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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    2019 Hyundai Elantra is Infatuated with Triangles

      You want triangles?! We got triangles!


    Hyundai had a bit of surprise last night for journalists at the first drive event for the 2019 Santa Fe. They unveiled a refreshed 2019 Elantra sedan.

    The company's designers really had a thing for triangles since there are a lot on the Elantra's front end. The headlights and cutouts in the front bumper are of the three-sided variety. The large grille appears to be borrowed from the Nexo hydrogen crossover. Around back, the Elantra takes the idea of a smoothed-out trunk lid from the Sonata. Inside, Hyundai only makes some minor changes with a new center stack design and updated trim pieces.

    SEL models and above will get a number of active safety features such as blind spot monitoring, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and lane keep assist as standard.

    The engine lineup is unchanged,

    • 2.0L Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder with 147 horsepower - SE, SEL, Value Edition, and Limited
    • Turbocharged 1.4L four-cylinder with 129 horsepower - Eco
    • Turbocharged 1.6L four-cylinder with 201 horsepower - Sport

    No word on pricing, but the 2019 Elantra will be arriving at Hyundai dealers later this fall.

    Source: Hyundai


    Safety Comes First in the Redesigned 2019 Elantra

    • Hyundai SmartSense safety and convenience technologies enhance driver assurance

    PARK CITY, Utah, Aug. 22, 2018 – The redesigned 2019 Elantra sedan conveys emotion with a new intense design, while delivering a sophisticated driving experience through Hyundai SmartSense safety and convenience technologies. Hyundai SmartSense offers a variety of advanced active safety and convenience features. SmartSense technologies available as options on the 2019 Elantra include: Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist, Lane Keep Assist, Driver Attention Assist and Safe Exit Assist. The newly designed 2019 Elantra will be available later this fall.

    Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) data shows that Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) and Forward Collision Warning (FCW), which are both integrated into Hyundai’s Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist, are associated with a 50-percent reduction in rear-end collisions. In addition, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 94 percent of serious vehicle crashes involve human error, which is why advanced safety technologies like Lane Keep Assist have the potential to save lives. 

    2019 Elantra Sedan Updates

    Exterior Design Changes

    • New hood, front fenders, front fascia, grille and headlights
    • New trunk, taillights and rear fascia
    • New 16- and 17-inch wheel designs
    • New 15-inch alloy wheel design on Eco trim
    • LED headlights applied to Limited and Sport trims

    Interior Design Changes

    • New center cluster
      • Air vents
      • AVN/Audio/Temperature controls
      • Storage tray
    • New instrument cluster and housing

    Hyundai SmartSense

    • Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) applied to SEL trim and above
    • Lane Keep Assist (LKA) applied to SEL trim and above
    • Driver Attention Alert (DAA) applied to SEL trim and above
    • Safe Exit Assist (SEA) added to Limited with Ultimate Package

    Interior Features

    • Standard: 5-inch color audio system
    • Bluetooth and steering wheel audio controls applied to SE manual
    • Blue Link® Connected Car System with three years of complimentary Blue Link services applied to Value Edition
    • Qi wireless charging applied to Limited
    • Available AVN 5.0 with faster processor, Android Auto™ and Apple CarPlay™ and HERE HD Traffic 8-inch Multimedia Navigation System offered with higher level trims
    • Infinity premium audio with 8 speakers including a center channel and subwoofer applied to Limited
    • Smart Shift Drive Mode applied to SEL and above
    • Standard: Rear view camera with dynamic guidelines

    Now in its sixth generation, the Elantra has sold more than 3 million units since its launch in the U.S. in 1991. Elantra has received numerous accolades including the most recent IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus for model year 2018. In addition to quality, reliability and being backed by America’s Best Warranty, the JD Power IQS recently awarded Hyundai third place overall in the highly regarded industry quality study. The Elantra is built in Hyundai’s Montgomery, Alabama plant and its Ulsan, South Korea facility.

    “Refinements to both the interior and exterior were initiated on the 2019 Elantra to maintain its emotional design character and include affordable and desired features,” said Scott Margason, director, product planning, Hyundai. “The hood, front fenders, fascia, grille and headlights as well as the rear fascia, trunk and taillights each have been redesigned to convey a catchy and confident image. On the rear of the vehicle, the license plate has been relocated to the lower fascia to further enhance the new body sculpture.”

