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Hyundai Plans On Building Factory In Brazil

The Korean automaker Hyundai is planning on expanding in the emerging markets and for this reason they are going to build a new car plant in Brazil. The company will invest $600 million in the factory in Piracicaba, Brazil, a plant that will have an annual capacity of 150,000 cars. In a statement published yesterday, the company said that the production of a small-sized car will start in November 2012.
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Preview – 2011 Chicago Auto Show PART 2

If you haven’t read the first part of our article, now would be a great time to do it. Let’s continue where we left off yesterday and see what the Blue Oval will be bringing to the 2011 Chicago Auto Show.

2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302

The most interesting car will definitely be the Mustang which will be exhibited in various versions, like the GT, the V6 and the Shelby GT500. In addition, Ford will be bringing the Boss 302 which will be below the GT500 but above the GT. The V6 model will come with a 3.7-liter that outputs 305 hp while the GT will get a more powerful V8 5.0-liter, good for 412 hp. The Boss 302 will carry GT’s engine but it will produce 444 hp. The top-of-the-range Shelby GT500 will be fitted with a V8 5.4-liter supercharged engine that will output 550 hp. Regarding the available gearboxes, both the V6 and the GT will get either a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic. The Boss 302 and the Shelby GT500 will be available only with a 6-speed manual transmission.

The new generation of the Focus will also be brought to Detroit. The car will be available as a 4-door sedan or a 4-door hatchback and will get one of the following trims: S, SE, SEL and Titanium. Regardless of the trim level, the new Focus will be fitted with a 4-cylinder 2.0-liter engine that can run either on gas or E85 ethanol-blended fuel. The engine will output 155 hp and can be mated with either a 5-speed manual or the new 6-speed dual-clutch automated manual gearbox.

Another model brought by Ford will be the 2011 C-Max. This 7-seater minivan is going to be available with either a Mazda5-sourced 4-cylinder 2.5-liter power unit that outputs 168 hp or a 4-cylinder 1.6-liter turbocharged carrying 168 hp while running on regular gas and 180 hp with premium gas. Both of the engines will be fitted with a 6-speed automatic gearbox.

The last model Ford will be bringing to this year’s Chicago Auto Show is going to be the 2011 Explorer. Available in three trim levels: Base, XLT and Limited, the car can get either a FWD or an AWD. Regardless of the trim level chosen, the car will be fitted with a V6 3.5-liter that outputs 290 hp while the 4-cylinder 2.0 power unit that churns 237 hp will be optional for the XLT and Limited trim levels. All of the models will come with a 6-speed automatic gearbox.

2011 GMC Sierra HD

At GMC you will be seeing the Sierra HD which is the heavy-duty version of the Sierra 1500. This monster will be available with a choice of two engines: V8 6.0-liter that produces 360 hp and a V8 6.6-liter that will offer 397 hp. Both of them will be linked to a 6-speed automatic gearbox.

The Koreans at Hyundai will be bringing their beautiful 3-door coupe Veloster model which they launched at Detroit a couple of weeks ago. The car will be available with a 4-cylinder 2.6-liter that cranks 138 hp, mated to either a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission.

Another beautiful car brought by Hyundai will be the Elantra which will be produced in the United States. This 4-door sedan is going to be available in two trim levels: GLS and Limited. Both of them will be equipped with a 4-cylinder 1.8-liter that produces 148 hp. The base model will get a 6-speed manual transmission while the top-of-the-range will feature a 6-speed automatic gearbox.

2011 Hyundai Equus

The Equus model is Hyundai’s flagship model and will make its appearance at Chicago next week. The car is 7 inches longer than the Genesis sedan and will carry its engine which is a V8 4.6-liter that produces 385 hp while running on premium gas and 378 hp with regular one. The power unit will be mated to a 6-speed automatic gearbox.

2011 Infiniti QX56

A new car that is going to be produced in the US except the Elantra will be Infiniti’s QX56. In comparison to its predecessor, the new generation is longer, wider and lower. As standard, the car will get a V8 5.6-liter engine that outputs 400 hp, mated to a 7-speed automatic gearbox. The QX56 will be available with a RWD system or an AWD one.

