Monday, August 03, 2015

Connecticut Children's Celebrates $50,000 Hyundai Award

HARTFORD — Quinn Ostergren chose green for her first handprint, to match her dress. Then she switched to blue, when she snuck up behind Connecticut Children's Medical Center oncologist Dr. Eileen Gillan and landed a bright, child-size print on the back of Gillan's white coat.

During a signature handprint ceremony, pediatric cancer patients were allowed to paint their hands and make a handprint on a white Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, including Kiley Sullivan, 6, of West Hartford. Sullivan was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma in April 2014 and is in remission.  (Cloe Poisson / Hartford Courant)

Emma chose red, Brady chose blue and John chose green Tuesday at a Hyundai Hope On Wheels "handprint ceremony," during which young cancer patients planted colorful handprints on a white Hyundai Santa Fe Sport — and occasionally on their doctor's white lab coat. The ceremony celebrated Hyundai's $50,000 2015 Impact Award to Connecticut Children's, which honored Gillan this year.

Including Tuesday's award, Hyundai Hope On Wheels has donated $650,000 to CCMC since 2006 and just over $100 million to pediatric cancer research funding since 1998.

This award, planned for infrastructure to build a comprehensive neuro-oncology program, will help the program continue to provide "state of the art treatment," Gillan said.

"We want to treat every patient as if they were our own child," she added.

Ostergren, now 5, has firsthand experience with this personalized treatment. She was first diagnosed with a brain tumor in August 2012, and the cancer recurred a year later. She finished 18 months of chemotherapy last fall.

"This is not a journey anyone wants to go through, but we're so happy we could do it here," Alyssa Ostergren, Quinn's mother, said. "They're not just doctors, they're our family."

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Hyundai Santa Cruz Pickup Reportedly Getting The Final OK For Production This November

Hyundai is going to green-light the Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept this November, according to the brand’s US boss.

Hyundai US wants more crossovers in North America and the positive reaction of the public to the Santa Cruz Truck Concept helped them persuade the Korean HQ to consider putting it into production. Dave Zuchowksi, Hyundai Motor America CEO said that they expect the final approval for production by November, according to Car&Driver.

There have been many reports on the subject and it’s not the first time that the CEO of the Hyundai US is making statements on the matter, which shows how much Americans want the Koreans to pull the trigger and give the final OK.

As for the concept, the Santa Cruz Pickup debuted at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show, having a 2.0-litre diesel engine under the bonnet and a truly distinctive shape. Hyundai said that the Santa Cruz is aimed at crossover drivers who are looking for greater utility but don’t want a traditional truck and the usual compromises than come with it.

Saturday, August 01, 2015

First Drive: 2016 Hyundai Tucson Review

The third generation of Hyundai's small crossover has arrived for the 2016 model year. Looking to take a chunk out of the runaway CUV sales boom, does the all-new 2016 Tucson have what it takes to close the volume gap with the segment leaders? Hyundai invited us to Minneapolis, Minnesota to find out.

What is it?

The Tucson is Hyundai's smallest crossover offering, based on the midsize Sonata and sporting a nearly identical two-row, five-passenger layout.

The Tucson comes in four trim levels, which have been re-arranged for the new model to align it more closely to Hyundai's new product tiers and simplify purchasing decisions for customers. The base model is the SE; one step up from that is the Eco model, followed by the all-new Sport and the range-topping Limited.

SE models are available with a two-liter, naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine making 164 horsepower at 6,200 RPM and 151 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 RPM. This engine is paired to a conventional, six-speed automatic transmission. Eco, Sport and Limited models all come standard with Hyundai's revised, 1.6-liter turbo. This four-cylinder makes 175 horsepower at 5,500 RPM and 195 lb-ft of torque from 1,500 to 4,500 RPM, and is paired with Hyundai's new seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission. All-wheel-drive is available on all trims.

