Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Hyundai's Global Brand Value Rises

Hyundai's Global Brand Value Rises

Hyundai Brand Value Ranked As Eighth Most Valuble In Auto Industry

Seoul, Korea, 07/27/2007 Hyundai Motor Company's brand power continues to rise as it was ranked 72nd in the 2007 Best Global Brands survey jointly conducted by Interbrand, a leading consultancy in branding and BusinessWeek, the New York-based global business media organization.

With a brand value estimated at $4.5 billion, the power of the Hyundai brand now surpasses several competitors when measured on a global basis. Among the world's top automotive brands, Hyundai ranked eighth, ahead of Porsche, Lexus and Nissan.

The rise of the Hyundai brand on the global stage has been meteoric. The brand made its debut appearance on the Best Global Brands list in the 2005 survey where it ranked 84th.

"Our brand management is supported by continuous improvement in the quality of our products and diversification of our model lineup," said Brandon Yea, Hyundai's vice president for brand strategy.

Public perception of the Hyundai brand has been transformed as a result of dramatic improvements in the quality of Hyundai vehicles. In turn, this has fueled a steady increase in sales and confidence in the brand among both customers and dealers.

Hyundai's pursuit of a better balance between quantitative and qualitative growth has made brand management a top priority. Brand management issues now influence decision-making in styling, marketing and communications as well as at the retail and after-sales service levels.

2007 Interbrand Ranking
Top 100 Ranking AutomotiveRanking Brand Brand Value(US $ Bill)
6 1 Toyota 32.1
7 2 M. Benz 23.6
13 3 BMW 21.6
19 4 Honda 18.0
41 5 Ford 9.0
54 6 VW 6.5
68 7 Audi 4.9
72 8 Hyundai 4.5
75 9 Porsche 4.2
92 10 Lexus 3.4
98 11 Nissan 3.1


Interbrand (www.interbrand.com), the leading brand consultancy and authors of the annual ranking of "The Best Global Brands" in partnership with BusinessWeek was founded in 1974. Interbrand has offices in over 30 cities in more than 20 countries around the globe and clients from among the most respected businesses.

BusinessWeek is a leading global business media organization which was founded in 1929 and is published by the McGraw-Hill Companies, BusinessWeek has more than 4.8 million readers each week in 140 countries. Local language editions include Chinese, Russian, and Bahasa Indonesian.

Established in 1967, Hyundai Motor Co. has grown into the Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group which was ranked as the world's sixth largest automaker in 2006 and includes over two dozen auto-related subsidiaries and affiliates. Employing over 68,000 people worldwide, Hyundai Motor posted US$29.4 billion in sales in 2006 (on a non-consolidated basis, [US$68.4 billion consolidated]). Hyundai vehicles are sold in 193 countries through some 5000 dealerships and showrooms. Further information about Hyundai Motor Co. and its products is available at www.hyundai-motor.com.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Veracruz Does it Right

Veracruz does it right

I see trouble on the horizon. Not for you or me, but for the likes at Toyota, Honda, Nissan, etc. A few years ago Hyundai was not much of a concern to any car builder since they were not high on quality ratings. All that changed a few years ago, and today they are among the best vehicles made, and presto! They are selling faster than a dime dance at a lumber camp.

Hyundai is perhaps the fastest growing vehicle company now and ranking third in the J.D Power survey for overall quality just behind Porsche and Lexus, which gives potential Veracruz buyers a big incentive to buy that first Hyundai product. Hyundai has added five entirely new models in the past 10 years, and the latest one is an upscale SUV that continues the Hyundai western name theme.

The Veracruz moves Hyundai's growing line of SUV's into a more pricy company and a loaded Veracruz could reach around $38,000. As I found out at a Hyundai briefing, the move into the higher-price vehicles is apparently where Hyundai intends to go in the near future. The Veracruz is targeted at the upscale Toyota Highlander and Honda Pilot SUV's. After the testing period, we see trouble for not only them but about everyone else along the SUV road. A lower price and more standard accessories, plus equal or better performance, will be the big selling points for the 2007 Veracruz. Actually the Veracruz should be labeled a 2008.

The styling is safe and should not engender any resentment but still exhibits some excitement at the tail-end with the last pie-shaped side-glass. The wheel-openings have an accented radius that adds to a sporty appearance.

Inside the Veracruz glows with the appointments that are found on SUV's that cost about another eight to ten thousand more. Nice leather and luxury appearing upholstery abounds, and most of the highly desirable accessories are standard like a 315 watt AM/FM/MP3 compatibility on the base GLS edition.

The top-line Limited can be optioned up to a 605-watt sound system with all of the above, plus a six-disc CD player XM satellite radio and 10-speaker surround sound, supported by a big chest-pounding sub-woofer. Our local movie theater doesn’t even have that fine of a sound system. An optional DVD player with an eight-inch screen is located on the headliner for the rear seat passengers enjoyment.

On that note; all Veracruz come with a third-row seat, something we think is unnecessary for most buyers and maybe a deterrent considering it adds cost to the base price. The third-row seats can be stowed and all but unnoticed; however, it still requires otherwise useful space. With the third-row and second-row seats laid-out there is about 87 cubic-feet of possible cargo room.

My little lady co-tester gives a thumbs, up for the power lift gate that is standard on the Limited model. I like the "proximity key" so I do not need to go digging for the keys to get going down the road. I don't even need to use the remote to unlock the doors, just have the key thing in my pocket and tap the door handle to unlock and climb-in. The 110-volt outlet is becoming a more frequent accessory, and I could have run my lap-top or blow-dry my hair with it. With summer finally here the duel drink holders will keep your Dr. Pepper chilled from the air-conditioning port located there for that purpose.

Hyundai does not offer a navigation system, and I can see why considering the factory price on most of them is around $2,000. Plus, the advent of the portable navigation at around three hundred bucks, and you can remove it to the next vehicle or even put it in your pocket for a guided walk around Chicago. All three Veracruz models are available with all-wheel drive at $1,700. The Veracruz has a base price of $26,995 and was $33,110 as tested.

The 260 horsepower V-6 engine is linked to a standard six-speed automatic transmission and that combination delivers plenty of performance. You forget how quiet a SUV can be in the Veracruz and that will be welcome on longer trips. Add to that the luxury of a comfortable ride that levels-out the bumps, and while the Veracruz may not corner like a Porsche we will opt for the comfortable ride and take the corners just a little slower. Keep your eye on Hyundai; they are going places.

July 26, 2007
BY ED NOBLE Special to Pioneer Press

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Santa Fe Reflects Hyundai's Pursuit of Luxury

Santa Fe reflects Hyundai's pursuit of luxury



There has been a trickle-up effect at Hyundai as it takes aim at building luxury-class vehicles.

This engineering is easily seen and felt in the company's new and largest SUV, the Veracruz. But Hyundai's pursuit of luxury is also felt in its smaller SUV, the Santa Fe, today's test vehicle.

It is not as richly appointed as the Veracruz, but the solid engineering is noted in the Santa Fe's ride quality that is separated from road harshness and engine noise. What is under the skin gives an impression of superior quality. And that refinement is also applied to what users see and touch.

Santa Fe is new for 2007 and a bit less than 3 inches wider and a little more than 3 inches longer. It makes an ideal alternative to a sedan, with roomy cargo space and an option to add a pair of third-row seats.

Front headroom is generous at 40.2 inches, and there's a commanding view over the hood. Rear-seat legroom is generous at 38.6 inches, the seat backs recline and the center seat position is decent with adequate foot room provided by the low exhaust/transmission tunnel.

Interior design isn't gimmicky. All switches and controls have ergonomic placement and are easily understood without continual references to the owner's manual.

And its Santa Fe is covered with the Hyundai warranty of five years/60,000 miles for basic coverage with roadside assistance. And 10 years/100,000 miles for the powertrain.

A basic front-wheel drive, manual transmission Santa Fe with a 185-horsepower, 2.7-liter V-6 has a starting price of $21,715. Add $1,200 for a four-speed Shiftronic automatic transmission and the fuel economy goes up 1 mpg from the manual in city and highway driving to 21/26 mpg.

As a basic, grocery-getting, kid-hauling or kid-driving transportation, the Santa Fe GLS is well-endowed with standard safety features including electronic stability control, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, traction control and six air bags, including side curtain bags.

Other standard equipment includes remote locking, air conditioning, tilt-telescopic steering wheel, rear privacy glass, six-speaker CD-audio system, power (heated) outside mirrors and windows, and 16-inch alloy wheels.

