as a small performance car.
2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport front three quarter

What it does is allow the Sport to hold its own unique space in the Elantra lineup and offer drivers a fun car at a modest price.
Hyundai thinks one in 10 Elantra buyers will go for the Sport, especially as there are no plans to offer a hatchback. The Elantra Sport with a six-speed manual transmission starts at $22,485, and Hyundai thinks 30–40 percent of buyers will opt for the stick that shifts smoothly with a nice feel and weight. With the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and paddles, it has a starting price of $23,585. Add the $2,400 Premium package (even with the manual) to get navigation, a sunroof, an upgraded sound system, dual-zone climate control, and Hyundai’s Blue Link connected-car suite. Choice of color, transmission, and one package are the only decisions for a buyer to make. The price puts it thousands of dollars below a Volkswagen Jetta GLI. The Sport also competes against the outgoing Honda Civic Si and the Nissan Sentra SR Turbo.
The Sport whets the appetite for Hyundai N vehicles still to come. Against its modest goals along this path to greater performance, this Elantra scores well.