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    William Maley

    Rivian R1S SUV Promises To Go Anywhere On Electricity

      Surprise! Rivian has another vehicle up its sleeve.


    A day after electric-car startup Rivian revealed the R1T truck, the company has rolled out their second model that will be arriving in 2021.

    The R1S SUV utilizes the same skateboard platform as we detailed on the R1T with the battery pack, electric motors, brakes, suspension, and advanced thermal-management system. Battery size and power output are the same as the R1T, but the R1S gains about 10 miles in overall range.

    • 105-kWh: 402 horsepower, and 413 lb-ft of torque, range of 240+ miles
    • 135-kWh: 754 horsepower, and 826 lb-ft of torque, range of 310+ miles
    • 180-kWh: 700 horsepower, and 826 lb-ft of torque, range of 410+ miles

    For those interested in towing, the R1S is rated at a max 7,716 pounds.

    It is impossible to tell the difference of the R1T and R1S in terms of the design when looking at the front. Both have a wide uni-brow light that acts as a charging meter when plugged, and oval-shaped headlights. Move to the side and difference between the two become quite clear. Rivian was clearly going for something with some off-road flavor. There's a boxy profile, body cladding running around the underside of the vehicle, and a set of skid plates. Compared to the truck, the R1S is about 15-inches shorter in overall length and wheelbase. The interior is the same as the R1T's with large screens and a modern design. There's seating for up to seven people.

    Rivian isn't proving any information on pricing for the R1S, but we're expecting it to be slightly more expensive than the R1T. Production is expected to begin in 2021.

    Gallery: Rivian R1S SUV

    Source: Rivian


    RIVIAN LAUNCHES WORLD’S FIRST ELECTRIC ADVENTURE VEHICLES

    Los Angeles, CA, November 27, 2018 – Rivian, an electric vehicle manufacturer, unveiled its highly anticipated Electric Adventure Vehicles™ — the R1T, an all-electric pickup and the R1S, an all-electric SUV — at events surrounding the LA Auto Show this week.

    The R1T™, a 5-passenger pickup truck, debuted at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles on Nov. 26, and the R1S™, a 7-passenger SUV, was revealed at the automaker’s press conference at Automobility on Nov. 27. With up to 400+ miles in electric range, a wading depth of 1 meter, lockable storage bins that can fit the bulkiest of gear, and the performance and precise control of quad-motor AWD, Rivian vehicles have been developed to help customers get out and explore the world. Both vehicles will be produced at Rivian’s manufacturing facility in Normal IL.

    “We’re launching Rivian with two vehicles that reimagine the pickup and SUV segments,” said Rivian Founder and CEO RJ Scaringe. “I started Rivian to deliver products that the world didn’t already have – to redefine expectations through the application of technology and innovation. Starting with a clean sheet, we have spent years developing the technology to deliver the ideal vehicle for active customers. This means having great driving dynamics on any surface on- or off-road, providing cargo solutions to easily store any type of gear, whether it’s a surf board or a fishing rod and, very importantly, being capable of driving long distances on a single charge. From the inside out, Rivian has developed its vehicles with adventurers at the core of every design and engineering decision. The R1T and R1S are the result of all this work and we are excited to finally introduce these products to the world.”

    Skateboard Platform
    The foundation of the R1T and R1S is Rivian’s skateboard platform, which efficiently packages the battery pack, drive units, suspension, braking and thermal system all below the height of the wheel, leaving the space above for occupants and their gear.

    Beyond the packaging benefits, this architecture delivers a low center of gravity that supports the vehicle’s agility and stability. Adding to these inertial advantages is a sophisticated suspension architecture with unequal length double wishbone suspension in the front and a multi-link suspension in the rear. The suspension features dynamic roll control and adaptive dampers along with ride-height adjustable air-suspension – allowing the suspension to be adjusted for highway comfort, on-road performance or off-road capability.

    Rivian’s vehicles also feature a quad-motor system that delivers 147kW with precise torque control to each wheel, enabling active torque vectoring and maximum performance in every situation, from high-speed cornering to low-speed rock crawling. With 3,500 Nm of grounded torque per wheel (14,000 Nm of torque for the full vehicle), the R1T and R1S can both reach 60 mph in 3 seconds and 100 mph in less than 7 seconds. This powertrain and chassis also enable the R1T’s tow rating of 11,000 pounds.