For another $1,500, the midrange SE is more of a keeper and adds a five-speed Shiftronic automatic transmission and a 242-hp, 3.3-liter V-6. Also included are extras such as 18-inch wheels, an auto-dimming inside mirror with compass readout, fog lights and automatic headlights, steering-wheel audio controls and a cargo net.

The top-line Limited with all-wheel drive - $28,045 - is the choice for those buyers who could afford to buy a larger vehicle but prefer driving richly in a smaller package. There is a little more chrome on the outside, the leather is attractive and the front seats are heated with power lumbar for the driver.

As equipped, the Limited seems almost too well-appointed to allow unruly children to scuff up or to toss bags of potting soil into the cargo area.

About the only option Hyundai doesn't offer is a navigation system.

Unlike some luxury-brand SUVs, buying the Santa Fe can be justified as a lifestyle need - but it's classy enough to satisfy a want.

- - -

SPECS

2007 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited AWD

Body style: compact, five-passenger SUV, two- or all-wheel drive

Engine: 242-horsepower, 3.3-liter V-6

Transmission: five-speed Shiftronic automatic

EPA estimated fuel mileage: 19 mpg city, 24 highway; 87 octane recommended

PRICING

MSRP: $28,715; price as tested, $28,810

Options on test car: carpeted floor mats, $95

Warranty: Five years/60,000 miles basic coverage with roadside assistance; 10 years/100,000 miles powertrain; 7 years/unlimited miles for rust protection.

Where assembled: Montgomery, Ala.

Competition: Honda CR-V, Mitsubishi Outlander, Saturn Vue, Subaru Forester and Toyota RAV4.

By Mark Maynard - Wednesday, July 18 2007

Monday, July 23, 2007

Gary Rome Hyundai Announces A Free Car Seat Clinic

GARY ROME HYUNDAI ANNOUNCES A FREE CAR SEAT CLINIC

HOLYOKE, Mass. - Gary Rome of Gary Rome Hyundai announced a Car Seat Clinic for Wednesday July 25th, 2007. Gary Rome Hyundai in conjunction with Baystate Children's Hospital and Safe Kids of Western Massachusetts invite area parents to learn how to prevent injuries to children in motor vehicle crashes.

All children ages 12 and under should be properly restrained in a back seat on every ride. Volunteers from Westfield, Pittsfield and South Hadley Police Departments and technicians from Greenfield Ambulance Service will be on hand for the free clinic.

Visitors will learn how to correctly restrain the child as well as learn the proper installation of any car seat. Massachusetts has traffic laws the average parent may not fully understand. This clinic will clearly educate parents about age requirements, exemptions, enforcement procedures and penalties.

For more information and appointments call Baystate Children's Hospital at 413-794-2255. The Car seat Clinic is open to the public Wednesday July 25th between 10am and 2pm at Gary Rome Hyundai 1000 Main Street in Holyoke. No appointment is necessary.

Information is also available on the Gary Rome Hyundai website: www.garyromehyundai.com.

Friday, July 20, 2007

2008 Hyundai Veracruz Adds Navigation

2008 Hyundai Veracruz Adds Navigation

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif., When introduced in 2007, the all-new 7-passenger Veracruz took the auto industry by storm, raising the bar on what consumers could expect in the premium, midsize crossover segment. Building on that momentum, the Veracruz gets even better for 2008, adding an all-new navigation system, designed for Hyundai by LG, one of the world's leading electronics manufacturers.

NEW EQUIPMENT HIGHLIGHTS FOR 2008
* LG navigation system
* Previously optional equipment on Limited model, now standard

    - Memory settings for power driver seat, exterior mirrors and steering wheel
    - Power tilt/telescopic steering wheel
    - Adjustable gas and brake pedals
    - Proximity key with immobilizer
    - Rain-sensing wipers
    - 115-volt power outlet
    - Lighted door scuff plates

* Power tailgate and 115-volt outlet now available on SE model

Also for 2008, the Veracruz Limited model adds several high-demand features to its long list of standard equipment. This equipment includes: memory settings for the power driver seat, exterior mirrors and steering wheel, power tilt/telescopic steering wheel, adjustable gas and brake pedals, proximity key with immobilizer, rain-sensing wipers, 115-volt power outlets and lighted door scuff plates.

A unique blend of substance, luxury and style, the 2008 Hyundai Veracruz targets the Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander, while offering the kind of upscale amenities and premium craftsmanship found in the Lexus RX350 and Mercedes-Benz ML.

BOLD AND BEAUTIFUL

The Veracruz demonstrates Hyundai's product expansion and global design evolution through its continued use of organic forms to create a refined and luxurious exterior appearance. Fluid lines, which combine with integrated headlights and taillights, help create a unified aesthetic for the vehicle.

Up front, the sculpted bumper creates the appearance of additional height. Three-tiered headlights complement the design. The grille combines a flat-lined upper chrome bezel and a curved lower bezel. Distinctive character lines and a fast profile enhance the stylish, yet functional imagery of the vehicle. Adding to its appearance is the Veracruz's seductive beltline, which ascends from the wraparound headlights, around the tapering body, then down to the prominent tail lights. Chrome trim is strategically applied to highlight some of Veracruz's design features, but also works to create an elegant, luxurious presence for the vehicle. The prominent wheel arches house 17- or 18-inch wheels.

Smooth and solid in its stance, the Veracruz even impresses as it departs. The integrated rear fascia has a sculpted section that blends seamlessly into the sides of the tail lights. The tail lights angle towards the character line highlighting the rounded back glass and dual exhaust tips. A rear spoiler enhances the Veracruz's sporty profile.

INTELLIGENT INTERIOR

Inside, passengers are coddled in a rich, sophisticated environment inspired by boutique hotels. The result is an interior that could be found in the finest luxury sedans, thanks to intelligent ergonomic engineering, intuitive design, and superior craftsmanship by Hyundai designers and engineers. Hyundai has crafted a winner, combining space with elegance and including conveniences that exceed expectations.

Every major component of Veracruz has been designed to reduce cabin noise below that of the whisper-quiet Lexus RX350. To isolate outside noise, Hyundai applies acoustic dampening sheets to the doors and unibody, a steel plate beneath the engine and four layers of carpet padding. Engine noise is reduced through an electronically controlled engine mount, a multi-curvature dash, custom hood insulation and a pillow tripod joint, which lessens vibrations from the driveshaft at idle.

Seating for seven adults is made possible because of Hyundai's standard Hideaway™ third-row seat. Access to the third row is simple with the flip of a lever to slide the second row forward. Additionally, a well-thought out design means cargo space is abundant in the Veracruz. Although 9.7 inches shorter than the Mercedes Benz GL, the Veracruz still has more cargo volume.

Available dual-zone climate controls for driver and front-seat passenger further enhance the Veracruz's luxury credentials. Second- and third-row passengers enjoy a new level of comfort, due to B-pillar-mounted adjustable vents, rear HVAC controls and roof-mounted vents.

Brushed metal accents and blue backlighting for all interior gauges, switches and buttons highlight the modern, integrated interior design. Even the front cupholders are accented with blue light to aid nighttime driving, while soft blue lighting in the overhead console provides subdued mood lighting. Hyundai's focused attention to detail can be seen throughout the interior – console bins and the glovebox are lined with soft flocking material. Powerpoint caps, seatbelt buckles and cupholder inserts are color-keyed for design harmony. Soft-touch, high-quality materials, low-gloss surfaces and zero-tolerance fits are used throughout the interior.

An AM/FM/XM Satellite Radio®/CD/MP3 audio system includes an internal 172-watt amplifier and six speakers and comes standard in the Veracruz GLS and SE. The 315-watt Infinity® AM/FM/XM Satellite Radio/CD-changer/MP3 audio system with subwoofer and external amplifier is standard on the Limited trim and optional in the SE. Audiophiles with even more demanding tastes will be impressed by the Infinity AM/FM/XM Satellite Radio/CD-changer/MP3 audio system that includes a 605-watt external amplifier, 10 speakers and Logic 7® surround sound available on the SE and Limited trim levels.

The new LG navigation system available on Limited models includes touch screen functions, point-of-interest features for all entertainment needs and audio/visual prompts to assist in getting drivers to where they want to go. Other thoughtful convenience features include a proximity key, rain-sensing wipers, auto dimming exterior mirrors, mirror-mounted approach lights, adjustable pedals, memory settings for the power driver seat, exterior mirrors and steering wheel, backup warning system, power liftgate, and a rear-seat entertainment system that includes a DVD player and eight-inch overhead LCD.