    Safety

    Cutting-edge SmartSense safety features have been added to the 2019 Elantra. Most of these features have been added to the SEL trim level and above meaning they are now available on 75 percent of the Elantra lineup. SmartSense safety features have been added to the SEL, Value Edition, Eco, Limited and Sport (SEL and above) trims and include the following:

    • Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (camera-only type) that is designed to help detect and monitor the vehicle ahead and warn the driver if a collision may be imminent. The system also initiates automatic braking when it detects a slower or stopped vehicle ahead.
    • Lane Keep Assist that detects the lane on the road and may apply steering wheel control if the vehicle leaves the lane when the vehicle speed is over 40 mph.
    • Driver Attention Alert that warns the driver of tired driving patterns with an audible alert and visual warning displayed on the instrument cluster.

    SmartSense features included on the Elantra Limited with Ultimate Package include:

    • Safe Exit Assist that may sound an alert when a vehicle approaches from behind letting passengers know it may not be safe to open the door to exit the vehicle.
    • Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist with Pedestrian Detection is a technology that utilizes both the front forward-facing radar and camera through sensor fusion to help detect a vehicle or pedestrian, and warn the driver of a potential collision. If the driver does not react to avoid the impact, the system may apply emergency braking in certain circumstances.

    Additional Smart Sense Safety features include:

    • Blind-Spot Collision Warning with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert and Lane Change Assist.

    Next Generation Infotainment: Audio/Video/Navigation (AVN) 5.0 with HD Traffic

    The 2019 Elantra also debuts with Hyundai’s next generation AVN 5.0 infotainment system. This system features an upgraded processor for greater responsiveness, as well as an 8-inch screen vs. the 7-inch screen in the last generation Elantra. Using presets with AVN 5.0 is a snap because AM, FM and SiriusXM channels are now combined on one screen and also feature HERE HD Traffic (without a subscription). A bird’s eye view has also been added to navigation maps and drivers can now get traffic flow and incident data without ever paying for a subscription via HD Radio.

    The Elantra is available with conveniences like Infinity Premium Audio with Clari-Fi™, Apple CarPlay™, Android Auto™ and wireless smartphone charging.

    Engine Performance

    The Elantra features two engine options that provide fuel efficiency and a third engine option in the Elantra Sport model. The SE, SEL and Limited offer the Nu 2.0L MPI Atkinson Cycle engine with 147 hp @6200 RPM and Eco offers the Kappa 1.4L Turbo-GDI with 128 hp @5500 RPM. The Eco model achieves an EPA estimated 35 mpg combined fuel economy rating thanks to a 7-speed dual clutch transmission.

    Elantra Sport Trim

    The redesigned 2019 Elantra Sport will debut later in 2018 and have similar design changes to the other models. Hyundai will release more details in the fall. Mechanically, it will have the same level of differentiation as the 2018 model. The Elantra Sport trim features a 1.6L Turbo-GDI engine, 6-speed manual transmission or available seven-speed dual clutch transmission, a sporty interior and revised trim headliner, advanced technology and connectivity, paddle shifters, sport front seats with leather, flat-bottom, leather-wrapped steering wheel, a sport instrument cluster and door trim garnish. The Elantra Sport features multi-link independent rear suspension which improves the dynamic performance and allows for greater flexibility in tuning.

    Trim Levels

    The 2019 Hyundai Elantra offers 6 trim levels—SE, SEL, Value Edition, Limited and Eco or Sport. 



    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments

    Front end looks a bit silly but the interior looks good for the segment it is in.  I like how the center stack angles toward the driver a bit.  The 200 hp model should be fairly quick in a car this small, that 129 hp Eco model sounds like a dog.

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    they just keep pecking away at continual improvements.  Hyundai USA makes them easy to buy with lots of features for the money and easy financing and good warranty.

    They just keep pecking away.

