Monday, March 30, 2009

Hyundai Improves in J.D. Power and Associates 2009 Vehicle Dependability Study

Hyundai Has Fewer Problems Than Industry Average

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif., 03/19/2009 Hyundai increased its lead over the industry average in the J.D. Power and Associates 2009 Vehicle Dependability Study(SM) (VDS) released today. Hyundai ranked No. 13 among nameplates in the long-term quality study, four rank positions better than industry average. The Hyundai overall score was 161 problems per 100 vehicles, nine problems better than the industry average of 170. In the 2008 Vehicle Dependability Study(SM), Hyundai was three rank positions and six problems better than the industry average. The Elantra sedan had the highest levels of dependability in the Hyundai lineup.

"Customers deserve and expect the highest levels of quality when they purchase a vehicle, and expect it will remain reliable over its lifetime," said Barry Ratzlaff, Hyundai Motor America Director of Product Quality. "Our improvements in overall dependability demonstrate our efforts to build on the foundation of our 10 year, 100,000-mile warranty. Throughout the enterprise, from our suppliers through our dealers, we continue to aggressively strive and innovate for Hyundai vehicles to be in the top tier for vehicle quality and reliability."

J.D. Power and Associates changed methodology for the 2009 VDS, so results from past years are not directly comparable. The highly regarded study measures problems experienced by original owners and lessees of three-year-old (2006 model year) vehicles. The study is based on the responses of more than 46,000 owners of new vehicles bought between September 2005 and February 2006. The 2009 VDS measures problem symptoms in categories such as vehicle exterior, driving experience, features/controls/displays, audio/entertainment/navigation, seats, HVAC, interior, engine and transmission. The VDS is one of three J.D. Power and Associates quality studies, along with the Initial Quality Study (IQS) that measures quality after 90 days of ownership, and the Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) study that measures customer perceptions on the design, content, layout and performance of their new vehicles.


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 790 dealerships nationwide. All Hyundai vehicles sold in the U.S. are covered by The Hyundai Advantage, America's Best Warranty. In addition, the Hyundai Assurance Program is now offered on all new vehicles leased or purchased from a certified Hyundai dealer. The program is available to any consumer, regardless of age, health, employment record or financed amount of the vehicle. The program is complimentary for the first 12 months.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Hyundai Genesis wins coveted award

An inaugural era is ushered in for Hyundai as the Korean automaker takes home the 2009 North American Car of the Year.

The 2009 Genesis won Car of the Year, an award determined by 50 independent automotive journalists from the United States and Canada. The jury's judging criteria included design, safety, handling, dollar value and innovation.

The all-new Genesis five-passenger midsize sedan is first in these categories. This Car of the Year designation is the first time Hyundai has taken home this prestigious award. Hyundai will follow up this summer with a coupe version of the Genesis.

Hyundai has come a long way with its struggling reputation as a viable carmaker. Poor quality nearly derailed its viability in the American marketplace early on. But Hyundai fixed its problems and to prove it, backed its vehicles up with a 10-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty program. Buyers started paying attention - and haven't looked backed.

From these tiny seeds of cultivating new beginnings for the company with top-quality small cars, Hyundai has achieved a remarkable lesson we all can learn from: keep digging.

The Genesis is a complete departure from how Hyundai started out in the American market. When developing the rear-wheel-drive Genesis, Hyundai envisioned this all-new sedan going up against the world's top-tier midsize sedans: Mercedes-Benz E-Class, BMW 5 Series, Lexus GS and the Infiniti M. It's good to aim high. I'll never be a world class tennis player, but I like to study the strokes of tennis champion Roger Federer.

If I were seriously in the market for a BMW, the Hyundai Genesis is not something I'd shop. However, I would put the Genesis up against the Toyota Avalon, Buick LaCrosse - and even the Acura TSX. The picture I'm describing for you is that the Hyundai Genesis is a premium sedan with high-quality materials and craftsmanship throughout, including engine and handling performance that don't disappoint the driver and ride standards that keep passengers comfortable.

When Hyundai announced prices for the 2009 Genesis last summer, the automaker set the base price at $33,000. But things being what they are with credit and the economy, by the time I drove the Genesis in January, the as-tested price was $32,250.

The Genesis is offered with two engine options: the 3.8-liter V-6 and the 4.6-liter V-8. I drove the V-6 mated to a six-speed automatic transmission that delivered 290 horsepower and 264 lb.-ft. of torque. This RWD sedan goes from 0 to 60 mph in 6.2 seconds.

The 32-valve V-8 engine is track-rated to go 0 to 60 in 5.7 seconds and has a horsepower rating of 375 and substantial torque of 324 lb.-ft.

The EPA ratings on the Genesis V-6 are 18 mpg city, 27 mpg highway. The V-8 is rated at 17/25 mpg.

The ride is comfortable and does not feel sport-oriented. The independent suspension is a sophisticated five-link, front and rear, that offers not only a supportive ride, but also good responsiveness through the steering system.

The inside is a show of luxury. Sitting behind the wheel is satisfying to the driver, knowing - and seeing - the quality of the materials used along the door-trim panels, dashboard and console controls. Eight airbags are standard (front and rear seat side-impact airbags), as well as electronic stability control and active head restraints.

Hyundai has dug deep. We tip our hats to the Car of the Year.