    “The beauty and elegance of our quad-motor setup isn’t just about brute power; this architecture provides instantaneous torque with extremely precise control at each wheel, which is completely game-changing from a dynamics perspective, both on- and off-road,” said Executive Director of Engineering and Programs Mark Vinnels.

    Design
    Exterior
    The R1T and R1S designs communicate strength and refinement while still inviting customers to get the vehicles dirty. Strong proportions and clean, continuous bodylines help achieve a modern, inviting stance while acknowledging the performance and level of technology integrated into the vehicles.

    The main bodyline of the R1T, which wraps up and around the cab and gives the vehicle a distinctive silhouette, while highlighting the Gear Tunnel™ cutline and accentuating the rear fender flares. The R1S shares much of its appearance with the R1T but in the rear highlights a function-driven design expressing capability and utility with plenty of space for occupants and gear. Both vehicles feature short overhangs, high ground clearance and aggressive approach and departure angles for a confident and rugged stance, all enabled by Rivian’s unique skateboard platform. A Rivian will be quickly recognized, with its iconic, signature “stadium” headlights and a daytime running light that extends the entire width of the vehicle.

    Interior
    In harmony with the exterior, the interior of Rivian’s vehicles welcomes occupants into a premium environment that conveys craftsmanship yet invites rugged, daily use. Color and materials play an important role in differentiating Rivian vehicles. Sustainably sourced wood is used throughout the interior and its natural finish contributes to a warm and inviting feel. The most striking use of wood is as a structural element that integrates the main center display and driver cluster, integrating form and function beautifully. In the high-wear areas of the interior, the materials take inspiration from sportswear and active gear, combining durable and innovative materials that can easily be cleaned.

    “Although the exterior of the vehicle is what first attracts you, the interior is where you spend the most of your time, so we really focused on creating a transformational space inside our vehicles,” said VP of Vehicle Design Jeff Hammoud. “The biggest challenge was creating an interior design that delivered a premium experience, while still being comfortable as a space that is heavily used. To do this, we looked outside the automotive industry and took inspiration from contemporary furniture, as well as hiking and outdoor gear, to drive the design.”

    Utility
    The R1S and R1T leverage the vehicle architecture to deliver more lockable storage than any other vehicle in their respective segments. The 330-liter front trunk on the R1T and R1S is easily accessed for daily use with the hood fully powered for opening and closing.

    The R1T’s lockable Gear Tunnel aft of the cab extends across the vehicle and provides more than 350 liters of space for hauling oversized gear, such as snowboards, golf bags or strollers. The Gear Tunnel doors also act as steps for loading items into the bed or onto the roof, as well as a seat for such as lacing up hiking boots. The R1T has a watertight, integrated tonneau cover for the bed and beneath the bed floor is a 200-liter sealed bin that can also be used to store a full-size spare tire. The bed features three 110-volt outlets and integrated compressed air.

    As part of a Gear GuardTM feature, the bed also has two integrated locking cables to safely secure bicycle frames and other gear to the bed. Any gear stored in the bed is monitored by a bed camera and alerts owners should the bed or contents be tampered with.

    The rear of the R1S features a liftgate and small tailgate, with the tailgate providing an area to sit and prep for activities such as gearing up for a mountain climb to tightening skis. The second and third row seats fold flat to provide room for any gear required.

    Rivian has developed a racking system that utilizes telescoping racks with easy-to-use mounts that quickly attach to the roof of either the R1T or R1S, as well as the bed rails and bed floor of the R1T. The racks integrate with a range of accessories including tents, travel containers and bike/ski racks. When not in use, the racks can be easily stored in the front trunk.

    Battery System
    Rivian’s energy-dense battery module and pack were developed with the most demanding journeys in mind — incorporating tough underbody protection and an advanced cooling system to give occupants the confidence to go further, regardless of terrain or temperature. Adaptive control algorithms learn driver behavior, optimizing user-specific battery management for maximizing battery life, reliability and second-life reusability. Three battery sizes are planned, with the 180 kWh and 135 kWh available at launch and a 105 kWh being made available within six months.

    The battery is designed for fast charging with charging rates of up to 160kW. This enables approximately 200 miles of range to be added in 30 minutes of charging. In addition to DC fast-charging, an 11kW onboard charger facilitates rapid charging at a Level 2 charger.