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    • By William Maley
      (Author's Note: For those wondering where the 2021 Bronco story is, that will be up sometime tomorrow morning. There is a lot to digest, and need some more time to figure out how to structure that. Stay tuned. -WM).
      If the standard Bronco is a bit out of your reach, then Ford has another option in the form of the 2021 Bronco Sport. Yes, it is based on the Escape platform, but Ford is very adamant this us a very different animal.
      Lets begin with the dimensions. The Bronco Sport measures 172.7 inches in length and rides on 105.1 inch wheelbase - 7.8 and 1.6 inches shorter than the Escape. But the Sport is about an inch wider and is taller in terms of ground clearance (7.8 to 8.8 inches depending on the trim). Design-wise, the Sport looks very rugged with a boxy shape. chunky c-pillar, and a deep cut in the doors. The roof is raised slightly higher towards the back, reminding us of the first and second-generation Land Rover Discovery. This allows for better headroom and more cargo space.
      The only items that the Bronco Sport and Escape share inside are the switchgear. Everything else is unique to Bronco Sport such as the steering wheel featuring a bucking Bronco, MOLLE webbing on the back of the front seats to allow owners to attach various items, and optional rubberized floor. An eight-inch touchscreen with SYNC 3 comes standard. 
      Power will come from two engines. A turbo 1.5L three-cylinder providing 181 horsepower and 190 pound-feet of torque come standard on the base, Big Bend, and Outer Banks. The Badlands and 2021 model year only First Edition get the 2.0L turbo-four with 245 hp and 275 lb-ft. All with come with an eight-speed automatic and all-wheel drive. Like the larger Bronco, the Sport gets a range of drive modes called GOAT (Goes Over Any Type of Terrain). Controlled via a knob in the center console, a driver can select from five different modes - Normal, Eco, Sport, Slippery, and Sand. Badlands and First Edition add Mud/Ruts and Rocks.
      Surprisingly, Ford has announced pricing for the Bronco Sport. The base model begins at $28,155 including a $1,495 destination charge. The rest are as followed,
      Big Bend: $29,655 Outer Banks: $33,655 Badlands: $34,155 First Edition: $39,995 The first Bronco Sports are expected to arrive in dealers this fall, but you can put in a reservation right now with a $100 deposit. Though, we would wait a bit as Ford's servers are having some issues dealing with the load of everyone trying to put a reservation for the standard Bronco.
      Source: Ford
      Press Release is on Page 2