2011 Jaguar XJ

Without any doubt, one of the most beautiful cars that will be presented at the 2011 edition of the Chicago Auto Show will be the Jaguar XJ. Available in standard or “L” versions, the car will be offered with three trim levels. The “L” version is 5 inches longer than the regular one. Both of them can be acquired with these trim levels: XJ, Supercharged and Supersport.  All of them will have the same engine which is a V8 5.0-liter that will output 385 hp for the Base model, 470 hp for the Supercharged and 510 hp for the top-of-the-line Supersport. The engine is going to be mated to a 6-speed automatic gearbox. The Supersport model can only be purchased through a special order.

2011 Kia Optima

Hyundai’s sister Kia will be bringing the mid-sized sedan Optima and the Sportage SUV. The first one will be available in three trim levels: LX, EX and SX. Joining the lineup will be a hybrid version. The first two trim levels will be equipped with a 4-cylinder 2.4-liter that outputs 200 hp while the SX carries a 4-cylinder 2.0-liter turbocharged power unit that churns out 274 hp. The base model will get a 6-speed manual while the EX and the SX will be fitted with a 6-speed automatic transmission. The hybrid version will be fitted with a 4-cylinder 2.4-liter engine with an electric motor, linked to a 6-speed automatic gearbox.

The Kia Sportage will carry Hyundai’s Tucson platform and will be available in three trim levels: Base, LX and EX. All of them have a 4-cylinder 2.4-liter that outputs 176 hp. The base model gets a 6-speed manual and the EX and LX will be fitted with a 6-speed automatic.

Come back tomorrow for the third part of our preview of the 2011 Chicago Auto Show.

Hyundai Becomes World’s 4th Largest Automaker

Last week Ford revealed that they managed to sell 5,313,000 cars worldwide “to wholesale” (out of the door), which is 447,000 units more or 9.19% in comparison to 2009. With Volvo out of the picture, the growth was in fact 771,000 units. Although the automaker managed to sell a lot of cars in the US and Asia, they didn’t do so well in Europe. Ford is not doing just as well as Hyundai is doing in China, the most expansive market at the moment.

According to the data published by TTAC, the Hyundai Motor Group (consisting of Hyundai and Kia) sold 5,744,018 cars in 2010, allowing the company to take the number 4th position, thus overtaking Ford.

If you haven’t read our article last week, here are the top 5 automakers in 2010:

1.       Toyota Group – 8,557,351 units;

2.       General Motors Group – 8,389,769 units;

3.       Volkswagen Group – 7,140,000 units;

4.       Hyundai Motor Group – 5,744,018 units;

5.       Ford – 5,313,000 units.

Ford had held the 3rd position up until 2006 when the automaker was overtaken by Volkswagen. In 2005 Hyundai-Kia were in 9th place. During 2006 and 2008, the Korean automakers Hyundai and Kia reported separately and in 2009 they joined forces again, grabbing the 4th spot. It really is amazing how long Hyundai has come when we think about the fact that 10 years ago, the automaker was a popular target… of ridicule.

2012 Hyundai Veloster – A Gorgeous Coupe

2012 Hyundai Veloster

There were a lot of new cars launched on the first day of the 2011 Detroit Auto Show but one of them really caught my attention – the 2012 Hyundai Veloster. I never knew that the Korean automaker was capable of making such an interesting car. This unique three-door coupe looks great from all angles and according to the press release; it will be able to do 40 mpg on the highway.

Targeted as the main rival of the Honda CR-Z Hybrid, the sexy Veloster will come with a bundle of features and gizmos that are really cool, at least some of them. As standard, the car will be offered with a generous 7-inch multi-function touchscreen display and Pandora internet radio capability. Being aimed at the young target, the car will offer video game console support through the available 115-volt power outlet. Other goodies include the virtual CD downloading, Bluetooth, AVI and MPEG support via USB and others as well.

The 2012 Veloster joins the Elantra, Equus, Sonata, Tucson and the soon-to-be-released Accent in the company’s 24/7 version 2.0 product initiative (7 new models in 24 months). According to Hyundai, the design of this interesting three-door coupe was inspired from a high-performance sport bike. The black A-pillars are very distinctive and give the Veloster’s glass a motorcycle helmet look. Looking at the front of the car you will notice the company’s signature hexagonal front grille but this time it is more aggressive than on other models.