INNER POWER

On the street, the new Veracruz offers capable, fuel-efficient performance courtesy of a modern 3.8-liter DOHC V6 engine. It delivers 260 horsepower and 257 lb-ft. of torque. To maximize torque across the rev range, the engine utilizes Continuously Variable Valve Timing (CVVT) on the intake valves and a Variable Intake System which helps cylinders breathe efficiently at both low and high RPM. The engine has an aluminum block and cylinder heads for light weight and thermal efficiency, and features a steel timing chain with no scheduled maintenance.

To reduce vibration, the engine rides on newly developed semi-active engine mounting, which consists of three passive mounts integrated with a controllable element, rpm sensor and solenoid valve. The active mount is vacuum-activated to offset engine vibrations. In fact, Veracruz has less idling vibration and noise than the Lexus RX350.

To help put the power to use, the engine is mated to an Aisin six-speed gearbox with SHIFTRONIC® manual control. The transmission offers silky smooth shifts and a wide spread of ratios that ideally suits the engine's capabilities. Drivers can access the SHIFTRONIC feature by moving the gear selector into a separate gate. Pushing the selector forward or pulling it rearward will shift the transmission up or down sequentially, adding to driver control. An LED readout on the instrument panel shows the gear that is in use. The transmission uses an integrated transmission control unit and low noise gears that help reduce friction.

All of this powertrain technology is put to efficient use in the Veracruz, which achieves a new EPA highway fuel economy estimate of 16 city/23 highway in front wheel drive models, and 15 city/23 highway in all wheel drive models, exceeding the smaller, less powerful Honda Pilot. Veracruz also delivers clean air, with a Low Emissions Vehicle (LEV) classification.

CHASSIS FEATURES

Hyundai engineers benchmarked the best crossovers in the world before designing Veracruz's unibody and four-wheel independent suspension system. The rigid chassis and suspension geometry were specifically designed to deliver a supple, confident ride and help isolate the passenger cabin from imperfection in the road. The underpinnings are supported by a MacPherson strut front suspension and multi-link rear suspension system.

Upfront, reverse L-shaped lower control arms and high caster angles provide superior steering feel and excellent straight-line stability. Large subframe bushings improve the ride and isolate unwanted noise, vibration and harshness. All four wheels are controlled by coil springs, fade-resistant, gas-charged dampers and front and rear stabilizer bars. The Veracruz GLS is equipped with 17-inch, five-split-spoke aluminum wheels and 245/65R17 tires, while the SE and Limited trims ride on 18-inch, five-spoke aluminum wheels and 245/60R18 tires. Add in rack-and-pinion power steering, with a tighter turning radius than the shorter-in-length Lexus RX350 and Nissan Murano, and the end result is a vehicle with precise steering and handling, and a well-controlled yet comfortable ride.

AVAILABLE ELECTRONIC ALL WHEEL DRIVE

Hyundai has added an Intelligent Torque Controlled Coupling All Wheel Drive (AWD) system to propel Veracruz through the elements. Using wheel speed sensors to monitor the road and the driver, this electronic system can sense when and where more torque is required and route it there automatically. Power is transmitted to the rear wheels through a multi-plate clutch without any extra effort from the driver. An AWD lock mode can be engaged with the touch of a button, providing a 50:50 torque ratio when needed at low speeds.

SOPHISTICATED SAFETY SYSTEMS

The 2008 Veracruz embraces both active and passive safety with a host of leading-edge technologies. The vehicle's advanced engineering provides a high level of precision during all aspects of driving, and is anchored by standard Electronic Stability Control (ESC), the industry's most important new safety technology. By continually analyzing road speed, steering input, throttle position, lateral yaw rate and other factors, an onboard microprocessor determines if the vehicle is starting to understeer or oversteer, and automatically engages one or more brakes. The system also reduces engine output to help the driver maintain the intended path.

In addition, Veracruz adds large four-wheel disc brakes with a 10-inch tandem brake booster and an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) for impressive stopping distance for a vehicle of its size. Brake Assist, which is also standard, maximizes braking force when an emergency stop is detected.

Veracruz's passive safety features are equally impressive, beginning with six total airbags, including advanced dual front airbags, front seat-mounted side-impact airbags and roof-mounted side curtain airbags for all three rows of seating. In addition, active front head restraints help prevent whiplash. All seating positions feature three-point seatbelts, while the second and third rows also feature adjustable head restraints. Security is provided through a standard alarm system and available engine immobilizer.

To absorb impact to the passenger cabin, Hyundai engineers optimized crumple zones and reinforced the architecture's rails, side sill frame, floor cross-members and center pillars. These reinforcements have been tested thoroughly in laboratory and computer simulations. Veracruz has received the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) top five-star crash test rating for frontal and side impacts.

Convenient Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) points allow child seats to be secured in the second-row seats. Additional standard safety equipment includes a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), which alerts drivers if one or more tires are under inflated. An illuminated readout on the dash lets drivers know the exact tire needing inflation so corrective action can be taken.

THE DIFFERENCE IS IN THE DETAILS

As with all Hyundai vehicles, Hyundai put a great deal of thought and attention into every aspect of Veracruz. One touch opens and closes the available power tailgate, and the proximity key means no more fishing for keys with groceries in hand. Approach lights, sometimes referred to as "puddle lamps," can save your best pair of shoes. An integrated memory system returns the driver's seat to a default setting. Equipping the rear bumper with backup warning sensors makes parallel parking a snap. Aerodynamic wiper blades improve visibility, and two-way nozzles, each with four streams of fluid, provide for remarkably clean windshields. Making wireless phone calls in your Veracruz is easy using optional Bluetooth® wireless technology.

MODEL LINEUP

The Hyundai Veracruz comes in three distinct trim levels: The well-equipped GLS, sporty SE and premium Limited.

VERACRUZ GLS

Veracruz GLS comes well-equipped with a 3.8-liter V6 engine, six-speed automatic transmission, ESC, ABS, rear spoiler, 17-inch alloy wheels and seating for seven. Also standard is a 172-watt AM/FM/XM Satellite Radio/CD/MP3 audio system (which includes three months of complementary XM service), air conditioning with cabin filter, steering wheel audio/cruise controls, heated power side mirrors with approach lighting and side turn signal repeaters, front solar glass and rear privacy glass, remote keyless entry, and power windows and door locks. Interior safety features include active front head restraints, dual front airbags, front seat side-impact airbags plus side-curtain airbags. Other useful features include a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), a trip computer and a tilt and telescoping steering wheel. The Hyundai Hideaway™ third-row seat folds flat into the floor and is split 50/50, and the second and third row have their own roof-mounted vents and HVAC controls. The optional Premium Package adds a power tilt/slide glass sunroof, power driver seat, heated front seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, and backup warning system.

VERACRUZ SE - A SPORTIER FLAVOR OF VERACRUZ

In addition to all GLS equipment, the SE includes standard 18-inch alloy wheels, power driver seat, electrochromic auto-dimming rearview mirror with compass and HomeLink®, as well as front fog lights. A streamlined roof rack, center storage console with Cool Box functionality, auto-dimming exterior mirrors and automatic headlights are also standard equipment. An optional Premium & Leather Package adds a power tilt/slide glass sunroof, power tailgate, leather seating surfaces, heated front seats, 115-volt power outlet, a 315-watt Infinity audio system with CD changer and backup warning system. The available Entertainment Package (requires Premium and Leather Package) features a rear-seat entertainment system with an eight-inch LCD monitor, 605-watt Infinity AM/FM/XM Satellite Radio/CD-changer/MP3 audio system with Logic 7® surround sound and conversation mirror.

VERACRUZ LIMITED - PREMIUM FEATURES, OUTSTANDING VALUE

Veracruz Limited includes all of the equipment found standard on the SE and adds standard leather seating surfaces, heated front seats, power front passenger seat, automatic temperature control, a 315-watt Infinity audio system with CD changer, power tilt and slide glass sunroof, power tailgate, chrome door handles and brushed metal door sill scuff plates. New for 2008 are more standard Limited features, including power-adjustable pedals, power tilt and telescopic steering wheel, memory settings for the power driver seat, exterior mirrors and steering wheel, blue backlit sill scuff plates, a 115-volt power outlet, a proximity key and rain-sensing wipers. An optional LG navigation system is offered for the first time in 2008, packaged with a 605-watt Infinity Logic 7 surround sound audio system.

A rear-seat DVD entertainment system, which features an eight-inch LCD monitor and an Infinity AM/FM/XM Satellite Radio/CD-changer/MP3 Logic 7 surround sound audio package, is also available.

