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    William Maley

    2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Is An Italian Take On the Luxury SUV

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      Alfa Romeo throws their hat into the luxury SUV fight


    "It has been long time coming" could be Alfa Romeo's slogan for the U.S. considering how long it has taken the brand to make a return here. But it is also an apt description for their first SUV, the 2018 Stelvio which debuted today at the LA Auto Show.

    Design-wise, the Stelvio is a taller, more practical version of the Giulia sedan. From the narrow headlights and triangular grille up front, to the sculpted lines along the side, Alfa is making sure the DNA of the Giulia is extended to other models. The interior is the same as Giulia with a similar design for the dash, a 6.5-inch touchscreen (an 8.8-inch screen comes standard on higher trims), and leather seats.

    Let's talk powertrains. The Stelvio and Stelvio Ti (Turismo Internazionale) will come with a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder with 280 horsepower and 306 pound-feet of torque. The Stelvio Quadrifoglio features the twin-turbo 2.9L V6 with 505 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque. Alfa says the Stelvio Quadrifoglio will hit 60 mph in 3.9 seconds - a tenth slower than the Giulia Quadrifoglio. No matter the engine, an eight-speed automatic and Alfa's Q4 all-wheel drive system will come standard. Alfa's DNA drive mode system will feature three different drive modes to alter settings for the engine, transmission, and steering. The Quadrifoglio will get four different modes.

    Like the Giulia, the Stelvio uses the Giorgio platform that promises a near 50/50 weight distribution front and rear. Many body panels, suspension components, and chassis are made out of aluminum in an effort to save weight.The Quadrifoglio gets an an adaptive suspension, which is optional on the other trims.

    Alfa Romeo hasn't announced a release date or pricing for the Stelvio. Considering their track record of missing dates, this might be a wise decision.

    Source: Alfa Romeo 
    Press Release is on Page 2


    Born From the World’s Greatest Driving Road – Stelvio Pass – the All-new 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Sets a New Benchmark in Performance, Style and Technology in an SUV That Could Only Be Italian 

    • The SUV for the S-Curves: Built in Italy, the Top-of-the-line Stelvio Quadrifoglio Delivers a Class-leading 505 Horsepower and 0-60 in Just 3.9 Seconds
    • Building on the excitement of the award-winning 4C and the all-new Giulia premium mid-size sedan, Alfa Romeo – the heart and soul of the automotive industry – introduces the all-new Stelvio premium mid-size SUV
    • The all-new Stelvio is the second of a new lineup of vehicles built off a world-class architecture that embodies the brand’s La meccanica delle emozioni (the mechanics of emotion) spirit
    • Stelvio and Stelvio Ti models feature an all-new, all-aluminum, 2.0-liter, direct-injection turbo engine delivering a class-leading, standard 280 horsepower and 306 lb.-ft. of torque, allowing it to achieve a top speed of 144 mph
    • Stelvio Quadrifoglio – the “halo” model in the lineup – continues to highlight Alfa Romeo’s performance and motorsport expertise with best-in-class 505 horsepower, powering it from 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds and a top speed of 177 mph
    • State-of-the-art technologies, including Alfa DNA Pro selector, torque vectoring differential, Chassis Domain Control (CDC), and aluminum column-mounted paddle shifters with 100 millisecond shifts, maximize the all-new Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio’s driving pedigree
    • The innovative Q4 all-wheel-drive (AWD) system – standard on all Stelvio models, including the Quadrifoglio, provides additional driving confidence and superior control
    • Iconic Alfa Romeo design and genuine Italian craftsmanship combine to create a premium mid-size SUV that truly stands apart
    • Stelvio offers innovative safety and security features and leverages advanced driver-assist features, including Full-speed Forward Collision Warning-Plus
    • Crafted by Alfa Romeo artisans at the Cassino plant in Frosinone, Italy

    November 16, 2016 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - As the second of a new generation of vehicles built on an all-new platform, the 2018 Stelvio epitomizes Alfa Romeo’s La meccanica delle emozioni (the mechanics of emotion) spirit, delivering race-inspired performance, real-world driving confidence, state-of-the-art technologies, seductive Italian style and an exhilarating driving experience to the premium mid-size SUV segment.

