Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Auto Review: The Well-Dressed Hyundai Elantra GT


It may look like the summer of 2015, but in this review we have actually leaped ahead to 2016 and we're driving Hyundai's compact Elantra GT. Who knew that in the waning weeks of 2015, scientists would release genetically-reengineered dinosaurs to the wilds of central Connecticut? But that's the future for you. Or it may be, we'll just have to wait and see. But one thing I do know for sure is the 2016 Elantra GT is here now, and it's a very interesting player in the compact class. Like pretty much every new car that comes along, the GT flirts with the size class above it, as it's nearly roomy enough to be called a midsize. But perhaps even more desirable than generous interior room is the fact that, with a couple of option packages, the Elantra GT has all the comforts of cars costing considerably more. It also delivers impressive fuel economy, and excellent versatility thanks to its five-door hatchback design.


Riding on a wheelbase of 104.3 inches (a couple of inches shorter than the Elantra sedan), the front-drive Elantra GT is powered by a 2-liter NU Inline Four. NU is an engine family designation, and does not mean it's entirely "new," although this is a tweaked version of a very contemporary design. Armed with Gasoline Direct Injection and the latest technology, the engine produces 173 horsepower. Two transmissions are available, a 6-Speed Manual and a 6-Speed Shiftronic automatic gearbox. We tested the latter, and while the 2-liter Four isn't the most refined out there, it's a great fit for this car and offers up good acceleration and outstanding fuel economy. The GT comes with a Sport Suspension as part of the Style Package that helps sharpen chassis response, and this is bolstered by what is now standard Hyundai fare: user-selectable electronic steering assist. This includes Normal, Sport and Comfort settings to help fine-tune feel. The Elantra GT is no cutting-edge sportster, but it is fun to drive, and feels light on its feet in congested traffic. A good part of this agility is the car's low curb weight, thanks to extensive use of lighter, high-strength steel. The firmer suspension rates don't damage ride quality, and road noise is kept reasonably stifled.

The Elantra GT interior is blissfully free of excessive bells and whistles, while incorporating the latest in Hyundai's Blue Link Telemetrics. The Tech Package includes leather upholstery (heated and ventilated up front for year-round comfort), and there's also a navigation system, rearview camera and a huge panoramic sunroof that makes the car feel even more spacious. Rear seat room is generous and the rear cargo area has 23 cubic feet of space that increases to 51 with the rear seatbacks folded. All in all, this is a standout car in a very competitive class.

The 2016 Hyundai Elantra GT is EPA rated 24 MPG city/33 city and has a base price of $19, 800. With option packages, our GT had an MSRP of $26,675.

Gary Rome Hyundai Seeks Permits From Holyoke Council for $10 Million Project

The City Council Ordinance Committee Tuesday (June 23) will hold public hearings on Gary Rome Hyundai's requests for special permits related to a plan to build a $10 million dealership on Whiting Farms Road.


The committee also will discuss developing an ordinance that would give the Fire Department a more organized way to track whether restaurant kitchen exhaust systems are being cleaned properly to reduce chances of grease fires. 

The Ordinance Committee meeting is at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall.

Pursuit of the special permits are followup steps after the City Council voted 14-0 May 19 to grant Rome a zone change so he can build the dealership on nearly 19 acres across from Autumn and Lynch drives. The site is up the road from the Holyoke Mall at Ingleside.

One special permit is to allow for a motor vehicle repair garage on nearly 19 acres Rome is buying on Whiting Farms Road across from Autumn and Lynch drives. The other is for new and used cars and trucks and marine and recreational vehicles.

Rome is buying the property from the Holyoke Gas and Electric Department for $2,050,000.
His project will provide 50 new full-time jobs, some part-time jobs, thousands of dollars a years in property tax revenue and an increase in employee payroll to more than $7 million from the current $4.6 million, he said.

His current dealership at 1000 Main St. here will stay open, he said.

Ordinance Committee Chairwoman Rebecca Lisi proposed that the council establish a Commercial Hood and Exhaust Cleaning Fire Prevention and Protection Program.