WARRANTY

The 2008 Hyundai Veracruz is protected by the Hyundai Advantage, America's Best Warranty™. Coverage includes five-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper protection, 10-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty and seven-year/unlimited mileage anti-perforation coverage. In addition, Veracruz buyers receive 24-hour roadside assistance coverage at no extra charge for five years (no mileage limit), which includes emergency towing, lockout service and limited coverage for trip interruption expenses. There is no deductible on any of this coverage.

HYUNDAI MOTOR AMERICA

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 750 dealerships nationwide.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

2007 Hyundai Sonata Limited XM Road Test

2007 Hyundai Sonata Limited XM Road Test



Climbing into the Sonata was like coming home to an old friend, afterspending more than ten months with a long-term Limited last year, and being part of countless log entries and what resulted in a mind-numbing 20 updates (once every two weeks). As you may remember we clocked up 6,472 completely trouble-free miles on the odo (except for me killing the battery) and only really complained about the audio steering wheel controls not featuring a button for changing radio stations, the lack of satellite radio and somewhere to plug in our various iPods.

Well, with the slightly updated 2007 model there's still nowhere to plug in an external audio device of any kind and dealers aren't offering a quick fix (at least not officially), although the addition of XM satellite radio on all automatic transmission equipped models currently being built (more clarity on this below) certainly does a decent job of making me forget about this shortcoming when on the road. There have been other changes too, and I might as well get them out of the way right off the bat. First, other than saying that all Sonatas now boast six airbags standard, including two up front, two side-impact bags and side-curtain airbags for all outsideoccupants, plus active front head restraints, I'm only going to comment on the Limited XM model, as we've already covered the four and its various upgrades in a previous review. Most noticeable with the Limited XM is a revised front grille that now features a stylish strip of chrome running side to side, giving the car a more upscale appearance. This particular example looks rich in its Dark Cherry Red paint, a new color for 2007. Bright Silver has also been added to the palette, a good thing being that silver remains the number one seller across the industry, making up about 30-percent of purchases. This example also features a tan interior, which contrasts the deep red nicely and looks superb with the environmentally friendly (read: faux) wood grain and metal-like trim, but we're pretty sure it will wear similarly to the light gray we had last year. The seats will be fine, but it'll probably be hard to keep the carpets clean (although tan matches ground in soil much better than gray). Fortunately, Black leather can now be ordered, along with black carpets and dark charcoal plastics. After a quick drive Jennifer immediately noticed the improved steering wheel audio controls that now allow her to scroll through radio stations and more via intuitive controls on the front and side of the left-side spoke, plus all of us like the fact that, with the new side-curtain airbags it gets a five star crash safety rating, and that its V6 is greener, now meeting Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (LEV-II ULEV) standards and boasting slightly better fuel economy, with an EPA rating of 20 mpg in the city and 30 on the highway. This improvement helps it to edge out the Accord EX-L V6 in the city while matching the Japanese brand's highway rating, but falling a bit behind the Camry XLE V6 on both counts.

Standard features (some over those of the SE XM) include leather seating surfaces, leather door trim inserts, heated front seats, an eight-way power driver's seat, 17-inch, 5-spoke alloy rims (that I'm not particularly fond of) wrapped in 50-aspect ratio Michelin all-season tires, a sliding center armrest that's really comfortable, a power glass sunroof with a sun shade(that strangely would slip back about an inch under hard acceleration), chrome exterior highlights with that chrome-accented grille I just mentioned, and an electronic five-speed automatic transmission with manual mode ... I'll discuss some of these items in more detail in a moment.

Our test example featured the upgraded Ultimate package ($1,750), addressing something that caused yours truly to regularly grumble when updating our long-term 2006 Limited, that didn't include this enhancement. The package features a power glass sunroof and an AM/FM/XM/MP3/6-CD changer stereo system with Infinity speakers and subwoofer/external amplifier. Add $550 more and you can upgrade to the Platinum Edition package, which will give you everything the Ultimate has plus a rear spoiler, aluminum bodyside molding, "platinum" floor mats and "platinum" badging. Automatic climate control is nice, and well worth the extra money of the Limited XM on its own, and the real deal maker with all Sonatas alike is the standard electronic traction (TCS) and stability control (ESC), the latter inarguably the most important automotive safety feature since airbags.

While base Sonata GLS> XM's sell for a surprisingly low $17,345, a well appointed Limited XM will set you back $23,445 or $22,995 for the Limited without XM radio. Yes, while standard now, some dealers still have 2007 cars without XM(it was a mid-year upgrade), so if music and talk radio variety isn't important to you, save the $450 while you still can. And something else, while impressive in its own right you will probably notice that the price of the Limited XM has increased somewhat from 2006 to 2007, but before you think that Hyundai is merely cashing in on the car's popularity, remember the many upgrades I've just itemized. Also, the Limited XM has always been and continues to be a serious bargain, selling for thousands less than its Japanese, German and most of its American competition. Even with a rather hefty freight and dealer prep charge of $620, a top-line Sonata won't break $26,000. Actually a 2007 model sells for only $25,295 without XM and $25,745 with.

There's an additional reason for the higher price, mind you, and one most will be willing to pay for: more zip under the hood. Power is always good, as long as fuel economy and emissions don't suffer. Well, after reading the last paragraph you should already know that it's even better from an environmental standpoint, so the 3.3-liter engine's added output is welcome news, now up to 234 horsepower (adjusted for SAE specifications) while torque remains the same at 226 lb-ft. I can't say I noticed any dramatic improvement off the line, because the 2006 car was always fast, even besting a first-generation Audi S4 in a streetlight sprint (he was trying to get in front of me from the right lane ... heh) that brought great shame to its cowering owner.

The five-speed automatic was once state of the art equipment, but even compared to its sibling Veracruz crossover it's one cog short of a full load. Still, it's buttery smooth and sports a manual mode feature that works very well, again making the car feel a lot quicker than some competitors that tout much higher output figures. And on this point, I don't think anyone will feel any great need for quicker acceleration, other than thosealready paying much more for top-line premium sport sedans. Even these will be shocked at how energetic the V6-powered Sonata is (like my friend in the S4).

Of course, quick as it is the Sonata wasn't really designed to beat any of Audi's cars, or Mercedes-Benz's E350 or BMW's 528i, although with regards to the latter it will quite handily, but rather it was created to transport its occupants wherever they may want to go in grand style and comfort, even if they're large in stature. Oh yes it's roomy, even enough that it's rated as a large car, despite its midsize exterior dimensions and price. Most will find enough legroom to stretch out, especially rear passengers, and if only four are aboard its ample width makes for a great deal of hip and shoulder room. Headroom too is impressive, although at 5'8” I'm hardly the best to ask. Rather, the tilt and telescoping steering wheel column makes setting up the optimal driving environment a quick and easy process. It's just a shame other markets get power adjustable pedals and we don't.

The 8-way power adjustable driver's seat is large, well cushioned andcomfortable, not in a sporty, heavily bolstered way but rather in a traditional American sedan style, and the lumbar support is especially nice on longer drives. It comes with heated cushions too, and they turn on quickly and don't stop heating after reaching full roast like so many others do. Just the same, more than one setting would be appreciated. It's either on or off, when so many competitors offer three, four or even six settings for mild to wild lower back therapy.

As for the drive, the Sonata is smooth ... extremely smooth. It rides smoothly, shifts its velvety smooth V6 smoothly and even reacts to steering and braking input smoothly. Most are shocked by its utter refinement, so much so that they, like me, wonder why this isn't the best selling sedan in North America. OK, the Camry is very good too, as is the Accord, but I think if more people drove the Sonata, many of these loyal to one of the two top-selling Japanese midsize benchmarks might be singing the praises of Hyundai all the way to the bank.

This in mind, I pulled into an Audi retailer to see a friend that works there, and he immediately came over to the Sonata and started looking it over ... very carefully. He was impressed, I could tell. "Nice paint," he said after rubbing his hand down the rear quarter panel. "Amazingly tight and even panel gaps," he added. "This is a big car," came his next point as one of his colleagues backed an A6 into the adjacent spot. "Can I see inside?" ... to which I opened the door. "Hmmm ... this is a lot better than any Hyundai I've ever seen," he continued, and then kept on lauding it for other attributes, strictly off the record, of course.

I can't help but admit that it's kind of fun showing the uninitiated what I have already come to appreciate, that Hyundai has changed its colors for good. It no longer sells cars on price and warranty alone, but rather, while continuing to offer low pricing and one of the industry's best warranties, can now tout styling, refinement and performance as reasons for entering one of its showrooms, not to mention impressive quality ratings by the industry's top market research studies, and awards galore from various journalist associations and publications.