The LED position lights and the hood scoop detailing look very nice in my opinion. For extra money, the Veloster can be fitted with a large panoramic sunroof, fog lights, piano black highlights and a chrome grille surround. As standard, the car rolls on 17-inch alloy rims but can be fitted with two types of 18-inch wheels. One of these models (the most expensive one) is available with painted inserts which is a premiere in this segment.

2012 Hyundai Veloster

Moving inside the car, you will notice the controls and the center stack that look very much like the fuel tank of a sports bike and incorporate the push-button starter. Another inspiration from a motorcycle can be found in the design of the air vents while the floor console imitates the seat of a high-performance bike. The cabin of the Veloster comes with a bundle of metallic accents and as an additional feature, the car can feature alloy pedals, leather wrapped shift knob and steering wheel.

2012 Hyundai Veloster

More about that interesting third-door which According to the automaker, the car combines the functionality of a hatchback with the style of a coupe, while at the same time offering an additional passenger-side door. To maintain the coupe design, the handle of this third door has been hidden. This hinged door provides a very easy and ready access to the rear seats, unlike previous coupes that had rear-hinged access doors that had to be opened from the driver-side door before the rear door could be opened.

Let’s talk about the engine under the hood. The Gamma 1.6-liter 4-cylinder power unit is the smallest engine developed by Hyundai that will use the Gasoline Direct Injection technology. With the GDI, the car can offer an estimated 40 mpg rating, higher reliability and lower emissions. This unit produces 138 hp @ 6,300 rpm and 123 lb-ft. @ 4,850 rpm. This all-new engine also packs Dual Continuously Variable Valve Timing, Diamond Like Carbon coating, CrN Physical Vapor Deposition and a roller timing chain.

The power unit is linked to the all-new 6-speed dual-clutch gearbox which according to Hyundai is 5-6% more fuel efficient and 3-7% better in acceleration performance. For improving the fuel economy, the powertrain offers an Active Eco mode that will modify the engine as well as the transmission controls for improved fuel economy.

With an interior volume of 105.3 cubic feet, the 2012 Hyundai Veloster is the most spacious car in this segment, offering more space than the Mini Clubman, Mini Hardtop, Scion tC and the previously mentioned 2011 Honda CR-Z.

The car promises to be a great fun to drive with is low curb weight of only 2,584 pounds, 400 less than the Scion tC. In order to improve the quality of the ride, the Veloster has a McPherson strut front suspension, gas shock absorbers, coil springs as well as a 24 mm diameter front stabilizer. In the back, the car was fitted with a V-torsion beam lightweight suspension with a 23 mm stabilizer bar for offering additional stiffness.

As far as the safety features are concerned, the 3-door Veloster comes with the VSM – Vehicle Stability Management system that is capable of managing the electronic stability control and the motor-driven electric power steering. The car packs six airbags: two in the front, front and rear side curtain and front seat-mounted side-impact. To stop the car, Hyundai fitted the coupe with four-wheel disc brakes that have ABS with brake assist and EBD.

The car will be offered with the Blue Link Assurance package that will include enhanced roadside assistance, SOS emergency assistance as well as automatic crash notification and assistance. The Blue Link Essentials package will offer remote access features like remote door unlock/lock, remote lights and horn, panic notification, remote vehicle start and others as well.

The 2012 Hyundai Veloster will be available with one of the following colors: Boston Red, Vitamin C, 26.2 Yellow, Electrolyte Green, Marathon Blue, Ultra Black, Triathlon Gray, Ironman Silver and Century White.

Although we don’t know about the price range of this 3-door coupe, the Korean automaker is aiming towards a $17,000 price tag, very close to cars like the Honda CR-Z, Mini Cooper and the Scion tC. If it rides just as good as it looks, it will certainly be a worthy competitor in the segment, a nice surprise from Hyundai, a car manufacturer that only used to make rather boring cars. I am curios if Kia will come up with a Veloster-based model.

Review – 2011 Kia Optima 2.0T

2011 Kia Optima 2.0T

If you are not fond of the “Fluidic Sculpture” design of the Hyundai Sonata, we take a wild guess and say that you might like the more traditional and masculine look of the new Kia Optima, a car that borrows the Sonata’s 274 hp 4-cylinder turbo engine. Kia has brought several changes to Sonata’s sibling, by modifying the suspension which is now a little bit stiffer and reworked the power steering of the Optima, offering a more athletic driving experience.