The proposal would require that companies that are licensed to clean the so-called hood and exhaust areas in restaurants and other commercial kitchens first get a permit from the Fire Department. The permits would cost $25.

The permits would help the department monitor where and when such systems around the city are scheduled for cleanings. The permit would require that cleaning companies submit photos of the hood and exhaust systems before and after the cleanings. The Fire Department would use the list of permits to inspect and ensure the cleaning was thorough, Michael Boucher, Holyoke Fire Department fire inspector, told The Republican and MassLive.com last week.

Currently, with 236 establishments with commercial kitchens here, no organized schedule exists to make sure kitchens' hoods, ducts, filters and fans are free of grease and combustible contaminants, he said.

Also, he said, restaurants and other businesses here with commercial kitchens such as daycare facilities have been getting shortchanged by companies they hire to clean such systems. In every case in which Boucher has inspected kitchens after companies supposedly did cleanings, the hood and exhaust systems clearly had weeks or months of grease accumulation remaining, he said.

Sometimes the outer areas and parts most visible are cleaned but the harder-to-see areas farther inside a duct might have dangerous contaminant build-up, he said.

In such cases, the Fire Department is authorized to shut down a restaurant if public safety is at risk. The department can hit the cleaning company with fines of $100, $500 and $1,000 each time they are ordered to redo the cleaning and the job remains insufficient, he said.

Monday, June 29, 2015

The 2015 Sophisticated Sonata

The 2015 Hyundai Sonata appeals to a wider range of customers than ever before. From the base model 2015 Sonata 2.4-liter to a new range-topping Sport 2.0T Ultimate that offers class-above features such as hands-free smart trunk, smart cruise control, panoramic sunroof, heated and ventilated seats and a heated steering wheel, the 2015 Sonata aims to please.
“A strong value proposition has always been a cornerstone for Hyundai and the 2015 Sonata continues that tradition,” said Bob Pradzinski, vice president of national sales, Hyundai Motor America. “Our customers are also asking for advanced safety and technology features, so we broadened the 2015 Sonata model line to include more premium comfort and convenience features on the upper trim levels. The mid-size sedan segment is incredibly competitive and we made a conscious effort to deliver a world-class mid-size sedan at an outstanding value.”
Interior design
Confident, energetic lines define the 2015 Sonata’s exterior and are complemented inside the cabin by a premium interior with a special emphasis on ergonomics. Intuitive buttons and controls are placed on the center stack, which is angled toward the driver to make the controls easier to reach. Hyundai’s core interior design principles are safety, intuitiveness and simplicity and the Sonata delivers.
To create a unified experience inside the cabin, designers met with various suppliers to make sure all buttons and switchgear have a consistent feel. The height of the display screen for the audio display or 8-inch navigation system and instrument cluster are optimized for visibility and reside on the same plane to enhance readability during a quick glance. These ergonomic enhancements help the driver remain focused on the road ahead and provide confidence behind the wheel.
Exterior design
GaryRomeHyundai.com/hyundai-vehicle-models/
A larger, more refined grille with a wide air intake defines the face of the 2015 Sonata. Simple, harmonious lines adorn the exterior while hinting at the improved dynamic performance and human-machine connection Sonata provides. Taut, horizontal rocker panels reflect the chassis’ increased stability and surefootedness while the signature Sonata beltline is now stretched tight to accentuate the sedan’s strength.
The coupe-like roofline remains, but it is balanced by a larger window graphic that emphasizes the roomier interior. Horizontal lines in the rear underscore Sonata’s width and give the car a planted look.
Shoppers looking for a traditional design will appreciate the 2015 Sonata SE’s exterior styling that includes standard LED daytime running lights, 16-inch alloy wheels, a rear lip spoiler and chrome surround for the day light opening.
Sonata Sport features a more aggressive front grille and bumper, side rocker extensions and side chrome molding. Sport models powered by the 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine feature dual exhaust while Sport 2.0T models feature a unique rear bumper fascia, quad exhaust tips and 18-inch alloy wheels. The Sport model is expected to be the most popular Sonata.
Convenient technology
The 2015 Sonata embodies Hyundai’s Modern Premium brand direction by providing convenient technology formerly reserved for luxury sedans in the mid-size segment without the premium price tag. Switching the high beams on and off manually doesn’t seem like a hassle but Sonata’s high beam assist allows the driver to keep their eyes on the road and let the headlamps deliver maximum visibility without accidentally blinding oncoming traffic. Bright LED daytime running lights give the 2015 Sonata’s face a premium look.
Smart trunk gives drivers a convenient hands-free way to open the trunk while keeping both feet firmly planted on the ground. The owner simply needs to approach the Sonata’s trunk with the key fob in a purse or pocket and wait three seconds. The trunk will automatically open, making it easy to place groceries or luggage inside when hands are full.
Top safety pick
The 2015 Sonata is rated as one of the safest cars on the road today. The 2015 Sonata was named a 2014 TOP SAFETY PICK+, when equipped with optional forward collision warning, by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS). The 2015 Sonata brings a new level of safety and refinement to the midsize sedan category.
“The TOP SAFETY PICK+ designation recognizes state-of-the-art safety,” said IIHS president Adrian Lund. “The 2015 Hyundai Sonata is not only engineered to protect people when crashes happen but with its optional forward collision warning system rated basic in our tests, this car can help drivers avoid some of the most common kinds of collisions altogether.”
IIHS rates vehicles in a moderate overlap front crash, small overlap front crash, side impact and rollover test and evaluates seat/head restraints for protection against neck injuries in rear impact collisions. Additionally, IIHS evaluates available front crash prevention systems that aim to prevent a crash or lessen its severity.
Winners of the TOP SAFETY PICK+ award must earn Good ratings for occupant protection in the moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests, no less than acceptable in the small overlap test, and at least a basic rating for front crash prevention.
“Occupant safety is at the forefront of Hyundai design and engineering,” said Mike O’Brien, vice president, Corporate and Product Planning, Hyundai Motor America. “Sonata’s TOP SAFETY PICK+ recognition reinforces our dedication to occupant safety and integrating our accident prevention technologies makes the 2015 Sonata one of the safest midsize sedans on the market today.”
Sonata’s suite of safety features aims to help prevent accidents and maximize the safety of its occupants in the event of a collision.