    Connectivity and Digital Experience
    Rivian has developed its connected car platform from a clean sheet to allow full control and flexibility over the vehicle hardware, software and user experience. The system operates on a high-speed Ethernet backbone that enables robust security. This platform supports granular over-the-air updates of vehicle software to enhance functionality and improve performance. All Rivian vehicles connect to a cloud-ecosystem for data exchange and processing, enabling machine learning and data services. The digital experience extends beyond the vehicle into the cloud ecosystem and mobile/web applications and provides a consistent and seamless interface for vehicle status and control. The in-vehicle experience consists of a custom 15.6-inch center touch screen, 12.3-inch instrument cluster and a 6.8-inch rear touch screen. Understanding its customers desire for connected adventure, Rivian developed maps, music, navigation and other adventure-focused features to complete the digital experience. The digital user interface strongly reflects adventure, outdoors and exploration – the experience is immersive and natural whether it’s being used in a connected urban setting or well off the beaten path.

    Self-Driving
    The R1T and R1S will launch with a robust hardware suite with multiple modalities including camera, lidar, radar, ultrasonic and a high precision GPS coupled with high definition maps. This hardware enables “Level 3” (hands-off wheel and eyes off road) autonomy for highway operation. Beyond the highway Level 3, the vehicle will have a range of self-driving features focused on enabling active lifestyles.

    Safety
    Rivian’s safety systems and body-structure design will deliver IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus and NHTSA 5-Star ratings. Safety features include 8 airbags for occupant protection and reinforcements of the skateboard platform to protect the battery. The R1T and R1S will also be offered with a full complement of active safety systems enabled by Rivian’s suite of self-driving sensors.

    Vehicle Specifications

    R1TR1Sspecifications.png



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    Loving this Sexy Green AWD with Torque Vectoring SUV. The live reveal was cool. RJ is so much more relaxed and clearly knows his stuff more than Musk. Rivian Automotive should rival and I expect beat Tesla as they are going full size trucks / SUVs compared to cars.

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    It looks good, modern and classic, but time will tell if they can manufacture this successfully and profitably as an independent company.

     

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    15 minutes ago, frogger said:

    It looks good, modern and classic, but time will tell if they can manufacture this successfully and profitably as an independent company.

     

    Yes, going from building prototypes or one-offs to consistent, quality volume production is no small feat, as Tesla has found out this year.    I wish them good luck.  It's a great looking product, and sounds sound technically. 

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    18 minutes ago, frogger said:

    It looks good, modern and classic, but time will tell if they can manufacture this successfully and profitably as an independent company.

     

    Lucky for them, Mitsubishi left the Normal manufacturing plant fully intact and the city sold it dirt cheap to Rivian. They have a fully setup robotic assembly line that RJ says will speed up their assembly of their EVs and with a full paintshop that is already operational along with many other departments, it is coming down to minimal tweaking of the robots in assembly of the Rivian truck and SUV. Should be easier than what Tesla has done since it uses the same skateboard platform for their auto's.

    I love that RJ in his interview with Bloomberg stated there was no reason to attempt to reinvent the manufacturing wheel when the existing competition has already shown how to quickly build auto's. 

    So with that, buying an existing auto assembly line with paint shop and just adjusting it to build their auto's should speed up their time to market. Yes they are expecting to start production after the 1st of the year and tweak and then go full production for sales starting after the first of the year in 2020. I can easily see them delivering this sooner than later. I honestly do not expect any slippage in dates unlike Tesla.

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    1 hour ago, Robert Hall said:

    ...going from building prototypes or one-offs to consistent, quality volume production is no small feat, as Tesla has found out

    these last 15 years.

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    These new guys I hope have a couple of billion dollars to get through the lean times until they actually sell product and move units.  Tesla has NOT burned up the car sales charts since their first model went up for sale.

    Funny thing: I remember reading a Car and Driver article about GM's new hydrogen-based (or was it an EV) skateboard platform to put any vehicle on it and drive.  Seems like about 15 years ago.  Wonder what happened to that?

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    16 minutes ago, riviera74 said:

    These new guys I hope have a couple of billion dollars to get through the lean times until they actually sell product and move units.  Tesla has NOT burned up the car sales charts since their first model went up for sale.

