Genesis nabs top initial quality ranking from J.D. Power

03-2018-genesis-g70-fd-1.jpg

Luxury nameplate Genesis has won the top spot in a new J.D. Power survey of overall initial quality, continuing an impressive string of third-party reviews for the two-year-old Hyundai spinoff brand as it prepares to launch its third model, another luxury sedan.

Genesis ranked highest in J.D. Power’s overall initial quality study with a score of 68 problems experienced per 100 vehicles during the first 90 days of ownership. The luxury brand’s parent Hyundai Motor Group fared well, with Kia coming in second and Hyundai third. It was the first time that three Korean brands topped the J.D. Power study and the fourth straight year that Kia was the highest-ranked mass-market brand.

(We should also point out that Autoblog has raised concerns with the way J.D. Power weighs reliability issues; this year’s rankings, for example, put well-respected brands Subaru and Volvo in the bottom four of all car brands.)

Earlier this, Genesis year also topped Consumer Reports’ list of top 10 brand rankings based on road testing, reliability, safety and owner satisfaction scores.

Elsewhere, both the 2018 Genesis G80 sedan and its flagship G90 four-door won a coveted Top Safety Pick+award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also gives the G80 five-star reviews across the board in its own crash-test ratings, though it hasn’t yet issued ratings for the G90.

Despite these wins, the brand has stumbled in its rollout, and sales haven’t exactly ignited. First, it said it would launch a limited, exclusive network of showrooms in a few dozen select markets and then reversing itself this spring by saying all existing Hyundai dealers would have the opportunity to sell the luxury brand. Meanwhile its U.S. sales in May fell 39 percent from May 2017 to 1,076 units. Year-to-date, Genesis had sold 8,288 cars, which is 18 fewer cars than it had moved from the same period in 2017.

It will be hoping for a sales boost when it launches the G70 sports sedan this summer, the third of six new models Genesis plans to introduce by 2021 and the final sedan in the lineup.

[Source: Autoblog]

Advertisements

2020 Hyundai Sonata shows fresh shape among competitors

sonata-001-1.jpg

The Hyundai Sonata received a refresh for the 2018 model year, but it seems that version won’t be around for long, because a 2020 Hyundai Sonata midsize family sedan has been spied testing. The new car was spotted in Las Vegas testing alongside the competition. This new Sonata also appears to be a complete redesign, since nothing appears to be shared with the current model.

Up front, the new Sonata looks much wider than the current model. Part of this is due to the headlights being moved to sit inline with the top of the grille, as opposed to slightly above on the current model. And while we can’t see it clearly, the grille will likely have a similar shape to that of the current model and other Hyundais. The fenders also wrap around the top of the car more, further contributing to the car’s wide stance.

The profile of this new Sonata is different, too. It’s a bit more traditional in how the engine compartment area doesn’t blend into windshield as much. The current Sonata blends the engine, passenger and trunk compartments more. There’s also a curve to the bottom of the greenhouse on the new car that lends the car a more graceful, less upright appearance. There is still a fastback look to the rear of the Sonata, but it’s stretched out more, again helping the car look less upright.

This is the first time we’ve seen the next-generation Hyundai Sonata, but it does look as though it’s pretty far in development. What we can see of it appears to be production ready. As such, we probably won’t have long to wait to see the car revealed. It will probably show up sometime next year in time for the 2020 model year.

Source: Autoblog

2018 Hyundai Kona SEL 2.0-liter Quick Spin Review | Slow down and save money

konasel10-1.jpg

The 2018 Hyundai Kona has certainly impressed us, at least in its turbocharged, all-wheel-drive form. It makes healthy power — 175 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque — to hustle around town and up on-ramps. It also has a playful chassis and suspension that provide responsive handling with minimal body roll. But Hyundaialso offers the Kona with a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter four-cylinder making just 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque. And no matter what engine you choose, if you pick a front-wheel-drive Kona it’ll be saddled with a primitive torsion-beam rear axle instead of the AWD’s independent multi-link setup. All of this sounds like a recipe for disaster, but as it turns out, the 2.0-liter Kona is mostly as good as its force-fed iteration, just slower and cheaper.

Just like the turbo Kona, the naturally aspirated models feature the same distinct styling. It’s not for everyone (though this editor quite likes it), but you’ll never mistake it for anything else. No other compact crossover fits so many creases, angles, gills and materials onto one vehicle. The naturally aspirated models, SE and SEL, do have smaller alloy wheels than the turbo versions, but the alloy wheels are a standard feature regardless. Inside, the interior is nearly identical as well, using the same plastics and most of the same colors. You will have to make do with cloth seats, but that’s OK in our book because the houndstooth upholstery is way cooler than the plain black leather seats of the Limited and Ultimate turbo models.