    “The all-new Stelvio, named after one of the greatest driving roads in the world – the Stelvio Pass in the Italian Alps – sets a new benchmark for the segment,” said Reid Bigland, Head of Alfa Romeo. “Stelvio is uniquely engineered to challenge two-door sports cars on the track, without sacrificing any of the characteristics you would expect from a premium SUV, resulting in the perfect mix of high performance, capability and Italian design.”

    Infused with Italian passion, craftsmanship and innovation, the all-new Alfa Romeo Stelvio will conquer the winding road for which it is named.

    Three exhilarating, capable Stelvio models showcase Alfa Romeo’s captivating mix of Italian performance, style and technology
    Crafted by Alfa Romeo artisans at the Cassino plant in Italy, the all-new 2018 Stelvio lineup is a testament to Alfa Romeo’s perfect balance of engineering and emotion, creating a premium mid-size SUV for driving enthusiasts that stands out in one of the largest and fastest growing segments in the U.S.

    Stelvio and Stelvio Ti
    The true manifestation of Italian performance, craftsmanship and design, the all-new 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio and Stelvio Ti models provide a wide-ranging list of standard features, including an all-aluminum, 2.0-liter, direct-injection turbo engine with an eight-speed automatic transmission, delivering a class-leading, standard 280 horsepower and 306 lb.-ft. of torque, class-exclusive carbon fiber driveshaft, dual exhaust with bright tips, 18-inch aluminum wheels (available 19- and 20-inch wheels), leather seating, backup camera with rear park sensors, power liftgate, Formula One-inspired flat-bottom steering wheel with integrated push button start and much more.

    In addition to the expansive list of standard features in the all-new Stelvio, Stelvio Ti adds even more luxury and convenience offerings, including standard 19-inch wheels, genuine wood interior accents and an 8.8-inch widescreen infotainment display. Available Sport and Lusso packages provide drivers with two unique offerings that further accentuate the bold characteristics of Stelvio Ti.
     
    Stelvio Quadrifoglio
    With the most powerful Alfa Romeo production engine ever, Stelvio Quadrifoglio highlights Alfa Romeo’s performance and motorsport pedigree as the “halo” model in the lineup.

    The heart and soul of this ultra-high performance SUV is an all-aluminum, direct-injection 2.9-liter 24-valve bi-turbo intercooled V-6 engine, delivering a best-in-class 505 horsepower and 443 lb.-ft. of torque, and a standard Q4 all-wheel-drive system.

    The Stelvio Quadrifoglio includes exclusive high-performance and functional exterior design elements, plus unique performance suspension, brakes and wheels. Inside, high performance leather and Alcantara front seats, featuring 12-way power and adjustable thigh support, provide the optimal control center. Additional features include a Quadrifoglio-exclusive leather-wrapped steering wheel with accent stitching and performance contours, leather-wrapped instrument panel with accent stitching and carbon fiber interior trim.

    Advanced technology features unique to the Stelvio Quadrifoglio include a four-mode Alfa DNA Pro selector with Race mode, torque vectoring differential, Quadrifoglio-tuned adaptive suspension, Quadrifoglio instrument cluster with 200 miles per hour (mph) speedometer and cylinder deactivation system.

    Ultra-high performance options for Stelvio Quadrifoglio include:

    • Ultra-lightweight carbon fiber shell Sparco racing seats, providing maximum lateral support during extreme cornering thanks to more aggressive bolstering, and designed to be the lightest in the segment, while providing comfort for long road trips 
    • Ultra-high-performance Brembo carbon-ceramic material (CCM) brake system

    Driver-centric capability and performance 
    The Stelvio’s intuitive interior is fully committed to the driver’s every need, offering easy access to vital and next-level technologies. A Formula One-inspired steering wheel features a thick-rim profile that transmits the chassis’ direct-steering feel and neatly groups the vehicle controls and the engine start button. Behind the steering wheel, the Stelvio features available all-aluminum column-mounted paddle shifters and a standard full-color 7-inch thin film transistor (TFT) cluster display straddled by two large white-on-black face analog gauges.