Article Source

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Gary Rome Hyundai Seeks Permits from Holyoke Council for $10 Million Project

The City Council Ordinance Committee Tuesday (June 23) will hold public hearings on Gary Rome Hyundai's requests for special permits related to a plan to build a $10 million dealership on Whiting Farms Road.

The committee also will discuss developing an ordinance that would give the Fire Department a more organized way to track whether restaurant kitchen exhaust systems are being cleaned properly to reduce chances of grease fires.

The Ordinance Committee meeting is at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall.

Pursuit of the special permits are followup steps after the City Council voted 14-0 May 19 to grant Rome a zone change so he can build the dealership on nearly 19 acres across from Autumn and Lynch drives. The site is up the road from the Holyoke Mall at Ingleside.

One special permit is to allow for a motor vehicle repair garage on nearly 19 acres Rome is buying on Whiting Farms Road across from Autumn and Lynch drives. The other is for new and used cars and trucks and marine and recreational vehicles.

Rome is buying the property from the Holyoke Gas and Electric Department for $2,050,000.

His project will provide 50 new full-time jobs, some part-time jobs, thousands of dollars a years in property tax revenue and an increase in employee payroll to more than $7 million from the current $4.6 million, he said.

His current dealership at 1000 Main St. here will stay open, he said.

Ordinance Committee Chairwoman Rebecca Lisi proposed that the council establish a Commercial Hood and Exhaust Cleaning Fire Prevention and Protection Program.

The proposal would require that companies that are licensed to clean the so-called hood and exhaust areas in restaurants and other commercial kitchens first get a permit from the Fire Department. The permits would cost $25.