      ALL-NEW FORD BRONCO SPORT RUGGED SMALL SUV EQUIPPED FOR TRAILS WITH STANDARD 4X4 AND BUILT WILD CAPABILITY AND CONFIDENCE
      The Bronco of small SUVs: All-new Ford Bronco Sport expands the rugged Bronco family of 4x4-only vehicles, giving more outdoor adventurers Bronco off-road capability, durability and technology Built Wild™: With standard 4x4 across the lineup, Bronco Sport lives up to its G.O.A.T. (goes over any type of terrain) heritage with Built Wild Extreme Durability Testing, Capability and Innovative Design to deliver unsurpassed ground clearance, made-for-the-trails approach and departure angles, water fording, obstacle protection and segment-first trail technologies Thrilling: Bronco Sport SUV enables exciting, high-speed off-road driving thanks to its Bronco-specific variant architecture, Bronco design DNA, available 2.0-liter EcoBoost® engine targeting segment-best horsepower and torque, and advanced 4x4 system with class-exclusive twin-clutch rear-drive unit with a differential lock feature Ready for fun: Class-exclusive features designed for life on the trails include safari-style roof enabling class-leading headroom and a cargo area high enough to hold two 27.5-inch-wheel mountain bikes; more than 100 factory-backed and aftermarket accessories are available to transport gear such as kayaks, surfboards, skis and camping equipment Reservations: Open now for $100 at ford.com DEARBORN, Mich., July 13, 2020 – The all-new Ford Bronco Sport off-road vehicle – the Bronco of small SUVs – signals for adventure-seekers a welcome return to roads and trails less traveled.
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      “Bronco Sport has the toughness and smarts to help turn off-road novices into 4x4 pros,” said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford chief product development and purchasing officer. “Bronco Sport embraces the needs of outdoor enthusiasts – every inch of it was designed and engineered with weekend adventurers in mind.”
      Bronco Sport is smartly designed to transport two mountain bikes standing up in its cargo area – and two cyclists up front. Four available accessory bundles – in addition to more than 100 factory-backed standalone accessories – let owners easily make the vehicle their own by outfitting it to transport kayaks, skis, camping equipment or whatever gear propels their adventure.
      Five trim levels are available, including the base model, Big Bend™, Outer Banks™, Badlands™ and First Edition™.
      Reservations for Bronco Sport open today at ford.com; vehicles can be reserved for $100.
      Vehicles arrive in dealerships late this year.
      Built Wild 4x4 confidence
      Like the larger Bronco, the all-new Bronco Sport delivers the 4x4 off-road capability that made the original Bronco a legend. With off-road performance at its core, Bronco Sport provides solid footing on sand, snow, mud, rocks and more.
      For maximum off-road capability and long-term durability, Bronco Sport was tested in extreme conditions in places such as the Johnson Valley desert in California, as part of Built Wild Extreme Durability Testing. Badlands and First Edition models pack an advanced 4x4 system with a class-exclusive twin-clutch rear-drive unit with a differential lock feature to allow greater off-road performance – similar to a traditional mechanical locking differential. The system can divert virtually all rear axle torque to either wheel, setting it apart from any other vehicle in the non-premium subcompact utility segment.
      Bronco Sport’s suspension can take on rugged terrain and is complemented by Ford’s trail technologies. The small SUV’s Terrain Management System™ with up to seven available G.O.A.T. Modes™ helps drivers “go over any type of terrain” and in various conditions. Standard modes include Normal, Eco, Sport, Slippery and Sand; Mud/Ruts and Rock Crawl modes are available on Badlands and First Edition.
      All models feature an independent front and rear suspension engineered and performance-tested in demanding environments across North America. The suspension is optimized to help drivers confidently maintain vehicle composure while aggressively taking on rugged terrain.
      On Badlands and First Edition series, the system includes uniquely tuned front struts with hydraulic rebound stops designed to provide a quieter, less jarring off-road experience. In addition, 46-millimeter-diameter monotube rear shocks are among the largest in the class, helping provide improved response and more comfort off-road, while softer springs and antiroll bars offer greater articulation over obstacles.
      Class-exclusive Trail Control™ technology furthers the vehicle’s off-road prowess. The available feature enables a cruise control-like setting up to 20 mph forward and 6 mph in reverse for vehicle-controlled throttle and braking, letting the driver stay focused on navigating the trail.
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      In Rock Crawl mode, the electronic power steering assist system is uniquely calibrated to provide more precise control and help reduce steering wheel disturbance during low-speed maneuvers over rocky terrain.
      Off-road capability is further reinforced by four steel bash plates, plus available frame-mounted front tow hooks that can individually withstand static loads up to 100 percent of the gross vehicle weight. Badlands and First Edition can wade through up to 23.6 inches of water.
      Thrilling performance borne of Bronco DNA