    Conveniently located in the center console are two simple rotary dials. The first controls Alfa’s DNA Drive Mode system with three unique driver selectable modes (Dynamic, Natural, Advanced Efficiency), which can be used to fine tune the driving experience by adjusting throttle response, boost pressure and suspension settings in Stelvio and Stelvio Ti. Stelvio Quadrifoglio adds a fourth mode – Race – with its exclusive DNA Pro Drive Mode system.

    The secondary rotary dial controls the high-resolution 6.5-inch, or 8.8-inch, wide-screen infotainment system with real-time vehicle performance pages and telemetry, plus 3-D graphic navigation that recognizes handwritten gestures on the top of the rotary pad (late availability), allowing the driver to easily interact with the 3-D Navigation system.

    With easy access to vital technologies in mind, all Stelvio models will feature Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

    State-of-the-art engines are the beating hearts of each and every Alfa Romeo 
    Every Stelvio, Stelvio Ti and Stelvio Quadrifoglio is powered by best-in-class all-aluminum engines that embody the brand’s passion for next-level technology and state-of-the-art performance.

    Best-in-class 280 horsepower with all-aluminum Alfa Romeo turbocharged four-cylinder engine
    Featured in the all-new 2018 Stelvio and Stelvio Ti models, an all-aluminum 2.0-liter direct-injection, 16-valve, turbocharged and intercooled engine, designed specifically for Alfa Romeo, delivers a best-in-class 280 horsepower, along with world-class levels of performance, efficiency and refinement.

    To deliver its best-in-class 280-horsepower output and flat torque curve with 306 lb.-ft. of torque available between 2,250 – 4,500 rpm, the state-of-the-art engine features exceptional turbo responsiveness thanks to a “2-in-1” turbocharger design, with the charging system driven through two pipes, which gathers exhaust gas from pairs of cylinders in an alternating sequence.

    Performance and fuel economy of these engines are fostered by the MultiAir electro-hydraulic variable-valve actuation technology, a direct-injection system with 2,900 PSI injection pressure, a water-cooled cylinder head integrated manifold and a water-cooled charge air cooler.

    Best-in-class 505-horsepower all-aluminum 2.9-liter bi-turbo V-6 engine 
    Arriving to the premium mid-size SUV segment is the most powerful Alfa Romeo production engine ever, with an all-aluminum 2.9-liter direct-injection bi-turbo V-6 serving as the Stelvio Quadrifoglio’s “heart and soul.”
     
    Designed to optimize the all-new lightweight Alfa Romeo architecture, the all-aluminum 2.9-liter V-6 bi-turbo engine features a compact 90-degree layout and was holistically designed for a low center of gravity within the chassis.

    To deliver a best-in-class 505 horsepower and a flat torque curve with 443 lb.-ft. of peak torque available between 2,500 – 5,500 rpm, the state-of-the-art engine features a bi-turbo design. In addition, the engine’s turbochargers are integrated into the exhaust manifold and feature a low-inertia, single-scroll turbo design with variable-boost management for ultra-responsive throttle response. A direct-injection system maximizes fuel combustion for improved engine output and efficiency.

    For improved fuel efficiency, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio features a Cylinder Efficient Management (CEM) deactivation system, which enables the engine to run on three of its six cylinders.

    Crafting control: Q4 all-wheel drive (AWD)
    The intelligent Q4 all-wheel-drive system – standard on all Stelvio models, including Quadrifoglio – delivers even more all-season traction and performance capability, thanks to the system’s ability to transfer up to 60 percent of the engine’s torque to the front axle.
     
    The innovative Q4 AWD system is linked to the Stelvio’s Chassis Domain Controller (CDC) and driver-adjustable Alfa DNA or DNA Pro (Quadrifoglio exclusive) drive mode system – enabling the driveline’s next-generation integrated actuator to adapt to changing ground conditions or driver need in milliseconds, and instantly optimize the required torque to each wheel.

    Italian ingenuity with broad use of lightweight materials 
    Alfa Romeo Stelvio’s architecture extensively integrates lightweight, state-of-the-art materials that enable and deliver near perfect 50/50 weight distribution, segment-leading torsional rigidity and the most direct steering available.

    Alfa Romeo engineers designed a lightweight rear-wheel-drive platform with a low center of gravity – all to deliver the high-performance and precision expected from an Alfa Romeo.