Some say that the design of the Optima was a little bit inspired by the BMW models if we look at the aggressive front fenders and the bulging hood. The resemblance to the 5-Series is seen at the pair of scowling and wraparound HID headlights, which is certainly not a bad thing. However, the looks of the Optima state very well the fact that this car is a Kia, thanks to the signature Kia grille, the blacked-out roof and the very subtle windshield detail that imitates the lines of the car’s front fascia. Thanks to the addition of the exaggerated fog light insets, the Optima 2.0T is one of the most aggressive looking mid-sized sedans at the moment. Similar with the Hyundai Sonata, the Kia Optima has as sporty, low-slung profile that is exaggerated by the car’s very stylish 18-inch rims.

In the back of the Optima, we find the very stylish looking LED taillamps and the small lip spoiler. Unlike the Sonata, the Kia offers a little more flash thanks to its twin oval exhaust tips and the red-lettered 2.0 GDI badge that make it look very sporty. In order to enhance this manly look, the Optima has a swept rear glass and a tall deck height. Without any doubt, the exterior of the car looks very nice, which is something that we cannot say about the cockpit, at least in our humble opinion.

The leather seats of the Optima don’t look very good in our opinion and they certainly don’t fit with the general look of the car. The driver-oriented center stack looks nice if you give it a quick look, but spend more time examining it and you will probably don’t like the cheap black plastic inserts around the touchscreen interface, climate and audio controls. On the contrary, the center console and the doors feature very attractive carbon-fiber detailing, giving the car a very powerful and noticeable contrast between cheap plastics and carbon-look materials.

The car will be available in two trim levels: EX and SX. If you go for the first one, you will be able to choose between grey, tan and black interior colors. The SX customers don’t have options as they can go only with black. If you want the LED tail lights, the HID headlights and the sexy 18-inch wheels offered by the Optima, you will be stuck with the very unattractive one-color-fits-all interior.

Regardless of your choice for the trim level, you will certainly get a very good powertrain with your 2011 Kia Optima 2.0T. The heart that powers this car is a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder direct-injection engine that can output 274 hp and 269 pound-feet of torque. This excellent engine is linked to the 6-speed automatic gearbox that was developed in close collaboration between Hyundai and Kia. Similar with the Sonata, it benefits from the same horsepower-building and fuel-saving technologies.

One of the most interesting technical aspects of the Optima can be found in the intercooler system which uses some very crafty duct work in order to funnel the air through the intercooler in a specific route by keeping the outlet temps 50 degrees cooler in comparison than what is seen without the ducting. The significant drop in temperature translates into an improved fuel economy, horsepower increase and a more agile engine, all very important to any car.

2011 Kia Optima 2.0T

The power unit of this Kia benefits from the same quite innovative twin-scroll turbocharger that is integrated into a cast stainless-steel exhaust manifold. Not only is it more durable and lighter in comparison with cast-iron 2-piece units, but it is very capable of withstanding significant abuse. Add to this the fact that Kia is known for offering some of the best warranties in the automotive market, you will not that you purchased a very reliable car that will last you a long time.

All of the above can be found in the Hyundai Sonata, but Kia made sure that their Optima model has better handling capabilities, offering a little bit more precision. In order to achieve their target, the engineers at Kia reprogrammed the electric power steering so that it will offer the driver a slightly heavier wheel. More than that, the car has firmer shocks that are capable of taking away some of the float. For the SX trim level, the Optima uses 12.6-inch front brake rotors instead of the standard 11.8-inch units, in order to guarantee an extra level of stopping power.

Although both the Hyundai Sonata and the Kia Optima are cut from the same cloth, the engineers of the latter company did their best in differentiating the car, offering a sportier handling, but this does not mean that it can compete with more powerful cars from the upper segment.

Speaking of fuel economy, the EPA ratings say that the 2011 Kia Optima 2.0T will do 22 mpg city / 34 mpg highway.

The entry-level EX level will cost you $24,995 while the more expensive SX trim will set you back $25,995.