Connie Keane

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Twentysomething: 2009 Hyundai Tucson 25th Anniversary Edition

Jodi Lai: It was a cold and snowy day, James. The conditions were treacherous but my lust for adventure was overwhelming. I called up two friends and loaded the helicopter with my skis and my friends' snowboarding gear. We soldered through the perilous landscape and went where sane people wouldn't dare. My heart was racing and I took a deep breath of sharp, cold air before plunging into the wilderness. Seriously.

OK so the helicopter was actually a Hyundai Tucson, the "wilderness" was a small ski hill in Uxbridge and my friends spend more time on their asses during our snowboard outings than they do doing 360s and rail slides. But it's for people like us quasi-active urbanites that compact SUVs such as the Tucson are made.

I'm not entirely hardcore, but the "perilous landscape" that was Toronto during a snowstorm isn't for the faint-hearted, so give me some credit, James. The Tucson was able to handle the snowy trek up to the ski hill and had enough room, with one rear seat folded down, to comfortably fit all our gear. It was a bonus that the cargo area was lined in durable plastic, so after our "adventure" was finished, I was able to wipe off the melted snow easily.

James McMurtrie: Gnarly, dude. I'm glad one of us used this SUV for what it was meant. My time spent with it was certainly different. At a recent family reunion, my uncle asked what I was driving next. When I told him the Tucson, he said it was a step up from the Santa Fe, which I didn't think sounded quite right, but what do I know? Of course, he was wrong and instead of getting a posh interior outfitted with a marble finish and dashboard colour schemes that would prompt me to quickly hit the bank and wrap a roll of fives in a hundred-dollar bill, I got a stripped-out budget SUV.

I want a pony and my dad gets me mule? Worst sweet 16 ever, dad. I was not ballin', nor was I rolling with the Benjamins and, since I live in the city, it all seemed a tad pointless.

It looked "dainty" from the outside and, because it's an SUV that only has front-wheel drive, it makes me see the Tucson as more of an awkward SUV-looking crossover. Maybe one that hasn't quite, crossed over yet.

JL: I agree with you on the dainti-ness of the Tucson's exterior. It's too bubbly and is in need of some aggressive lines, which I think will pump up the Tucson's street cred, however nowhere near the "ballin'" status you expect. People who want to be ballin' don't buy Tucsons; they buy chromed-out Rolls-Royces or Caddy Escalades if they haven't made it to the real big leagues yet.

This car isn't made for people like you (or gangstas, apparently) who live in the city, but for people like me, who live in the suburbs and need the space for snowboard trips and visits to Ikea.

However, your opinion that the Tucson is a stripped-out SUV is totally bunk. Yes, it can be had on a tighter budget and, like a lot of Hyundais, it lacks a certain road presence, but for less than $25,295, you can have all the amenities and power goodies you'll ever need. And if the four-cylinder, front-wheel-drive powertrain doesn't satisfy, you can upgrade to a V6 with 4WD.

I was content with the Tucson's performance as an urban hauler. And I think your expectation of the Tucson (or any SUV, for that matter) to be gangsta is rubbish.

JM: A V6 4WD version? Well, that's a horse of a different colour. Our Tucson felt like a gazelle masquerading as a hippo. It was agile, lightweight and nimble, which felt odd (not bad, mind you) because I have come to expect SUVs to have more of a weighty and powerful presence.

A V6 4WD version makes almost too much sense, leaving me questioning why the version we tested even exists. I say save the small engines and lightweight frames for the crossover segment and let them have their softcore fun in the sun. SUVs are supposed to be large and in charge, aren't they? Call me ignorant, but couldn't Hyundai have taken a page from The Simpsons and given us a Canyonero?

JL: You ARE ignorant. You want to drive an SUV that has the handling characteristics of a boat? I think your definition of an SUV is silly. Our Tucson is a compact SUV for people who need the space (enough for a ski trip, not enough for an entire hockey team) without the fuel-thirsty 4WD setup. The only way I could ever justify buying a 4WD V6 giant SUV is if I had a heavy trailer to haul up to cottage country and if my cottage was on top of a mountain. I liked the Tucson's car-like driving dynamics and that it didn't feel weighty because it would be counterproductive to my suburban/city needs.

The 140-horsepower four-cylinder was enough to suit my needs, seeing as SUVs don't inspire my inner race car driver. Still, I was surprised that it had reasonable hustle, even in the mid-range.

The Tucson was also easy to park and manoeuvre around the city, thanks to a tight turning circle, big windows, high seating position and light steering. I also appreciated the clean interior layout and the addition of a Garmin GPS, which jived well with the rest of the user-friendly dash.

And I resent your "softcore" comment. Have you ever battled it out in an Ikea parking lot on a Saturday afternoon?

JM: I have actually, but I don't see what a fistfight has to do with driving.

At any rate, we don't all have money for flashy SUVs, nor do we all want something that says, "No, I'm not aware of the current economic crisis" or better yet, "Yes, I am aware but as my new mammoth V8-powered SUV shows, I am totally indifferent."

Instead, Hyundai gives us something we can really use. And while my experience left me with few memories worthy of my memoir, that's no slight against the Tucson. If you need an SUV because you actually haul things or if you want to chew up the dirt at the Havelock Jamboree, then perhaps the V6 AWD Tucson is for you. But if the prospect of getting a van leaves a bad taste in your mouth (or wallet), then the four-cylinder Tucson is by no means a poor decision.

