Tuesday, September 02, 2014
Friday, August 29, 2014
Thursday, August 28, 2014
Just the Facts:
- Hyundai is considering the development of a premium crossover or SUV that likely would target the Audi Q5, Lexus RX 350, Cadillac SRX and other luxury models in that segment.
- The vehicle might share a front-drive platform with the seven-passenger Hyundai Santa Fe.
- The challenge is to make the premium model stand out from other Hyundai crossovers and SUVs, Hyundai's North American boss told Edmunds.
MONTGOMERY, Alabama — Hyundai is considering development of a premium crossover SUV that likely would target the Audi Q5, Lexus RX 350, Cadillac SRX and other luxury models in that segment.
But the lack of a premium distribution channel with separate showrooms is making the business case to develop and market the vehicle a challenge.
"We definitely studied a premium people mover, if you will," Hyundai Motor America CEO Dave Zuchowski said in a recent interview. "It is not in the plan and it is not eliminated. It is something under consideration."
He added: "One of our problems is we made a conscious decision on our premium products not to establish a secondary distribution channel. And that decision, and we absolutely think it is the right decision, has some flow-through impact on products."
Unlike Nissan and Toyota, which created the Infiniti and Lexus brands, respectively, to market premium and luxury models, Hyundai decided that one brand and one showroom will suffice.
A dealership's floor may feature the entry-level Accent to Hyundai's Mercedes-Benz E-Class competitor, the Hyundai Equus.
Today, a rear-drive configuration distinguishes Hyundai's premium models from its mass-market lineup, which is composed of front-drive vehicles. The rear-drive models are the Equus sedan and the Genesis sedan and coupe. But Zuchowski suggested a premium crossover SUV might share the front-drive platform with the seven-passenger Santa Fe, creating a challenge to clearly distinguish those models in the eyes of consumers.
"For us that (premium) vehicle would be on the same lot as the Santa Fe," he said. "It might be more difficult to try to get the premium you need to justify the price when they are sitting next to each other on the lot" even if the styling is completely different.
Zuchowski said the Toyota Highlander and Lexus RX 350 crossover SUVs share a front-drive platform, but the automaker has no problem selling the more expensive Lexus.
"The RX is basically the Highlander and they can charge a premium for that vehicle because they are sold in different showrooms," Zuchowski said.
Zuchowski did not suggest a sticker price if the premium crossover SUV is developed. The base seven-passenger 2014 Santa Fe stickers for $30,775 including an $875 destination charge. Prices for the 2015 model have not been announced.
While it is "not impossible" to market a premium crossover SUV alongside the more mainstream Santa Fe, Zuchowski said: "It makes it a little more challenging for us, but it is certainly something that we are looking at."
Edmunds says: Once Hyundai works out a business case, expect a premium crossover to follow
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
by Eddy Hall
The Hyundai Santa Fe has been recognized as one of the best SUVs in the market today. However, it is hard to shag off this curiosity on if the Kia Sorento is the better SUV. While it may be based on the Santa Fe, there is a chance that the Sorento might just have something more to offer.
Both SUV’s run on the same 2.2 litre turbo-diesel engine and efficient six-speed automatic, with similar drivelines and underpinnings. However, there are some areas where the Sorento differs from the Santa Fe.
First is with the design. While they might come with the same chassis, body designs have been changed to cater the variety of taste in the market.
Over at the Santa Fe, it has rain-sensing wipers, heated rear seats and hill descent control for the slippery off road tracks. In terms of comfort, the Sorento is certainly a pleasure to ride on.
Also, Kia offers 5-years of unlimited KM warranty for all of its Sorento. This is a plus point but it won’t be enough to stop the Hyundai Santa FE from being named the winner. After all, the latter has got better performance than its Korean counterpart.
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
The Equus is Hyundai's most expensive car; next down the line is the Genesis, newly revamped.
For 2014, the car got a mild facelift – they tweaked the grille and the front bumper, added LED foglights, and played with the taillights a bit. The 19-inch wheels are now thin-spoked aluminum.
The two-zone HVAC is now three zone (the two front areas and the rear.) I’ve always felt this divvying up of temperature zones was a bit of a marketing gimmick; it’s a small cabin, guys, and there isn’t much room to make distinctively different climates in there.
Buttons on the left side of the front passenger seat seatback allow for adjustments so the driver doesn't have to get out of the car, come around to the right side and do it with the adjusters the passenger would normally use.
The rear-wheel-drive Equus is Hyundai’s top of the line. It sports a 5-liter V8 engine that puts out (and this is a curious stat) 429 horses when fueled with premium and 421 horsepower when it’s drinking regular. All this is driven through an eight-speed automatic that has the requisite manumatic option that lets you saw through the gears.
The Ultimate package: lane departure warning, blind spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert (it beeps when a car is crossing your stern), power sunshades in the rear, head-up display (speedometer readings show up in the windshield, imitating a fighter jet’s display), smart cruise control (it will bring the car to a dead stop, if necessary) and a 17-speaker stereo that will blow you out of your leather seats. When your car needs servicing, Hyundai will send someone to pick it up (at home or office) and leave you with a loaner.
The question is not whether this is a fine, well-appointed luxury car – you’ll make your own decision once you’ve had a look at the 2014 Hyundai Equus. The question is whether this car will ever penetrate the tight circle of luxo barges that already appear to have a lock on the market – Audi’s A8, BMW’s 7-series and the S-class Mercedes-Benz. Much of this market is driven by perception, snobbery, keeping up with the Joneses and, of course, an appreciation of fine machinery.
But the underlying theme is image, or a lack of it. What this means can be seen in the face of anyone I meet who asks what I’m driving – sometimes, they look over my shoulder to see if they can identify the big white whale behind me (the Equus). When I say, “it’s a Hyundai,” they may say, “a Honda?” or they may say, “Hyundai?” or they may just look vague. Again, it’s perception – for many people, what you drive is who you are.