    Funny thing: I remember reading a Car and Driver article about GM's new hydrogen-based (or was it an EV) skateboard platform to put any vehicle on it and drive.  Seems like about 15 years ago.  Wonder what happened to that?

    There were actually 3 skateboard platforms that GM sunk millions into.

    January 2002 was the GM Hy-wire skateboard platform that used Hydrogen to power a drive by wire system. This was their latest Skateboard platform.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Motors_Hy-wire

    See the source image

    2006 was the updated Skateboard concept from GM, the Sequel fuel cell concept skateboard. https://www.greencarcongress.com/2006/08/gm_announces_dr.html 

    A road-going version of the skateboard as used in the 2006 Sequel concept (photo credit: Sam Abuelsamid)

    October 2017 SURUS autonomous fuel cell skateboard that GM says would help disaster relief.

    https://www.cnet.com/roadshow/news/gms-surus-fuel-cell-truck-platform-could-be-a-disaster-relief-hero/

    See the source image

    Some might say the 1996 EV1 that GM killed and many believe was a cave in to Oil companies was the very first original skateboard platform.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Motors_EV1

    QUESTION to be asked is WHY did GM never actually use this future tech to move auto production forward? 

    Yes we know battery tech was not as good as it is now, but they clearly had ideas on how to build a global platform that would reduce costs in production of auto's with better driving characteristics. 

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    We all wondered if the Wheelbase of 3450mm was correct and Rivian says it is as the full length of this SUV is 5040mm. So we have a wheelbase of 135.8 inches or 11ft 3 inches and the overall length is 198.4 inches or 16ft 5 inches. This does not seem bad for a 3 row full size SUV to compete against the Taho / Yukon / Escalade.

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    Did some scaling and it appears -proportionally- the numbers are correct.
    136" WB, 198" OL is a diff of 62".
    275/65R20s are 34" in diameter, so 136" plus (2) half tires (17" + 17") = 170", leaving 28" of total overhang. Scaling off the screen makes it look really close.

    Despite being only 198" long, the SUV must be bigger in person that via pics. Here it's over a 133" wheelbase '66 Fleetwood (overall length: 228").

    Screen Shot 2018-11-28 at 1.40.51 AM.png

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    9 hours ago, dfelt said:

    We all wondered if the Wheelbase of 3450mm was correct and Rivian says it is as the full length of this SUV is 5040mm. So we have a wheelbase of 135.8 inches or 11ft 3 inches and the overall length is 198.4 inches or 16ft 5 inches. This does not seem bad for a 3 row full size SUV to compete against the Taho / Yukon / Escalade.

    According to the chart that shows the R1T and R1S specs side by side, it looks like the truck has the 135 inchwheelbase and the SUV is about 120 inches...which would make sense that the truck has a longer wheelbase.   And it also says above 'Compared to the truck, the R1S is about 15-inches shorter in overall length and wheelbase'.

    (Interestingly, the chart is in the first post of this thread, but only shows up for me on mobile.  I can't see it on my Mac--the article is truncated.  Form factor rendering issue?)

    Edited by Robert Hall

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    Weird, but if correct helps the SUV by reducing it's bulk. The pickup needs a longer wheelbase so it can get a proper bed- that's a 'short tacoma bed on a tundra' combination.

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    8 hours ago, balthazar said:

    Did some scaling and it appears -proportionally- the numbers are correct.
    136" WB, 198" OL is a diff of 62".
    275/65R20s are 34" in diameter, so 136" plus (2) half tires (17" + 17") = 170", leaving 28" of total overhang. Scaling off the screen makes it look really close.

    Despite being only 198" long, the SUV must be bigger in person that via pics. Here it's over a 133" wheelbase '66 Fleetwood (overall length: 228").

    Screen Shot 2018-11-28 at 1.40.51 AM.png

    Both sexy looking Auto's to me, thank you for doing this comparison. I agree in pictures it does look smaller but clearly is much bigger.

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    The more pictures I see of this from the LA Auto show, the more I am really liking the interior of this SUV. Clearly people who live an active life style had input into what they want out of an SUV like this. Rock on Rivian! :metal:

    https://www.autoblog.com/2018/11/29/2018-l-a-auto-show-mega-photo-gallery/#slide-7476970

    I really hope GM has something like this to show and sell. Would love to buy an AWD pure EV full size SUV from them, but if not and when Rivian gets to building / selling them, I will take a serious look at them.