By Jodi Lai and James McMurtrie
National Post

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Motor Trend Names Genesis and Sonata Two of America's Top 40 New Cars

Hyundai's New Flagship Genesis Sedan and Refreshed Sonata Recognized as Best Cars to Buy in 2009

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif., 03/06/2009 Both the 2009 "North American Car of the Year" Hyundai Genesis sedan and 2009 Sonata were recognized among "America's Top 40 New Cars" by Motor Trend in the April 2009 issue on sale now and online at In addition, the all-new 2010 Genesis Coupe, which is just now reaching U.S. dealerships, was listed along side other highly anticipated arrivals such as the new Chevrolet Camaro and Toyota Prius on the "Five Worth Waiting For" list.

Motor Trend editors evaluated more than 247 vehicles currently on the market to help readers identify the best 40 cars to buy in a variety of categories. The Sonata SE was called a "standout among standouts" in the family car category, which also recognized popular models such as Honda Accord EX and Toyota Camry SE V-6.

The Genesis 4.6 was selected a top new pick in the premium sedan category for offering levels of performance, design and comfort for a price much less than Mercedes, BMW and Lexus. The editors wrote: "Few believed Hyundai could pull off the same trick Lexus did 20 years ago by creating a world-class luxury sedan, much less being able to sell it for a lot less than the standard bearers from Germany. Yeah, well, guess what. The Genesis is a player and fits neatly in between most mid- and full-size offerings." Others recognized in this category included the BMW 335i and Mercedes-Benz S550.

"It's an honor to be included in such a distinguished group of cars selected by some of the foremost automotive experts in the country," said Scott Margason, director, Product & Strategic Planning, Hyundai Motor America. "To have two Hyundai models make Motor Trend's list of cars to buy this year validates our hard work to create vehicles that can compete with the best-of-the-best in the auto industry."


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 790 dealerships nationwide. All Hyundai vehicles sold in the U.S. are covered by The Hyundai Advantage, America's Best Warranty. In addition, the Hyundai Assurance Program is now offered on all new vehicles leased or purchased from a certified Hyundai dealer. The program is available to any consumer, regardless of age, health, employment record or financed amount of the vehicle. The program is complimentary for the first 12 months.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Hyundai's Genesis: Stiff competition for global premier sport sedans

Hyundai has certainly come a long way since their first vehicles appeared in the U.S. marketplace. The Accent was an early product, and while it was ok for what it was, it did little to stir one's emotions. That was then, this is now. Hyundai Motor America has managed to create what is likely to become a significant rival to the world's premier sport sedan market. It offers a high-output V8 engine and rear-wheel drive in a package that seats five comfortably and, at first glance, could be mistaken for a Lexus or Mercedes sedan.

The all-new Genesis sedan for 2009 will reign as Hyundai's flagship, and comes with features and capabilities that rank up there with other premium global sports sedans. It is built on Hyundai's new, performance-oriented, rear-wheel-drive platform - the first for a U.S. model Hyundai. Two power trains are offered: Hyundai's Lambda 3.8-liter, 290 horsepower V6 and the new Hyundai Tau 4.6-liter V8, which cranks out 375 horsepower on premium fuel or 368 with regular unleaded gas.

That generates 79.5 to 81 horsepower per liter, ranking it above its competitors. Both engines are environmentally friendly, achieving Ultra Low Emission Vehicle certification levels.

The design of the Genesis is a progressive interpretation of today's rear-wheel-drive sports sedan, with an athletic, sculpted form and bold character lines in a graceful package. It looks expensive. It's loaded with technology - XM NavTraffic, Adaptive Front Lighting System, Lexicon audio packages and electronic active head restraints. Electronic Stability Control is included as standard.

Genesis' unibody construction provides both stiffness and lighter weight, giving it a 12 to 14 percent higher dynamic torsional rigidity and lower body structure weight than BMW's 5 Series and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, despite its larger cabin.

The Hyundai Genesis delivers a host of features and equipment as standard that grace European and Asian marques, but at a considerably lower price point, beginning with its Lexicon audio system featuring Logic 7 technology. A soft-touch instrument panel with wood grain accents, Bluetooth hands-free mobile phone interface and USB/iPod auxiliary inputs are all standard fare. A state-of-the-art navigation system with an eight-inch display is available. The navigation unit is accessed by a user-friendly, multi-media controller that also controls the radio. A backup camera using an eight-inch display provides the driver a clear view immediately behind the car.

The driver is surrounded by a leather-wrapped dash, door panels and console lid with a heated and cooled driver's seat. An automatic windshield defogger with humidity sensor and rain-sensing wipers allow crystal clear sight lines. Genesis also offers the conveniences of power rear sunshade, standard proximity key and push-button starter. It is the most advanced Hyundai ever produced.

The 3.8 Genesis comes in four equipment levels: Standard, Premium, Premium Plus and Technology.

My test 2009 Hyundai Genesis was the 4.6 V8 model with an exterior finish in Black Noir Pearl complemented by a gray and brown interior with faux polished wood accents. The base sticker was $37,250.


The new Hyundai Genesis 4.6 sedan is a finely crafted, fairly-priced premium sport vehicle. It delivers luxury and comfort, coupled with pleasing performance capability and satisfying handling characteristics without any options added. The final sticker amount is up to the individual consumer and the options chosen.