Yes, the Sonata is priced much lower than its Asian competitors ... well, all but Kia's Optima. It's a very different car than the Optima, mind you, the Kia taking a cue from BMW and attempting to pull in more sport-oriented drivers with its MacPherson strut front suspension, while the Hyundai is trying to woo entry-level luxury fans with its front multi-link setup. Both are good, but the Sonata is smoother and therefore more comfortable.

This is probably as good a time as any to mention a number of changes that go along with a price increase for the 2008 Limited V6 that's already showing up in showrooms. Now starting at $24,045, it includes somevery nice additional benefits, such as a trip computer, a rear center headrest and an engine immobilizer. But wait, there's more. How about chrome exterior door handles and chrome surrounding the side window cutout to go along with that nice chrome grille insert, standard automatic air conditioning, automatic headlights, a six-disc CD player, something we've been calling for since our long-term car, plus a 240-watt external amplifier and subwoofer that are also available on the Limited four-cylinder but for some reason skip the regular Limited ... go figure? An electrochromic rearview mirror with a Homelink garage door opener and compass is also standard as part of the Limited V6. Standard as usual on all Sonatas is the electronic traction and stability control, as mentioned above.

Even comparing the more expensive 2008 Sonata Limited V6 to the Accord EX-L V6 and Camry XLE V6, it really makes you shake yourhead and wonder why you should pay so much for the Japanese cars. Load up the Hyundai with everything it comes with and you'll still save more than $3,600 over the Honda and, are you sitting down, more than $5,000 when compared to the equivalent Toyota. Of course both the Accord and Camry deliver more power and the latter gets a slick-shifting six-speed automatic and a few other items, but then again the Sonata offers some features these don't have. What Honda and Toyota have over Hyundai is resale value, which, while the Korean brand has improved immeasurably in recent years and will continue to thanks to the desirability of its new products and their superb quality ratings, might help the Japanese cars to even out when it comes to overall, long-term value. It's really tough to say, as we're speculating on resale values three or four years from now, and cars like the Sonata, Azera, Santa Fe and the new Veracruz, not to mention the upcoming rear-drive, V8-powered full-size luxury sedan based on the Genesis concept or its other, very well executed entry-level models, will definitely sway overall brand residuals in the near future. What's for certain is the immediate difference thousands of dollars off the window sticker makes to your monthly payment.

To sum up, depending on your needs, desires and availability, of course, at the time of writing you have the option of 2007 models without XM satellite radio, 2007 models with this upgrade, and 2008 models with all of the upgrades just mentioned. All I can say is move fast if you still want a 2007 Sonata.

Weather you decide on a 2007 or 2008 Sonata, you'll be getting a car that represents one of the best values, if not the best value in the entry-level midsize sedan segment. And like me, you'll probably have fun showing it off to neighbors and friends who, while impressed with how good it looks from front to back and inside, will be shocked that something so well built and refined dawns from this same South Korean company that once built its midsize reputation on the much maligned Stellar (dark memories indeed). Yes, Hyundai certainly has changed its colors.

July 12, 2007
by Trevor Hofmann / American Auto Press

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Hyundai Goes the Distance to Fight Cancer

Hyundai Goes the Distance to Fight Cancer





Hyundai has reaffirmed its commitment to improving the lives of cancer patients everywhere by once again serving as the presenting sponsor of the Boston Marathon® Jimmy Fund Walk. With the company's overwhelming support, the Walk, to be held on Sunday, Sept. 16, is set to reach its goal of raising $6.3 million to further research and care at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

On Sept. 16, Dana-Farber patients, survivors, their families, and thousands of others who are committed to conquering cancer will walk along the world-famous, 26.2-mile Boston Marathon® route toward the finish line in Boston's Copley Square. Nowhere is Hyundai's dedication to the event more evident in the participation of its employees, dealers, and friends—in fact, in 2006 alone, the 41-member Team Hyundai paired up with two of the Walk's Jimmy Fund patient partners, or "Heroes," to raise more than $140,000.

Please visit www.JimmyFundWalk.org to learn more about the Walk and to join Team Hyundai in 2007 as they take steps toward the ultimate finish line: conquering cancer.



Strike Out Cancer



This summer, Hyundai is again teaming up with the Boston Red Sox and WEEI 850AM Sports Radio in the 19th annual "Help Strike Out Cancer" campaign.

For every strikeout thrown by a Sox pitcher at home games, Hyundai will contribute $50 in support of the Jimmy Fund's commitment to fight cancer. Play Ball!

Tuning in and Stepping Up to Fight Cancer



Hyundai is proud to return as an hour-long sponsor of the 6th annual WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon on Thursday, Aug. 16 and Friday, Aug. 17. Listen to the broadcast on WEEI 850AM in Boston, or watch all of the action televised on NESN—beginning at 6 a.m. and airing through midnight on both days—as Hyundai team members will be on the air to voice their continued support of this great cause.

Join Hyundai by calling in your gift during this 2-day Radio-Telethon to benefit the lifesaving mission of the Jimmy Fund at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Last year the Radio-Telethon raised more than $2.9 million, and through your continued support this year, these generous gifts will help fund research and care for both children and adults with cancer.

To make a gift or learn more, visit www.jimmyfundradiotelethon.org.


Dana-Farber launches program to tackle low-grade pediatric brain tumors

Pediatric brain tumors termed "low-grade" grow slowly and have a better outlook for patients than the high-grade gliomas that are almost always fatal. But a group of parents who have funded a new Dana-Farber program say there is an urgent need for improved treatments that do not risk impairing children's development.

Presently, about 70 percent of patients survive low-grade astrocytomas (LGAs). Patients with tumors that can be completely removed surgically are often cured. When this is not possible, the tumors tend to recur, and the children need radiation and/or chemotherapy to control the remaining cancer—with high likelihood that will suffer growth and cognitive abnormalities.

"The treatment options for low-grade gliomas haven't changed for over 25 years," says Ken Gainey, who, with his wife, Charise, and four other families, has given $2 million to establish the Pediatric Low-Grade Astrocytoma (LGA) Program at DFCI. The Gaineys' 8-year-old son Jacob has had two surgeries for an LGA and recently finished chemotherapy.

Wanting to create a cohesive, highly specific research effort that would bring many resources to bear on these issues, the families chose Dana-Farber as the program's host institution, with its experience and interest in childhood brain cancer through its Stop & Shop Family Pediatric Brain Tumor Clinic, the nation's most comprehensive research and care center for pediatric brain tumor patients.

The new concentration of research on pediatric low-grade brain tumors is believed to be the first coordinated research effort committed to this specific type of tumor. Scientists from a range of specialists will focus on various aspects of the problem, with a five-year goal of identifying a molecular target in LGAs that can be hit with a designer drug.

* Story originally appeared on www.dana-farber.org

More Ways to Help




Presented by


One in three people will face cancer in their lifetime. Change the odds by walking. On Sunday, Sept. 16, join 7,000 people on one of four route options designed for everyone from the marathon enthusiast to the novice walker.

Register today at www.JimmyFundWalk.org

Guidelines for Good Health



The facts about fiber


A diet high in fiber has many health benefits, including bowel regularity, promoting a feeling of fullness, and reducing the risk of developing colon cancer.

In fact, most health organizations recommend eating a minimum of 25 grams of dietary fiber per day. Most high-fiber foods contain a mix of both soluble and insoluble fibers. Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water and has the reputation for possibly preventing colon cancer. Soluble fiber can dissolve in water and its properties have been known to help diminish high blood cholesterol.

Simple ways you can incorporate fiber into
your daily diet include:
* Choosing 100 percent whole wheat bread
* Eating the skin of potatoes and fruit
* Choosing whole grain cereals and crackers
* Adding fresh fruit to cereal and yogurt


Reference: The Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook, 1996.


About the Jimmy Fund



Since 1948, the Jimmy Fund has supported the fight against cancer at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, helping to raise the chances of survival for children and adults with cancer around the world. Millions of people have joined forces, through thousands of events and other fundraising activities, with one goal in mind: to help the Jimmy Fund save countless lives by furthering cancer research and care at Dana-Farber. Today, the Jimmy Fund has become one of America's favorite charities.



For More information, visit us at www.jimmyfund.org or www.dana-farber.org, or call 1-800-52-JIMMY

Veracruz 1st Hyundai to Top $25,000

Veracruz 1st Hyundai to top $25,000

Hyundai has done it- moved across the $25,000 starting price level for a new vehicle.

The brand that for years was known in the United States for its low-priced vehicles and industry-leading warranty coverage now has a new model that’s priced upward of $26,900.