The SE model's powertrain combination is good for 23 mpg in the city, 31 on the highway and 26 combined in front-wheel drive guise. All-wheel-drive models are rated at 21 mpg city, 26 highway and 23 combined.

The Eco model is the fuel economy all-star, with a 26 mpg city rating, 33 mpg highway and 29 combined with front-wheel drive. AWD drops those to 25/31/27. Jumping to the Sport or Limited model means heavier 19" wheels and stickier tires, which put noticeable drags on the 1.6L's efficiency. Both are rated at 25 mpg city, 30 mpg high and 27 mpg combined in the city with just the front wheels powered or 24/28/26 through all four.

The Tucson's sedan roots also carry over in its suspension, which is a MacPherson Strut setup in the front and a conventional multi-link independent configuration in the rear.

What's it up against?

The Tucson swims in the crowded pond that is the small CUV segment. No full-line manufacturer has neglected this class, which is populated by the likes of the Mazda CX-5, Honda CR-V, Ford Escape, Chevrolet Equinox, Toyota RAV4, Kia Sportage and Jeep Cherokee

What does it look like?
Hyundai's European division was responsible for the Tucson's exterior, and that team absolutely hit it out of the park. The shape is a bit more classically SUV than its predecessor's, sporting conventional two-box proportions with sleek, modern surfaces.

The outgoing Tucson was an OK-looking car from some angles, dowdy from others. Hyundai's ground-up redesign has transformed an inoffensive (but unimpressive) shape into a genuinely handsome crossover.

The SE and Eco models get 17" wheels, the latter with low-rolling resistance tires for improved economy. Sport and Limited models feature slick 19" alloys with an aggressive spoke design that sits somewhere between a sawblade and a ninja star. Lighting options include basic halogens, LEDs and HIDs depending on trim level and options.

And the inside?

Europe may have produced the Tucson's exterior, but the interior comes from Hyundai's California studio. Regardless of the origin, it matches the exterior both in design and quality. All models come with a cushioned center console panel (christened the "Premium Panel" by Hyundai's marketing team) for added driver comfort, and the seats across all models are well-sculpted and pleasing to look at.

Hyundai's feature-rich interior strategy is in full force here. Heated/ventilated front seats are available (only heated rears, though) for starters. Higher-trim models are available with an almost-full-length panoramic roof with vent and slide options, along with a fully opaque sunshade.

Like tech? You're in good shape there too. Bluetooth and the like are standard, and trick options such as split-screen navigation and Hyundai's "Tune Start" (a buffering system which allows you to rewind a live radio song in progress to the beginning) are available as you progress through the model lineup.

Does it go?

Surprisingly, yes. In the greater context of its rivals, the Tucson's performance is decidedly mid-pack, but that's a misleading statement. In the murky world of small CUVs, it's hard to pin down how they should or shouldn't perform. Just take a quick glance at the competitive powertrain offerings if you don't believe us.

Ford offers two EcoBoost engines, the smaller of which would be the match for Hyundai's range-topper if you looked no further than power output, but the Escape is heavy. Jeep offers a V6 at the top of the Cherokee range. Honda doesn't offer forced iduction at all; neither does Mazda--both are content with their naturally aspirated four-cylinder offerings. Across the street at Kia, an Escape-matching 2.0T is still available in the (now aging) Sportage.

While the continued absence of Hyundai's corporate two-liter turbo-four may put off a handful of potential buyers, the Tucson's svelte curb weight flatters the power output of the turbocharged 1.6. The DCT programming is substantially better here than it is in the Sonata Eco, and as a total package, this powertrain works quite well. If we limit the Tucson's peer group to those with 200 horsepower engine options, it's no slouch. It may not put a big grin on your face, but it should at least solicit an approving nod or shrug of the shoulders. It's decidedly not-bad.

The Tucson's ride and handling are to be commended too. Hyundai gave us a route that took us over broken pavement, gravel roads and questionably maintained stretches of Minnesota country highways and byways. The Tucson never put a foot wrong. It lacks the CX-5's harder edge and may not be the equal of the RAV4 or CR-V in compliance, but not so much that you miss it. It's quiet and comfortable, but capable of hustling when called upon to do so.