As if the new Genesis weren't already attractive enough, it comes with the Hyundai Advantage, America's Best Warranty. Coverage includes five-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper protection, 10-year/100,000-mile limited power train warranty and a seven-year/unlimited mileage anti-perforation coverage. Genesis buyers receive 24-hour roadside assistance coverage at no extra charge for five years with no mileage limit. There is no deductible for any of the coverages.

The Genesis is a worthy flagship indeed.

2009 Hyundai Genesis 4.6

Base price: $37,250

Price as tested: $42,000

Engine/transmission: 4.6-liter, 375-horsepower V8; six-speed with manual shift capability

Length: 195.9 inches

Width: 74.4 inches

Height: 58.3 inches

Curb weight: 4,012 pounds

Fuel capacity: 20.3 gallons

Fuel consumption: 17 mpg city/25 mpg highway

Arv Voss The San Francisco Chronicle

Thursday, March 05, 2009

2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 V6 - Road Test

Oriental drifter: It turns, drifts, and stops on not too many dimes.

C'mon, really? Hyundai? No pedigree. No racing history. No factory museum filled with dusty glory machines. Yet here's what Hyundai dares--dares!--to call the phosphorescent-Slurpee spill of paint on our Genesis coupe: Lime Rock Green.

Puh-leeze! Weren't these jokers riding around on donkeys when Bob Sharp was running 240Zs at Lime Rock? There's also Nordschleife Gray and Interlagos Yellow. On a Hyundai? They can't be serious!

Uh, they're serious. On sale since March, the Genesis coupe is a revelation, no pun intended. It's a genuine yardage gain for the yin-yang team and a serious kink in the law dictating that rear-drive hoots must cost big bucks.

Is it HUN-dye, hi-WON-dye, or hi-YOON-day? (Around the factory, at least, it's the latter). If we can't concur on a pronunciation, let's agree that Hyundai has come a long way. Lately, the workmanship has stood with that of the Japanese masters. The designs are fresh, and the dynamics have firmed up and flattened out.

Still, Korean culture works against a Hyundai sports car. Car guys are scarce in a homeland-come-lately to the auto age. Almost everyone drives thrift cubes--often white, always slow--and Korea only built its first racetrack, Everland Speedway about 35 miles south of Seoul, in 1993. In contrast, Japan has a high-performance heritage going back to the A6M5 Zero.

With Hyundai, it has always been about the price, and so it goes with the Genesis twins. The syrupy $33,000 sedan upon which the coupe is based dives for Lexus's knees. The four-seat coupe also aims below the waist at competitors, with a 210-hp, 2.0-liter turbo four starting at $22,750 and a 306-hp V-6 at $25,750. The standard-equipment list is decent and includes a six-speed manual, power locks and windows, cruise control, stability control, a trip computer, and stereo auxiliary jacks.

The 2.0-liter turbo Premium and V-6 Grand Touring are the middle models, with leather, sunroof, and hot stereo, while the loaded Track version comes with all that, plus a stiffer suspension, Brembo brakes, limited-slip diff, and trunk spoiler. The V-6 Track runs $30,250, right where the foreign rivals start.

The base Nissan 370Z opens at $30,625, a poverty-trim BMW 128i, at $30,225. Only a strip-o Mazda RX-8 swings lower, at $27,105. The Genesis coupe is the first Asian to move into the neighborhood ruled by Mustangs, Camaros, and Challengers. As in the movie Gran Torino, we're expecting fireworks.

Considering the price--always considering the price--Hyundai has bull's-eyed the target, starting with specs that are right for enthusiasts. Firstly, it's rear drive, the ne-plus-ultra credential for a sporty car. Also, the base 2.0-liter turbo offers wiggle room for tuners, the V-6 enough horsepower to satisfy if not electrify with its 5.7-second runs to 60 mph (all on regular gas!).

And there's no shell game with the performance options. Six-speed manuals can be had with both engines, as can the Track equipment group. The V-6 gets a name-brand ZF six-speed automatic with paddle shifters (turbos get a five-speed auto made by . . . somebody). A harder-core R-Spec model is coming as basically a Track version cleansed of luxury bits. As you see, Hyundai is working to get this right.

Even after cutting 4.6 inches from the Genesis sedan's wheelbase, Hyundai still had a plus-size form to clothe. The wheelbase is 10.6 inches longer than the new Z's, and the body is 15.1 inches longer. There's enough capsule space for a pair of folding back seats with decent legroom, though Hyundai opted--wisely, we think--to favor a foxy roofline over adult-rated rear headroom. Quarter glass that sags down for extra visibility also gives the coupe some graphic identity, as do the two scimitars for headlights. The fenders bulge alluringly with their big Bridgestones. However, Hyundai couldn't resist pasting on a corporate Sonata grille that does little for cooling and even less for the coupe's cunning visage.

About two years into the sedan's five-year gestation, Hyundai started work on the coupe. Perhaps an inherited emphasis on cabin space explains why the coupe's engine sits a little forward, straddling the front suspension. The best-handling cars aren't nose heavy, and the coupe's 55-percent front weight imbalance isn't ideal--even though it's very similar to the Z's--especially when it's 55 percent of 3480 pounds. Also, struts in the coupe replace the sedan's pricier four-link front suspension.