The permits would help the department monitor where and when such systems around the city are scheduled for cleanings. The permit would require that cleaning companies submit photos of the hood and exhaust systems before and after the cleanings. The Fire Department would use the list of permits to inspect and ensure the cleaning was thorough, Michael Boucher, Holyoke Fire Department fire inspector, told The Republican and MassLive.com last week.

Currently, with 236 establishments with commercial kitchens here, no organized schedule exists to make sure kitchens' hoods, ducts, filters and fans are free of grease and combustible contaminants, he said.

Also, he said, restaurants and other businesses here with commercial kitchens such as daycare facilities have been getting shortchanged by companies they hire to clean such systems. In every case in which Boucher has inspected kitchens after companies supposedly did cleanings, the hood and exhaust systems clearly had weeks or months of grease accumulation remaining, he said.

Sometimes the outer areas and parts most visible are cleaned but the harder-to-see areas farther inside a duct might have dangerous contaminant build-up, he said.

In such cases, the Fire Department is authorized to shut down a restaurant if public safety is at risk. The department can hit the cleaning company with fines of $100, $500 and $1,000 each time they are ordered to redo the cleaning and the job remains insufficient, he said.



Saturday, June 27, 2015

Hyundai Lets Everyday Superheroes Talk About The Tucson Fuel Cell CUV

It has been one year since Hyundai began leasing a small number of Tucson Fuel Cell crossovers in Southern California. Now the automaker is taking to the Web to tout the 70 customers who got the vehicles, and how the vehicles fit into their daily lives. The message: fuel-cell vehicles that emit only water vapor are in today-land.

The video series plays on the idea that the people who got the keys and drive the Tucson Fuel Cell crossovers for a year are real-life superheroes. To be sure, all of them are achievers — doctors, philanthropists, engineers, and entrepreneurs in green business. But Hyundai agency of record Innocean U.S.A. gives each of the eight owners in the “Day in the Life of a Fuel Cell Family” the comic-book treatment as well, with names like “Alter-Eco,” “Recyclor,” “Hydrofox,” and “Mother Nurture,” and visual representations by established comic book artists.

The content is centered on a microsite for the vehicle, housing videos showing the owners doing everyday tasks — commuting, softball practice, Starbucks — and also recreational jaunts. One video on Carolyn Rowley (“Mother Nurture”) gets into how she started an orphanage in Kenya, and was awarded California’s Best Sustainable Garden; Another, “Blue Lightning,” is an engineer who does green-field startups in Mexico and Brazil.

How far have people driven the vehicle? According to Hyundai, as of this week the 70 drivers have collectively accumulated enough miles in the Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell cars to reach the lunar surface and return, around 477,800 miles. Refueling time is similar to gasoline vehicles of same size. Hyundai started building the vehicle in February 2013 at the Ulsan, Korea, assembly plant that makes the gasoline version.

David Matathia, director of marketing communications at Hyundai Motor America, tells Marketing Daily that the digital campaign and the program it highlights are big statements for the brand. “To be the first auto with the first true retail fuel cell vehicle means we are not just talking about what the future may hold. It’s here now, and we want to demystify fuel-cell technology, and show that these are viable.”

He adds that there is a tight correlation between technology and innovation, and opinion and consideration of a brand. “To be trying a first with something as advanced as this is really a great story for us … people either don't know about it or are skeptical, so this is about removing that shroud of mystery, and saying this is real.”

Matathia says promotional elements are focused on social media, and CRM outreach as well both through its database and in a monthly e-magazine to owners. “It's obviously a targeted effort.” Innocean, he says, “was the force behind profiling these people and celebrating them as pioneers. We worked with renounced artists to re-imagine them but it's who they are, how they live.”

The vehicle is pretty much like the production Tucson crossover -- and, Joyce notes, there is only about an inch snipped out of the rear cargo area space to accommodate the hydrogen storage units powering the fuel stack. “In the videos you see that it isn't some crazy-looking futuristic car — it's a Tucson — and people putting kids' stuff in back, commuting as normal people do.” He adds that Hyundai is tracking effectiveness by measuring traffic, and collecting hand-raisers.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Hyundai Sold More Than 100,000 Genesis Sedans In 18 Months

Hyundai has sold more than 100,000 units of the second-generation Genesis, just 18 months after the model launched in November 2013. The new luxury sedan achieved the sales landmark 10 months sooner than the first-generation model.

