Hyundai Kona SUV

Hyundai Kona

Just when you thought that there couldn’t possibly be room for another small SUV in the Australian marketplace along comes the Hyundai’s offering … the Hyundai Kona with a price tag that sets it apart from many of its competitors.

At $27k drive away the Hyundai Kona is definitely not the cheapest in its class but it does comes with some interesting technology. But are the buyers in the small SUV market all that interested in technology over price point?

Hyundai says that it wants to appeal to the emotions of potential buyers rather than bedazzle them with all that technology and I guess we will just have to wait and see if that will work.

Hyundai Kona rear

The range
As with all Hyundai SUVs the Hyundai Kona SUV will come in three trim levels; Active, Elite and Highlander. An optional safety pack will be available for the Active.

Each of the trim levels will be available with two drivetrain combinations.

A 2.0-litre naturally aspirated engine coupled to a six-speed auto transmission driving the front wheels will probably be the drivetrain combination of choice for most buyers but there is also be a 1.6-litre Turbo-GDI engine coupled to a seven-speed dual -clutch transmission driving all wheels available for those who want to be a little different.

Hyundai Kona engine

The engines
The 2.0-litre engine features multi-point fuel injection and Atkinson Cycle technology to deliver better fuel economy without any loss of power or torque.

That combination produces 110 kW of power and 180Nm at 4,5000rpm and, when paired with the six-speed transmission, that combination takes the vehicle from 0 to 100km/h in 10 seconds flat. That’s hardly breathtaking but it’s not too shabby.

The turbo-charged 1.6-litre engine offers more spirited performance and will do 0 to 100km/h in 7.9 seconds. Along the way it will produce 18% more power and 47% more torque than the 2-0-litre engine.

Power output is 130kW at 5,500rpm and torque is 265Nm at 1,500rpm and doesn’t reduce till the engine reaches 4,500rpm.

 

Hyundai Kona gearshift

Suspension
Different drivetrains mean different suspensions for the Hyundai Kona SUV.

Independent MacPherson strut design in common for the front suspension in both drivetrains but things are quite different at the rear.

The front-wheel-drive versions feature torsion beam suspension while the all-wheel-drive version features dual-arm, multi-link suspension to give a smooth ride over a broad range of road surfaces.

Let’s face it, even if you’re never going to take the Kona off-road you’ll still encounter that “broad range of road surfaces”.

 

Hyundai Kona safety features

Safety
Safety features on the Hyundai Kona include:

Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist,
Blind Spot Collision Warning,
Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Warning,
Lane Keeping Assist,
Driver Attention Warning,
High Beam Assist,
Electronic Stability Control with Vehicle Stability Management,
LED Daytime Running Lights,
Emergency Stop Signal
Tyre Pressure Monitoring System
Rear-view camera and park assist

While many of those safety features are missing from the Active model they are available in a safety pack that looks to be well worth the extra money.

And if all that isn’t enough to stop you having an accident then the six airbags that are standard across the range should go some way to keeping you safe.

 

Hyundai Kona multi media

Multimedia
There was a time when actually driving a vehicle took up all of our attention but those days have gone and it’s important that we have plenty of infotainment to stop us from becoming bored.

To help keep you entertained the Hyundai Kona as a 7-inch tablet-style touchscreen that gives you access to advanced connectivity features such as Bluetooth and audio streaming, iPod and smartphone connectivity through Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Hyundai Kona dashboard

Technology
Hyundai want the Kona SUV to be a technology leader in the small SUV class and to achieve that they have included a range of features that were once the domain of larger luxury vehicles.

Standard on the Kona Highlander is a Head-Up Display that projects drive-related information onto a clear glass panel behind the instrument display. It’s designed to give maximum visibility without being distracting and you can turn it off simply by pressing a button.

LED headlights designed to follow the direction that the steering wheel is pointed is also part of the mix along with wireless smartphone charging.

Hyundai Auto Link is also part of the technology suite in the Kona SUV. This handy features connects the Kona to your smartphone and gives you access to everything from real-time diagnostics … including things such as tyre pressure … to automatic access to roadside assistance if needed.

Comfort
Electrically adjusted driver’s and passenger seats … with a total of 10 adjustment settings … are designed to make things as comfortable as possible for drivers and passengers.

Climate control on the Elite and Highlander models add to the comfort levels and the system features an automatic windscreen defog function for added safety.

Hyundai Kona interior

Interior
Hyundai says that the Kona has plenty of space for five occupants … they don’t actually five adults … and luggage space is limited to just 361 litres with the back seat in place.

However the rear seat can be totally folded and that lifts the luggage space to 1143 litres and the rear seat also has a 60/40 split-fold feature.

Perhaps the mostly interesting interior feature of the Hyundai Kona is the ability for owners to change the height of the boot floor. The lower setting gives more cargo space while the upper setting gives a totally flat loading area when the rear seats are folded.

So will people buy emotion and technology over price point in a very competitive market? We will just have to wait and see.

Side view of the Hyundai Kona SUV
By | October 14th, 2017|Hyundai|Comments Off on Hyundai Kona SUV

Hyundai’s New WRC Car

Hyindai's new WRC car - a Hyundai i20 couple

It’s hard to believe that you could mention the Hyundai i20 and world rallying in the same breath. There just doesn’t seem to be any touch-points for those two subjects and yet that little, soft looking town car has taken Hyundai almost to the top of world rallying in 2016.

And the car you see above is the car that Hyundai believes will keep them there in 2017.

Hyundai started its assault on the World Rally Championship back in 2014 and this i20 coupe is the car for the 2017 series.

There is no doubting Hyundai’s commitment to rallying; while they were busy working their way into a winning position for 2016 they were also testing the i20 version for the 2017 series and had completed over 6,000km when they unveiled their new car last month.

Even as I write this, more testing is going on and it will continue right up until the first event on the World Rally Championship calendar in January 2017.

Among the changes introduced in the new i20 Coupe is improved aerodynamics, increased engine power from 220kW to 280kW and the return to an active centre diff.

Hyundai will be fielding a team of three of these vehicles and it will be interesting to see if they can meet the challenges that a new vehicle brings and still retain their place in the Championship.

Hyundai 120 coupe built for the 2017 World Rally Championship

By | December 5th, 2016|Hyundai|Comments Off on Hyundai’s New WRC Car

Hydrogen Powered ix35 Fuel Cell Arrives in Australia

hyundai-ix35-fuel-cellWhile several other manufacturers have had hydrogen powered vehicles in Australia on a short-term basis Hyundai has now imported the first hydrogen powered vehicle that will remain here permanently.

It comes in the form of a Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell that will be used for testing and demonstration drives starting in early 2015. It will be fuelled from Australia’s first purpose-built refueller that will be installed at Hyundai’s headquarters in Macquarie Park, Sydney.

How it works
Hydrogen, stored in the fuel tank of the Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell, is mixed with air and converted to electricity by what is known as a fuel cell stack that is located in the engine compartment at the front of the vehicle. The electricity that is produced then powers the ix35’s electric motor.

The combination of hydrogen and electricity develops 100kW of power and 300Nm of torque and gives the current vehicle a range of over 590km with no emissions. The only thing that comes out of the exhaust pipe is water.

While the ix35 Fuel Cell that has been imported into Australia will be used for testing fuel cell powered ix35s are already being used by private customers across Europe and across parts of America.

Technical details
The ix35 Fuel Cell that has come to Australia uses a Proton Exchange Membrane or Polymer Electrolyte Membrane (PEM) in the fuel cell . The membrane separates two electrodes (an anode and a cathode) and oxygen is passed over one electrode while hydrogen is passed over the other.

The hydrogen reacts to a catalyst on the electrode anode and is converted into negatively-charged electrons and positively charged ions. These electrons flow out of the cell to be used as electrical energy while the hydrogen ions move through the electrolyte membrane to the cathode electrode where they combine with oxygen to produce heat and water.

ix35-fuel-cell

Safety concerns
There has always been some risk in using hydrogen, just as there’s a risk in using petrol but there are arguably less risk in using hydrogen than using petrol.

Hydrogen is a gas that dissipates quickly when it comes into contact with the air and even though it is stored in the fuel tank under pressure as high as 10,000psi the tanks are specially constructed to handle that pressure and Hyundai has crash-tested over 30 vehicles to ensure the safety of the stored hydrogen.

Of course you can say that all these tests were conducted under controlled conditions but there have been a number of unplanned tests that involved heavy rear-end collisions in city traffic where the fuel tanks remained intact.

hydrogen-powered-ix35

Performance
The ix35 Fuel Cell accelerates from 0-100km/h in 12.5 seconds and has a top speed of 160km/h. Because it is electric it produces very little drive noise and does not have a conventional gearbox. Refuelling takes about the same time as filling a normal petrol tank and, while 594km is the rated distance the vehicle can travel without refuelling, a distance of 700km has been achieved under test conditions.