Some of the most important competitors of the 2011 Kia Optima are the Honda Accord V6, priced at $27,080 for the model that has just about the same feature; and the Toyota Camry V6, priced at $26,195. The Honda has a less powerful engine and will do only 30 mpg highway while the Toyota has a 268 hp power unit and will do only 29 mpg on the highway. In fact, the only real competitor is the Hyundai Sonata 2.0T, offering identical fuel economy and power figures.

2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Pricing Revealed

2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

The recently launched 2011 Hyundai Sonata received a positive feedback and made it to the final list of the North American Car of the Year award. In addition to the naturally aspirated turbocharged models, the Sonata is available with a more eco-friendly powertrain, a hybrid that is capable of doing 35 mpg city / 40 mpg highway. Sales will commence in January, 2011 and the basic price for the car will be $25,795 (without the $750 in destination charges).

Except this more efficient and friendly to the nature powertrain, the Sonata Hybrid will feature LED taillights, LED tail lamps, iPod / USB connectivity, automatic headlamp control, Bluetooth and fog lights. For $5,000 more, customers can get the premium package which consists of an Infinity premium sound system, HD radio, a rear backup camera, satellite navigation, 17-inch alloy wheels and panoramic sunroof.

2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

In comparison to its most important American rival, the Ford Fusion Hybrid, the Sonata is $3,000 cheaper but the Ford’s advantage is that the Fusion will do 41 mpg on the highway. The Hyundai is powered by a 2.4-litre Atkinson Cycle 4-cylinder power unit and features a HSG – Hybrid starter-generator. Equipped with a 270V lithium polymer battery, the Sonata’s engine is linked to a 6-speed automatic gearbox.

Some of the most important safety features of the car include the electronic stability control with traction control system (TCS).  As standard, the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is offered with anti-lock brakes (ABS) with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist. Other standard features include the 4.2-inch TFT multi-function trip computer that has a hybrid technology display; dual automatic temperature control; remote keyless entry, alarm and immobilizer; tilt & telescopic steering wheel with audio and cruise controls; heated mirrors; automatic light control and solar control glass.

Hyundai Is Seeking Better Dealers

Hyundai Genesis Sedan

A new manager of a Tustin Hyundai dealership in California managed to quadruple the dealerships’ average monthly new car sales, reaching 85 cars sold / month. The reason why he acquired the Hyundai dealership is because he noticed that Hyundai’s market share and sales increased in the laws two years. He also owns the Mazda dealerships nearby Huntington Beach and he stated that the Hyundai dealer that he acquired was underperforming in comparison to other dealerships were they sold cars in large quantities.

This success in terms of sales is replicated through the entire United States as 40 of the company’s 803 stores in USA have new managers and this trend will rise in intensity in the next months. From September 1st until now, 19 Hyundai dealerships have changed management.

Dave Zuchowski is America’s sales chief for Hyundai Motor and he affirmed that the new owners are a very welcome trend to the once-bargain-basement brand, In the vast majority of the dealerships, the larger and more experienced dealers that have plenty of money, are taking out of their pockets high multiples in order to replace the owners that are managing underperforming dealerships. For example, the Penske Automotive Group recently acquired a low-volume Hyundai store located near Phoenix, in the first months of the year. According to Penske’s spokesman Tony Pordon, “I think they are viewed as an attractive opportunity, whereas, four or five years ago you were unsure of the footprint the brand was going to garner.”

The most important reason why the Hyundai franchises are more successful now than before is because the manufacturer has significantly increased his market share in the United States and added new models to their lineup, at the same time improving the current cars. Some of these new vehicles are now more expensive in comparison with what Hyundai had to offer in the past. Zuchowski also said that other major Hyundai dealership groups are doing the same thing; some examples would be AutoNation and Group 1 Automotive. Hendrick Automotive Group, who in 2009 was the 7th largest auto retailer in the United States, bought its first Hyundai dealership in Charleston.

Mark Johnson is the president of MD Johnson Inc – a dealership buy/sell advisory company located in Seattle, and he said that the Hyundai dealerships are now more attractive for the major groups due to the reason that the updated product line permits the dealers to make good money on each new vehicle sale.

Hyundai has recently moved the top end of the product lineup upmarket with more expensive models like the Genesis Sedan ($30,000+) and the Equus luxury car that will be available for sale at a starting price of about $60,000. Hyundai also managed to improve its residual values and it was ranked as the 7th mainstream manufacturer by ALG in its 2011 Residual Value Awards. This 7th place is Hyundai’s highest rank and well above the average of the industry.