So the best advice may be: get over it. If you want a big luxury car, with all the safety gizmos and the luxury appointments and the hushed cabin at 70 miles an hour, you owe it to yourself to try all of them – the German Three, plus Jaguar, Cadillac, Maserati, Lexus, Infiniti and Hyundai. This is probably a losing battle – the die is cast when it comes to high-end cars, and people will continue to follow the herd into those Audi, Benz and BMW showrooms.
Since this review is about the 2014 Hyundai Equus, sit still for a few minutes and eat your Hyundai oatmeal. It’s not gonna hurt.
What we have here is a nearly two-and-a-half ton four-door sedan that has plenty of room in front and plenty of room in back. The rear seat passengers in this Ultimate edition (there is also the less costly Signature edition) are treated almost as well as their peers in front – dual rear screens for watching the navigation do its dance or watching movies; the rear center console through which you can control almost every function of the car, save driving it; the chilled seats.
The rear-wheel-drive Equus is Hyundai’s top of the line. It sports a 5-liter V8 engine that puts out (and this is a curious stat) 429 horses when fueled with premium and 421 horsepower when it’s drinking regular. All this is driven through an eight-speed automatic that has the requisite manumatic option that lets you saw through the gears. For 2014, the car got a mild facelift – they tweaked the grille and the front bumper, added LED foglights, and played with the taillights a bit. The 19-inch wheels are now thin-spoked aluminum and the two-zone HVAC is now three zone (the two front areas and the rear.) I’ve always felt this divvying up of temperature zones was a bit of a marketing gimmick; it’s a small cabin, guys, and there isn’t much room to make distinctively different climates in there.
Being a super car means there are all the high-end electronic driving aids to help you down the turnpike. The Equus is nothing if not replete with these, most of them standard, some of them added with the Ultimate package: lane departure warning, blind spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert (it beeps when a car is crossing your stern), power sunshades in the rear, head-up display (speedometer readings show up in the windshield, imitating a fighter jet’s display), smart cruise control (it will bring the car to a dead stop, if necessary) and a 17-speaker stereo that will blow you out of your leather seats. When your car needs servicing, Hyundai will send someone to pick it up (at home or office) and leave you with a loaner.
On the road, all this becomes a small symphony of svelte motoring. It’s not much different from all its competitors: the Equus is quiet, supple and, frankly, feels a bit heavy. When you compare their sizes, the three Germans are all within three inches of the Equus’s 203-inch length. When it comes to pricing, however, they are leagues apart.
The Audi A8, Mercedes-Benz S550 and BMW 7-series can range from the low seventy thousands into well over $100,000 and, in some cases, $150,000. The Equus Ultimate (the fancier of the two Equus models) is $68,920. That’s it.
In the future, of course, Hyundai may well raise the price of the Equus, but for now they have to get those customers in the door and have them pull out a checkbook and start writing, rather than just walking around the car and then heading for the (name the well-known brand) dealer next door.
Luxury car sales for 2013 compiled by goodcarbadcar.net show that Mercedes sold 13,303 S-class cars; BMW retailed 10,932 of the 7-series; Audi did 6,300 of the A8; and Hyundai sold 3,578 Equuses.
Maybe it’s the name. If they found a new name for their upscale cars, as Toyota did with Lexus and Nissan with Infiniti, things might change.
For now, however, what’s nice is the fact that you can go out there and buy a car that in many respects is the equal (Equus equal?) of the German troika but you don’t have to pay those prices.
There are worse deals in the auto marketplace.
For more consumer information on cars, check these Web sites:
Safety data can be found at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Reliability information can be seen in the dependability studies conducted by J.D. Power; and at Consumer Reports.
Fuel mileage figures are available at this site, maintained by the U.S. Department of Energy.
For trivia lovers: the sticker you see on the window of every new car for sale in the United States is known in the auto industry as the “Monroney.” It is named for U.S. Senator Almer Stilwell (Mike) Monroney, the Oklahoma Democrat who sponsored the Automobile Information Disclosure Act of 1958, which required all new cars to have labels that detail the price of the car and its options.
The 2014 Hyundai Equus, a luxury car from Korea. (All photos by Michael Taylor)
Author: Michael Taylor
Thursday, August 21, 2014
Kevin Schechterle, Service Manager provides updated information on the Sonata Recall. Remember, staying informed is important. The Gary Rome Hyundai Family is here to answer any questions you may have. Call us, we're here. www.GaryRomeHyundai.com or 888-637-4279
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Software fix will keep Santa Fe’s control screen aglow all winter
Published: August 18, 2014 12:00 PM
An old tall tale goes that it got so cold last winter, our words froze in midair, and we had to heat them in a skillet to hear what we were talking about. That’s how it felt in our Hyundai Santa Fe last winter. On really frigid mornings with single-digit temperatures, the center-dash infotainment screen wouldn’t wake up. That’s the touch screen that manages the audio, phone, navigation, and rear-camera image, but not, thankfully, the seat and steering-wheel heaters. This was unusual, inconvenient, and especially aggravating, since we’d just decided to name the Santa Fe our Top Pick among midsized SUVs. When contacted, Hyundai told us that it knew about it and that a free fix would soon be coming. Just in time for the dog days of August, we’ve learned that Hyundai has developed a software update that will keep the screen alive when the mercury takes a nosedive. It’s described in a technical service bulletin (TSB no. 14-01-031) now in dealers’ hands.
That TSB mentions that the cold-weather screen-freeze problem also afflicts some versions of the 2015 Elantra and Tucson. If you own any of those, it might be a good idea to check with your local dealership and maybe book an appointment, before you have to break out the skillet.