Posts from ‘Hyundai’
Through their logos, many automakers have created a dazzling world of wonder. In logo land, you’ll discover roman gods, prancing horses, and mystical beasts—as well as religious themes such as the Holy Trinity and the Christian Crusades. It’s a universe of stars and planets, ships and rockets, diamonds and domination. One emblem, which is simply a crooked letter, symbolizes a trustworthy handshake.
Disappointingly, such companies as Volkswagen (whose symbol is VW) and Ford (Ford) have refused to join in the fun. But many of the other logos have fascinating meanings. Let’s explore. . . .
The Acura logo plays with our minds a little. Most observers think the logo is a stylized letter A, for Acura, just like Honda’s logo is a stylized H for Honda. But according to Honda (Acura’s parent company), the image is a caliper, a design instrument used for measuring thickness.
The Alfa Romeo badge pays tribute to its home city, Milan, Italy. It features the city’s coat of arms, which symbolizes Milan’s two ruling families during medieval times. On the left is a red cross, a Christian symbol of heraldry that represents the right of a person to bear arms. On the right, a serpent devours a human being, interpreted by some as a Muslim—that is, the enemy of the Christians during the Crusades.
As luck would have it, the Consumer Guide test fleet contains both a 2013 Hyundai Azera and a 2013 Hyundai Sonata Limited this week. The former is Hyundai’s entry into the “near luxury” large-car segment; it competes against the Chevrolet Impala, Kia Cadenza, and Toyota Avalon. The latter is the ritziest trim level of Hyundai’s mainstream midsize car. We thought it would be enlightening to examine these stablemates side-by-side to see exactly what the Azera delivers over the Sonata.
Our Azera tester is essentially loaded. It’s equipped with the $4,000 Technology Package, which includes high-end features such as a panoramic sunroof, Infinity audio system, HID headlights, rear park assist, and power rear sunshade with manual side sunshades. The total sticker price? $37,225.
Our Sonata Limited is technically not the true top-of-the-line model—it has the 198-horsepower 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine, not the available 274-hp turbocharged 2.0 four. However, it is otherwise loaded. It’s equipped with the $2,900 Premium Package, which adds a panoramic sunroof, navigation system with backup camera, and Infinity audio system. Its sticker price checks in at $29,655. (The 2.0 Turbo version adds 18-inch wheels in place of 17s and tacks on another $1,750 to the bottom line.)
You’re probably familiar with the successful Eat This, Not That! series of books, which document America’s unhealthiest meals while offering other suggestions that provide just as much taste with less nasty stuff.
Consider this article the automotive equivalent, but with a slight twist. I present to you five vehicles that might be on your shopping list, but I would encourage you to check out their alternatives. Eat This, Not That! crosses platforms, offering suggestions for similar meals at different restaurants. This list will primarily focus on alternative vehicles that you can find either in the same showroom or under the same corporate umbrella; e.g., Toyota/Lexus/Scion.
All cars are model-year 2013.
Drive This: Ford Flex Limited EcoBoost
Not That: Ford Explorer Sport
In this battle of 7-passenger, 350-plus horsepower midsize crossovers from Ford, the funky looking Flex wagon is our choice. It’s a bit of an apples and oranges comparison since the company positions the Flex EcoBoost as sort of a luxury-touring vehicle while the Explorer Sport is a high-performance model. The former overwhelmingly succeeds in its mission while the latter is largely a flop. Flex rides well, handles more competently than you would expect, and is plenty powerful. The Sport is fast, too, but its brittle ride, lackluster handling, and general lack of refinement leave us cold.
See Consumer Guide’s review of the 2013 Hyundai Equus.
Manhattan is a high-class place to be, and Hyundai is using it to show off its redesigned 2014 Equus premium sedan. The brand’s flagship vehicle boasts revised styling, retuned suspension, and additional safety, comfort, and convenience features.
Equus’ basic platform does not change. It’s Hyundai’s rear-wheel-drive architecture, which first bowed in the Genesis sedan and later in the Genesis Coupe. For 2014, though, the Equus gets new suspension tuning designed to offer sharper handling and a more compliant ride.
Power still comes from a 429-horsepower 5.0-liter V8 engine paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 15 mpg city/23 mpg highway.
The car reprises base Signature and top-line Ultimate trim levels. Now, all models will have standard 5-passenger seating; previously, the Ultimate could seat only 4. The revamped interior also has a new instrument panel with either a 7- or 12.3-inch display, depending on model. The Ultimate’s rear entertainment system now sports two screens rather than one.