      Staying true to the DNA of the first-generation Bronco, the all-new Bronco Sport SUV pays it forward with modern, heritage-inspired style, agile off-road architecture and optimized suspension for better control in all environments.
      The Badlands and First Edition series are powered by a 2.0-liter EcoBoost® engine that produces a targeted best-in-class 245 horsepower and 275 lb.-ft. of torque for high-speed off-road performance*. Base, Big Bend and Outer Banks series feature the proven 1.5-liter EcoBoost engine with a targeted 181 horsepower and 190 lb.-ft. of torque*.
      Both engines are paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission, while Bronco Sport Badlands and First Edition add SelectShift® with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters to help drivers maximize control both on- and off-road. A cooling system with additional transmission and rear-drive coolers keeps 2.0-liter models running strong over tough terrain.
      The Bronco Sport SUV’s design inspiration is directly linked to the all-new Bronco halo model. Its rugged design attributes include signature encapsulated cartridge grille, round headlamps, clean, flat bodysides, and timeless proportions that enable the short front and rear overhangs required for off-road maneuvers. Tough unpainted finishes smartly cover exterior contact points, so the vehicle is ready for almost anything the rough and tumble outdoors can throw at it.
      The Badlands series comes standard with 28.5-inch all-terrain tires. First Edition comes standard with 29-inch all-terrain off-road tires with more aggressive, deeper treads that stretch on to the sidewalls for improved off-road traction.
      Ready for fun to venture into the wild
      Human-centered design led to special Bronco Sport features such as class-exclusive liftgate LED floodlamps – because out in the wild, there are no streetlamps – MOLLE straps to carry extra gear, zippered seatback pockets for additional stowage, and even a built-in bottle opener in the cargo area.
      Its upright design and safari-style roof contribute to Bronco Sport’s adventurous silhouette, which not only features a long flat roof rail for maximum carrying length, it also treats occupants to best-in-class first- and second-row headroom. The cargo area has enough height to accommodate two standing 27.5-inch-wheel mountain bikes with the available Yakima dealer-installed interior bike rack accessory.
      Bronco Sport will launch with more than 100 factory-backed and aftermarket accessories for maximum personalization, enabling dealers to provide outfitting-on-demand for each owner’s individual adventure needs. Bronco Sport buyers can also opt for any of four lifestyle accessory bundles themed Bike, Snow, Water and Camping.
      A flip-glass rear window, low-load floor cargo area, overlanding-ready roof rack with capacity to make roof-top tent camping easy, and front fender peaks that allow the driver to see the corners of the vehicle easily from behind the wheel reveal this small SUV is purpose-built for adventure from front to back, top to bottom.
      Bronco Sport can quickly help with basecamp setup thanks to an innovative slide-out working table, part of the available five-way configurable Cargo Management System, plus a class-exclusive 400-watt inverter and liftgate floodlamps that illuminate up to 129 square feet for when the adventure ends after sundown.
      To make post-adventure cleanups painless, the Badlands and First Edition series offer washable rubber flooring throughout the cabin and cargo area, easy-to-clean cloth seating surfaces and silicone-sealed control switches. For stowage of wet, icy or muddy gear, an available storage bin is located below the second-row passenger-side seat.
      Smart in addition to being rugged, the vehicle features a SYNC® 3 system with an 8-inch touch screen and compatibility with Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™. Other available technology features include Ford+Alexa and SiriusXM™ satellite radio.
      The Ford Co-Pilot360™ suite of advanced driver-assist technologies is standard across the lineup, including Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking featuring Pedestrian Detection, Forward Collision Warning and Dynamic Brake Support, Blind Spot Information System with Cross-Traffic Alert, Lane-Keeping System, Auto High Beam Headlamps and a rearview camera. Available Ford Co-Pilot360 Assist+ technology includes Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop-and-Go and Lane-Centering, Evasive Steering Assist and voice-activated touch screen navigation. Available Ford Co-Pilot360 Assist 2.0 technology adds Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop-and-Go, Lane-Centering and Speed Sign Recognition.
    • By William Maley
      Nearly two years ago, I drove the then all-new Hyundai Kona crossover at a press event. It was a unique looking vehicle that was entering the growing subcompact crossover class. Out of the three Hyundai vehicles I drove, the Kona impressed me most with its performance and value for money. But if there is something I have learned over eight years with reviewing vehicles, is that I can’t take first impressions as final. It has been a long wait, but I finally got my hands on a 2020 Kona Ultimate AWD. Let’s see if my first impression can still hold up.
      The Outer Limits (of Exterior Design)