Hyundai is already the first car manufacturer to mass-produce hydrogen powered vehicles that are in daily use in the United States and Europe and now they are keen to test one of these vehicles under Australian conditions.

By | December 28th, 2014|Featured, Hyundai|Comments Off on Hydrogen Powered ix35 Fuel Cell Arrives in Australia

The Hyundai Veloster Mid-Engine Concept

If the Hyundai Veloster mid-engine concept car was being graded on looks then you would have to say that it’s not going to score very highly … and I’m not just talking about the paint scheme here.

hyundai veloster-mid-engine conceptAlthough Hyundai have built this concept with the idea of exploring the possibilities of the Veloster chassis, the mid-engine concept car is 75mm wider and 59mm lower than the current model while the length remains the same.

That tends to make the Hyundai Veloster mid-engine concept look a bit too chunky for a sports car. Of course that’s just my opinion … I’m sure that others would have an entirely different view and if Hyundai ever decides to turn this into a production model it may sell in big numbers.

The mid-engine concept has certainly been given more power than the current tubo Veloster. The current model cranks out 150kW from a 1.6-litre engine while the concept has a 2.0-litre turbo charged engine that produces 220kW.

Interestingly Hyundai have opted to include lightweight aluminium wishbone suspension combined with a high-rigidity body structure and that might not be a such a good idea if for the rough roads we have to deal with.

But of course Hyundai says that this vehicle is not related to any future production model but if it were then we could expect to see the high performance shocks and brakes continued through into production.

hyundai veloster mid-engine-concept

There’s no indication of what the top speed might be for the Hyundai Veloster mid-engine concept but you can be sure that it will be fast and it’s going to need something special in the braking and handling department.

By | May 30th, 2014|Featured, Hyundai|0 Comments

The Hyundai i30 SR

Hyundai i30 SRThe new Hyundai i30 SR has been launched and it’s definitely looking interesting.

All too often car makers stick a sporty badge and some sporty bling on a basic model and call it a sports sedan but that doesn’t seem to be the way Hyundai have gone with the i30 SR. Hyundai have started with the i30 Elite and built from there.

Sure there’s the sports equivalent of bling in the form of 17-inch machine-face alloy wheels, a special front grille and alloy-faced pedals but there’s more to the i30 SR than just that.

The engine
There’s a new, more powerful naturally-aspirated 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder engine that delivers 129kW of power and 209Nm of torque. That’s an increase of 19kW of power and 31Nm of torque compared to the previous 1.8-litre engine.

Hyundai have coupled that engine to a 6-speed manual transmission (a 6-speed auto is available as a $2200 option) and that delivers acceleration figures of 0-100km/h in 7.7 seconds … 1.4 seconds faster than the i30 Elite fitted with the 1.8-litre petrol engine

Acceleration figures for the Hyundai i30 SR fitted with the optional auto transmission are a little slower although still faster than an auto-equipped 1.8-litre Elite.

Combined fuel economy for the manual is 7.2L/100km  and 7.5L/100km for the auto.

Hyundai i30 SR

Suspension
Hyundai Australia’s engineers have worked with Sachs … a leading shock absorber manufacturer … to develop special front dampers for the i30 SR and these have been combined with unique front springs to provide responsive steering and good ride qualities over most surfaces.

The front springs that now come with the new Hyundai i30 SR are four percent stiffer than those on the rest of the i30 petrol models.

Interior
The interior of the new i30SR features alloy sports pedals, black leather/leatherette upholstery and a power-operated driver’s seat with electric lumbar support.  A sunroof is available as a $2000 option.

Price
The price for the new Hyundai i30SR starts at $27,990 for the manual version. The auto transmission and the sunroof are extra, metallic paint is also extra and you need to add delivery and government charges to that figure too.

By | August 28th, 2013|Hyundai|0 Comments

New Hyundai Santa Fe

new Hyundai Santa FeThe all-new Hyundai Santa Fe is here and it certainly is worth taking a look at if a large SUV is is in your immediate future.

The new Santa Fe comes in three trim levels … at the bottom we have the Activ … a little further up the ladder we have the Elite … and right at the top we have the Highlander. Many people might think that buying the entry level Santa Fe could be a mistake because entry level vehicles … well they’re pretty basic aren’t they?

If that’s what you’re thinking the equipment levels of even the basic Active Santa Fe should be enough to make you think again. A 5-star safety rating is standard across the range … 7 airbags are standard across the range … a rear view camera is standard across the range … rear park assist is standard across the range as are automatic dusk sensing headlights, electric lumbar support for the driver, Advanced Traction Cornering and third row air-conditioning vents.

If you want things like Satnav, climate control air conditioning, glove box cooling, 12-way power driver’s seat and electrochromatic rear view mirror with compass you’ll want to start thinking about the Santa Fe Elite.

And if you really can’t live without a full-length glass sunroof, HD Xenon headlights, LED rear combination lights, powered front passenger seat and heated front and second row seats you won’t settle for anything less than the new Santa Fe Highlander.

Engine and transmissions
Regardless of which trim level you choose you also get a choice of two engines … the Theta II 2.4-litre GDi petrol engine  or the R-series 2.2-litre CRDi diesel engine. There’s also a choice of two transmissions … a six-speed automatic or a six-speed manual box.

Around town both the manual and auto transmission coupled to the petrol engine will return 12.2 L/100km and 7.1 L/100km for highway conditions.  The diesel manual on the other hand returns 8.7 L/100km around town and 9.6 for the diesel automatic while for highway conditions the diesel manual returns 5.4 L/100km and 5.9 L/100km for the diesel automatic.

 Hyundai Santa Fe

Advanced Traction Cornering Control
This new system is standard across the Hyundai Santa Fe range . It distributes torque via an electro-mechanical multi-place 2WD coupled that works in conjunction the Vehicle Stability Management system to anticipate traction requirements and deliver additional stability.

The system can transfer torque from front to rear and apply individual brakes to make pro-active adjustments to the torque delivery through each wheel.

The system continuously monitors and analyses data from the vehicle controller in relation to speed, throttle input, steering angle and yaw rate to determine power delivery front-to-rear and left-to-right.

This system operates in  the background and won’t be noticed by the driver.

the all new Hyundai Santa Fe

Prices
Prices start at $36,990 for the 6-speed manual petrol Active and $39,990 for the diesel  and range up to $49,990 for the diesel Highlander – these prices do not include dealer delivery and government charges.

Would I buy one … well after driving the previous model for a week I would certainly take the time to have a serious look at the new Hyundai Santa Fe and the price is certainly very competetive.

By | September 21st, 2012|Hyundai|Comments Off on New Hyundai Santa Fe

The Hyundai i40 Tourer – something of a gamble?

It’s something of a gamble for Hyundai … the release of a new wagon in Australia that is yet to be produced as a sedan … but that’s the gamble that Hyundai have chosen to take for the Hyundai i40 is now on sale in Australia but you won’t be able to buy anything but the wagon for some time to come.

For many years Australians seemed to have had a love affair with the station wagon but over the last few years that love affair has cooled as more and more buyers who may have bought a station wagon in the past have opted for an SUV.

Of course station wagons do still sell and Holden’s Commodore Sport Wagon does quite well but will the Hyundai i40 wagon … aimed at a slightly different market to the Commodore … attract enough buyers?

The all new i40 was released in Europe earlier in the year and now it’s here in Australia. The new i40 Tourer comes in three trim levels with a choice of a 130kW 2.0-litre petrol or a 100kW 1.7-litre CRDi turbo-diesel engine with a price point that may be appealing and fuel consumption figures that will definitely attract people to the diesel model.

Petrol variants
The entry level i40 Tourer is the Active with the 2.0-litre petrol engine coupled to a six-speed manual transmission and a starting price of $32,490 plus government and dealer charges.

For that price you get range of standard safety features including Vehicle Stability Management, Electronic Stability Control, nine airbags, LED daytime lights and emergency stop signal. For another $2,000 dollars you can have automatic transmission.

The Elite and Premium petrol variants both come with a six-speed automatic transmission as standard and prices start at $39,490 plus government and dealer charges for the Elite and $44,490 plus government and dealer charges for the Premium.

The 2.0-litre petrol engine coupled to the manual transmission has a fuel economy rating of 6.8L/100km on a combined cycle

Diesel Variants
The entry level diesel i40 is the Active with the 1.7-litre CRDi engine coupled to a six-speed manual transmission for $34,490 plus government and dealer charges. You can add a six-speed auto transmission for another $2,000.

The Elite and Premium diesel variants both come with the six-speed automatic transmission as standard and prices start at $41,490 plus government and dealer charges for the Elite and $46,490 plus government and dealer charges for the Premium.