All things considered, the coupe threatens to fumble the whole mission with la-di-da handling. But it doesn't. Hyundai aces one of the critical tests: steering feel. Cornering forces load the wheel naturally, bumps twitch it, and a ratio tuned for snap-to quickness sharpens your aim.

Fitted with the firmer springs and shocks of the Track package, rolling and pitching is tamped down, but there's just barely enough bounce to allow the suspension to work a rough patch without skittering. No, we're not going to bemoan the rigid highway ride. This is the Track version, after all. Go for the base or the Grand Touring if you need more commuting cushiness.

Drifting glamour boy Rhys Millen demonstrates in the TV ads the stability control's most interesting mode: off. The 3.8 has torque enough to whipsaw the coupe sideways--at least, with some provocation to overcome the inherent understeer. The other stability mode is "on," which ends playtime PDQ. Hyundai either lacked the budget or the chops to program an intermediate stability setting. Perhaps on the next one.

Was it tactile authenticity the engineers sought in giving the clutch a Viking heaviness? Maybe. The stubby, short-throw shifter glides in a satisfying tight path from gear to gear. We're told shift smoothness is thanks to triple-cone synchronizers on the lower ratios. The RS3800 V-6 (RS stands for "rear-drive sport") doesn't rank with the great voices of our age, but it punches back when stepped on and with a high-protein burble not unlike a Z's.

Our 3.8 V-6 Track's stats are healthy, but they are stomped on by the 370Z's: 5.7 seconds to 60 mph against the Z's 4.8 seconds. Skidpad pulls of 0.87 g to the Z's 0.98. Braking distances are much closer, at about 160 feet, the coupe's Brembos supplying solid, repeatable braking but with a flaccid pedal. We suspect flexing in the master cylinder causes the pedal softness.

Both the Genesis coupe and the 370Z are shod in summer rubber from Bridgestone, though the 332-hp Z wears them wider all around. And the Z weighs about a hundred fewer pounds. And comparing test cars, the Z costs about five grand more. Remember, with Hyundai it's always about the price.

When it came to deciding between luxury accoutrements or go-faster parts, Hyundai says it always opted for the latter. A BMW-stiff body, a cross-tower strut brace in front, a Torsen limited-slip differential on Track versions, 18-inch standard alloy wheels, and the like were paidfor with some glaring austerity. Soviet-era hard plastics adorn the seatbacks, dash, doors, and rear-quarter trim. The Track's driver's seat is powered; the passenger's is not, though, oddly, the trunk and fuel-door releases are electric.

There's no sci-fi engine cover to hide the ugly wiring conduits and click-fit connectors underhood, and simple gooseneck arms instead of multilinks support the trunk. Hey, we're merely pointing out that lunch continues to not be free. One item we wish Hyundai hadn't cut is the telescoping steering column. Longer-legged drivers must reach for the wheel and shifter.

The low dash opens up forward vision. Despite the coupe's bigness, the interior feels hand-in-glove cozy if lacking in luxury or gee-whiz design theatrics. Folding rear seats help make the 10-cubic-foot trunk more useful, even if there's no hatchback to widen the narrow entry hole.

The Tiburon notwithstanding, Hyundai is an interloper in the sports-coupe arena. Its bloodline is defined by transport cubes and rent-me sedans and long warranties, the latter for reassuring newcomers lured by the low prices. Hyundai's performance pedigree starts here, now, with this engaging, well-orchestrated Genesis coupe. And as at Lime Rock, a good start is critical.


When I read that the Hyundai Genesis coupe was based on the fine Genesis sedan, I assumed it would share much of that car's refinement and isolation. Then I drove the V-6 model, fast. Whoa, this thing is unexpectedly hard core. There's vigorous throttle response, a husky V-6 exhaust note, and giddy acceleration. In the canyons, the steering turns in with a vengeance, the car tracks through corners like a race car, and the brakes are from Brembo. One small downside: It gets jumpy when it gets bumpy.


Compare this car to the biblical book of Genesis, and it's as if Hyundai--playing The Omnipotent--had only reached day four. The coupe possesses intense looks, excellent dynamics, superb braking, and braceable seats. Yet the exhaust note is soggy, the trunk aperture is a mail slot, highway refinement . . . isn't, and the car badly needs a rear-window wiper. Still, it's an achievement: Where there was once a void, there exists an exemplary sports car. Hyundai has earned some rest--a half-day at least.


Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Burgeoning Beauty vs. Proven Performer

The list of six-cylinder sport coupes that actually matter is a short one. Let's face it, until now it's been BMW 335i and Infiniti G37. And then, about two weeks ago, Hyundai dropped a bomb. A big one.

It's called the 2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe.

And all of a sudden, the Korean carmaker -- whose previous attempts at "sporty" included machines like the unenviable Scoupe and the forgettable first-generation Tiburon -- has thrust itself into the spotlight with a car that at once looks good and has the specs to do the deed. Three hundred horsepower. Six-speed manual transmission. Rear-wheel drive. Limited-slip differential. So put that in your Scoupe pipe and smoke it. Here comes a real car.

Sounds remarkably like the territory of the 2009 Infiniti G37, doesn't it? And it is. In every way except price. So there's your comparison test.

It'll Run Ya
If you've read our full test of the 2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8, then you know it's a solid machine with ample power, gorgeous styling and a low price. A really low price.

