Sunday, May 31, 2015

2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport: New Car Review



If the 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport crossover SUV could express emotion, it would start by breathing a huge sigh of relief, as the current Santa Fe generation is the first to feature the company's distinctive fluidic-sculpture design language. Until 2013, the poor Santa Fe had to stand by and watch as one Hyundai after another was treated to dramatic new duds. Even the pip-squeak Tucson crossover, a size smaller than the Santa Fe, got its extreme makeover first.

But now the Santa Fe Sport's fully on board, and we think this is one of the best-looking Hyundai models yet, a sleekly sophisticated vehicle in a segment better known for boxiness. The revolution continues inside, where a curvaceous dashboard and quality materials give the Santa Fe Sport a surprisingly premium feel, especially relative to its generic predecessor.

As expected from Hyundai, the standard features are plentiful, including iPod/Bluetooth connectivity and the Blue Link telematics suite with features such as voice text messaging, a local business search and turn-by-turn navigation. Less expected, but certainly welcome, is the optional turbocharged engine, which isn't the most refined engine in its class but delivers plenty of passing power.

Hyundai's lineup is top-to-bottom impressive these days, but the 2015 Santa Fe Sport stands out even among its distinguished relatives. If rival crossover SUVs could express emotion, they'd be none too pleased about Hyundai's latest.

What's New for 2015?

The Santa Fe Sport adds a driver blind-spot mirror and a one-touch up/down passenger window as standard, while a hands-free power lift gate joins the options list.

What We Like

Upscale styling inside and out; spacious interior; tons of features; available turbocharged power; great crash-test scores

What We Don't

Uneven power delivery from 2.0T engine; can get rather pricey for a Hyundai crossover

How Much?

$25,845-$32,145

Fuel Economy

All Santa Fe models come with a responsive 6-speed automatic transmission and are available with either front-wheel drive (FWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD).

Standard on the base Santa Fe Sport is a 2.4-liter inline-4 rated at 190 horsepower and 181 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy is a pedestrian 20 miles per gallon in the city and 27 mpg on the highway with FWD and 19 mpg city/25 mpg hwy with AWD.

The 2.0T boasts a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 good for 265 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque. Happily, fuel economy doesn't suffer much, checking in at up to 19 mpg city/27 mpg hwy with FWD and 18 mpg city/24 mpg hwy with AWD.

Standard Features & Options

The 2-row Santa Fe Sport is offered in base or 2.0T trim.

Feature highlights for the base Sport ($25,845) include a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine, 17-inch alloy wheels, LED headlight and taillight accents, a rear spoiler, air conditioning, electronically adjustable steering effort, power accessories, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel, cruise control, a trip computer, Bluetooth and a 6-speaker audio system with satellite radio and iPod/USB connectivity.

The Sport 2.0T ($32,145) adds a high-powered 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, dual exhaust outlets, 18-in alloy wheels (19-in alloy wheels are also available), heated exterior mirrors, a blind spot monitoring system, automatic headlights, fog lights, keyless entry with push-button ignition, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, an electroluminescent gauge cluster with a color LCD information screen, a 4.3-in touchscreen audio display with a rearview camera, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, leather upholstery, a sliding back seat, dual-zone automatic climate control and power heated front seats with driver lumbar.

The base Sport can be optionally equipped with many of the 2.0T model's standard features. Other notable options, depending on trim, include xenon headlights, LED taillights, a hands-free power lift gate, a panoramic sunroof, a navigation system with an 8-in touchscreen, ventilated front seats, heated back seats, a 10-speaker Dimension audio system (base Sport only) and a 12-speaker Infinity audio system (2.0T only).

On the hauling front, the Sport offers 35.4 cu ft. of cargo space behind the back seat and 71.5 cu ft. with the rear seatbacks folded. That's a lot of cubes at this price point.

A properly equipped 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport can tow up to 3,500 pounds.

Safety

The 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport comes with standard stability control, 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, active front head restraints and seven airbags (front, front-side, driver-knee and full-length side-curtain).