Ugly is in the eye of the beholder. I will not suggest that the cars here are the ugliest vehicles that retailed during the period being discussed, but they are certainly worthy of some serious design scorn. To me, ugly cars usually suffer from an overabundance of design elements—really, the visual equivalent of mixed metaphors. But most importantly, I just think the five cars here are nasty-looking. I realize that I am in the minority on the Celica, but I suspect that I have the people’s support when it comes to dissing the Taurus. Got your own list of ill-favored rides? Let’s hear it.
1996-1999 Ford Taurus
This sorry redesign (pictured above) marked the beginning of the Taurus’s slow decent into rental-darling hell. How Ford let the Taurus go from making car-design history to looking like an asthmatic catfish is beyond me, but buyers stayed away from these midsize sedans and wagons in droves. A deeply discounted (and deeply decontented) Model G variant was added midway through the ’96 model year, but as it turned out, making map pockets optional wasn’t effective tonic for cringe-worthy styling.
The Chicago Auto Show is predominantly about new and upcoming production vehicles that can be bought at your local dealership, but the show also gets its fair share of concept vehicles, one-off custom cars, and TV and movie cars. Here are three Hollywood-inspired machines that we came across at this year’s show. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The “Two Left Foot Ballerina Award for Most Missteps”
Let’s move away from the actual product and talk for a bit about the companies that make them. This “prize” goes to the firm that had the roughest 2012, at least in this writer’s humble opinion.
And the “winner” is . . . Hyundai
From 2008 to 2011, it seemed like nothing could stop Hyundai. With a focus on design and quality, the Korean automaker started churning out hit after hit. The company truly found its stride with the debut of the 2011 Sonata.
Then the wheels fell off, so to speak. It was an inauspicious start for Hyundai when it debuted the face-lifted 2013 Genesis Coupe at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show. Dynamically, the car was much better, with more power, a better ride, and a more upscale interior. But when I saw the revised front end in person, I was nearly brought to tears. Hyundai had taken one of the most gorgeous cars on the road and turned it into a rolling joke.
Hyundai used an opportunity at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show to show off an ultra-premium car called HCD-14 Genesis Concept.
This concept car reflects the carmaker’s aspirations in the high-end car market. The concept has new styling and rear-hinged back doors. They open to an interior divided down the center by a center console that starts at a dashboard that is devoid of a traditional central control panel. All of the driver’s instruments have been incorporated into the instrument panel ahead of the driver and a heads-up display projected onto the windshield. The “passenger comfort” functions are shown in a screen that is tilted toward the front passenger seat.
This flight-of-fancy includes such technological advances as a heads-up display paired with sensors that interpret the driver’s eye and hand movements. It also includes thumb controls to perform most vehicle functions, such as navigation, infotainment, audio, climate control, and the functions of a connected smartphone.
The HCD-14 Genesis Concept is powered by Hyundai’s 5.0-liter V8 engine connected to an 8-speed automatic transmission. It uses an electric-powered steering system and a drive-mode system that changes the characteristics of the suspension and other components. No key is needed to start the vehicle because sensors scan the driver’s eye to identify the driver and then start the car.
Note: This report supplements Consumer Guide Automotive’s full report on the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, a midsize SUV that starts at $24,450.
Test car came equipped with: Leather & Premium Equipment Package, carpeted floor mats, cargo net, cargo cover. Total MSRP with $825 destination = $33,025.
Powertrain: 264-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, 6-speed automatic, all-wheel drive.
Acceleration: This turbo-four produces impressive power and torque for its size. In fact, it packs more ponies than Ford’s similar 2.0 EcoBoost. I second the main-report comments. At least with just me aboard, the Santa Fe Sport 2.0T is pretty peppy overall—I’d guess 0-60 mph in well under 7 seconds—and driveability is excellent, what with the crisp throttle response and virtually undetectable turbo lag. But full credit to the 6-speed automatic transmission, which is no less refined than the engine and partners with it very well. So here’s another case where less—in this case, engine displacement—really can be more.
Fuel Economy: Yours Truly averaged 18.2 mpg in Phoenix-area driving that was biased about 65 percent to fast freeway driving. That’s in line with the EPA’s 19-mpg city estimate—revised from Hyundai’s earlier inflated figure—but disappointing versus the feds’ 24-mpg highway rating (ditto).