For $29,500 you can have yours with a 3.8-liter V6 and the Track package, which adds a stiffer suspension, a Torsen limited-slip differential, Brembo brakes and 19-inch wheels. A six-speed manual transmission is standard equipment and our test car has one. Complete with its floor mats, iPod connector and destination fee, it costs $30,375. This number, by the way, is $6,625 less than the base price of the Infiniti G37.

But let's not rule the G37 out of the game just yet. It has proven itself to be a sufficiently bad-ass machine by winning multiple comparison tests in sedan form and remaining a favorite among editors here at IL.

Our G37 test car piled on the options: a $3,200 Premium package added a Bose audio system, memory driver seat, Bluetooth and other amenities. The Navigation package added $2,200, the rear spoiler $550 and illuminated door-sill plates another $330.

The grand total for the 2009 Infiniti G37, which also had a six-speed manual, totaled $44,095 with destination. Cha-ching.

Specs Face Off
Let's not mess around; the price of entry for both of these machines is considerable. The G37's is just far more considerable, that's all. But the Infiniti also has the more impressive specs of the two. Its 3.7-liter V6 is rated at 330 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. It has huge 19-inch wheels and sticky Bridgestone Potenza summer tires, plus fixed four-piston brake calipers are matched with 14-inch front rotors.

But the Genesis holds its own on paper with 306 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque from its own 3.8-liter V6. It, too, comes with 19-inch wheels and the same Bridgestone summer tires, and four-piston Brembo calipers are up front with 13.4-inch rotors.

So are G37's extra amenities, power and proven platform enough to better a competitor which both in-person and on paper appears to have it covered in most critical arenas?

That's what we pondered as we drove both cars for two weeks. We slid them around wet roads, spun dyno rollers and sliced through slalom cones -- we even squeezed into their cramped backseats. Before it all began, we decided price and performance would weigh equally on the outcome of this test (25 percent each). The rest would be down to feature content (15 percent), our subjective evaluation score (15 percent), fuel economy (15 percent) and editors' picks (5 percent).

On the Road
If this contest were boiled down to the driving experience alone, the win would go to the 2009 Infiniti G37. It is the better driving car. Its suspension offers a better compromise between a comfortable ride and crisp handling, its engine is better suited to the character of a sport coupe, and all its controls provide better feel and response. Even its steering, which at first seems to be artificially cursed with too much effort, comes alive at speed to inform its driver precisely how much cornering grip remains at the front tires. It's a well-refined formula that Nissan has nailed on all its FM-platform cars.

The Infiniti's VQ-Series engine is the big selling point here. With a ripping 7,600-rpm redline, it's living large at high speed rather than just surviving (an impression we'd verify later at the dyno). This kind of power delivery is better suited for hard driving than the grunty mill in the Genesis. Start singing up a mountain road with the G-machine and you'll find yourself at high rpm early and often. And you'll want an engine that's comfortable there.

Perhaps the only area where the 2009 Infiniti G37 falls short relative to the Genesis is in the use of a viscous limited-slip differential. Slower reacting and therefore less predictable than the Torsen LSD in the Genesis, the G's viscous unit simply isn't as effective as it should be in a platform this capable. Yet there's no denying that the Genesis is very, very good. Enough so, in fact, that most drivers wouldn't miss the G37's added dimension of communication unless they'd had a back-to-back run with the Hyundai. The steering and brakes of the Genesis coupe lack the G37's immediacy, but nonetheless offer ample confidence. Its shifter isn't as bolt-action precise, but we never missed a shift.

And its 3.8-liter engine, well, there's the heart of a minivan under the coupe's sloping hood and we can't pretend otherwise. We swear there's still a little Kia Sedona in its otherwise throaty intake note, which sounds far better than the G's raspy howl. But let's not forget, this Korean engine is fractionally bigger than the Infiniti's mill. The Genesis' V6 makes ample yank right off idle and equals or exceeds the G's engine in power and torque production until 4,800 rpm according to the Dynojet chassis dyno at MD Automotive in Westminster, California.

Where the BS Stops
At the test track the 2010 Hyundai Genesis proves itself a worthy entry into the sport coupe segment by giving the pricier Infiniti a run in several categories. First, the Genesis tips the scales at just 3,488 pounds -- 221 pounds lighter than the G37. Porkiness has long been a valid gripe about any car built on Nissan's FM platform and the G is no exception.

But being lightweight didn't help the Genesis coupe accelerate as quickly as we had hoped. The Genesis hit 60 mph from a standstill in 6.4 seconds (6.1 seconds with 1 foot of rollout like on a drag strip) and went through the traps at the quarter-mile mark in 14.5 seconds at 97.9 mph. That's considerably slower than the G37's 5.7-second run to 60 mph (5.4 seconds with 1 foot of rollout like on a drag strip) and its quarter-mile performance of 13.9 seconds at 101.4 mph.

Accelerating the Genesis quickly can be tricky because of a drivetrain protection feature built into its engine calibration. Shift the Genesis coupe aggressively at redline and you'll occasionally experience a power cut in your target gear which lasts 3 seconds.

The problem is exacerbated by the car's tachometer, which doesn't keep up with the engine speed in the first few gears, so it's too easy to run the engine to its 6,800-rpm maximum speed (redline is 6,500 rpm). Hyundai says the drivetrain protection is triggered at 6,800 rpm, but once it intervened, we experienced a power reduction in the next gear at much lower engine speeds. Run this V6 to the rev limiter in any given gear and it will hang there comfortably. But if you shift hard and quickly at the indicated redline, you'll occasionally be punished with that cut in power.