The 1.7-litre CRDi diesel coupled to the six-speed manual transmission has a fuel economy rating of just 4.7L/100km on a combined cycle

The i40 Tourer with it’s sleek lines may just grab a reasonable share of the market but it’s definitely a gamble and may impact on sales of the sedan when it’s finally released.

By | October 12th, 2011|Hyundai|Comments Off on The Hyundai i40 Tourer – something of a gamble?

The New Hyundai Accent

The Hyundai Accent certainly has come a long way since the first Accent hit our shores and I found a car that I couldn’t sit in without my head more than touching the roof.

That was a bit of shock considering the fact that at the time I was happily driving around in the latest Excel and had not trouble with head room.

Of course the changes to the Accent have gone a lot further than just giving people like me some extra room for their heads and the new Hyundai Accent is a package that delivers looks, economy, safety, some interesting technology and plenty of comfort.

The engine and transmission
The new Hyundai Accent sedan and hatch are powered by a 1.6-litre Gamma petrol engine that delivers 91kW of power at 6,300rpm and maximum torque of 156Nm at 4,200rpm.

Fuel consumption for the manual version is 4.8L/100km for country driving and 7.9L/100km around town while the automatic achieves 5.1L/100km and 8.6L/100km.

The Gamma engine uses Continuously Variable Valve Timing that’s controlled by an on-board computer to optimise the timing of the air intake and this gives a balance of performance, fuel economy and low emissions.

To reduce maintenance costs and increase reliability the new Accent has a maintenance-free silent roller timing chain and special anti-friction coatings on various engine parts.

Hyundai have mated that engine in both the sedan and hatch to a five-speed manual transmission. A four-speed auto box is available as an option.

Safety
The new Hyundai Accent has a 5-star ANCAP rating and to achieve that the Accent comes with Vehicle Stability Management (VSM), Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Traction Control System (TCS), Anti-skid Braking System (ABS) and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) as well as 6 airbags.

The top of the range … the Accent Premium also comes with a rear view camera, reverse park assist and an electro chromatic mirror.

Vehicle Stability Management is new to this segment and it intervenes alongside ESC to help maintain vehicle control by applying a variable input to steering weight and that helps prevent the vehicle from losing control in emergency situations.

The rear park assist on the Accent Premium is operated by a camera at the rear of the vehicle that relays images to a small colour screen in the rear-view mirror and drivers can use that image as a guide.

The dashboard for the mid-range Accent Elite

Prices
Prices for the base model hatch or sedan … the Active … start at $16,990 plus dealer and government charges.

The mid-range model … the Elite … start at $18,490 plus dealer and government charges.

The top-of-the-range Premium is available in a hatch only for a starting price of $20,990 plus dealer and government charges.

Those prices are all for the five-speed manual version and if you choose the auto box you can add another $2,000 to the price.

By | August 17th, 2011|Hyundai|Comments Off on The New Hyundai Accent

2011 Hyundai Elantra

2011-hyundai-elantraThe new 2011 Hyundai Elantra is here and it’s a real head turner … well it certainly made me look twice when the local dealer drove one through the roundabout in front of me.

This isn’t a mid-model upgrade we see in the new Elantra … it’s an all-new body shape and it comes with an all-new 1.8 litre petrol engine too.

The exterior
On the outside Hyundai have incorporated their “Fluidic Sculpture” into the design and you can see the family resemblance that the Elantra shares with the i45 … no surprisingly they both came from the same design studio.

The range
There are three variants in the 2011 Elantra range. The base model is the Active and it comes as either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission. Trim specs include cloth upholstery, a four-speaker sound system with USB and iPod compatibility and controls mounted on the steering wheel along with Bluetooth controls for your mobile phone.

The Active rides on 15 inch steel wheels.

The Elantra Active interior

The Elantra Active interior

The next step up is the Hyundai Elantra Elite which is only available as an automatic. Trim specs include everything that comes in the Active plus a premium steering wheel, piano finish black inserts in the centre console, automatich climate control, dusk sensing headlights, rain sensing wipers, push button start with proximity smart key, fog lamps, tinted glass and rear park assist.

The Elite rides on 16 inch alloy wheels.

2011-elantra-rear

At the top of the range is the Premium and in addition to everything that you get in the Active and the Elite you also get leather trim, electric driver’s seat, Electrochromatic rear view mirror, front seat warmers, a sunroof and a reversing camera.

The Premium rides on 17 inch alloy wheels.

2011-elantra-engine

The engine
All variants in the new Hyundai Elantra range are fitted with the same engine. It’s an all-new 1.8 litre petrol engine that produces 110kW of power at 6,500rpm and 178Nm of torque at 4,700rpm. This new engine incorporates Dual Continuously Variable Valve Timing (D-CCVT) camshafts and hydraulic engine mounts for power and efficiency and that helps the new engine produces 30 percent less emissions than the one it replaces.

Hyundai have coupled their new engine to a six-speed manual gearbox in the Active and a six-speed automatic transmission in the Elite and Premium … the auto is an option in the Active.

The new gearbox is 5kg lighter than the previous box used in earlier Elantra models and Hyundai says that it contains 62 fewer moving parts than were in the old box.

Fuel consumption on a combined cycle for the new Elantra is 6.6L/100km for the manual version and 7.1L/100km for the automatic version.

Safety features
As well as all the usual safety features … enough to earn the new Elantra a five-star safety rating from ANCAP … the Elantra also has a Vehicle Stability Management system. This system integrates all the active safety systems in the vhicle to help maintain vehicle control by apply a variable input to steering weight. This helps prevent the vehicle from losing control in emergency situations.

The dashboard in the Elantra Premium

The dashboard in the Elantra Premium

Pricing
All prices quoted here are the Manufacturer’s List price … delivery and government charges are extra.

  • Active Manual: $20,590
  • Active Auto: $22,590
  • Elite: $25,590
  • Premium $28,990

And you can add another $375 if you want metallic or micra paint.

Hyundai Elantra Active

Hyundai Elantra Elite

Hyundai Elantra Premium

By | July 15th, 2011|Hyundai|Comments Off on 2011 Hyundai Elantra

New Models from Hyundai This Year

2011-hyundai-velosterJust when you thought that we’d all the news we were going to have about new vehicles hitting our showrooms this year Hyundai decided that it was time to announce not one new model but four and they’ll all arrive over the next nine months.

Let’s start with the last new model first because it’s something quite new and rather stunning. It’s the Hyundai Veloster and we took a brief look at it a few weeks ago … you’ll find the details here.

The Veloster is rather unique because it’s a conventional coupe design but with a third door for passengers. The version that’s coming to Australia towards the end of the year will have a 1.6-litre direct-injection four-cylinder motor with your choise of a six-speed manual box or a six-speed dual-clutch auto.

Hyundai Elantra
Just before the Veloster arrives Hyundai will be releasing the all-new Elantra. Now the Elantra has been around for quite a few years but this one is completely new and we’re promised that it will come with a heap of goodies.

Hyundai Accent
Hyundai are keen to get a grip on the light-car market and to help them do that they’re bringing out a new version of the Hyundai Accent. The company is promising sleek looks, advanced technology, lots of safety features and you can expect to see it on the showroom floors sometime in the next three months.

Hyundai i40 wagon
The i40 wagon only made it’s debut at the Geneva motor show at the beginning of March but it will be here later in the year. The i40 was designed by Hyundai’s German design team and is somewhat unique … Hyundai are released the wagon version before they think of building the sedan.

We previewed the i40 back at the beginning of the month and you can read more about it here.

So Hyundai dealerships are going to be in for some busy times as these new vehicle start arriving … there’s some very interesting machinery arriving from Hyundai over the next few months and it will be interesting to see how much of a challenge they’ll be for Hyundai’s competitors when they look at their sales figures at the end of each month.

By | March 21st, 2011|Hyundai|1 Comment

Hyundai i40 Wagon

hyundai-i40-wagonBack in December Hyundai released teaser images of the company’s first mid-sized vehicle developed for the European market – the i40. Along with those teaser images came the announcement that Hyundai wouldn’t be releasing an i40 sedan any time soon.

Instead the first version of the i40 that we’ll see is the i40 wagon … and a very nice looking wagon it is too.

The i40 also comes with an impressive array of features as standard equipment … including features that haven’t been found in this segment before. Standard equipment on the i40 include heated and reclining front and rear seats; a heated steering wheel; and an active de-mist system that automatically detects and clears condensation on the windscreen.

The Hyundai i40 will also come with the option of a diesel engine … the new 1.7-litre diesel engine that Hyundai has been developing that develops just 113 grams per km of CO2.

hyundai-i40-wagon-rear

We’ll see more of the Hyundai i40 at the Geneva motor show in March.