    Alfa Romeo Stelvio’s aluminum front and rear vehicle frames, front shock towers, brakes, suspension components, doors and fenders also help shed weight compared to conventional steel. For example, the rear cross member features an extensive use of lightweight materials, including aluminum and composite.

    An Alfa Romeo exclusive double wishbone front suspension with semi-virtual steering axis guarantees rapid and accurate steering feel. With the most direct steering ratio in the segment, Alfa Romeo Stelvio can tackle high lateral accelerations as a result of the always perfect footprint. At the rear, a patented Alfa-link rear axle design with vertical rod ensures top performance, driving pleasure and passenger ride comfort.

    State-of-the-art technologies add to a premium SUV that only Italy could create
    Competing at a world-class level requires the highest attention to detail, including the use of next-level technologies that continually please and impress the center of Stelvio’s universe: the driver.

    Q2 Mechanical Limited-Slip Differential
    This new feature – included within the Performance Package – is a rear mechanical limited-slip differential that optimizes rear-wheel traction. The Q2 differential balances the machine torque, which works on the SUV’s rear axle. This system provides the proper level of torque to one of the two rear wheels based on traction conditions.
     
    Chassis Domain Control (CDC)
    The “brain” of Alfa Romeo Stelvio’s benchmark-level dynamics can be attributed to its innovative Chassis Domain Control (CDC) system. The CDC system coordinates all of the vehicle’s available active systems (stability control, torque vectoring differential and Alfa Active suspension system), using predictive-type dynamic models to deliver balanced, safe and natural driving, thus optimizing performance and drivability.

    Integrated braking system (IBS)
    The Alfa Romeo Stelvio features a segment-first integrated braking system, replacing a traditional system of electronic stability control (ESC) and brake booster for even more instantaneous braking responsiveness. The innovative electromechanical system improves braking performance through a faster increase in pressure and makes it possible to vary brake feel jointly with the Alfa DNA Pro system. As a result, this lightweight technological solution delivers new levels of brake response and stopping distance.
     
    Alfa DNA and Alfa DNA Pro drive mode selectors
    Innovative Alfa DNA drive mode system and Alfa DNA Pro (Quadrifoglio exclusive) drive mode selectors modify the dynamic behavior of the vehicle, according to the driver’s selection:

    • Dynamic: delivers sharper brake and steering feel with more aggressive engine, transmission and throttle tip-in calibrations
    • Natural: comfort setting for balanced daily driving
    • Advanced Efficiency: eco-friendly mode to achieve the lowest fuel consumption
    • Race: exclusive to Alfa DNA Pro, this mode activates the over-boost function, opens up the two-mode exhaust system, turns ESC off and delivers sharper brake and steering feel with more aggressive engine, transmission and throttle tip-in calibrations

    Thanks to the interaction with the Chassis Domain Control, Alfa DNA Pro instantaneously adapts car behavior to the selected driving mode.
     
    Torque vectoring
    Torque vectoring makes it possible for the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio to achieve higher performance during lateral acceleration. The rear differential optimizes torque delivery to each wheel separately for improved power delivery, traction and control on all types of road surfaces, without cutting power like traditional systems.

    Alfa Active suspension system
    Available on Stelvio Ti and standard on the Stelvio Quadrifoglio, this innovative four-channel chassis damping system instantly adapts to driving conditions and can be adjusted by the driver via the Alfa DNA selector. This technology allows for a setting of softer shock absorbers for a more comfortable drive, or a more rigid setting for more accuracy in sports driving.

    Peace of mind: safety and security
    The all-new Alfa Romeo Stelvio offers innovative safety and security features and leverages advanced driver-assist features.

    The Alfa Romeo Stelvio offers safety and security features that include:

    • Full-speed Forward Collision Warning-Plus: provides autonomous braking and, under certain circumstances, slows or brings the vehicle to a full stop when frontal collision appears imminent
    • Adaptive Cruise Control-Plus with Full Stop: helps maintain distance from the vehicle ahead and, under certain traffic conditions, the system can bring the Stelvio to a full stop without driver intervention
    • Lane Departure Warning: alerts the driver of inadvertent lane departure

    To help rear visibility both on the road and in parking situations, Blind-spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Path detection and front- and rear-park assist sensors are available.