Hyundai is considering a new calibration, but there are cars going on sale that incorporate this 3-second power intervention, a feature that can punish drivers at engine speeds well below redline. Some people won't notice it, but to others it could be a deal breaker in the purchase of a Genesis 3.8 coupe.

The Handling Story
Throttle inputs can be used to adjust the cornering attitude of both coupes around the skid pad, but the Torsen differential in the Genesis makes these adjustments quicker and inspires more confidence while doing so. The Torsen diff also gives the Hyundai better lateral grip than the G37, with a 0.88g performance on the skid pad versus 0.85g for the G37.

Through the slalom, the G37's heavier steering offers high-resolution feedback, which helps making prudent decisions at speed easy. But the Genesis has better body roll control and provides more than enough feedback to sense its limits. The Infiniti is quicker at 69.7 mph vs. the Genesis coupe's 68.2-mph run.

The real story here is bigger than the numbers. Drive these cars back-to-back over the same section of road and you'll find them similarly capable. You'll squeeze more speed out of one exiting a corner yet find the other more confident going in. You'll learn to love the G37's instant brake response and then fall for the Genesis' more relaxed but equally confident pedal action. Going quickly in the 2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe is a product of its guttural grunt, intuitive feel and textbook rear-drive balance. By comparison, the Infiniti is more anxious, more precise and more immediate.

In this case, both approaches work well. But if we were going to split hairs, we'd say that the 2009 Infiniti G37 makes a bigger sacrifice in daily driving where its heavy steering and immediate brake response seem unnecessary and, at times, awkward. But then we'd have to tell you that the Genesis coupe's engine mounts are too soft, so its big V6 flops around way too much during quick shifts or rapid throttle transitions, creating intrusive drivetrain lash. But we won't do that because we genuinely like the way both cars are tuned.

Living Inside and Out
Hyundai's interior quality and design are a step up from many comparably priced cars, but when compared to a machine as costly as the G37 it's sometimes clear where the corners were cut.

The G37's center stack offers two additional knobs that are universally more expensive and offer more expedient, rapid control than buttons. In this case, there's another knob for the G37's passenger temperature, because dual-zone climate control is standard on the Infiniti and not available on the Genesis. There's also another knob for radio tuning. The radio and ventilation controls for both cars operate with quality feel, but with few exceptions, the Infiniti offers a slightly improved level of precision and damping from its knobs.

The Infiniti's $2,200 Navigation package provides one of the best nav systems in the business as well as XM Nav Traffic, 9.3GB of hard-drive storage for music and a compact flash slot for MP3 playback. Navigation won't be available on the Hyundai until mid-model year.

Hyundai has cut no corners on the seats of the Genesis, however. In fact, the only way we can think to realistically improve them is to put a non-slip surface on the seat bottom. Otherwise, they are supportive, adjustable, even good-looking. And they're superior to the G37's seats in every way except there is no easy-entry release for either of the front seats, a feature the G offers.

Once in the backseat, passengers 5-foot-10 and taller will have to duck down in the Genesis but will still fit in the G37. Both cars make compromises in their rear seats, which is to say, don't plan on riding in the back of either one for very long.

And finally, the ability to make the Infiniti G37 look slab-sided and stodgy requires a car as aggressively styled as the Genesis coupe. This is truly a beautiful machine with lines and angles which literally stop traffic. If you're not a wuss, you'll get yours in Bathurst Black, which best shows off the coupe's gorgeous haunches and sculpted sides. Hyundai managed to knock off the G37's elegant proportions and then add some much-needed shape. And we love it.

The Rest of the Story
It's the undeniable value equation that tips this test in the favor of the 2010 Hyundai Genesis 3.8. You simply get more car for your dollar with the Genesis coupe. Sure, it's not as much car as the 2009 Infiniti G37, but at two-thirds the cost, it doesn't have to be.

Plus the Hyundai effectively opens up the sport coupe arena to a new buyer -- one who isn't prepared to drop the better part of $50 large on a car but wants the looks and most of the performance of the big players. And that, friends, earns the 2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 a spot on anybody's short list of possible purchases.

The manufacturers provided Edmunds these vehicles for the purposes of evaluation.

By Josh Jacquot, Senior Road Test Editor

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

2009 Hyundai Genesis Named Top Safety Pick by IIHS

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif., 02/26/2009 The "2009 North American Car of the Year" Hyundai Genesis sedan bolstered its resume with a "TOP SAFETY PICK" rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Hyundai's all-new flagship earned a "good" overall evaluation in side impact, frontal offset and rear crash tests, the highest ranking awarded by the Institute.

Maintaining Hyundai's emphasis on delivering leading safety technology, Genesis boasts world-class active and passive safety features to help both prevent accidents and maximize the wellbeing of its occupants in the event of a collision. The Genesis continues the Hyundai tradition of standardizing key life-saving safety technology, and includes standard features like Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), eight airbags and electronic active head restraints.

"Hyundai is committed to standardizing the most effective life-saving technologies and Genesis sedan is no exception," said Michael Deitz, product planning manager for the Hyundai Genesis sedan. "From the debut of Hyundai's first electronic active head restraint system which helps prevent whiplash, to standard Electronic Stability Control, the most effective new safety technology since the seatbelt, Genesis was designed with safety in mind."