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    I think the whole thing looks great EXCEPT the front end. My god does that thing need to be changed.

    Edited by ccap41
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    8 minutes ago, ccap41 said:

    I think the whole thing looks great EXCEPT the front end. My god does that thing need to be changed.

    There is a business for you, 3rd party front panel replacements that would look better.

    I honestly am surprised that between the headlights, those vertical light sections that the area is not connected to the hood to open up with it and improve the ease of access into that lovely Frunk!

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    The front design is growing on me, not sure about the vertical lighting elements. I do like how restrained and clean it is overall, compared to the overwrought front ends with giant grilles that are typically seen on large trucks and SUVs.

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    13 minutes ago, Robert Hall said:

    The front design is growing on me, not sure about the vertical lighting elements. I do like how restrained and clean it is overall, compared to the overwrought front ends with giant grilles that are typically seen on large trucks and SUVs.

    That is why I like it is the super clean front end and not an overkill crazy grill like you see on the Lexus or so many others. Very clean, love the daytime running strip and how it is used to indicate recharge. The vertical are the actual headlights, lower for regular lights, upper section for high beams.

    Clean distinct and different from the rest of the auto industry and the craziness of large grills they have done.

    This view really does remind me of a Smiling Emoji! :lol:

    2021-rivian-r1s-1.jpg

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    On 11/27/2018 at 5:09 PM, Robert Hall said:

    Yes, going from building prototypes or one-offs to consistent, quality volume production is no small feat, as Tesla has found out this year.    I wish them good luck.  It's a great looking product, and sounds sound technically. 

    Agree completely.n

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    Wife has spent time reading the web site for Rivian and while not a total fan of the Emoji front end, loves the rest of the truck especially the storage section with the doors acting as steps to also get into the bed. 

    She loves the interior and says she would be happy with this as a daily driver and for allowing her to do her gardening and runs to Home Depot.

    Between now and production, be interesting to see what else comes out. :metal:

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    Get a CPO Colorado and save yourself $50,000 for fuel, does all the same Home Depot runs with aplomb.
    - - - - -
    I don't hate the front of the Rivian; it's got a geometricality about it, but it's not what one would call beautiful or tough (maybe that's the bulk of my reaction). We'll have to watch the development moving toward certification & production. The shoulder of the Automotive Highway of History are jammed with failed efforts, rusting away with time.

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    45 minutes ago, balthazar said:

    Get a CPO Colorado and save yourself $50,000 for fuel, does all the same Home Depot runs with aplomb.
    - - - - -
    I don't hate the front of the Rivian; it's got a geometricality about it, but it's not what one would call beautiful or tough (maybe that's the bulk of my reaction). We'll have to watch the development moving toward certification & production. The shoulder of the Automotive Highway of History are jammed with failed efforts, rusting away with time.

    Or an S10 at an auction and save seventy grand. Everyone has a different threshold of what they are willing to pay or what technology they want.

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    Seems according to a recent visit to their HQ and a sitdown, RJ said they would have a 3rd auto. 

    https://www.autoblog.com/2018/12/05/rivian-future-sales-charging-network/

    @A Horse With No Name @Robert Hall @ccap41

    To Quote: Scaringe made mention of a third Rivian coming our way too. He said it will be "smaller in wheelbase than what you see here in LA, but think of it as Rivian's interpretation of what you would see as a rally car. With a lot of ground clearance." Rivian didn't confirm or deny the report, but we did receive confirmation of a third car in the works. An electric rally car sure sounds cool

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    Well, of course a startup looking to insure their future is going to actively talk about a THIRD model when they haven't even built the FIRST one yet. Investors. Buzz me when they issue an IPO, I might be interested. Tesla is stupidly overpriced, but I got burned on Excelsior-Henderson.

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    I saw these in LA and they look really darn close to production ready.  Both of them are "tweeners" in exterior size.  They don't feel as big as an F-150, but not as small as a Ranger either.  The SUV looks about Explorer sized.   Their third vehicle should be a smaller crossover about the size of the old Equinox.

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      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.
       


      View full article
    • 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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