In government crash tests, the Santa Fe Sport received a perfect 5-star rating across the board. Likewise, the independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awarded the Santa Fe Sport its top rating of Good in all tested categories.

Behind the Wheel

In our interior evaluation, we found the Santa Fe Sport's front seats to be pleasantly firm and supportive. As ever, the seats are mounted high, so you get that SUV-style commanding view of the road that many shoppers want. Thankfully, the Santa Fe Sport comes standard with a tilt-telescopic steering wheel so you can adjust the wheel for reach as well as angle. There's even some wood-grain trim sprinkled around the cabin that adds a touch of class.

The Santa Fe Sport's dashboard is full of appealing angles and curves, while the deeply hooded gauges with available electroluminescent backlighting further attest to this crossover's suaveness. We're pleased to report that the controls remain straightforward and easy to use despite the stylized presentation.

As for the back seat, it has a pleasantly elevated bottom cushion and ample room for adult passengers. Hyundai emphasizes that the Sport is considerably larger than rivals such as the Ford Escape, and that's evident in the airy feel inside. We're also impressed that sliding back seats are available.

Under the hood, the base 2.4-liter engine is all most folks will need. Blessed with a broad power band and good manners, this is largely the same engine that we've lauded in the Sonata midsize sedan, and it's satisfying here, too. But if satisfying isn't enough, the turbocharged 2.0T delivers a pretty serious punch, with one caveat: The power comes on rather suddenly around 2,500 rpm or so, with relatively modest get-up-and-go off the line.

On the road, the Santa Fe Sport is about as good as it gets for a crossover at this price. The highway ride is quiet and smooth, while bumps are dispatched with impressive poise. The handling isn't bad either, and AWD models even have what Hyundai calls Torque Vectoring Cornering Control, a system that can send either extra torque or braking power to individual wheels.

Other Cars to Consider

2015 Ford Escape -- The Escape might be smaller than the Santa Fe Sport, but its back seat can still accommodate a couple of adults with ease, and you can get one with a 2.0-liter turbo and MyFord Touch to match the Santa Fe Sport 2.0T with navigation.

2015 Kia Sorento -- Distantly related to the Santa Fe, the Sorento lets you have V6 power in a 2-row package and 4-cylinder power in a 3-row package, two combinations that the Santa Fe Sport can't match.

2015 Mazda CX-5 -- Mazda's do-it-all crossover is capable of better fuel economy than the Santa Fe. It also feels tighter and more dynamic on the road.

Used BMW X3 -- If you shop around, you can find a certified pre-owned X3 in the Santa Fe Sport's price range. It's a lot of crossover for the money




Friday, May 29, 2015

Celebrate With Us The 25th Anniversary Gala Ball For The Greater Holyoke Chamber Of Commerce

                          1000 Main St, Holyoke, MA 01040                                          (888) 637-4279

2016 Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell Continues To Attract Zero-Emissions-Focused Customers With New Colors And Features

Hyundai's zero-emissions, hydrogen-powered Tucson Fuel Cell vehicle continues to satisfy and attract new customers focused on high-versatility and clean transportation. For 2016, the Tucson Fuel Cell adds convenient HomeLink® connectivity to the mirror, allowing owners to open and close garage doors, security gates and even control home lighting systems via a button on the rearview mirror, which now includes a digital compass. In addition, Tucson adds two new exterior color options to Winter White: Hydro Blue and Chromium Silver.

"At Hyundai, we strongly believe that hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles represent the next generation of zero-emission vehicle technology, and we're proud to be a leader in offering the mass-produced Tucson Fuel Cell to our customers," said Dave Zuchowski, president and chief executive officer, Hyundai Motor America. "Every day, these customers are enjoying the benefits of refueling speed and superior range that compare favorably with gasoline vehicles, providing a seamless transition from traditional vehicles with minimal loss of utility. We're confident that advancing fuel cell technology will increase the adoption of zero-emission vehicles, and that everyone will benefit."

The Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell has also received strong support from government agencies, such as the California Air Resources Board. "These ultra-clean vehicles play a critical role in our efforts to clean the air and meet our climate goals," said Air Resources Board chairman Mary D. Nichols. "Fuel cell cars are not vehicles of the future – they're here now, and we applaud Hyundai for bringing them first to market in California where they are most needed."

FUEL CELL PRICING AND BENEFITS

The Tucson Fuel Cell lease program remains unchanged for 2016. Customers in the Los Angeles/Orange County region can drive Hyundai's next-generation Tucson Fuel Cell for just $499 per month for a 36-month term, with a $2,999 down payment. This includes the addition of a remarkable benefit – unlimited complimentary hydrogen refueling and At Your Service Valet Maintenance at no extra cost.

"When we spoke with customers about fuel cell vehicles, many wondered about the cost of hydrogen," explained Mike O'Brien, vice president, corporate and product planning. "To ease those concerns as the hydrogen refueling network builds out, we decided that covering this cost for these early adopters was appropriate, and consistent with how we like to treat our customers."

In addition, Tucson Fuel Cell owners will enjoy similar services enjoyed by Hyundai Equus owners, such as At Your Service Valet Maintenance, at no extra cost. Similar to what Equus owners have enjoyed since its introduction in 2010, should a Tucson Fuel Cell require any service, a Hyundai dealer will pick up the vehicle and provide a loan vehicle, then return the car after service to the customer's home or business, at no charge.

Customers interested in the Tucson Fuel Cell can indicate their interest (the first step in the ordering process) by visiting Hyundai.com. Retail consumers can find availability at three select southern California Hyundai dealers: Win Hyundai in Carson, Tustin Hyundai, and Hardin Hyundai in Anaheim. Availability of the Tucson Fuel Cell will expand to other regions of the U.S. consistent with the accelerating deployment of hydrogen refueling stations.

TUCSON FUEL CELL ADVANTAGES

Hyundai has developed its Tucson Fuel Cell to alleviate some of the range and utility limitations of traditional battery electric vehicles. The Tucson Fuel Cell maintains the day-to-day flexibility of the gasoline-powered Tucson, so that its driver is able to fulfill their transportation needs without range or recharging-time concerns to their lifestyle.

The Tucson Fuel Cell is an advanced electric vehicle – one that creates its own electricity, on-board, from hydrogen. According to the University of California, Irvine Advanced Power and Energy Program's 2013 study, the hydrogen fuel cell provides comparable total well-to-wheel emissions to a battery electric vehicle. For the Tucson Fuel Cell driver, this social benefit is achieved with greater utility, versatility and without compromises. Consider:
  • Driving range of 265 miles
  • Refueling time similar to gasoline vehicle of same size
  • Minimal reduction in daily utility compared with its gasoline counterpart
  • Instantaneous electric motor torque
  • Minimal cold-weather effects compared with battery-electric vehicles
  • Superb daily reliability and long-term durability
  • No moving parts within the power-generating fuel cell stack
  • More than two million durability test miles on Hyundai's fuel cell fleet since 2000
  • Extensive crash, fire and leak testing successfully completed
  •   Quieter EV operation
  •   Zero greenhouse-gas emissions, emits only water vapor

The Tucson Fuel Cell began mass production in February 2013 at the Ulsan, Korea assembly plant that also manufactures the Tucson gasoline-powered CUV. Manufacturing the Tucson Fuel Cell at the same plant allows Hyundai to leverage both the high quality and cost-efficiency of its popular gasoline-powered Tucson platform.

HYDROGEN RENEWABLE ENERGY SOLUTIONS

The benefits of hydrogen are well known - required supplies for the U.S. market can be produced domestically and its supply is virtually unlimited. It can be produced by varied means - including renewable sources such as biogas. Hydrogen can even be sourced directly from water, using electrolysis to split hydrogen molecules with electricity from renewable energy sources such as wind and solar.