Ride and handling are also nearly identical to the turbo all-wheel-drive Kona. The ride is on the stiff end of compliant, the steering is quick, and turn-in is eager, even though feel is lacking. There isn’t much body roll, and you can carry a decent amount of speed in corners. Admittedly, the Turbo feels more planted and confident in corners thanks to its rear multi-link suspension, but the non-turbo doesn’t feel unsettled on a bumpy, curvy road.

dims.jpeg

There’s just no getting around the fact that it’s noticeably slower than the turbo Kona. Whereas the turbo engine will whisk you away fairly effortlessly on a wave of low-down torque, the naturally aspirated engine will be buzzing away at high RPM to get you moving. While we’re thankful that the engine itself has a reasonably deep note and is fairly smooth, when you ask for some oomph it gets pretty loud. Passing vehicles and running up on-ramps can be a bit grating. Additionally, there isn’t any benefit to choosing the 2.0-liter engine over the turbo 1.6-liter unit for reasons of fuel economy. Both engines produce the same 30 mpg combined EPA rating for front-wheel-drive, and 27 mpg combined for all-wheel-drive. Since turbocharged engines tend to be less fuel efficient in real-world driving, we expect the non-turbo to have more of an edge than the numbers indicate. Even so, we wish the 2.0 offered more of a benefit.

If you compare the non-turbo Kona to more than just its Turbo sibling, the picture doesn’t look so bleak. The subcompact crossover SUV segment is awash with fairly slow options, so it’s not like the non-turbo is slower than most — it’s just that the Turbo is fairly quick. Same with fuel economy. For example, the Honda HR-V’s and Mazda CX-3’s most fuel-efficient models return 31 mpg combined, just one above the front-drive Kona. The Toyota C-HR only manages 29 mpg combined, as does the Crosstrek, though the Crosstrek does it with all-wheel-drive. Among American small crossovers, the Trax manages 28 with front-drive, the Renegade can hit 26, and the EcoSport’s best is a disappointing 24. And of these vehicles, the 2.0-liter Kona has more power than HR-V, CX-3, Trax and C-HR, but slightly less than the Renegade, Crosstrek and the 2.0-liter EcoSport. The bottom line is the Kona is mid-pack in both punch and frugality.

There is one area in which the naturally aspirated Kona has an advantage over the Turbo iteration, and that’s in price. Provided that you can do without many of the premium features found on the turbo models, you can get a Kona SE for as little as $20,480, which is $5,200 less than the base-model Turbo, the front-drive Kona Limited at $25,680. And if you do decide you want many of those features, you can get the Kona SEL for $22,130, which adds niceties such as heated front seats, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic detection, keyless entry and start, heated side mirrors, leather-wrapped steering wheel. Moving up to the SEL with the Tech Package adds the Limited’s fog lights, eight-way power seats, sunroof, lane-keep assist and forward collision assist. It ups the price to $23,630, but that’s still about $2,000 less than the Limited, which just adds leather, chrome and the turbo powertrain. So if you’re fine without the extra power, you can save thousands of dollars on the Kona and still get nearly all the features that make it great.

Overall, even with less power than its turbo twin, the 2.0-liter, front-drive Hyundai Kona is right on par with the competition in fuel economy and power. But it provides a good value proposition compared to the Kona Turbo thanks to a comfortable ride, perky handling, loads of style, and most of its feature content, all at a lower price point. That’s a winner in our book.

Hyundai Grandmaster concept could preview new flagship full-sized SUV

hyundai-grandmaster-concept-001-1.jpg

Hyundai just debuted the HDC-2 Grandmaster SUV concept at the Busan Motor Show, a follow-up to the Le Fil Rouge concept shown at the Geneva Motor Show this year. The Grandmaster provides a second take on the “Sensuous Sportiness” design language embodied by the Le Fil Rouge, and previews the direction we’ll see Hyundai’s products take. Industry observers expect the Grandmaster to become an eight-seater SUV at the top of the carmaker’s range, perhaps to be called Palisade.

The Grandmaster, whose name refers to a champion chess player, represents the nexus of a host of Hyundai initiatives. There’s the name itself, a metaphorical reference to the brand’s car and SUV overhaul. In a press release, the company wrote, “The concept vehicle is named to indicate that just as the sum of all chess pieces completes the game of chess, all forthcoming Hyundai vehicles will come to form a harmonious vehicle line-up demonstrating the Hyundai Look while each maintains distinctive character and role.” On top of that, Hyundai design director Luc Donckerwolke recently called the Le Fil Rouge concept the “Queen,” and said that the following concept would be the “Bishop.”

There’s the new design direction, which takes over from Fluidic Sculpture, which Hyundai hopes will create a more emotional bond with buyers. Sensuous Sportiness combines “proportion, architecture, styling, and technology,” and design chief SangYup Lee wants it to move the carmaker “from being a brand that provides a great value, we will aspire to also become a brand that is widely beloved by our customers.”