It's the 2007 Veracruz crossover sport utility vehicle that joins nearly a half dozen other new crossovers in the market this year.

With standard three-row seating, comfortable ride and handling, rich styling and amenities and healthy 260-horsepower V-6, a two-wheel drive Veracruz starts at $26,995. With all-wheel drive added, the starting manufacturer's suggested retail price, including destination charge, is $28,695.

The previous most-expensive Hyundai - the 2007 Azera sedan with luxury appointments - has a starting price of $24,895.

Indeed, the test top-of-the-line Veracruz Limited with all-wheel drive, was priced at just over $38,000.

Competitors include the 2007 Honda Pilot, which starts at $27,690 for a two-wheel drive LX with 244-horsepower V-6, and the 2007 GMC Acadia, which starts at $29,990 for a two-wheel drive SLE with 275-horsepower V-6.

The Veracruz rides on a platform that's longer and wider than Hyundai's Santa Fe SUV.

But the personality of the Veracruz is more refined than that of a Santa Fe.

The interior of the test vehicle was surprisingly quiet, almost like that of a Lexus, and while the Veracruz felt well-planted to the pavement, the ride was compliant and pleasant - not busy or harsh, even in the tester with uplevel, 18-inch tires.

It clung to off-camber, downhill curves with tenacity and passengers didn't feel unsettling, abrupt body sway. Rather, the body structure seemed well-controlled and weight shifted predictably to give the driver confident handling.

And the turning circle of 36.7 feet was surprisingly tidy.

The only engine - a 3.8-liter, double overhead cam V-6 with continuously variable valve timing - was readily responsive from the get go, had plenty of passing power on highways and seems well-matched to a vehicle that can carry up to seven people.

It's the same engine that's in the Azera and Hyundai's Entourage minivan and needs only regular gasoline.

Torque peaks at 257 foot-pounds at 4,500 rpm, which is more than the 240 foot-pounds at 4,500 rpm in the 244-horsepower Pilot.

At 18 miles a gallon in city driving and 25 mpg on the highway for a two-wheel drive Veracruz, this Hyundai's government fuel economy rating is even a tad higher than that for the Pilot.

Best of all, the Veracruz comes with all safety equipment standard, including six air bags, active front head restraints to reduce whiplash injuries, antilock brakes and electronic stability control.

And it earned the top rating - five out of five stars - in the federal government's front and side crash testing.

There was nary a vibration or nuisance sound in the Veracruz drive. I kept listening for wind noise, especially at highway speeds, but there was little of it and there was little road noise from the tires.

Hyundai uses active engine mounts under the hood that change from soft to firm to manage engine idle vibrations at idle as well as on the highway.

Standard equipment on all models includes air conditioning with controls for rear-seat passengers, steering wheel-mounted controls for the audio system and cruise control, a dual exhaust and audio system with MP3 and XM satellite radio capability that comes with free, three-month XM radio service.

By Ann M. Job THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Monday, July 16, 2007

Hyundai Elantra

Hyundai Elantra



What is the sound of four cylinders panting?

A fleeting epiphany came when I was scooting through squally, windy weather over the Golden Gate Bridge in the new Hyundai Elantra (it's been totally revamped for 2007) -- I thought that you don't really need a more expensive car, a more gizmo-laden car.

The Elantra, for all its humble station in life, nestled in that under-$20,000 group of largely anonymous transportation, has established itself, in its new incarnation, as a car that is fine as it is. It has all the things we now take for normal -- power windows, ABS brakes, enough air bags to suffocate a crocodile, booming stereo, etc. -- and so you begin to wonder why you should pay twice as much for a car that's a bit bigger and has a couple of more cylinders.

But the epiphany, startling as it was for that moment, was fleeting; it didn't crush me down for hours with its psychological ephipaniness, trying to convince me the car was really a Benz E350 in disguise. No ... it is what it is, a mid- to small-size sedan that competes with such similar ilk as Nissan Sentra, Ford Focus and, note here, Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla.

I said "note here" because the Civic and Corolla are the two cars everyone thinks of when they go shopping for wheels one step below the perennial best-sellers, Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. Civic and Corollas have been around for decades -- remember the CVCC (Controlled Vortex Combustion Chamber) Civic of the mid-1970s? -- and they are now to small cars what Volkswagen Beetles were 40 years ago.

What we have in the Elantra (once again, where do they get these names?) is a four-door sedan that has more interior room and cargo space than its Corolla and Civic cousins made by Toyota and Honda. We had an SE sedan with the four-speed automatic transmission (all three trim levels come with the automatic or with a five-speed manual). It was the midlevel model, and it never whined under protest at being thrown vigorously about the road.

The SE comes with cloth seats, and there's a suspicion that while they feel fine now, in 10 years they may become ratty and riddled by holes; it's just the soft feeling of the nap and the nagging uncertainty as to whether they will stand up to 10 years of pummeling by kids. The top-line model of the Elantra comes with leather seats, and you might do well to consider that.

The Elantra also had the aforementioned booming audio system with six speakers, a jack for MP3, CD/AM/FM and the convenient steering wheel-mounted stereo and cruise control buttons. The air conditioning/heating system controls are high enough up on the central dash console, and there are plenty of little cubby holes around the cabin. The trunk lid opens to reveal handles for the 60/40 split-folding rear seat back for those times when you need to carry several pairs of skis or -- bad luck on the slopes -- crutches.

This, of course, brings up the point of escalating options -- do you option up a smaller car to the point where its price is close to the largely unoptioned car that is next bigger in that product line. In Hyundai's case, the least-equipped Sonata, the GLS with the four-cylinder engine, is less than $1,000 more expensive than the best-equipped Elantra Limited. And with the Sonata, you've graduated into a clearly larger and (all things being relative) more sumptuous car.

But that's beside the point here.

On the road, the Elantra has that predictable small car behavior whenever you get out in a passing lane or start winding up a long hill -- you keep wishing for more power. Tromp down on the gas and those 132 horses turn their heads and glare at you briefly, grab the bits in their teeth and start panting uphill. The engine has that coarse, noisy four-banger roar that lets you know it is not very happy.

On straightaways, however, the car will get to illegal cruising speeds and stay there -- these days, nearly every car available in the U.S. market will break even the highest speed limits, although they won't want to stay there all day.

Of course, if you're seriously searching for a car in this competitive niche, the fact that may tip the Elantra in your favor is Hyundai's warranty, which has become such a marketing point in the Hyundai saga. The car comes with a five-year/60,000-mile stem-to-stern guarantee and extends it to 10 years/100,000 miles for the power train.

Then all you have to do is keep the car.




2007 HYUNDAI ELANTRA

Type: Front engine, front-wheel-drive four-door sedan

Price as tested: $17,380

Base price: $16,695

Power train: 2-liter in-line four-cylinder 132-horsepower engine. Four-speed automatic transmission (five-speed manual transmission available)

Curb weight: 2,747 to 2,895 pounds, depending on optional equipment added to the car

Seating capacity: Five

Mileage: 28 city, 36 highway

Fuel tank capacity: 14 gallons

Dimensions: Length 177.4 inches; width 69.9 inches; height 58.3 inches; wheelbase 104.3 inches

Warranty: bumper to bumper, five years/60,000 miles; power train, 10 years, 100,000 miles

Source: Hyundai Motor America (www.hyundaiusa.com); U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (www.fueleconomy.gov)

Michael Taylor, Chronicle Auto Editor
Friday, June 29, 2007

Friday, July 06, 2007

Hyundai Closes First Half of 2007 With an All-Time Record

Hyundai Closes First Half Of 2007 With An All-Time Record

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif., 07/03/2007 Hyundai Motor America announced sales of 49,368 vehicles for the month, which was Hyundai's all-time, anytime, record sales month. Hyundai sales are up 12 percent month-over-month and 11 percent over last June on the strength of the growing Hyundai model line up.

Hyundai's all-new 2007 Santa Fe continued it strong pace with an increase over June 2006 of 37 percent, followed closely by Sonata which experienced a 28 percent sales increase. Our 2007 fuel-efficient Elantra kept the momentum going in its segment increasing sales 8 percent over June 2006, along with the Entourage that more than doubled its sales over the same period last year.

"The first half of 2007 was the most successful in Hyundai history," said Dave Zuchowski, vice president, National Sales, Hyundai Motor America. "Our second quarter sales rebounded strongly and resulted in first half sales which were up 1 percent over record 2006 levels. We are encouraged by this strong momentum and are well positioned for continued growth in the second half."