Roughly half of all second-generation Hyundai Genesis sedans were sold in South Korea (52,661 units), while exports totaled 53,254 units. Combined sales of the new Hyundai Genesis are 105,915 units by the end of May 2015.

Built exclusively in South Korea, the luxury sedan is exported to Chinese, European, Middle East, and North American markets. The Genesis is a success in North America in particular, currently occupying third place in the US midsize luxury sedan market.

“Reaching this global sales landmark so quickly demonstrates Hyundai Motor’s technological expertise and success at positioning the brand as a credible producer of premium vehicles,” said Wonshin Chang, Executive Vice President and Head of International Operation Division of Hyundai Motor Company.

The first generation Hyundai Genesis, introduced in 2008, achieved global sales of 250,000 units, introducing the brand to a new type of customer in domestic and foreign markets. With the second-generation model, Hyundai has broadened the appeal of the nameplate.

In North America, the Genesis is offered with two gasoline engines, a 311hp 3.8-liter V6 and a 420hp 5.0-liter V8, with European markets only only getting the V6.


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Hyundai Launches Santa Fe SR Range-Topper

Hyundai has come clean on the first SR-badged version of its popular Santa Fe seven-seat SUV, as driven by motoring.com.au in October 2014, and rated 73/100.

Developed in Australia, the new Santa Fe range-topper is now officially on sale priced at $59,990 plus on-road costs -- $6750 more than the Highlander luxury flagship on which it's based – making it the most expensive Hyundai bar the $60,000-$82,000 Genesis sedan.

Based on the updated 2015 Santa Fe released last October rather than the facelifted model revealed in Korea earlier this month and due on sale here in the fourth quarter of this year, the SR adds a range of cosmetic and chassis upgrades to the Highlander menu.

These include a full sports body kit, 19-inch OZ Racing alloy wheels with high-performance Michelin tyres, Brembo brakes and H&R Performance springs, as part of the latest local chassis tuning program undertaken by Hyundai Australia.

In detail, Hyundai's fourth SR model (and first SR SUV) after the Veloster SR Turbo, i30 SR hatch and Accent SR hatch is differentiated from lesser Santa Fes by a sports front spoiler, side skirts, a racy rear diffuser with integrated exhaust outlet and matte-black OZ Racing Versilia alloy wheels measuring 19x8.0-inch (the same as the Highlander's standard wheels) and shod with 235/55 R19 Michelin Latitude Tour tyres. A full-size spare is standard.

Braking is upgraded too, via red four-piston fixed monobloc Brembo callipers at all four corners, gripping 340x28mm front discs and 302x22mm rear discs. Hyundai says stopping distance from 60km/h is reduced by eight per cent compared with the regular MY15 Santa Fe.

The Santa Fe SR is based on the Santa Fe Sports Package formulated by Hyundai Motor Corporation’s Customising Team in South Korea, but the company's new Aussie SUV flagship underwent a significant local development program led by Hyundai Motor Company Australia’s General Manager Product Engineering, Mr Hee Loong ‘Wongy’ Wong.

The result was six per cent stiffer front and 11 per cent stiffer rear H&R Performance springs, while the Mando dampers, Flex Steer electric steering and Active On-Demand 4WD system with torque-vectoring Advanced Traction Cornering Control (ATCC) carry over from other Australian-specification MY15 Santa Fe models.

“For us, it wasn’t about the wheels being bigger and wider, or having a different offset, but about spoke design and the required calliper clearance,” said Hyundai Motor Company Australia’s Senior Manager Product Planning, Andrew Tuitahi.