    In addition, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio features advanced multistage driver and front-passenger air bags, driver and front-passenger seat-mounted side air bags, front and rear side curtain air bags, and driver and front-passenger inflatable knee air bags.

    Italian style, inside and out
    In true Italian fashion, the all-new Stelvio allows owners to customize their performance SUV with up to 13 exterior colors; seven wheel choices, ranging from 18 inches to 21 inches; and an almost endless selection of interior color and trim choices.

    For sophisticated music lovers, the refined Harman Kardon Premium Audio System is offered on the Alfa Romeo Stelvio, which delivers detail-rich audio output. The heart of the Sound Theatre system is a 900-watt 12-channel class D amplifier, which distributes clear sound through a system of 14 speakers for superior audio quality. Harman Kardon’s Logic 7 sound technology is used to secure a surround effect from different high-resolution sources and harmoniously uniform stereo playback. With this sound system, occupants can experience the premium quality for which Harman Kardon is renowned.

    With the all-new 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio, where other SUVs stop at utility, Alfa Romeo took on the challenge to create the perfect mix of high performance, capability and design.

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    So true, no one has asked except the Italian Unions to restart the dead Alfa brand. FCA quality sucks, this SUV is clearly stuck with dual identities, parts want to be a luxury brand, other parts want to be boy ricer racer.

    On top I suspect way over priced for a car with terrible history and Meh engines.

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    Small crossover is a booming segment, but I don't think this will match up to what BMW and Mercedes are already selling.  And really, Alfa Romeo has the same problem as Dodge/Chrysler.  Alfa Romeo in unable to compete with BMW, Benz and Audi, just like Dodge/Chrsyler can't compete with Honda, Toyota and Ford.  

    This thing has a ton of power which is great, but they'll charge $80,000 for the V6, and you can get a Porsche or AMG product for that money, and you'll get the performance, with better reliability and better interiors, resale, etc.

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    So they can take their sales of 0 crossovers and make it 100?

     

    That's like an infinite increase in sales. Wow, such a massive increase in sales.

     

    (I'm just being sarcastic.....bleh)

     

    • Upvote 1

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    I feel like these Alfas will never go on sale, and if they do arrive at dealerships they'll be limited supply, limited options, and just no exposure or marketing dollars and no one will buy them.  You should be able to sell any crossover in the thousands with ease, people walk blindly to buy the things, but someone Alfa will be the one to build a crossover with sluggish sales.

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    With FCA getting rid of some models already, it might actually come this time!

     

    I could see it having a chance here in the US....

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    12 hours ago, Suaviloquent said:

    So they can take their sales of 0 crossovers and make it 100?

     

    That's like an infinite increase in sales. Wow, such a massive increase in sales.

     

    (I'm just being sarcastic.....bleh)

     

    Right!!!!!, all for the lowly sum of raping billions from the American divisions that could have been put back into building even better established products.

    FCA's way of keeping their failed socialist system going in Europe with minimal give back to the system.

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    13 hours ago, Suaviloquent said:

    So they can take their sales of 0 crossovers and make it 100?

     

    That's like an infinite increase in sales. Wow, such a massive increase in sales.

     

    (I'm just being sarcastic.....bleh)

     

    Sarcasm always seems to have a basis in reality....

    1 hour ago, dfelt said:

    Right!!!!!, all for the lowly sum of raping billions from the American divisions that could have been put back into building even better established products.

    FCA's way of keeping their failed socialist system going in Europe with minimal give back to the system.

    I tend to agree with hyperV6, the end will not be good.

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    I'd bet Jeep has a much better chance of selling performance oriented RWD Crossovers that Alfa ever could.

     

    I mean, like really. Jeep already has a following for Trail-rated, Trailhawk and SRT.

     

    Not much more of a push to get into on-road performance.

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    Jeep is know for off road though, not performance.  And I don't think the folks at the Dodge-Jeep wing of FCA can make a Jeep go around corners like this Alfa probably can.  The only rear drive Jeeps are the Wrangler which isn't doing anything with performance and the Grand Cherokee, the Cherokee, Compass and Renegade are front drive Fiats and Darts.

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    Alfa should have been left dead. Close Fiat and reinvest all those billions stolen into new product for the real money makers of FCA.