By | February 18th, 2011|Hyundai|1 Comment

The Hyundai Veloster – a different coupe

hyundai-velosterThe Detroit Motor Show is currently underway and there have been some interesting cars, SUVs and people movers making their debut. Perhaps one of the most interesting vehicles is the Hyundai Veloster … a very different compact coupe.

Why is the Veloster so different? Well this coupe has three passenger doors … yep count them and understand that you’re looking at the left-hand drive version. So what you are seeing are the usual front doors for the driver and passenger and then on the passenger-side of the vehicle there’s a third door to allow access to the rear seats. There’s no rear door on the driver’s side of the vehicle.

Apart from that the new Hyundai Veloster also comes … in the American version … with Hyundai’s Blue Link telematics system, a Pandora internet radion with seven-inch touch-screen display and a new 1.6-litre direct-injected four-cylinder engine mated to Hyundai’s first dual-clutch transmission.

hyundai-veloster-side

So what you’re seeing is a unique 3-door coupe that will get around 6L/100km on a highway cycle that Hyundai sees as competing with the Honda CR-Z, the Mini Hardtop and the Mini Clubman.

Design features
Apart from that unusual third door Hyundai have designed a vehicle that they say draws on high-performance motor cycles for inspiration. They even suggest that the centre stack and controls resemble the fuel tank and controls on a motorcycle.

hyundai-veloster-dashboard

Take a look at the side view of the cockpit and you’ll definitely see the typical lines of a motorcycle’s fuel tank. Fortunately Hyundai won’t be asking you to straddle that ‘tank’ to drive the Veloster.

The engine
The new 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine fitted to the Veloster is the smallest Hyundai engine to use Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) technology. GDI technology allows Hyundai to produce an engine that is low on fuel consumption and technology but high on output.

Hyundai says that this new engine will produce a tad under 103kW of power at 6,300rpm and almost 167Nm of torque at 4,850rpm.

The new engine also features Dual Continuously Variable Valve Timing, an electronic throttle control, a roller timing chain, variable induction and innovative anti-friction coatings such as CrN Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) coating and Diamond Like Carbon (DLC) coating.

hyundai-veloster-interior

Six-speed dual clutch transmission (DCT)
Hyundai’s new DCT takes the benefits of a manual transmission, including low fuel consumption and sporty driving, and blends them with automatic transmission benefits, such as high comfort levels and smooth shift quality. In addition, the DCT enables direct connection for high efficiency and uninterrupted torque transfer during shifts. Automatic transmissions lose power and fuel economy in the torque converter.

Other improvements of a DCT over a traditional automatic include a five to six percent improvement in fuel efficiency as well as a three to seven percent improvement in acceleration performance.

Hyundai suggests that Veloster’s DCT can be thought of as two traditional manual transmissions, each with its own clutch operating in parallel and alternating shifts. Veloster is a six-speed with one clutch acting on gears one, three and five and the other used for two, four, six and reverse.

This shifting process results in quick smooth transitions with none of the efficiency loss normally associated with torque convertors. The clutch actuator assembly features electric motors for actuation, and an external damper improves NVH.

This powertrain also has an Active Eco mode which modifies engine and transmission control for improved fuel economy that translates into more than a seven percent improvement in real-world fuel economy.

hyundai-veloster-top

Suspension
The Veloster is fitted with a McPherson strut front suspension, coil springs, gas shock absorbers and a 24 mm diameter front stabilizer. The rear suspension is a light-weight V-torsion beam, a Hyundai-first with an integrated 23 mm stabilizer bar to allow bracing of the arms for greater stiffness and to further control body roll. The rear suspension also uses monotube shock absorbers for ride comfort.

Veloster features sport-tuned electric power steering that adjusts instantly to changing driving conditions while improving fuel economy over a conventional steering system. A quick-ratio steering rack is used for crisp feel on turn-in.

Safety
The new Hyundai Veloster has a Vehicle Stability Management (VSM) system which optimally manages ESC (Electronic Stability Control) and the Motor-Driven electric Power Steering (MDPS).

VSM works to control two effects. The first is when a driver accelerates or brakes on a split-mu surface (slippery on one side, dry pavement on the other) and the vehicle wants to pull in one direction. VSM detects this condition and sends a signal to the MDPS to apply steering assist. VSM counters the pull and automatically provides eight Nm of counter steering. VSM reacts the same way during sudden lane changes or fast cornering.

hyundai-veloster-rear

Veloster features six airbags including dual front, front seat-mounted side-impact, and front and rear side curtain airbags.

The Veloster also features a state-of-the-art braking package. The package includes four-wheel disc brakes and an Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) including Brake Assist, which provides maximum braking force when a panic stop is detected, and Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), to automatically adjust the braking force to front and rear axles based on vehicle loading conditions.

The Veloster is coming to Australia
Hyundai Australia have announced that the Veloster is coming to Australia and although no definite date has been set for its release here the media guys at Hyundai Australia suggest that we might be seeing it towards the end of this year.

Australian specs and pricing have yet to be decided and while we will certainly get the engine and transmission it’s unlikely that we’ll see the Pandora Internet Radio system or much, if any, of the Blue Link telematics system fitted to the Australian Veloster

If Blue Link is going to be featured on the Australian Veloster Aussie Motoring will give you a look at that interesting technology closer to the release date.

By | January 14th, 2011|Hyundai|2 Comments

Team Hyundai Rallye Hits the Dirt Again

hyundai-i30-rally-carYou might find that it’s a bit of a stretch of the imagination to imagine a Hyundai i30 running in fully rally trim. And if you go back to the days of the old Southern Cross Rallys when Colin Bond and George Shepherd were blowing the competition away in an XU1 you might find a diesel powered rally car even more of a stretch of the imagination … until you see the Team Hyundai Rallye i30 CRDI turbo diesel in action.

And the team is going to be hitting the dirt again on November 12.

The Hyundai Genuine Parts and Accessories sponsored Team Hyundai Rallye is keen to cement the ARC ‘Showroom / Eco Challenge’ title as it takes the i30 CRDi turbo diesel to the final round of the 2010 series, Rally Victoria.

The Hyundai i30 rally car, fresh from an appearance at the Australian International Motor Show in Sydney, has been fully prepared and is ready for the event. “We had a little bit of maintenance work to do on the car before we sent it to the motor show, and of course we had to give it a wash!” laughed driver Mick Gillett. “We had a fantastic response to the i30 at the motor show, the public loved it and I got a tired hand signing all the posters!”

It’s time now for the team to focus on the competition. “I’m itching to get back in the car,” said navigator Harvey Smith. “This is the longest gap we’ve had between events since we started the i30 rally program, so we’re really looking forward to competing again.”

“Our aim is to maintain our 100% finish record. We are one of only a few cars in the series to finish every event we have started in, and we are very proud of this record,” said Gillett. “It’s a true testament to the durability and reliability of the i30. It’s been a fantastic year for us, and we are really hoping to finish it off in style.”

Fort the first time a female apprentice will join the Hyundai team service crew. As part of the Hyundai Rally Experience, three apprentices from Victorian Hyundai dealerships will work with the service crew for the weekend event providing valuable experience in the demanding rally environment. Skye Cooper from Wights Hyundai in Traralgon is excited to be part of the team. “Skye is a fantastic worker,” indicated Mick Keily, Service Supervisor at Wights. “I’ve got no doubt she will bring all of her enthusiasm to the event, and have a positive role to play in the team.”

Team Hyundai Rallye is excited to be able to introduce the sport of rallying to some new faces. “We have had such a great bunch of apprentices with us this year through the program,” said Rally Service Crew manager Wayne Luxford. “We really aim to show the apprentices the fast paced environment of rallying, and hope it brings them new and improved techniques to take back to their dealerships, and add to their service skill set.”

The final round of the 2010 Australian Rally Championship commences on Friday 12th November, with two stages in the afternoon after a display at Lardner Park, before moving to the ‘Forest’ stages in the Baw Baw Shire on Saturday 13th November in the West Gippsland in the Neerim district of Victoria.

By | November 4th, 2010|Hyundai|1 Comment

Is Hyundai Beginning to Lose the Plot?

logoNow you may think that’s a rather strange question to ask about one of the world’s leading car manufacturers … especially one that survived the global financial crisis unscathed.

And then you may think that the question is even stranger when you consider that Hyundai is going gangbusters all over the world. In America Hyundai sold well over 400,000 vehicles in 2009 and even more will be sold this year.

In China Hyundai has two plants capable of turning out a combined total of 600,000 units a year and a third plant will come online in 2012 and that will add another 400,000 units to their capacity and Hyundai is going to need all that capacity. Between now and 2015 Hyundai plans to increase the number of models it sells in China from the current 8 to around 20.

In Australia Hyundai is also doing well with great sales figures that just go on growing month after month and a range that has seen three new models added in the last few months.

But are cracks beginning to show? Has Hyundai grown too big too fast?