Johnson affirmed that the dealership groups have had almost no interest in the Hyundai stores because the dealers relied on commercializing low-priced automobiles, well below invoice in order to boost volume enough so that they could get stair-step incentive cash as a primary means of profitability. He also said that “That model is something they [large dealers] wanted nothing to do with, And now basically what you’re seeing is, as Hyundai moves its product line up, you don’t have to run the store that way to be profitable.”

Hyundai Genesis Sedan

Zuchowski affirmed that it is the company’s overall strategy to buy-sell dealerships, in order to improve the dealership network across the United States so that the sales per store could increase significantly, reaching the highest levels in the industry.

Besides adding these high-powered dealers, the company is looking into improving its facilities at the existing stores in order to match these new cars that are considerably better than older generation models. Zuchowski stated that the existing 803 stores in the country are attracting more experienced managers and salespeople, many of them moving from more successful import brands like Toyota and Honda. Approximately 150 Hyundai dealerships will have facility improvements in the upcoming period.

The 21 stores that recently went under a new management sold about 25 cars per month in 2009 and thanks to this employment change, the figure went up to 48 automobiles per month, according to Zuchowski. Hyundai tells on a regular period to the worst-performing dealers to improve sales figures or let them find a buyer that might improve the situation. According to Zuchowski, Hyundai sometimes will pay money for advertising or financial incentives for upgrading the stores.

In 2009, Hyundai sold 435,064 cars in the United States, 8% more in comparison to 2008. This 8% increase is very important when taking into consideration the fact that the North American market fell by more than 20% in 2009. Until October this year, the sales went up again with 21% in comparison with 2009 and Hyundai was able to increase its market share to 4.7%, rising with 0.4 points.

Patterson had the possibility to purchase a Hyundai dealership back in 2003 but he said no as at that time, Mazda was very popular among customers. “Back in 2003, Mazda was overwhelmingly the first choice of those consumers. Hyundai’s name recognition in Orange County wasn’t as strong, but I think that the perception has certainly changed over the last two to three years.”

Patterson opened his first Mazda dealership back in 2004, but paid close attention to what Hyundai was doing in Southern California. He later on purchased a local Hyundai store, renamed it Douglas Hyundai. It was an underachieving dealership, selling approximately 20 cars per year while others in the same area were able to sell more than 100 cars. The reason for this acquisition is that Hyundai is now more popular among consumers that are looking for a new product, and Hyundai is not the same old manufacturer that offered only cheap cars.

Source: AutoNews.com

Hyundai-Kia Group Overtakes Toyota Sales In Europe

2011 Hyundai Elantra

The Hyundai Motor Group was proud to announce that it has sold more cars than Toyota in Europe and it is the most important Asian brand on the continent. With other words, Hyundai and Kia sold 521,369 cars during the first ten months of the year, according to the data gathered by the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association.

The Toyota and Lexus sales are down 17% in comparison to 2009, with a total of 511,754 units sold. Compared to the same period last year, the Hyundai Motor Group raised its market share to 4.5 percent in Europe while Toyota dropped from 5 to 4 percent of the total amount of cars sold in Europe. Hyundai-Kia sold many cars in the slumping European automobile market, satisfying ongoing demand with the Kia Cee’d hatchback, the Hyundai ix20, ix30 and the ix35 sport utility vehicle.

Kia Optima Hybrid

For the first ten months of 2010, the European market is down by 5 percent which means that 11.6 million cars were sold up until October despite the fact that Nissan sales are up 13 percent in the exact same period.

As far as the United States sales for Hyundai are concerned, the Korean company has sold 21 percent more cars in comparison to the same period of 2009.

Taking into consideration the latest cars launched by the Hyundai Motor Group like the 2011 Elantra or the Optima Hybrid, the company will most likely a very bright future in the years to come.

Official – 2011 Hyundai Elantra

2011 Hyundai Elantra

In the past, Hyundai Elantra did not stand a chance in front of other competitors like the Toyota Corolla or the Honda Civic due to its rather boring look and limited features. Things have significantly changed for the better with the 2011 Hyundai Elantra which was exposed at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The car now looks very attractive and comes bundled with a wide variety of features and an EPA rating of 29 mp city / 40 mpg highway, regardless of the trim level chosen.