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    26 minutes ago, smk4565 said:

    Jeep is know for off road though, not performance.  And I don't think the folks at the Dodge-Jeep wing of FCA can make a Jeep go around corners like this Alfa probably can.  The only rear drive Jeeps are the Wrangler which isn't doing anything with performance and the Grand Cherokee, the Cherokee, Compass and Renegade are front drive Fiats and Darts.

    What I meant is that a badge engineered derivative of an Alfa platform Jeep would sell like hotcakes.

    Jeep has the luxury to reinvent itself whenever it wants, as long as Sergio would allow. People want MOAR and MOAR Jeep.

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    On 11/18/2016 at 11:33 PM, Suaviloquent said:

    What I meant is that a badge engineered derivative of an Alfa platform Jeep would sell like hotcakes.

    Jeep has the luxury to reinvent itself whenever it wants, as long as Sergio would allow. People want MOAR and MOAR Jeep.

    Jeep has to have done the best job actually marketing their products of any automaker. 

    VW did a fantastic job with creative adverting int he 1960's, but interestingly enough Subaru has totally stolen their vibe of the offbeat car you buy if you are somewhat less than traditional.

    This product kind of fits in with FCA DNA in terms of them offering a lot of creative truckish and SUVish products.

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    I mean, it's not like they would forgo any off road tech. Probably the same model can have a Trailhawk too.

     

    Like Active Drive 1 (I think) is comparable to the AWD systems found in most other automakers, it has an axel disconnect feature tho. And a Jeep Renegade isn't much more off-road capable with that  AWD compared to a Honda HR-V (it might have more ground clearance, but not much esle).

     

    Like they could give the JGC a diet, but I think look at what Jaguar did with the F-Pace. They gave certain models All Surface Progess control, a shot across the pond, borrowed from LR. 

     

    So I really think a performance oriented Jeep crossover could sell. Arguably, even if not that popular, much more than some Alfa that has no brand presence or any kind of established prestige here in North America.

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      The Hyundai Sonata broke cover a couple of weeks before the New York Auto Show, but I finally got to see it on Thursday.  While there are frequent reports that the midsize sedan segment is dying, it still is able to move about 153,000 units just in the month of March.  Hyundai sees an opportunity here as some of its competition, namely the Ford Fusion, will be going to the great used-car lot in the sky in the near future.  Still, the Sonata has only sold around 21,000 units year to date while Nissan can move that many Altimas in a month and Accord and Camry do even better.  So what is Hyundai going for here by introducing a new Sonata?  They're going for sexy.
      The midsize market is a conservative one, few models are ever called sexy. Hyundai has gone out of their way to give the Sonata a sexy look without looking odd (Accord) or overwrought (Camry). Up front, there is a huge.. HUGE...grille opening. It has the somewhat traditional six-sided shape but is pinched in a little at the bottom.  Above that are the lighting accents that most everyone will mention when talking about this car.  Along the hood, they are chrome strips that light up when the car is on.  Once this thing hits the streets it will be a very distinctive visual feature that will separate this car from the Accords and Camrys.  The character line flows from the headlights along the body in a very slight S-curve.  Multiple creases on the door panels help keep the car from looking slab-sided. The wheels are an attractive two-tone 10-spoke design.  Around back is a full-width U-shape taillamp setup that looks like the Honda Civic setup, but upside down. It integrates into a rather tall (for a family sedan) spoiler on the rear trunk like. The tops of the taillights have small fins that ostensibly direct airflow the way Hyundai intends.  The overall exterior is handsome and sensuous and does a good job of distinguishing itself from others in the class. 
       Inside is a mixed bag. The overall look is handsome and restrained, but areas of cost-cutting were visible. There is cheaper plastic on the door panels, lower dash, and parts of the center console.  Still, it is hard to argue with a full TFT screen for the gauge cluster and a large, wide infotainment system in the center.  The infotainment system sits high on the dash and looks like a tablet popping up from below. Controls are simple and easy to reach, and Hyundai has joined the ranks of the new decade by removing the shifter and replacing it with push-button controls. I like Hyundai's setup better than Honda's which I have to think about to use. The seats are a bit flat, but there is plenty of head and leg room. I do like Hyundai's use of two-tone interior, but that won't be on all cars. 
      At release, the Hyundai Sonata will come with two engines, a 2.5 direct injected 4-cylinder with 191 horsepower at 6,100 RPM and 181 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm. An optional 1.6T will have 180 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 195 lb-ft of torque from 1,5000 - 4,500 rpm.  The 2.5 will get 33mpg combined and the 1.6T will get 31mpg combined.   Some have balked at the idea that the buy-up engine has less horsepower than the base engine, but in this case, it is the flat torque curve that will really make the 1.6T feel faster.  For those who are wanting more power, Hyundai is reportedly working on an N-Line version that will have over 275 horsepower.  For the greenies, a hybrid is coming soon as well, with a possibly plug-in version in the works. Driving impressions will have to wait until this fall.
      Overall, Hyundai has a very strong contender for the shrinking mid-size market. Not all of the Ford Fusion owners will go to crossovers, so Hyundai looks ready to scoop them up.
       