      You may be forgiven for thinking that the Kona has just arrived in a UFO from Planet Nine due to its shape. But Hyundai knew they needed to make a splash in what is becoming a very competitive class. Designers took some influence from the Jeep Cherokee with a rounded front end and the front lights being separated into daytime lights and headlights. Another design trait is the slit that sits between the grille and hood cutline. Finishing off the look is body cladding running along the lower edge and a bright green paint color only available on the turbo engine models. It may seem like an odd mashup of ideas, but it works surprisingly well.
      A Conventional Interior
      Some will be disappointed that Hyundai didn’t continue the wacky design for the Kona’s interior. But having an interior that is user friendly will always pull ahead of interesting design. That isn’t to say Hyundai hasn’t added some special touches such as vent surrounds and seat stitching matching the exterior color. Hard plastics are used throughout, but they don’t feel hollow or cheap when you run your hand across.
      There is a fair amount of space for those sitting upfront. Comfort is ok for short trips, but I found myself wanting more thigh support on longer trips. In the back, there is a large amount of headroom for most passengers. Legroom is a different story as tall people will find their knees pressed against the front seats. Cargo space is another area where the Kona is lacking. With the rear seats up, the Kona’s cargo area measures 19.2 cubic feet - about 0.1 cubic feet more than the Toyota C-HR. Fold them down and space increases to 45.8. This trails the likes of the Chevrolet Trax, Nissan Kicks, and Honda HR-V.
      The One To Still Be Beaten (Infotainment-wise)
      The Kona Ultimate comes equipped with an eight-inch touchscreen featuring Hyundai’s infotainment system. This system has consistently been one of my favorites as Hyundai nails the basics - simple interface, blazing-fast performance, and having features such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. My only complaint is that the design is starting to look dated when compared to other automakers and their updated infotainment. 
      Turbo Power!
      Two powertrains are available in the Kona. SE, SEL, and SEL Plus use the 2.0L four-cylinder offering 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque. It’s paired with a six-speed automatic. Limited and Ultimate come with the turbocharged 1.6L four producing 175 horsepower and 195 pound-feet. This is paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Front or all-wheel drive is available for either engine.
      Zippy is the word to describe the performance of the turbo engine. The Kona easily accelerates away from a stop and has no issue with passing a slower vehicle. The dual-clutch transmission seems to stumble when leaving a stop, but does get itself together at higher speeds. I also found the transmission is slow to react when your floor the throttle, taking a few milliseconds to downshift.
      EPA fuel economy figures for the 1.6T with AWD are 26 City/29 Highway/27 Combined. My average for the week landed around 26.7 mpg, mostly due to cold weather during the week I had the Kona.
      Woah, This Crossover Handles
      If you wanted a subcompact crossover that handled decently, your choices were either the Mazda CX-3 or Toyota C-HR. The Kona enters the ring as the third choice, and possibly the best. On the backroads, the Kona feels quite agile and has almost no body roll. If I was to nitpick, the steering doesn’t have as much feel as you’ll find in the CX-3. But it feels noticeably better than the C-HR. Ride quality is impressive with most bumps being isolated from passengers sitting inside. Not too much wind and road noise come inside.
      Possibly the Best Subcompact Crossover At the Moment
      Hyundai has a very compelling package in the Kona. There is an excellent performance from the turbocharged engine, impressive driving dynamics, easy to use infotainment system, and a long list of standard equipment. There are some drawbacks with the small cargo area and rear legroom topping the list. If you need the space, a Honda HR-V would be my first pick. The dual-clutch transmission still needs a bit more work to iron out the hesitation issues I experienced. 
      That first impression I had still stands and moves the Kona not only being the best in the class at the moment, but also onto a very rarefied list; a vehicle I would considering buying.
      How I Would Configure A Kona: The only reason I see buying the Ultimate is for the adaptive cruise control as most of the other safety equipment such as blind spot monitoring, parking sensors, and forward collision avoidance are available on other models. So if I wanted the Turbo engine, then I would step down to the Limited at $26,100. For those who think that is a tad expensive still should consider the SEL Plus as it comes very well equipped for $23,950. You do sacrifice the turbo engine for the 2.0L four-cylinder which is fine if your planning to drive mostly around town. Add an additional $1,400 for all-wheel drive.
      Disclaimer: Hyundai Provided the Kona, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Hyundai
      Model: Kona
      Trim: Ultimate
      Engine: 1.6L Turbocharged DOHC 16-Valve GDI Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Seven-Speed Dual-Clutch, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 175 @ 5,500
      Torque @ RPM: 195 @ 1,500 - 4,500
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 26/29/27
      Curb Weight: 3,276 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Ulsan, South Korea
      Base Price: $29,150
      As Tested Price: $ 30,380 (Includes $1,095.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Carpeted Floor Mats - $135.00