The 145kW/436Nm 2.2-litre CRDi four-cylinder turbo-diesel and six-speed automatic transmission carries over from other Santa Fe models, as does a full safety suite including seven airbags, a reversing camera, ESC, TCS, ABS, EBD, BAS, HAC, DBC, LDW and a five-star ANCAP crash rating.

The SR also comes with all of the top-shelf Santa Fe Highlander's standard equipment, which Hyundai claims is class-leading, including 12-way power driver’s seat adjustment, heated and ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, rear-door sunshades, a twin-panel auto-closing panoramic glass roof, automatic xenon headlights, LED daytime running lights, 10-speaker premium audio system with Bluetooth iPod connectivity and a 7.0-inch touch-screen satellite-navigation system with SUNA traffic updates and three years’ HERE MapCare.

There's also a powered tailgate with hands-free opening, proximity smart key with push-button start, dual-zone climate-control with vents for all three rows, rain-sensing wipers, front/rear rear parking sensors and underfloor rear cargo storage.

Hyundai's most expensive SR misses out on the Santa Fe Highlander's automated parking system and is available in just four exterior paint colours: Creamy White (solid), and the metallic Sleek Silver, Titanium Silver and Phantom Black, each matched with leather-appointed black interior trim.

Like all new vehicles from the Korean car-maker, the Santa Fe SR comes with a five-year/unlimited km warranty, lifetime capped-price servicing and 10 years of roadside assistance.

How Hyundai Could Become a Luxury SUV Brand

Over the past few years, some of the world’s largest automakers have started betting on the full-size luxury SUV as the next big segment. Bentley has begun testing its Bentayga on public roads, and Rolls-Royce’s response, the Cullinan, is being put through its paces hidden under a modified Phantom body. While the Brits are out making a scene, Lamborghini has just okayed the Urus for production, and Jeep is set to unveil its 2018 Grand Wagoneer to dealers this fall. Mercedes-Benz has hinted at a new Maybach model to enter the fray, and Audi, BMW and Range Rover have all expressed interest in moving their SUVs even further upmarket.

Like the full-size luxury sedan segment, demand for these off-roadable luxo-barges is especially strong in the Chinese and Middle Eastern markets, and the traditional luxury automakers are eager to capitalize on it. But Hyundai appears that it wants in too, and a full-size luxury offering by the Korean automakers could shore up some recent sales losses in the U.S., and finally prove that it’s good at everything it does.

In 2008, Hyundai defied critics by launching the Genesis, a full-size premium luxury sedan that offered features similar to the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and Lexus LS 460 for thousands less. Despite strong skepticism, Hyundai’s big gambit appears to have paid off. Even while Hyundai’s sales have slipped 10% within the past year, Genesis sales are up by 30%, with American buyers taking home nearly 15,000 cars between January and May. Speaking with Reuters, unnamed sources inside Hyundai say that the company is now ready to turn its focus to the full-size SUV market, and is considering a Genesis-based luxury model that would undercut its competitors by thousands and offer features that punch well above its weight.

Despite not being exactly known for its SUV range, Hyundai has taken some big steps recently to raise its profile. After successfully showing its Santa Cruz pickup at this year’s auto show circuit, it looks more and more likely that the popular concept will see production. And while its last full-size offering, the Veracruz, was phased out in 2013, the company’s SUV lineup is enjoying a moment in the global spotlight, as a new Popemobile based on a Hyundai Santa Fe made its debut earlier this month.

“We are timid when it comes to bigger SUVs,” one source told Reuters. But despite this aversion, it look like things will be changing fast. The source added: “We are considering developing premium, large SUVs based on customers’ needs. We plan to respond to the fast-changing market centered around SUVs by beefing up our SUV line-up.”

Luxury model or not, Hyundai could benefit from a stronger SUV lineup in the U.S., especially if it wants to regain some of its shrinking market share. While a Genesis-based SUV is by no means an essential for the company, the Genesis sedan has proven that there are enough people out there who want high-end luxury and don’t care about the badge on the grille. With high-end SUVs poised to become the next “it car” in the next few years, it might not be a bad idea for Hyundai to get in on the ground floor.