What has been described as “production problems” are causing delays in supplying orders for both the ix35 and the i45 here in Australia. Was the demand greater for these two models … not just here in Australia but in other parts of the world too … than Hyundai was expecting or are there genuine problems holding up production?

One person from Victoria who joined the conversation in ‘What Car Do I Buy?’ here on AussieMotoring claims to have been waiting for his ix35 Highlander to be delivered since July yet at least one Hyundai dealer in Queensland was claiming last week that he had every model in stock for immediate delivery.

And then there’s the strange situation with the Hyundai’s new small car … the i20. It seems that Hyundai has managed to introduce the i20 to Australia while the vehicle it replaces … the Getz … remains in production. At the i20/Getz end of the market price is very important and the old Getz is having no difficulties outselling the i20 because it’s cheaper.

Why would you have two models competing in the same category? Surely it would make more sense to allow the Getz to run out before replacing it with the i20.

There’s also Hyundai’s approach to marketing the Grandeur … their top-of-the-range sedan. It’s a great car with looks and features that really impress anyone who drives it but here in Australia Hyundai does little to advertise the car. It’s almost as if they really don’t want to sell too many of them.

Strange marketing decisions are just one more factor that makes you wonder whether Hyundai is just starting to lose the plot.

By | November 1st, 2010|Hyundai|4 Comments

Hyundai Santa Fe Road Test

hyundai-santa-feSome road tests just want to write themselves … others are hard to write … and some just don’t want to get written at all … and our road test for the Hyundai Santa Fe definitely falls into that category.

We tested the Hyundai Santa Fe Highlander back in May and every time since then that I’ve sat down to write this review something happens. We’ve had ill-health … computer malfunctions … lost photos … and sudden huge influx of work for Toni’s business that kept us doing lots of things that just ate up her time… her staff’s time… and even my time.

But today the time has come to get this thing written because it’s become an albatross around my neck and it’s time to get rid of it. So ladies and gentlemen I give you our review of the Hyundai Santa Fe Highlander … the top of the range Santa Fe that Toni loved and I … well … ok … the original Hyundai fanboy didn’t like much at all.

You’ll find a complete overview of the Hyundai Santa Fe here and that will explain the differences between the three models in the Santa Fe range. You’ll also find our first impressions of the Santa Fe here.

hyundai-santa-fe-rear

Those first impressions … gained on the four to five hour trip back from Brisbane to Hervey Bay via the back roads around Somerset Dam – were very positive and our week in the Santa Fe only served to confirm those impressions for Toni … but not for me.

Our test vehicle was the top-of-the-range Highlander fitted with a 2.2-litre four-cylinder diesel engine coupled to a six-speed auto gearbox and all the goodies you would expect … including two airconditioners. Yes, as Toni noted in her first impressions article there are two airconditioners … one for the front and second row passengers and one for the back row and they are very good at keeping the large interior cool in hot and humid Queensland .

hyundai-santa-fe-stackRide and Handling
The ride was very good and on the bitumen. Whether it was the highway or rough back road … the Santa Fe handled like a small car. There was little in the way of body roll and it went where you pointed it without complaining.

It had the same handling characteristics on rough dirt forestry roads too. Over ruts and potholes it stayed in a straight line at high speed. The suspension absorbed a lot of punishment and we weren’t tossed about inside the vehicle but there were some odd noises coming from the rear of the vehicle at times. Those noises disappeared when we got back on the bitumen.

However there were other dirt roads where the handling became less than positive. Toni was driving when we took a dirt road down to a little fishing village on the Great Sandy Straights.

Unlike the forestry roads this one was a lot smoother but covered in loose gravel and when we hit a slight bend at 80km/h the Santa Fe became very interested in pointing us back the way we had come … not something that Toni was expecting from an all-wheel drive vehicle.

While Hyundai’s promo photos show the Santa Fe driving over some fairly rough terrain that’s not something that either of us felt confident in trying … sure our Santa Fe may have been fitted with a diff-lock but it isn’t a genuine 4WD and it’s easy to become overconfident and get stuck in a vehicle that doesn’t have a low ratio gear set.

hyundai-santa-fe-diesel-engine-2

The engine
As I’ve said, the Santa Fe we tested was the 2.2-litre diesel and you will always know it’s a diesel. The unmistakable diesel rattle was quite noticeable outside the vehicle and you could certainly hear it inside the vehicle too.

The engine was quite responsive and the six-speed box was fine around town and out on the open road. The gearbox is fitted with the usual gear selector that also allows you to change up or down manually and the only time that was used was while we were pushing the Santa Fe through the forests. It’s a great way to control your speed on dirt roads without resorting to the brakes … something that can bring you unstuck if the curve you’re approaching is a little tighter than you expect.

hyundai-santa-fe-dash-2

Economy
On the trip back from Brisbane we managed to achieve a very credible 6.8L/100km … credible because we were giving the Santa Fe quite a workout over some tight winding roads. Around town … over some very short distances … 7.2L/100km was about the best we could get.

Comfort
The seats are very comfortable … there’s great back support and plenty of support under the driver and front-seat passenger’s legs. Toni loved the driving position and had no problems adjusting the driver’s seat to suit her height.

hyundai-santa-fe-interior

Lucky her! For me the driver’s seat just didn’t go back far enough and I began to find the driving position quite uncomfortable. I became so uncomfortable that I started to find excuses not to drive the Santa Fe around town so Toni got plenty of time in the driver’s seat … and when she wasn’t around I took our other car.

While we had no complaints from the people that we carried in the back of the vehicle one Santa Fe owner I spoke to was less than impressed with the lack of movement in the middle row of seats. While you can adjust the rake of the back of the seat you can’t move the seat forward or back and that was something her kids … especially those that had to ride in the third row … had problems with.

hyundai-santa-fe-interior2

While we’re thinking about the seats just have a look at the photo that shows the top corners of the rear row of seats when the back door is open. Yes you are seeing that the back of the seat protrudes outside of line of the vehicle … fortunately the door is curved in such a way that it encloses the back of the seat without crushing it.

Note that the top of the rear seats protrude outside the line of the Santa Fe

Note that the top of the rear seats protrude outside the line of the Santa Fe

For the driver everything is quite handy and you don’t have to reach far to find the control you want. We did stop and count all the buttons … knobs … dials etc. that the driver could push … twist … press or move and came up with over 50 of them but don’t let that overwhelm you. Most of those buttons etc. are set and forget.

Safety
There are plenty of airbags in the Santa Fe Highlander and lots of other safety features to keep everyone safe but there is one piece of safety equipment that is all but useless in daylight … in fact it’s more of a distraction than any sort of aid … and that’s the reversing-camera display.

In restricted light the image from the reversing camera is ok but when there's light streaming into the car that image becomes a lot less clear

In restricted light the image from the reversing camera is ok but when there's light streaming into the car that image becomes a lot less clear

While some other makers have their reversing-camera displays built into the dashboard Hyundai has elected to have theirs built into the rear-view mirror. Now that sounds like a good idea … after all you’re going to be looking in the rear-view mirror if you reversing the vehicle aren’t you?

Of course you are but during daylight there’s a lot of bright light around and mirrors reflect that light don’t they?

The rear-view mirror in the Santa Fe reflects so much light that you can hardly see the camera image and you can become so focused on trying to see what the camera is showing you that you reach the point where you’re not paying attention to what’s happening around you.

That was one major aspect of the Santa Fe that neither of us liked.

Luggage space
There is plenty of luggage space in the Santa Fe and both sets of rear seats have split-fold options. Folding the seats down was not hard and getting them back into the upright position was quite easy too. Toni certainly had no problems getting them up or down.

There is also plenty of storage compartments spread around the vehicle and you’ll even find some surrounding the spare tyre where you can hide things that prying eyes won’t see.

Conclusion
Toni liked just about everything about the Hyundai Santa Fe Highlander. For her it was comfortable, economical and fun to drive. For me … well it’s amazing how much an aching back can change your view of a vehicle in just a week.

Toni would certainly buy one even though all our kids have grown up and left home but the Hyundai Santa Fe is not high on my list of vehicles I would like to own. If the driver’s seat had more room to move back I might change my mind but until that happens this Hyundai fanboy is sadly disappointed.

By | October 13th, 2010|Hyundai|5 Comments

Hyundai i20

hyundai-i20Last month saw the long-awaited release of the Hyundai i20. The i20 is the replacement for Hyundai’s biggest seller … the Getz … a car that’s been around for a long time. One look at the boxy design of the Getz and you’ll realize just how long it’s been since it first hit the showroom floors.

But now the Getz is gone and we have a much smarter design in the i20 but the changes are more than just a new name and some cosmetic surgery. The i20 was designed at Hyundai’s Russelsheim Design Studios in Germany and the focus was on producing a compact that not only looked good but was comfortable, economic and fun to drive.