All Hyundai vehicles sold in the U.S. are covered by The Hyundai Advantage, America's Best Warranty™. Hyundai buyers are protected by a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, a 5-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, a 7-year/unlimited-mile anti-perforation warranty and 5-year/unlimited-mile roadside assistance protection.

Following is the sales breakdown for June 2007:

CARLINE JUNE/2007 JUNE/2006 CY2007 CY2006
ACCENT 4,067 5,848 18,296 17,446
SONATA 15,080 11,739 67,658 87,361
ELANTRA 9,617 8,868 49,932 52,661
TIBURON 1,670 2,135 7,395 9,154
SANTA FE 8,460 6,156 44,372 24,289
AZERA 1,807 2,778 12,539 13,918
TUCSON 3,639 5,474 20,350 26,620
ENTOURAGE 3,479 1,510 11,946 2,704
VERACRUZ 1,549 n/a 3,477 n/a
TOTAL 49,468 44,580 236,595 234,035

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Hyundai Veracruz Has Room, With or Without Kids

Hyundai Veracruz has room, with or without kids



Lexus-like crossover vehicle capitalizes on style, trend toward third row of seats

If I'm reading the U.S. census data correctly, California ranks second behind Utah in the average number of family members per household. Utah I get. I mean, I've seen "Big Love." But California, land of selfish singletons, DINKs (double income, no kids) and others with, shall we say, unfruited loins? Maybe we're not the godless child-haters we're alleged to be.

And yet, something about the current burst of third-row crossovers and sport utility vehicles -- prominent examples include the Mazda CX-9, the BMW X5, the Acura MDX, the Buick Enclave -- doesn't quite add up, sociologically. If the average family size in the United States is 3.84 -- so sayeth the U.S. Census Bureau -- and the average number of children younger than 18 in those families is holding steady at 1.86, well, why the sudden pressing need for more seats? If, as social scientist Robert D. Putnam suggests, Americans are more isolated than ever before -- "Bowling Alone" is the wistful title of his recent book -- well, who's to fill this suddenly indispensable third row?

The rise of third-row seating, it seems to me, is a classic case of a manufactured need. Most people who spend the extra money don't actually need a sixth and seventh seat; it's merely that they have been possessed with the anxiety of not having them. My God, one day we might have friends, and then what will we do?

In any event, California is prime territory for the new 2007 Hyundai Veracruz, another Lexus-alike from the Korean company that has learned to squeeze the grooves off a dime. Like the Sonata and especially the Azera sedan, the Veracruz exudes the kind of feels-like-stealing quality that instantly predisposes one to overlook whatever flaws there might be. Under the river rock-smooth nose is the same 3.8-liter, 260-hp V6 as in the Azera, mounted to the chassis with electronically controlled, vibration-damping engine mounts. Instead of a five-speed automatic, the Veracruz is equipped with a six-speed automatic, though the gear ratios are exchanged with such slippery smoothness it all feels like one big gear.

The base-level vehicle, the GLS, starts at $26,995. Our test vehicle, a Limited with all-wheel drive and all the trimmings, including a $3,200 rear-seat DVD system (You imaginary kids quiet down back there and watch your "Shrek"!) retailed for $38,020. The Veracruz has five trim levels, each available with all-wheel drive.

Among midsize, seven-passenger Japanese kinda-crossovers, vehicles such as the Subaru Tribeca, the Suzuki XL7 and the Mitsubishi Endeavor, it's a bitter dogfight. The Veracruz has the glossy, overachieving veneer, leather and faux alloy-and-wood interior trim to reward the bargain-shopping sybarite. There's a kind of aero languidness draped uphill from nose to tail and black-clad underbody obviously inspired by the Lexus RX350, or it might just be a good idea in packaging and sightlines that Lexus got to first.

Inside, the Hyundai's debt to the Lexus edges toward larceny, with the faux-alloy finish on the geometrically organized triple-stack controls, central rotary dial for the AC, and vertical air outlets all cribbed from the RX350. Of course, cosmetics are easy to copy. What's harder to imitate is Lexus' hermetically sealed quiet, the still and untroubled volumes of the cabin. The Veracruz is deeply quiet, well damped in every direction.

This is a fairly big, fairly tall vehicle, with a bit of loll and roll in its handling, but it's sufficiently composed that you can drive it hard into an off-ramp without feeling out of control. The suspension is more velvety than rubbery. That said, you should not expect much in the way of driver rewards in the Veracruz. If steering feel, braking and cornering are high on your list of priorities, you would be better off with a used RX350.

With 257 pound-feet of torque, the V6 pulls its own weight and then some, though our test vehicle, with the heavier all-wheel-drive propulsion, felt logy at the throttle. The AWD includes a standard multidisc center differential; what's not standard, and is welcome, is the center-lock differential, which splits the engine power evenly between front and rear axles.

The Veracruz's raison d'etre is, naturally, the third-row seat, accessed by way of a simple lever on the second-row seats.

The second row slides forward 5 inches, thus making the third-row seats survivable. This is another strange thing about the third-row phenomenon. It is, as yet, unproven that you can make three rows of seats comfortable and accessible, if the vehicle in question is not a Chevy Tahoe.

On the whole, complaints were few. The Veracruz's build quality is first-rate, and the warranty could cover the vehicle until the kids are in high school. Safety engineering is abundant, with multiple air bags, stability control, tire-pressure sensors and other insulators against happenstance. The price is most definitely right, considering the slew of standard features, including XM satellite radio and Bluetooth connectivity.




2007 HYUNDAI VERACRUZ LIMITED

Base price (all-wheel drive): $34,005

Price, as tested: $38,020

Power train: 3.8-liter, dual overhead-cam V6 with variable valve timing; six-speed automatic transmission; all-wheel drive

Horsepower: 260 at 6,000 rpm

Curb weight: 4,470 pounds

0-60 mph: 8 seconds

Wheelbase: 110.4 inches

Overall length: 190.6 inches

Mileage: 17 city, 24 highway

Dan Neil, Los Angeles Times
Friday, June 29, 2007

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Hyundai Earns Another J.D. Power and Associates APEAL Award

Hyundai Earns Another J.D. Power And Associates APEAL Award

Azera Sedan Tops Its Segment For Second Year In A Row

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, CALIF., 06/28/2007 - J.D. Power and Associates announced today that Hyundai Azera once again topped the large car segment in the annual 2007 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout StudySM (APEAL), which measures owner delight with the design, content, layout and performance of their new vehicles. The award represents the second consecutive year that Azera has topped the large car segment in the study. Outperforming several popular sedans, Azera received high marks for its interior, audio systems, seats, heating and air conditioning (HVAC), visibility and driving safety.

"Azera owners are impressed with the elegance and luxury of their car," said Dave Zuchowski, Hyundai's vice-president of National Sales. "This award further reinforces our brand philosophy about how smart consumers think about premium sedans. Clearly, the Azera raises the bar by combining safety, luxury and value like no other vehicle in its segment."

In addition, the all-new Hyundai Entourage placed third in the van segment and the re-designed Hyundai Santa Fe mid-sized SUV increased its APEAL ranking well above the segment average, with a 56-point improvement over last year.

The Azera trophy case continues to grow with a number of honors and awards. It recently captured "Best in Class" for the sedans in the $25,000 to $30,000 category in Kiplinger's Personal Finance "Best of 2007 Cars" awards and achieved the top slot in the large car segment in the Strategic Vision, Total Quality Index™ (TQI) study, which measures the total vehicle satisfaction among new car owners. In addition, the Azera was named Edmunds.com "Editor's Most Wanted Sedan Under $30,000," and was named a Consumer's Digest "Best Buy." The 2006 Azera earned the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's (IIHS) top crash test ratings for frontal offset impacts, aided by unsurpassed standard safety equipment like Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Anti-lock Brakes (ABS) and eight airbags.

About J.D. Power and Associates

Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is an ISO 9001-registered global marketing information services firm operating in key business sectors including market research, forecasting, consulting, training and customer satisfaction. The firm's quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually. Find more detailed findings on new-vehicle quality performance as well as model photos and specs by watching a video, reading an article and reviewing quality ratings at JDPower.com. J.D. Power and Associates is a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies.

About Hyundai Motor America

Hyundai Motor America, headquartered in Fountain Valley, Calif., is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Company of Korea. Hyundai vehicles are distributed throughout the United States by Hyundai Motor America and are sold and serviced by more than 750 Hyundai dealerships nationwide.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Hyundai aims high and succeeds with its new Veracruz SUV

Hyundai aims high and succeeds with its new Veracruz SUV

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, until the copycat makes itself better than the original. Then it is just annoying competition, but it raises the standard for all.