To qualify for a Top Safety Pick, a vehicle must earn the highest rating of "good" in the Institute's front, side, and rear tests and be equipped with ESC. Criteria to win are tough because the award is intended to drive continued safety improvements such as top crash test ratings and the rapid addition of ESC, which is standard on the Genesis. TOP SAFETY PICK status is applicable for all 2009 Genesis models built after November 2008.

"Recognizing vehicles at the head of the class for safety helps consumers distinguish the best overall choices without having to sort through multiple test results," says Institute president Adrian Lund.

According to IIHS, 51 percent of driver deaths in recent model cars occurred in side impacts so the Institute's side impact test is severe. The Genesis performed well in side-impact tests and earned a "good" overall evaluation. The report notes that both driver's and passengers' head and neck are protected against "being hit by any hard structures," reducing the chance of serious injury.

In the Institute's 40 mph offset test, 40 percent of the total width of each vehicle strikes a barrier on the driver's side, mirroring the forces involved in a frontal offset crash between two vehicles. Genesis again scored "good" in the overall evaluation. The report notes that, "Measures taken from the dummy indicate a low risk of any significant injuries in a crash of this severity."

All new Hyundai vehicles sold in the U.S. are covered by The Hyundai Advantage, America's Best Warranty. In addition, the Hyundai Assurance Program is now offered on all new Hyundais leased or purchased at a participating Hyundai dealership. Hyundai Assurance allows consumers to walk away from a financing obligation when certain adverse life events occur, providing protection from financial shortfalls that arise from vehicle depreciation (negative equity) up to $7,500. For a limited time, Hyundai is also offering Hyundai Assurance Plus, adding 90 days of payment relief to the existing protection plan. Hyundai Assurance Plus is part of Hyundai's Spring Sales Event, which runs until April 30, 2009. Hyundai Assurance and Hyundai Assurance Plus are complimentary for the first 12 months of the financing or lease date for vehicles financed through any lender or financing source. The programs supplement all existing consumer incentives, and are available to any consumer, regardless of age, health, employment history or financed amount of the vehicle. Visit for details.


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 790 dealerships nationwide.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Rear drive, sporty attitude adds up to big fun in Hyundai Genesis Coupe

In a world where gaps in product lines are filled as quickly as they open, Hyundai--yes, Hyundai--has found a new one. Let's call it the semi-affordable, pretty-good-looking, rear-wheel-drive performance-coupe segment. Hyundai has identified and filled that gap with the surprisingly sporty Genesis Coupe.

It is not simply a two-door version of the Genesis sedan. Hyundai says the Coupe shares only the rear subframe, rear suspension and a ZF six-speed automatic transmission with the sedan.

The entry-level coupe, starting at about $23,000, is powered by a 210-hp, 2.0-liter turbo four. Above that is a $26,000-to-$30,000 306-hp, 3.8-liter V6. There's not much in the way of competition offering that particular combination.

So, what's it like to drive?

First, a caveat: Disregard those Web sites that have "first drives" of the Genesis Coupe. Those guys drove Korean-spec cars, tuned for luxury. We will get a much more performance-oriented car than that.

After a day spent lapping the Streets of Willow racetrack in Southern California, along with a short drive over two-lane highways, we can say that the new Coupe felt surprisingly taut, responsive and downright fun to drive--more than we expected, frankly.

Our first drive was in a 2.0-liter turbo four with the Track package and the traction and stability control turned off. We were all ready to experience a shorter version of the luxurious and somewhat soft Genesis Sedan, like a Korean SC400. So when we launched onto the Streets' uphill front straight with a chirp from the rear tires and steering that actually communicated, we were startled. This car was downright sprightly, fairly leaping out of the blocks.

The MacPherson strut front and five-link rear kept the tires on the ground and pointed in the right direction all the way. Laps in the V6 variant were similar in terms of handling, only quicker. You pay only a 95-pound weight penalty for the extra 96 hp. Curb weight of the base four-cylinder model is 3,294 pounds versus 3,389 for the V6. About 54 percent of that weight is on the front axle.

There was way more power available in the V6 than we could wrangle out on the short connecting links between the Streets' tight turns (Hyundai lists 0 to 60 mph for the V6 at less than 6 seconds). As we said, we did all of our laps with traction and stability control off yet rarely felt the rear end get squirrelly.

It's a well-balanced car. All our drives also were in cars with the Track package and its 19-inch wheels with summer Bridgestones--225/40 fronts and 245/40 rears, upgraded Brembo brakes, a limited-slip differential and a "track-tuned" suspension with stiffer springs and shocks.

Both four- and six-cylinder models come standard with a six-speed manual transmission. The four-cylinder has an optional five-speed auto while the V6 model lists a ZF six-speed automatic.

So Hyundai's march to world domination continues unabated, even going so far as to conquer segments without anything yet in them. Hyundai hopes there are enough enthusiast buyers out there to support the presence of fun cars such as this one.


2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe

On sale: February/March

Base price: $23,000 (est--prices announced at Chicago auto show)

Drivetrain: 2.0-liter, 201-hp, 223-lb-ft, turbocharged I4; RWD, six-speed manual

Curb weight: 3,294 lb

0-60 mph: Less than 6 seconds for V6 (mfr)

Fuel economy: 25 mpg combined city/hwy (mfr est)