Further supporting hydrogen infrastructure development, California approved a plan in 2013 to develop up to 100 hydrogen refueling stations in the state over the next several years. This recent California initiative dovetails with increased government support of hydrogen infrastructure development at the federal level, such as H2USA. In addition, the California Energy Commission recently announced proposed awarding of $44.5 million for the development of 28 new hydrogen stations (plus one mobile refueler), bringing the total number of hydrogen fueling stations (open, in-development, and proposed) to over 50 stations.

FUEL CELL TECHNOLOGY: HOW IT WORKS

Hyundai's fuel cell effectively replaces the battery pack used in an electric vehicle by generating electricity from hydrogen through an electrochemical process that does not involve hydrogen combustion, with no moving parts within the fuel cell stack.

The fuel cell electrochemical process is as follows:
  • Hydrogen enters the anode, air (oxygen) enters the cathode
  • Catalyst splits the hydrogen electrons and protons
  • Electrolyte conducts the positively-charged ions while blocking the electrons
  •  Electrons are used to create an external circuit, generating electricity
  • Catalyst combines the hydrogen ions and electrons with oxygen to create water and heat energy
  • A single fuel cell produces approximately one volt; fuel cells are "stacked" to meet voltage requirements

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Hyundai Sonata Hybrid SE Promises 40 mpg in the City

Hyundai has pulled the wraps off its second-generation Sonata Hybrid this week and it gets some unique touches to set it apart from the normal Sonata models in the line. Those unique touches include unique wheels, and unique front and rear fascias. Those unique front and rear fascias are there to do more than just make the car look visually different from the other Sonatas in the range they also improve aerodynamics.


The 2016 Sonata Hybrid uses a smaller 2.0L Nu GDI four-cylinder engine paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. The combustion engine is mated with a more powerful 38 kW electric motor and clutch where normal cars have a torque converter. That larger battery and the transmission-mounted electrical device are able to deliver fuel economy and the feeling of a larger motor.

The fancy transmission has an electric oil pump to improve efficiency and the car is able to operate solely on electricity as speeds of up to 75mph. It does that by decoupling the gas engine from the rest of the drivetrain. The engine itself produces 154hp and 140 lb-ft of torque. The electric motor makes 51hp and 151 lb-ft of torque and they combine for 193 net hp.

Hyundai says that the Sonata Hybrid is expected to achieve 40 mpg in the city and 44 mpg on the highway with a combined rating of 42mpg. That is a 10% improvement in fuel efficiency compared to the 2015 model. The lithium-polymer battery pack is mounted in the trunk floor and is a 1.62 kWh unit. The car can be fitted with a wealth of safety features including blind spot detection, lane change assist, and lane departure warning. Pricing is unannounced at this time.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

2015 Hyundai Elantra GT: New Car Review



The 2015 Hyundai Elantra GT is one of the best examples of the current hatchback renaissance. Curmudgeonly critics like us have carped for years about America's hatchback aversion, but we'd better find a new routine because our fellow Americans have apparently seen the light. The affordable-hatchback segment is an embarrassment of riches these days, teeming with sexy specimens that boast all the latest technology, and with the arrival of the Elantra GT, the most appealing hatchback of all might be a Hyundai.

Derived from the Euro-market Hyundai i30 hatchback, the Elantra GT has a shorter wheelbase than the Elantra sedan, and it's tuned for sportier handling. Unlike the sedan's bare-bones starter model, the base Elantra GT comes with plenty of equipment, and plenty more is available via the two simple options packages. Plus, just look at the thing: The Elantra GT is an exceptionally attractive economy car. The hatchback is back, and as we've come to expect, Hyundai's at the front of the pack.

What's New for 2015?

The Elantra GT carries over unchanged for the 2015 model year.

What We Like

Rich feature set; attractive styling; generous cargo space; sportier handling than Elantra sedan

What We Don't

Lacks sedan's stylish dashboard; so-so fuel economy

How Much?