Lexus may not fear much competition from Hyundai, but Lexus quality and refinement in its RX 350 sport utility vehicle were the bench mark for Hyundai's new and largest SUV, the seven-passenger Veracruz.

Hyundai is using Veracruz as practice for its move into the luxury segment. Next up will be the V-8-powered Genesis sport sedan, intended to compete with Acura, BMW, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz and others.

Whether Hyundai will be embraced as a maker of luxury vehicles in my lifetime is yet to be seen, but Veracruz engineering, quality of materials and attention to detail appears to have had a generous budget.

Veracruz is sold in three trim levels in front- or all-wheel drive. All models have a 260-horsepower V-6 engine, Hyundai's first six-speed Shiftronic automatic transmission, third row seats that fold flat for easily expanded cargo space, electronic stability control and a three-month subscription to XM Satellite Radio.

Pricing ranges from $27,685 to $34,695 for the top-line, all-wheel-drive Limited, today's test vehicle. With options, the test vehicle was $38,070. That's about $10,000 more than Hyundai's top-line Santa Fe crossover, a five-seater.

Veracruz competes with other seven-seaters, such as the Subaru B9 Tribeca, Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander.

Hyundai is so confident in Veracruz that it bought six Lexus RX 350s as comparative vehicles on the ride and drive for the national media launch in San Diego.

"And it was a cheeky thing to do," said John Krafcik, Hyundai vice president of product planning.

Yes, but the current Lexus RX came out in 2004 and had a face-lift and new engine for 2007, so it is in the middle of its product cycle.

"But it's still the bench mark premium crossover and sells like hotcakes," Krafcik said.

Attention to detail is seen and felt throughout the Veracruz. The center instrument console has a Lexus RX-like arrangement of controls and vents, which is a practical and ergonomic layout. There is a woven fabric headliner and visors with extenders and covered mirrors. Latches and switch controls operate with smoothness and ease.

Doors open wide and close with a secure action. Two small storage boxes in the instrument console are spring-loaded for graceful opening, just as in a Lexus. A small, felt-lined box in the console is ideal for holding a phone and there's a 12-volt power outlet to accommodate a charger. A conversation mirror is integrated just above the rearview mirror and rotates into position with the press of a button. Even the tick-tick of the turn signal will not annoy.

Sightlines for the driver are open, access to the third row is simple enough for the agile and there is decent legroom for those who will fit back there, with plenty of grab handles to get the job done. Seat backs fold flat with the simple pull of a lever. The second row also folds but not quite flat, as for sleeping on rainy camp-outs.

The smoothness of the engineering is also felt in the ride quality, in the fine leather on the steering wheel as it rotates through the hands and in the response of the throttle and brakes. The turning circle is particularly helpful at 36.7 feet, which makes tooling around the mall for a tight parking spot a no-stress adventure.

Safety features are also luxury class, including standard electronic stability control - also standard in 63 percent of the Hyundai lineup and side-curtain air bags for all rows.

The standard equipment list includes many luxury features, but others, such as rain-sensing wipers, adjustable pedals and power tilt and telescopic steering wheel (manual is standard), are available in packages.M

But Krafcik had to draw the line somewhere on the freebie list. Carpeted floor mats, even on the top-line Limited, are a $125 option. The Ultimate package includes brushed stainless steel doorsill plates with a lighted Veracruz cutout.

About the only feature not available, but appreciated, would be a rear backup camera; however, there are backup warning tones. Hyundai doesn't offer a rear camera - yet - because those typically are packaged with a navigation system with a DVD screen. And Hyundai doesn't offer a navigation system, but one is planned.

Navigation systems are readily available but quickly outdated. Hyundai is considering a simpler plug-and-play system that can be updated at a home computer.

The big benefit of not offering navigation is that the electronic controls for all in-car functions are through buttons and knobs. No joystick controllers needed to page through screens of information to change radio stations or adjust fan speed. Just reach, press and enjoy.

The function and utility of Veracruz is over-thought and over-engineered, yet much appreciated. Now, wrap all of this refinement into a striking sedan body - Genesis - and Hyundai will have a credible new luxury car.

Don't believe me? Check out the Veracruz.

By Mark Maynard Wednesday, June 27 2007, 12:05 AM EDT

Hyundai aims high and succeeds with its new Veracruz SUV

Hyundai aims high and succeeds with its new Veracruz SUV

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, until the copycat makes itself better than the original. Then it is just annoying competition, but it raises the standard for all.

Lexus may not fear much competition from Hyundai, but Lexus quality and refinement in its RX 350 sport utility vehicle were the bench mark for Hyundai's new and largest SUV, the seven-passenger Veracruz.

Hyundai is using Veracruz as practice for its move into the luxury segment. Next up will be the V-8-powered Genesis sport sedan, intended to compete with Acura, BMW, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz and others.

Whether Hyundai will be embraced as a maker of luxury vehicles in my lifetime is yet to be seen, but Veracruz engineering, quality of materials and attention to detail appears to have had a generous budget.

Veracruz is sold in three trim levels in front- or all-wheel drive. All models have a 260-horsepower V-6 engine, Hyundai's first six-speed Shiftronic automatic transmission, third row seats that fold flat for easily expanded cargo space, electronic stability control and a three-month subscription to XM Satellite Radio.

Pricing ranges from $27,685 to $34,695 for the top-line, all-wheel-drive Limited, today's test vehicle. With options, the test vehicle was $38,070. That's about $10,000 more than Hyundai's top-line Santa Fe crossover, a five-seater.

Veracruz competes with other seven-seaters, such as the Subaru B9 Tribeca, Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander.

Hyundai is so confident in Veracruz that it bought six Lexus RX 350s as comparative vehicles on the ride and drive for the national media launch in San Diego.

"And it was a cheeky thing to do," said John Krafcik, Hyundai vice president of product planning.

Yes, but the current Lexus RX came out in 2004 and had a face-lift and new engine for 2007, so it is in the middle of its product cycle.

"But it's still the bench mark premium crossover and sells like hotcakes," Krafcik said.

Attention to detail is seen and felt throughout the Veracruz. The center instrument console has a Lexus RX-like arrangement of controls and vents, which is a practical and ergonomic layout. There is a woven fabric headliner and visors with extenders and covered mirrors. Latches and switch controls operate with smoothness and ease.

Doors open wide and close with a secure action. Two small storage boxes in the instrument console are spring-loaded for graceful opening, just as in a Lexus. A small, felt-lined box in the console is ideal for holding a phone and there's a 12-volt power outlet to accommodate a charger. A conversation mirror is integrated just above the rearview mirror and rotates into position with the press of a button. Even the tick-tick of the turn signal will not annoy.

Sightlines for the driver are open, access to the third row is simple enough for the agile and there is decent legroom for those who will fit back there, with plenty of grab handles to get the job done. Seat backs fold flat with the simple pull of a lever. The second row also folds but not quite flat, as for sleeping on rainy camp-outs.

The smoothness of the engineering is also felt in the ride quality, in the fine leather on the steering wheel as it rotates through the hands and in the response of the throttle and brakes. The turning circle is particularly helpful at 36.7 feet, which makes tooling around the mall for a tight parking spot a no-stress adventure.

Safety features are also luxury class, including standard electronic stability control - also standard in 63 percent of the Hyundai lineup and side-curtain air bags for all rows.

The standard equipment list includes many luxury features, but others, such as rain-sensing wipers, adjustable pedals and power tilt and telescopic steering wheel (manual is standard), are available in packages.M

But Krafcik had to draw the line somewhere on the freebie list. Carpeted floor mats, even on the top-line Limited, are a $125 option. The Ultimate package includes brushed stainless steel doorsill plates with a lighted Veracruz cutout.

About the only feature not available, but appreciated, would be a rear backup camera; however, there are backup warning tones. Hyundai doesn't offer a rear camera - yet - because those typically are packaged with a navigation system with a DVD screen. And Hyundai doesn't offer a navigation system, but one is planned.

Navigation systems are readily available but quickly outdated. Hyundai is considering a simpler plug-and-play system that can be updated at a home computer.

The big benefit of not offering navigation is that the electronic controls for all in-car functions are through buttons and knobs. No joystick controllers needed to page through screens of information to change radio stations or adjust fan speed. Just reach, press and enjoy.

The function and utility of Veracruz is over-thought and over-engineered, yet much appreciated. Now, wrap all of this refinement into a striking sedan body - Genesis - and Hyundai will have a credible new luxury car.

Don't believe me? Check out the Veracruz.

By Mark Maynard Wednesday, June 27 2007, 12:05 AM EDT