While it’s easy to see what’s on the outside perhaps it’s the refinements inside the i20 … and some of the safety features … that really separate it from the old Getz. The i20 features such things as fade-out interior lights, illuminated glove box compartment that also includes a cooling system, an information system located above the centre console and increased storage options for small items including your mobile phone.

hyundai-i20-side

The 120 range
There are three models in the Hyundai i20 range. The base model … the Active … is available in three and five-door versions and comes with a 1.4-litre engine. The mid-range i20 … the Elite is only available as a five door hatch and comes with as 1.6-litre engine. The top of the range Premium is also only available as a five-door hatch and has the same 1.6-litre engine as the Elite.

Engines
Both the 1.4-litre and 1.6-litre engines feature 16-valves and twin-overhead camshafts coupled to either a five-speed manual gearbox or a four-speed electronic HiVec (Hyundai intelligent Vehicle electronic control) auto box.

hyundai-i20-engine

The 1.4-litre engine combined with the manual box will return around 6.0L/100km while the 1.6-litre engine with the manual box adds just 0.1 litres to the fuel consumption. The automatic versions add 0.4L/100km for both engine options.

Safety
The i20 comes complete with an extensive range of safety features. Standard throughout the i20 range is Electronic Stability Control with Traction Control System; a four-channel, four-sensor Anti-ski Braking System and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution.

The front seatbelts in the 120 are fitted with pretensionsers, load limiters and are height adjustable. The child-seat anchorage points and child-proof door locks are standard across the range.

Airbags for driver and front-seat passenger are standard while side airbags and front and rear side curtain airbags are standard on the Elite and Premium models.

The i20 has been designed to absorb and dissipate energy during a frontal collision and rigid cabin and crumple zones front and rear have also been incorporated into the design. Dual side intrusion bars offer added protection in the event of a side impact.

hyundai-i20-interior

Trim levels
All models come with keyless entry and alarm, folding side mirrors (an option on the three-door Active), glovebox cooling, AUX and USB input as standard. Both the Active and the Elite have cloth-upholstered seats but the Elite has leather on the steering wheel that also incorporates the audio controls, a trip computer, front fog lamps, a cargo net and 15 inch alloy wheels (including a full-size spare).

The Premium i20 comes with full automatic climate control, a combination of leather and cloth upholstered seats, leather on the steering wheel and driver’s armrest and 16 inch alloys (including a full-size spare).

hyundai-i20-dashboard

Seating
The seats in the i20 are a complete redesign compared to what was in the Getz. The shape has been enhanced to offer maximum support and comfort. The driver’s seat is now height-adjustable.

The rear seats do have a 60/40 split folding capability.

Comfort
Air conditioning is standard across the range and rear passengers now have ducted ventilation in the foot well.

The audio package features a CD player with MP3, WMA and AM/FM tuner and the auxiliary input and iPod connectivity allows you to add external audio sources.

hyundai-i20-luggage

Luggage
Don’t forget that this is a small car so don’t expect any more than 295 litres of space with the rear seats in the upright position. The 60/40 split folding rear seats will add more luggage space.

That’s all quite an impressive list of features for a compact car starting at just $14,990 plus on-road costs for the three-door manual Active and peaking at $23,490 for the five-door automatic Premium and of course you can expect that sooner or later Hyundai will be talking drive-away-no-more-to-pay pricing too.

Will the Hyundai i20 sell as well as the old Getz? You can just about bet your house on the fact that Hyundai is already sitting on a bunch of orders from car hire companies.

But you do have to wonder if Hyundai have missed a share of the market by not including a diesel in the range … they do have a 1.6-litre diesel so why not issue a challenge to Ford’s diesel Fiesta?

hyundai-i20-rear

By | August 11th, 2010|Hyundai|1 Comment

Hyundai i45 – a first look and drive

hyundai-i45The Hyundai i45 … Hyundai’s latest medium-sized car … is now in the showrooms and the i45 should really be making the opposition just a little nervous.

Well … if you’re Toyota you won’t be too worried even though the i45 is a car that sets a whole new standard for the mid-range market. Toyota still has a lot of image in the bank with consumers and Hyundai probably won’t overcome all residue of goodwill that Australians have for Toyota and their Camry.

Toyota isn’t being so lucky in the United States where the i45 is selling in big numbers.

If you’re Mazda then you would be feeling a little more nervous than Toyota because the i45 is going to really take the game up to their 626. And if you happen to be Subaru or Honda then you’re definitely going to be worried because the i45 is going to rip big chunks out of your sales figures.

The Hyundai i45 is a car with real presence … its striking lines catch your eye and tell you that this is a car that moves and when you look inside it’s game over for the others because the i45 delivers an equipment standard that’s hard to beat.

hyundai-i45-side

Really taking the i45 out for a test drive is just a formality because buyers are going to be convinced that this is the car for them even before a salesman puts the crosshairs on them.

That’s not to say that this car is perfection on wheels because it isn’t. It has its faults but you probably won’t notice them and even if you do it’s not going to change your mind about the i45.

‘Oh wait’ I can hear you say. ‘isn’t this is the self-confessed Hyundai fanboy talking here?’

Yes it is but I’ve driven it and I know what I’m talking about and once you’ve taken it for a drive you’ll think it’s pretty good too.

Basics
The Hyundai i45 comes in three models although there’s only the mid-range Elite and the top-end Premium are available right now. The entry level Active will be available around July.

The same 2.4-litre direct-injection naturally aspirated petrol engine powers all three models. It’s an all-aluminium engine that is light, fuel-efficient and very responsive. On the familiarisation drive … out of Brisbane and along my favorite stretch of hilly, winding road around Somerset Dam … the i45 accelerated effortlessly and there was no excessive engine noise in the cabin.

hyundai-i45-engine

You certainly knew that the engine was working but the noise was not overwhelming.

Purchasers of the i45 Active will have a choice of a five-speed manual transmission or six-speed auto while the Elite and Premium only come with the auto transmission. Just to make the auto a bit more fun for Elite and Premium buyers are the paddle gear-shifts on the steering wheel.

That’s the first time I’ve driven a vehicle with those fitted as standard and they were fun to use. You can leave the gear stick firmly planted in Drive and use the paddles for a quick down or up shift and the transmission will hold the gear you’ve selected for 15 seconds before reverting to the automatic selection.

hyundai-i45-dashThose gear paddles are quite handy actually but perhaps not in the way Hyundai thought they would be. You still get instant downshift when you stamp on the accelerator as you overtake so you don’t need the paddles there but several times on hills I found the engine wanted to change down a gear and the transmission just wasn’t interested. A quick tap on the paddle and everyone was happy.

Comparing notes with other motoring writers at the press launch revealed that several of them had found the same reluctance in the auto box to change down on hills … see, I did say this car wasn’t perfect.

Hyundai claims a combined fuel consumption of 8.0L/100km for the i45 with the manual transmission and 7.9L/100km for the automatic version.

Safety
A full suite of front and rear airbags comes as standard on all three models. Electronic Stability Control with Traction Control, four-channel, four-sensor Anti-skid Braking System (ABS) and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution supported with Brake Assist System and Hillstart Assist Control is also standard across the range.

Dusk sensing headlights and front fog lamps are also available across the range while a reverse sensing warning system is standard on the Elite and Premium models.

hyundai-i45-interior

The front seat occupants have pretensioners and load limiters fitted to their seatbelts and the side mountings are height-adjustable. There are three mounting points for capsules and child seats across the rear seat.

Hyundai has used a hot-stamping method during the manufacture of the body panels and they claim that this method created body panels that were three times as strong when compared to traditional cold-stamping methods.

Specifications
Hyundai have a very clear idea of what their competition is in the mid-sized market and they have prepared a comparison chart so potential buyers can see how well the i45 compares with everything from a Camry to a Ford Mondeo and a VW Jetta.

You can grab a copy of that chart as a PDF download by clicking here.

The Active comes with the usual basic airconditioner while the Elite and Premium get climate control but neither have dual zone climate control.

The seats in the Active have a combination of leather and cloth upholstery and that moves to full leather in the Elite and Premium. The driver’s seat in the Elite has electric adjustment while both front seats have electric adjustment and an integrated memory system for the driver’s seat in the Premium

The audio system in the Active and Elite includes a single-disk CD player and USB input with iPod compatibility and that’s upgraded to a premium audio system with Woofer and Amp and a six-stack CD player.

hyundai-i45-headlights

Rain-sensing wipers are standard on the Elite and the Premium and an electrochromatic rear view mirror is standard on the Premium.

Comfort
I loved the way the front seats in the Elite and Premium seemed to wrap around you. There was good back support and support and the leather upholstery was definitely of a different grade to what you might have experienced in the past. There won’t be any embarrassing squeaks as you slide in and out of the Hyundai i45.