Hyundai launched the 2011 Sonata some time ago and received a positive impact from everybody thanks to its superb styling and excellent handling in a price range that only offered rather boring cars. Using the exact same recipe, Hyundai is back with the Elantra model which in our opinion looks very good and comes at an affordable price. If you compare the Elantra with its bigger brother, the Sonata, you will notice that the design was inspired from it, with its swoopy lines and sharp creases. Hyundai finally has a consistent design idea thanks to the Elantra, Sonata and the small SUV – Tucson. Hyundai is planning to sell approximately 200,000 Sonata units this year in the United States which means that if all things go smooth, the Elantra model will be a big hit, following the same recipe.

The 2011 Elantra has a two inches longer wheelbase and the overall length has increased by less than an inch in comparison with the now old generation model. As far as the width is concerned, it remained at the same level, but the height is 1.8 inches lower. Down points include the headroom and the total interior volume which is now two cubic feet smaller. However, the car still is a mid-size vehicle according to EPA classification, over the Corolla and the Civic which are qualified as compact automobiles.

To improve brake efficiency, Hyundai equipped the car will disk brakes an all corners. The rear rotors remained the same, but the front ones grow 0.2 inch, totaling 11 inches. We all know that the previous generations of the Elantra were not known for being very easy to handle and we are eager to find out how the new model is doing, taking into consideration that the rear suspension has been changed from a more expensive multilink setup to a budget-minded torsion-beam axle.

We think that the most important update brought to the car is the new “Nu” engine which is a 1.8-liter four cylinder capable of outputting 148 hp at 6500 rpm, which is 10 hp more in comparison with the older generation 2.0-liter. However, the torque output decreased by 5 lb-ft, to a 131 lb-ft, but in exchange, it is 74 pounds lighter thanks to the all-aluminum construction. This new engine can be linked to a six-speed manual gearbox or to a more comfortable six-speed automatic gearbox.

The Elantra is now equipped with low-rolling-resistance tires, a new electric power steering plus the curb weight is down. The coefficient of drag dropped from 0.32 to 0.28. All of these important changes allow the 2011 Hyundai Elantra to do a 29 mpg city / 40 mpg highway EPA rating.

2011 Hyundai Elantra

The car will be available for sale starting with December and customers will have to choose from one of the two trim configurations available – GLS and Limited. As far as the safety equipment is concerned, the car features anti-lock brakes, electronic stability and traction controls plus six airbags. The entry-level GLS models will be equipped with the 6-speed manual gearbox, body-colored door handlers and mirrors, cabin-air filter, keyless entry, power windows and locks, a six-speaker audio system with USB and auxiliary in puts. The GLS model will ride on standard 15-inch steel rims. The list of optional for the standard model include two different 16-inch wheel options, automatic gearbox, Bluetooth, 7” touch-screen navigation that has Bluetooth streaming audio capability, 8GB memory, rearview camera, air conditioning and auto headlights.

For those of you that are willing to pay more, you could get the Elantra with the Limited trim that offers in addition to the features of the GLS, the following features: 17-inch rims, sunroof, heated leather seats both front & rear and heated mirrors. Optional features include the navigation system and the push-button starting.

We do not know any details about the pricing of the 2011 Hyundai Elantra, but taking into consideration that when the Sonata was launched, it had the same price tag as the outgoing generation. For this reason we are hoping that the Elantra will have the same price as the old generation model, which makes the car a very important player in its price segment.

2011 Hyundai Genesis Coupe R-Spec gets priced


A few months ago, Hyundai revealed that for the 2011 model year, its Genesis Coupe will be getting a more hardcore edition, dedicated to those that want to personally customize their own rear-wheel drive sports car.

The 2011 Hyundai Genesis Coupe R-Spec has now officially been detailed and priced, and it’s quite an interesting pitch.

For $26,750 (not including the $800 destination charge), you will be getting the 306 HP 3.8-liter V6 with a manual transmission. That’s the price that you would normally pay for a Premium spec 2.0-liter Genesis Coupe, and the cheapest V6 in the range.