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    • By Drew Dowdell
      The Hyundai Sonata broke cover a couple of weeks before the New York Auto Show, but I finally got to see it on Thursday.  While there are frequent reports that the midsize sedan segment is dying, it still is able to move about 153,000 units just in the month of March.  Hyundai sees an opportunity here as some of its competition, namely the Ford Fusion, will be going to the great used-car lot in the sky in the near future.  Still, the Sonata has only sold around 21,000 units year to date while Nissan can move that many Altimas in a month and Accord and Camry do even better.  So what is Hyundai going for here by introducing a new Sonata?  They're going for sexy.
      The midsize market is a conservative one, few models are ever called sexy. Hyundai has gone out of their way to give the Sonata a sexy look without looking odd (Accord) or overwrought (Camry). Up front, there is a huge.. HUGE...grille opening. It has the somewhat traditional six-sided shape but is pinched in a little at the bottom.  Above that are the lighting accents that most everyone will mention when talking about this car.  Along the hood, they are chrome strips that light up when the car is on.  Once this thing hits the streets it will be a very distinctive visual feature that will separate this car from the Accords and Camrys.  The character line flows from the headlights along the body in a very slight S-curve.  Multiple creases on the door panels help keep the car from looking slab-sided. The wheels are an attractive two-tone 10-spoke design.  Around back is a full-width U-shape taillamp setup that looks like the Honda Civic setup, but upside down. It integrates into a rather tall (for a family sedan) spoiler on the rear trunk like. The tops of the taillights have small fins that ostensibly direct airflow the way Hyundai intends.  The overall exterior is handsome and sensuous and does a good job of distinguishing itself from others in the class. 
       Inside is a mixed bag. The overall look is handsome and restrained, but areas of cost-cutting were visible. There is cheaper plastic on the door panels, lower dash, and parts of the center console.  Still, it is hard to argue with a full TFT screen for the gauge cluster and a large, wide infotainment system in the center.  The infotainment system sits high on the dash and looks like a tablet popping up from below. Controls are simple and easy to reach, and Hyundai has joined the ranks of the new decade by removing the shifter and replacing it with push-button controls. I like Hyundai's setup better than Honda's which I have to think about to use. The seats are a bit flat, but there is plenty of head and leg room. I do like Hyundai's use of two-tone interior, but that won't be on all cars. 
      At release, the Hyundai Sonata will come with two engines, a 2.5 direct injected 4-cylinder with 191 horsepower at 6,100 RPM and 181 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm. An optional 1.6T will have 180 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 195 lb-ft of torque from 1,5000 - 4,500 rpm.  The 2.5 will get 33mpg combined and the 1.6T will get 31mpg combined.   Some have balked at the idea that the buy-up engine has less horsepower than the base engine, but in this case, it is the flat torque curve that will really make the 1.6T feel faster.  For those who are wanting more power, Hyundai is reportedly working on an N-Line version that will have over 275 horsepower.  For the greenies, a hybrid is coming soon as well, with a possibly plug-in version in the works. Driving impressions will have to wait until this fall.
      Overall, Hyundai has a very strong contender for the shrinking mid-size market. Not all of the Ford Fusion owners will go to crossovers, so Hyundai looks ready to scoop them up.
       

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