There’s also plenty of legroom for tall drivers and a reasonable amount of legroom for backseat passengers too.

Luggage space
It’s huge … it’s not the biggest in the mid-range category but it’s still big enough to swallow a heck of a lot of luggage and if you want more space the back seats are your usual 60/40 split fold.

Unfortunately I can’t show you a photo of just how big the luggage space is … the only photo of the boot that was handed out with the press kit was taken from the side and shows a boot with a couple of sets of golf clubs in there and it doesn’t really do justice to the size of the boot.

The big boot doesn’t come at the cost of a full-size spare either. It’s there, tucked away under the floor of the boot.

I guess you’ll just have to wait for a good look at the boot till we get our hands on an i45 for a week’s drive and then we can really go over it with the camera.

Driving experience
The Hyundai i45 looks like a car that’s on the move … even when it’s standing still (well almost) … and it’s not just all show and no go. This is a car that will cruise effortlessly at highway speed … unfortunately with some road noise getting into the cabin … and it always seems to have some in reserve.

The ride around the city and out on the highway was smooth and that smooth ride continued when we got onto relatively rough rural roads west and north of Brisbane. On the tight winding sections around Somerset Dam it held the road with no body roll even though I pushed it through some curves at well above the advisory … but still within the legal … speed limit.

hyundai-i45-rear

There were definitely no scary moments in those curves as I pointed the car in one direction and suddenly found that it wanted to go somewhere else and there were no white-knuckle moments for the other motoring writer who was sharing the driving with me either.

When I needed to pass caravans and slow drivers the power was there and the suspension system that has been tweaked for Australian conditions certainly kept the car in a straight line when we had to drop the passenger-side wheels into the dirt to pass oncoming traffic on some narrow roads.

Conclusion
Hyundai believe that this vehicle will appeal to families with older kids and even empty-nesters who are looking for outstanding quality at a great price and Hyundai is certainly focused on the price point.

The Hyundai i45 Active will be available at a Manufacturer’s List Price (including GST but not on-road costs) of $29,490 with the automatic being just $1500 more. The Elite will start at a Manufacturer’s List Price of $34,990 and the Premium will have a Manufacturer’s List Price of $37,990

By | May 24th, 2010|Hyundai|2 Comments

The Hyundai i30CW CRDi Road Test

hyundai-i30cw-crdiOur week in the diesel version of the Hyundai i30CW … that’s the wagon version of the very popular Hyundai i30 … came in the middle of a solid month of road testing everything from a Holden Sportwagon right through to the latest top-of-the-range Hyundai Santa Fe and included the just released Hyundai ix35.

We covered thousands of kilometers over all sorts of roads in those vehicles … we took photos … we compared notes as we bounced over dirt roads and zoomed around hairpin bends … we folded and unfolded seats … we came to grips with different dashboards that wanted to give us different information … we learnt what different sounds in different cars meant and we seemed to be in and out of new cars more frequently than we had hot dinners.

Last weekend when all the testing was over and we were back in our old banger Toni asked me which of those four vehicles stuck in my mind and the answer was this one … the Hyundai i30CW CRDi and surprisingly it was the one she remembered with the most fondness too.

Why did that one leave me with the positive impression? I’m blowed if I know but it did.

What I liked about it

  • It’s a simple car … there’s nothing complicated about the Hyundai i30CW and it doesn’t overwhelm you with information and a dashboard that makes you think you might need a pilot’s licence to fly it.
  • It’s economical … the cost of fuel is going up again and as I write this we’re paying more for fuel here in Australia than we have since the global financial crisis began.
  • It’s a wagon but it feels like a sports car … it’s turbo-charged and when you put your foot down it goes. It also handles like something more than a station wagon and it took our favorite left/right combination much faster than we could take it in either the ix35 or the Santa Fe.

What I didn’t like about it
If you have to put a baby capsule in the back seat you may just find that the front seat has to go quite a long way forward and a tall passenger may have problems..

Full review
There are five models in the i30CW lineup … three petrol and two diesels and the vehicle we tested was the SLX version of the diesel i30 wagon. If you look back at my first impressions of the Hyundai i30CW you’ll see that I wasn’t really looking forward to it but that had changed in the couple of hours it took to get from Hyundai’s Brisbane headquarters to our office in Hervey Bay.

From the time I got behind the wheel I felt comfortable. There was plenty of room for me to stretch out my long legs and the seats were firm and offered plenty of back support. The dash layout was easy to read … the controls were intuitive and within easy reach … and I wasn’t overwhelmed with information. Everything the driver needs to know is right there in front of them and you’re not getting overloaded with information or given the information in such a way that requires some thought.

i30CW-dashboard

For example the fuel gauge and temperature gauge are just simple dials … they’re easy to read and a quick glance is all you need to know exactly what they want to tell you. They’re not fancy meters that want to give you the information in bar graphs or some other way that requires more than just a quick glance.

i30CW-engine

The engine and transmission
The Hyundai i30CW CRDi is powered by a 1.6-litre diesel engine that comes with a variable-geometry turbo-charger. In layman’s terms it’s a diesel … it sounds like a diesel but it goes like a sports car. You put your foot down and it responds. It’s equally at home in town or country driving and it cruised effortlessly at 110km/h

The SLX CRDi comes with a four-speed automatic gearbox as standard. These days a four-speed auto box seems like a throw-back to the dark ages … until you drive it. Before we picked up the car I hadn’t had time to do my homework so all I knew was that the wagon we were picking up was an auto.

When I got behind the wheel I stuck the gear selector in ‘D’ and off we went. It took a while for me to realise that there were only four forward speeds in the gearbox. Throughout the week we drove the i30CW I never found it struggling to be in the ‘right’ gear for the conditions and gear changes were very smooth.

Cruise control worked well in this car too. Once you set the speed that was what the car traveled at and it didn’t let the car’s speed drop on steep hills while it thought about changing down to a lower gear.

Fuel consumption
With a four-speed box you could reasonably expect your fuel consumption to be a little on the high side … even if the motor is only a 1.6-litre diesel … and maybe it is if you consider 5.9L/100km to be high.

That’s the fuel consumption figure we achieved on the highway on the way back to our office. Around town it was certainly higher but 8.2L/100km (the worst consumption we got) is a whole lot less than most vehicles will give you in town and city driving.

Safety
The vehicle we tested comes with ABS and electronic brakeforce distribution, Electronic Stability Programme and traction control, reverse park sensors and front fog lamps. Front and side airbags are fitted for front seat occupants and there are side curtain airbags for front and rear seat occupants too.

Pretensioners and load limiters are fitted for front seat occupants and the front seatbelts are height-adjustable.

i30CW-front-seatInterior
If there’s one thing that small kids do well in cars it’s make a mess. They drop food, they vomit, they bring in mud on their shoes … they’re just plain messy. If that’s your family and you want to buy a small wagon then the Hyundai i30CW is going to be good for your family.

The floor coverings and the upholstery look like they can take quite a beating and clean up without a great deal of effort. I managed to get a fair bit of sand, grass and dirt into the driver’s footwell and after a minute with the industrial vacuum cleaner at the car wash all the mess had gone.

As I said before, the seats themselves are very comfortable and there’s plenty of back support as well as support under the backs of your legs. There’s plenty of legroom for front seat occupants but of course the further back you have the seats the less room there is for rear seat passengers.

If you have to fit a baby capsule then you’ll find three mounting points for the rear strap so that you can place the capsule anywhere you want on the back seat but realistically the only place it could go is behind the passenger … unless of course the driver is vertically challenged.

i30CW-rear-seatsInterior comfort
The climate control in the vehicle we tested was excellent and it will certainly keep the interior of the i30CW cool on hot days.

As with most small cars, it’s not perfectly quiet inside. Noise from outside does come in even if the windows are up and the sound of the diesel engine can be heard. But the sound levels are certainly not uncomfortable and you may not even notice it.

The sound system that’s fitted to the i30CW is perfectly adequate and the MP3 USB port located in the storage box between the front seats is a great idea. I don’t think we ever got to the end of all the music we have on one of our memory sticks.

The glovebox isn’t huge but it is cooled by the airconditioner. We love that idea and when we were heading out on a trip we’d toss a couple of chocolate bars in there to keep cool till we were ready to snack on them.

Luggage space
Most people who buy a station wagon are going to want to carry things and the Hyundai i30CW certainly gives you plenty of space for all that stuff you want to carry.

i30CW-luggage-space1

With the rear seats in the upright position there’s 415 litres of space and with the rear seats folded down that available space increases to 1395 litres. That compares quite favourably with other small wagons in this segment.

i30CW-luggage-space

The i30CW comes with a very sturdy cargo blind and the SLX also comes with a cargo net and there are plenty of anchor points for it around luggage area.