Leftlane's bottom line

The Tucson is an excellent jack-of-all-trades option in a crowded and capable segment. Not content with simply offering the best value proposition in the segment, Hyundai has stepped it up and delivered one of the best small CUVs, period.


Friday, July 31, 2015

Hyundai Santa Cruz Named 2015 Concept Truck Of The Year

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif., July 27, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- It kicked off 2015 with a buzz-generating surprise debut at the North American International Auto Show in January, and now the popular Hyundai Santa Cruz has earned the prestigious title of Concept Truck of the Year at the 14th annual North American Concept Vehicle of the Year (NACVOTY) Awards at the Concours d'Elegance of America at St. John's.

The Santa Cruz was recognized as the Concept Truck of the Year for its design, style, materials, technology, market visibility and market responsiveness – besting the Kia Trail'Ster and Mitsubishi GC-PHEV. The award was presented by Mark Phelan, auto critic at the Detroit Free Press and NACVOTY juror.

"The compact-truck segment in the U.S. is tremendously competitive, and overall truck sales have skyrocketed to become one of the best-selling segments in today's market," said Mike O'Brien, vice president of corporate and product planning, Hyundai Motor America. "Hyundai's new Santa Cruz crossover truck concept is a modern take on the classic theme of one of America's most-loved segments – the pickup truck. Unlike some of the industry's past attempts to blend open bed utility with passenger car attributes, Santa Cruz delivers innovative functionality and flexibility in a compact, fun-to-drive package for a new breed of pickup truck buyers. We are proud that the Santa Cruz got the vote of approval as the Concept Truck of the Year from some of the auto industry's most esteemed critics."

The NACVOTY awards recognize those vehicles most likely to shape the future of the automobile industry. More than two dozen jurors participated in a selection process that involved a total of 30 vehicles, each introduced to North America during this season's auto shows in Los Angeles, Detroit, Chicago, Toronto and New York.

"The Santa Cruz is what the light-truck category needs - loads of style for people without big loads," said Gary Vasilash, Automotive Design and Production editor-in-chief and NACVOTY juror.

The innovative Hyundai Santa Cruz crossover truck concept reflects a completely new interpretation of truck utility for a new generation of buyers. The Santa Cruz concept meets the unspoken needs of a growing millennial lifestyle that Hyundai calls "urban adventurers." This new crossover provides urban adventurers the expandable utility they need throughout their active week – from work-life professionalism to social interests to a variety of outdoor pursuits –without the typical compromises they have come to expect from the industry's current product offerings. The Santa Cruz concept is purposely compact, and although it features four doors and seating for five, its overall footprint is similar to that of a small CUV. 


Founded in 2002, the North American Concept Vehicle of the Year Awards recognize those concept vehicles that have made the strongest impact in terms of automotive design, engineering and market responsiveness. Professional automotive journalists from throughout North America, representing dozens of outlets in virtually every media segment, serve as volunteer jurors to select the award winners. The awards are given to the best Production Preview Vehicle, Concept Car, Concept Truck and Most Significant Concept Vehicle of each auto show season. To be eligible for the awards, a concept vehicle must make its North American debut during the current model year's auto show season.


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 820 dealerships nationwide. All Hyundai vehicles sold in the U.S. are covered by the Hyundai Assurance program, which includes the 5-year/60,000-mile fully transferable new vehicle limited warranty, Hyundai's 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain limited warranty and five years of complimentary Roadside Assistance. Hyundai Blue Link Connected Care provides owners of Hyundai models equipped with the Blue Link telematics system with proactive safety and car care services complimentary for one year with enrollment. These services include Automatic Collision Notification, Enhanced Roadside Assistance, Vehicle Diagnostic Alert, Monthly Vehicle Health Report and In-Vehicle Service Scheduling.