$19,625

Fuel Economy

The front-wheel-drive Elantra GT features a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that puts out 173 horsepower and 154 lb-ft of torque. The transmission choices are a 6-speed manual and a 6-speed automatic.

The 2015 Elantra GT receives an Environmental Protection Agency rating of 24 miles per gallon in the city and 34 mpg on the highway with the manual or 24 mpg city/33 mpg hwy with the automatic. That's not very impressive for a compact hatchback these days.

Standard Features & Options

The 2015 Hyundai Elantra GT comes in one well-equipped trim level.

Standard items include 16-inch alloy wheels, driver-selectable steering effort, a height-adjustable driver's seat, full power accessories, a trip computer, air conditioning, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel, cruise control and a 6-speaker audio system with satellite radio and Bluetooth/USB connectivity.

The optional Style package ($1,975) adds 17-in wheels, LED taillights, a panoramic sunroof, a power driver's seat, heated front seats, aluminum pedals, leather upholstery and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

The Tech package ($3,950) requires the Style package and tacks on automatic headlamps, dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless entry with push-button starting, a navigation system with a 7-in touchscreen, a rearview camera and premium audio.

Safety

The 2015 Hyundai Elantra GT comes with standard stability control, 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes and seven airbags (front, front-side, driver-knee and full-length side-curtain).

The Elantra GT received five stars out of five in government crash tests, including four stars for front impacts and five stars for side impacts.

Behind the Wheel

The Elantra GT's front seats have been beefed up from regular Elantra duty with more aggressive side bolsters, a nice touch in an inexpensive compact. The available power driver's seat is exceptionally adjustable and supportive. The deeply hooded gauges feature Hyundai's standard-issue clear numerals and blue accents. Surprisingly, the Elantra GT's dashboard and control layout is less stylized than the Elantra sedan's. Compare the two side by side, and you'll find that the GT plays it safe with fewer complex curves and surfaces. Happily, most of the controls are no-nonsense and easily learned, while materials quality is satisfactory.

The Elantra GT's shorter wheelbase takes a small bite out of back-seat space, but there's still room for full-size adults there if the adults in front play nice. Trunk space is 23 cu ft., while folding down the rear seatbacks opens up a healthy 51 cu ft.

Under the hood, the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder delivers reasonably peppy performance in most situations. It feels strained at times, but it's a definite improvement over the old 1.8-liter unit that was discontinued after 2013. As for transmission, the precise 6-speed manual gives a more responsive feel, but at least the optional 6-speed automatic's downshifts are quicker than the norm these days. We do wish the 1.8-liter motor was still available, as we're sure there are folks who would rather have less power and an extra 3 mpg.

On the road, the Elantra GT handles crisply atop its sport-tuned suspension. The standard driver-adjustable steering effort is a first for this class, and it illustrates one of the main technological advantages of electric power steering: customizability. We'd still pick a Ford Focus or Mazda3 first for enthusiastic driving, but those models don't offer the Elantra GT's value. The Elantra sedan is already a nimble little car, and the shorter Elantra GT feels even more resourceful in tight spots. In part because of its relatively light weight, the Elantra GT can get a little out of sorts on rough roads, but we're generally impressed with the smoothness of its ride.

Other Cars to Consider

2015 Ford Focus -- You usually get what you pay for when it comes to economy cars, and the Focus is one of the most expensive. Sure enough, it drives almost like an entry-level luxury car, with uncommon refinement and athleticism for this class.

2015 Mazda3 -- With its smooth SkyActiv 2.0-liter engine (not to mention the spunky optional 2.5-liter version), the 3 has vaulted to the head of the class in fuel economy without losing Mazda's traditional performance edge.

2015 Volkswagen Golf -- The 2015 Golf feels amazingly solid at highway speeds, and it has top-notch interior quality. We like the new turbocharged 1.8-liter engine, too.

Used Audi A3 -- We're not talking about the current A3 sedan but rather the previous-generation hatchback, which can easily be found in gently used condition for Elantra GT money. You're going to want a warranty, though.