Storage compartments abound in the i30CW and you’ll see from the photo that shows the spare tyre that there are even a number of storage spaces tucked away under the luggage space floor.

There's lots of storage space for small items around the spare tyre

There's lots of storage space for small items around the spare tyre

Driving the i30CW
This is a car that’s easy to drive … there’s good all-round vision and it’s easy to park in confined spaces. The rear parking sensors certainly do help although the ones fitted to our test car did seem to be a little sensitive and often sounded when I passed over a very slight incline as I backed out of our driveway and onto the road.

The first time that happened I had to get out to make sure that I hadn’t just skittled the neighbour’s cat.

On the open road the i30CW cruises effortlessly and when you need to put your foot down to overtake the turbo-charged diesel is very responsive … you might even find it a little scary the first time you put your foot down and you discover just how quickly the wagon does accelerate. Although you’re driving a diesel and some of that distinctive noise does come back into the passenger compartment it’s certainly not overwhelming and the tyres that are factory fitted don’t seem to generate a lot of road noise.

i30CW-rear

Conclusion
The Hyundai i30CW CRDi was a vehicle that we approached with some trepidation … as I said in my first impressions of the i30CW neither tester here at AussieMotoring.com is a small-car person and we weren’t looking forward to a week in a small car. However, five minutes into the trip back to the office and we were beginning to change our minds.

After a week in this vehicle I can say that the Hyundai i30CW CRDi is a great little wagon and definitely worth buying if you’re in the market for a small station wagon or you need a small car with some extra capacity. Hyundai have certainly achieved what they set out to do when they brought out the station wagon version of their popular i30.

By | May 12th, 2010|Hyundai, Road Tests|1 Comment

The Hyundai Santa Fe – an overview

hyundai-santafeIf you were looking for the perfect seven-seat SUV … the one that ticks all the boxes and does everything right for your family then the latest release of the Hyundai Santa Fe … the R Series … is definitely one of the vehicles in this popular market segment that you would have to look at.

The latest version of the Santa Fe comes in three equipment levels. The SLX is the base model and it’s certainly got just about everything that you would want in an SUV including front and side airbags, your choice of six-speed manual or automatic transmission, rear park assist, cruise control, front fog lamps, heated rear mirrors, air conditioning, full size spare wheel and an iPod compatible audio system.

The mid-range Santa Fe Elite has all the features of the SLX plus proximity key locking and unlocking, push button start, electrically adjustable driver’s seat, automatic headlights, a cool box between the seats, a conversation mirror, leather steering wheel trim, roof rails and rear air conditioning. And you may think that’s all you need in an SUV but then there’s the Santa Fe Highlander.

The Santa Fe Highlander comes with all the features that you will find in the Elite and then you get a rear view camera, 18 inch alloy wheels, auto-dimming mirror, electric folding side mirrors, a sunroof, leather seats, rain-sensing wipers, electrically adjustable front passenger seat, in-dash six-stacker CD player and stainless steel “Santa Fe” embossed scuff plates.

Hyundai R Series Santa Fe SLX

Hyundai R Series Santa Fe SLX

Prices start at $37,990 (that includes GST but excludes on-road costs) for the base-model SLX with manual transmission and rises to $48,490 (that includes GST but excludes on-road costs) for the top of the range Highlander and those prices have got the potential to be great value for your hard earned dollars.

The engine
The one engine is used throughout the Hyundai Santa Fe R Series range. It’s a 2.2-litre common rail diesel that comes with a variable geometry turbocharger. It delivers 145kW of power at 3,800rpm and 436Nm of torque at 1,800 to 2,500rpm for the six-speed automatic (421Nm in the same rev range for the six-speed manual).

The Santa Fe's 2.2-litre CRDI engine

The Santa Fe's 2.2-litre CRDI engine

The fuel consumption figures that Hyundai claim for this engine are 6.7L/100km for the manual and 7.5L/100km for the automatic.

The Hyundai Santa Fe has a braked towing capacity of 2,000kg and an unbraked capacity of 750kg.

Safety
The new Hyundai Santa Fe comes with a five-star ANCAP rating thanks to its full range of safety features.

The driver's side of the Hyundai Santa Fe Elite

The driver's side of the Hyundai Santa Fe Elite

There are driver and front passenger airbags, dual side front airbags and front and rear passenger side curtain airbags. Rollover sensors across the range trigger the side and curtain airbags and seatbelt pretensioners should an accident be imminent.

hyundai-santafe-trackOther standard safety features include Rear Park Assist, front active headrests and three-point retractable seat belts for all occupants including those in the third row. All models in the range are fitted with Electronic Stability Program, Traction Control System, Anti-ski Braking System, Brake Assist System and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution.

More than a soft-roader?
While the promotional photos that Hyundai provide for our use here show the Santa Fe in some relatively rough country the owner’s manual makes a clear statement about the Santa Fe’s capabilities. It says:

“These vehicles were not designed for challenging off-road conditions.”

So don’t make the mistake of thinking that this is a vehicle that will take you up through Cape York or across the Simpson Desert … but it will take you off-road as long as the conditions aren’t too rough.

Hyundai sees the Santa Fe competing in a segment that includes the Toyota Kluger, the Ford Territory and the Holden Captiva and against the Santa Fe should do very well against those competitors.

You can read more about the Hyundai Santa Fe in our road test here.

santafe-off-road

By | May 8th, 2010|Hyundai|2 Comments

Hyundai Santa Fe – first impressions

hyundai-santa-feThe Hyundai Santa Fe Highlander … we’ve had it for evaluation for just 24 hours so far and I have to say that I love it. It really does seem like an almost perfect fit for me whether I’m driving around town or out on the open road.

It’s comfortable … it’s 2.2-litre four-cylinder diesel engine is very responsive … the six-speed automatic transmission is smooth … the ride and handling on tar is wonderful and what really tops the whole thing off for me is just how economical it is to operate.

Comfort
That’s not to say that the Hyundai Santa Fe is perfect … I don’t think any car is perfect … but this one ticked nearly all the right boxes for me and that was just on the five hour trip back to our office. On the other hand my partner found that, while the front passenger has plenty of leg-room, it’s a different matter in the driver’s seat.

Leather upholstery is standard equipment in the Santa Fe Highlander. If leather is important to you then you'll love these seats ... but they do get hot when the car is left sitting in the sun.

Leather upholstery is standard equipment in the Santa Fe Highlander. If leather is important to you then you'll love these seats ... but they do get hot when the car is left sitting in the sun.

If you’re tall then you may just find that it’s not all that comfortable for you behind the steering wheel.

If you leave leg-room out of the comfort equation then you’ll find that the front seats in the Santa Fe are very comfortable and the second row of seats is quite comfortable too. There is a third row of seats but that row is strictly for kids … the leg-room is very limited and I doubt that any adult would be comfortable back there.

The driver’s seat in the Highlander comes with lumbar support but the passenger seat doesn’t however you may not even notice that it’s missing … on the trip back to the office, when I was in the passenger seat I certainly had no problems with back support.

We actually took a detour on the trip back to the office and drove out to Ipswich to pick up our daughter and granddaughter to take them to lunch. The baby is still too small to travel in anything but a safety capsule and fitting it into the Santa Fe was no problem at all. There are three different mounting points across the back of the second row of seats so you can place the capsule anywhere that works for you and there’s still plenty of room for adults in the other two seating positions.

Legroom for passengers in the second row of seats is quite good but these seats are fixed so what you see is what you get.

Legroom for passengers in the second row of seats is quite good but these seats are fixed so what you see is what you get.

Ride and handling
That side trip to Ipswich gave us the chance to take a different (and longer) route home and if you want to know what the ride and handling of a car is like on the tar then there’s no better road to take than the back road from Esk to Kilcoy. In places it winds around the picturesque shores of Somerset Dam and you get a combination of everything from long straights to 40km/h bends and plenty of hills.

I won’t get carried away and say that the Santa Fe handled like a sports car but it went through some tight bends at legally high speeds with no body roll … no squealing tyres and certainly no understeer. Even on slight corrugation at the apex of the curve there was no sign that the Santa Fe wanted to get a little skittish and when I wanted to accelerate out of a curve the response was immediate and there was plenty of power in reserve.

And despite driving the Santa Fe hard on that back road we still managed to achieve a fuel consumption figure of 6.8L/100m on the trip back and that included Brisbane and Ipswich traffic, plenty of open road touring and running the second air conditioner for a while as well.

Yes the Santa Fe Highlander comes with two air conditioners and that’s not overkill up here in Queensland.

And that was my first 24 hours in the Hyundai Santa Fe Highlander. We’ve got a long weekend coming up here in Queensland and we’re going to use it to take the Santa Fe away on a few short trips over a variety of roads … including some fun in the forests just south of here.

hyundai-santa-fe-rear

By | May 2nd, 2010|Hyundai, Road Tests|3 Comments