Still, you will be getting some features from the Track spec, including sports suspension, Brembo brakes and a Torsen limited-slip differential. You won’t be getting luxuries like automatic headlights, cruise control, sunroof, a rear spoiler or chrome accessories though. But the less features, the better, as the R-Spec is 68 pounds lighter than the Track one.

Expect the 2011 Hyundai Genesis R-Spec to arrive in dealerships in the following months.

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Kia reportedly planning electric crossover in 2013


Toyota and Tesla are partnering up to launch a special RAV4 electric crossover around 2012, but this doesn’t mean other companies aren’t also planning similar things.

According to a new Reuters report, Hyundai and Kia have some big plans in terms of electric vehicles for the next few years. According to it, the companies want to produce 2,500 EVs by 2012. While Hyundai will no doubt build some of its early concepts, Kia will do much of the grunt work.

Reuters says that the South Korean company will launch an electric crossover by 2013. It will first be offered to government agencies as part of a test fleet, but Kia is confident it will launch it on the global market soon after that.

No exact details are known, not even what type of batteries it will use, the newer, more expensive lithium ion or the older, but less efficient nickel-metal hydride.

Still, expect more electric vehicles to appear from both companies, as they are partners with the South Korean government in a new strategy to have 20% of the nation’s passenger vehicles be electric by 2020.

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Hyundai ix20 compact MPV revealed before its Paris debut


Hyundai peaked our interest a few weeks ago when it revealed a groovy sketch with an all-new model, the ix20 compact MPV.

Now, before its scheduled debut at the Paris Motor Show near the end of the month, the blokes at Autocar have revealed the first official photos of the new lightweight people carrier.

As you can see, while it doesn’t look like the sketch in some areas, the ix20 is still quite a looker, sporting the fluidic sculpture design previously seen on other new models like the Sonata or the Tucson (ix35).

Hyundai wants the ix20 to be the reasonable choice in its market segment, and adds a lot of standard options including A/C, Bluetooth connectivity, a stop/start system and more safety features than you can shake a crash test dummy at.


Expect the Hyundai ix20 compact MPV to make its debut in Paris and appear in dealerships across Europe in November. So far, the South Korean automaker has declined to talk about a possible US release.

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South Korean grandmother gets her driver’s license on the 960th attempt


Passing a driver’s license exam can be a pretty hard thing, especially for those that can’t cope with stress. But everyone might just learn a thing or two about perseverance from a South Korean grandmother who passed her license test on the 960th attempt.

According to authorities, 69-year old Cha Sa-soon started taking the driver’s exam in 2005. At that time, she took it everyday, 5 days a week. After a period, she slowed down to just two days a week, but the didn’t give up.

Finally, last week, she passed both the written and the practical phases of the exam and got her license. She now appears in a TV advert for Hyundai and got a Kia Soul to take her kids to the zoo.

Her driving instructor is confident the little grandmother won’t be a danger on the road, as she always had problems with the written part of the exam. Hopefully she will put her new license to good work in the future.

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Hyundai ix20 compact MPV teased by sketch before Paris debut


Hyundai is set to present a brand new model at the upcoming Paris Motor Show, a compact MPV, which will take the company’s new ‘fluidic’ design language one step further.

The Hyundai ix20 is set to attract those who want the practicality of an MPV but aren’t looking for a full-sized one. The model has only been pictured in the sketch above, and was designed at Hyundai’s Russelsheim research and development center in Germany.

Alongside the ix20, the South Korean carmaker will also launch a revised i10 city car, with a refreshed design as well as the new 1.0-liter gasoline engine, capable of just 99 g/km of CO2 emissions.

Expect more details about Hyundai’s European offers when the Paris Motor Show will start, at the end of the month.

Source: Hyundai

NHTSA to investigate the 2011 Hyundai Sonata over steering issues


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is not resting, and has announced another investigation concerning the 2011 Hyundai Sonata.

It seems that after the faulty door latches recall from the beginning of the year, the Sonata might be plagued with a new problem, this time concerning the steering column. More specifically, 16,300 Sonata sedans might have a faulty upper universal joint, located in the intermediate steering column.

Under stress, the joint has been reported to break, leading to a loss of steering capabilities. No accidents have been reported as of yet, but Hyundai has already declared that it is cooperating fully with the federal agency.

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