There’s the fact that Hyundai has been revamping its SUV game for the U.S. by introducing the Kona, changing the name of the Santa Fe Sport to the Santa Fe, and rolling out the long-wheelbase seven-seater Santa Fe XL. Dividends might have started paying out last month, with the carmaker posting its first year-on-year monthly sales gain of 2018 thanks to the Kona. A production Grandmaster — which seems an eventuality based on winter spy shots of an unknown Hyundai earlier this year — would be a three-row, eight-seater replacing the Santa Fe XL and re-establishing Hyundai in the full-size segment.

The predicted Palisade name comes from a Hyundai trademark application filed earlier this year. As a sibling to the Kia Telluride, or perhaps riding on a revised Genesis G90/Kia K900 architecture, the Grandmaster/Palisade could end up on dealer lots as soon as next year, as a 2020 model.

[Source: Autoblog]

Hyundai could eventually get a bespoke N performance model

03-2019-hyundai-veloster-n-detroit-1.jpg

Hyundai’s N Performance division seems to have a few tricks up its proverbial sleeve, with a performance version of the Tucson crossover reportedly under development and the sub-brand toying with a 247-horsepower version of the Kona. Now comes word that N could eventually develop its own standalone performance model.

N Performance division boss Albert Biermann tells Top Gear he’s enjoying far more freedom to develop hot cars than he did at his former employer, BMW. And that includes the possibility of a bespoke N model that isn’t based on an existing, hotted-up nameplate.

Biermann tells Top Gear, “We have been working on this. Like the Racing Midship, which we’ve done three versions of. We are still working on these cars, trying different things. Maybe someday we will have such a car. There is no decision yet, but it could happen.”

The Racing Midship is the full name of the mid-engine RM concepts Hyundai has developed as both the Veloster RM and RM15, both based on the Veloster hatchback. The latter was built around an aluminum space frame and fitted with carbon fiber panels, with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder doing 296 horsepower.

Biermann says a bespoke N sports car is likely a ways off, however, saying Hyundai needs to give its dealernetwork time to get accustomed to the idea of performance cars. His team also works on products by stablemates Kia and Genesis, so it’s possible we could see performance versions make their way into those brands as well.

For now, the 271-horsepower i30 N, which isn’t sold here in the U.S., is the first N model, with the 275-hp Veloster N hitting dealerships late in 2018. Spy shots also captured a heavily camouflaged i30 N fastback earlier this year. Then there are the Tucson N and the Kona N mule prototype to show to Hyundai brass for possible production. So it sounds like it’s going to be fun to watch this performance sub-brand unfurl its wings.

[Source: Autoblog]

Hyundai to offer new shopping service with money-back guarantee

The internet has made purchasing a car easier than ever before. There are dozens of websites, including Autoblog, that have apps and search tools to help find and compare new car prices. Still, the idea of actually walking into a dealership to deal with haggling, trade-ins, financing and paperwork still seems daunting. Starting soon, Hyundai will be streamlining much of that process with its new Shopper Assurance program. The new service helps knock out much of the legwork before you even step into a dealer. There’s even a money-back guarantee.

With Shopper Assurance, potential customers can search Hyundai inventory with “market prices” listed. That price includes the car’s MSRP minus incentives and other dealer discounts. Most of the paperwork for the purchase can be done online. This includes valuing a trade-in, applying for financing, checking credit scores and calculating payments. Test drives can be scheduled online and can be done anywhere, including a customer’s home or office.

The most interesting part of the new service is the three-day money back guarantee. If for some reason a customer isn’t satisfied, they can return the car for full refund. That said, there are a couple of caveats. The car must have fewer than 300 miles on the odometer since purchase and a dealer must inspect the car for damage or wear.

The new service will launch later this year in Miami, Orlando, Dallas and Houston and will roll out in 2018 nationwide.

2019 Hyundai Veloster Turbo caught uncovered at video shoot

cdauto-velosterturbo-121817-2-1.jpg

Here’s the fully revealed Hyundai Veloster Turbo, and it appears to be moving pretty quickly based on the blur in the photos. That’s understandable because our spy photographer got these shots during a video shoot of the Hyundai’s latest hatchback in which it was probably being driven aggressively for good footage.

Despite the blur, we can tell quite a bit from the images. First off, we know it’s a Turbo model because of its large, round, center exhaust tips. We can also see that the Veloster is hopping on the contrast roof bandwagon, but at least to this editor’s eye, the design seems well-suited to the paint scheme. The roof line itself also looks as though it drops down more drastically than the previous model. The rear window is notably wider than the old model, and the slimmer, wider taillights are flush with the glass.

We’re focusing more on the tail since we already got a good look at the front of the Veloster when Hyundai released official images of the car in snazzy multi-colored camouflage. The car’s frown does look more pronounced in a single color, though. It seems the Turbo version also gets a small additional intake inlet in the bottom of the front bumper compared with the normal version.

We expect to see the fully uncovered car in person at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show. It will likely appear alongside the less-powerful version. There’s also an N version in the works, but it’s possible Hyundai won’t reveal that until later in the year.

[Source: Autoblog]