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      Nearly two years ago, I drove the then all-new Hyundai Kona crossover at a press event. It was a unique looking vehicle that was entering the growing subcompact crossover class. Out of the three Hyundai vehicles I drove, the Kona impressed me most with its performance and value for money. But if there is something I have learned over eight years with reviewing vehicles, is that I can’t take first impressions as final. It has been a long wait, but I finally got my hands on a 2020 Kona Ultimate AWD. Let’s see if my first impression can still hold up.
      The Outer Limits (of Exterior Design)
      You may be forgiven for thinking that the Kona has just arrived in a UFO from Planet Nine due to its shape. But Hyundai knew they needed to make a splash in what is becoming a very competitive class. Designers took some influence from the Jeep Cherokee with a rounded front end and the front lights being separated into daytime lights and headlights. Another design trait is the slit that sits between the grille and hood cutline. Finishing off the look is body cladding running along the lower edge and a bright green paint color only available on the turbo engine models. It may seem like an odd mashup of ideas, but it works surprisingly well.
      A Conventional Interior
      Some will be disappointed that Hyundai didn’t continue the wacky design for the Kona’s interior. But having an interior that is user friendly will always pull ahead of interesting design. That isn’t to say Hyundai hasn’t added some special touches such as vent surrounds and seat stitching matching the exterior color. Hard plastics are used throughout, but they don’t feel hollow or cheap when you run your hand across.
      There is a fair amount of space for those sitting upfront. Comfort is ok for short trips, but I found myself wanting more thigh support on longer trips. In the back, there is a large amount of headroom for most passengers. Legroom is a different story as tall people will find their knees pressed against the front seats. Cargo space is another area where the Kona is lacking. With the rear seats up, the Kona’s cargo area measures 19.2 cubic feet - about 0.1 cubic feet more than the Toyota C-HR. Fold them down and space increases to 45.8. This trails the likes of the Chevrolet Trax, Nissan Kicks, and Honda HR-V.
      The One To Still Be Beaten (Infotainment-wise)
      The Kona Ultimate comes equipped with an eight-inch touchscreen featuring Hyundai’s infotainment system. This system has consistently been one of my favorites as Hyundai nails the basics - simple interface, blazing-fast performance, and having features such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. My only complaint is that the design is starting to look dated when compared to other automakers and their updated infotainment. 
      Turbo Power!
      Two powertrains are available in the Kona. SE, SEL, and SEL Plus use the 2.0L four-cylinder offering 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque. It’s paired with a six-speed automatic. Limited and Ultimate come with the turbocharged 1.6L four producing 175 horsepower and 195 pound-feet. This is paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Front or all-wheel drive is available for either engine.
      Zippy is the word to describe the performance of the turbo engine. The Kona easily accelerates away from a stop and has no issue with passing a slower vehicle. The dual-clutch transmission seems to stumble when leaving a stop, but does get itself together at higher speeds. I also found the transmission is slow to react when your floor the throttle, taking a few milliseconds to downshift.
      EPA fuel economy figures for the 1.6T with AWD are 26 City/29 Highway/27 Combined. My average for the week landed around 26.7 mpg, mostly due to cold weather during the week I had the Kona.
      Woah, This Crossover Handles
      If you wanted a subcompact crossover that handled decently, your choices were either the Mazda CX-3 or Toyota C-HR. The Kona enters the ring as the third choice, and possibly the best. On the backroads, the Kona feels quite agile and has almost no body roll. If I was to nitpick, the steering doesn’t have as much feel as you’ll find in the CX-3. But it feels noticeably better than the C-HR. Ride quality is impressive with most bumps being isolated from passengers sitting inside. Not too much wind and road noise come inside.
      Possibly the Best Subcompact Crossover At the Moment
      Hyundai has a very compelling package in the Kona. There is an excellent performance from the turbocharged engine, impressive driving dynamics, easy to use infotainment system, and a long list of standard equipment. There are some drawbacks with the small cargo area and rear legroom topping the list. If you need the space, a Honda HR-V would be my first pick. The dual-clutch transmission still needs a bit more work to iron out the hesitation issues I experienced. 
      That first impression I had still stands and moves the Kona not only being the best in the class at the moment, but also onto a very rarefied list; a vehicle I would considering buying.
      How I Would Configure A Kona: The only reason I see buying the Ultimate is for the adaptive cruise control as most of the other safety equipment such as blind spot monitoring, parking sensors, and forward collision avoidance are available on other models. So if I wanted the Turbo engine, then I would step down to the Limited at $26,100. For those who think that is a tad expensive still should consider the SEL Plus as it comes very well equipped for $23,950. You do sacrifice the turbo engine for the 2.0L four-cylinder which is fine if your planning to drive mostly around town. Add an additional $1,400 for all-wheel drive.
      Disclaimer: Hyundai Provided the Kona, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Hyundai
      Model: Kona
      Trim: Ultimate
      Engine: 1.6L Turbocharged DOHC 16-Valve GDI Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Seven-Speed Dual-Clutch, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 175 @ 5,500
      Torque @ RPM: 195 @ 1,500 - 4,500
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 26/29/27
      Curb Weight: 3,276 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Ulsan, South Korea
      Base Price: $29,150
      As Tested Price: $ 30,380 (Includes $1,095.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Carpeted Floor Mats - $135.00
    • By William Maley
      The Hyundai Santa Cruz has been talked about off and on since its debut as a concept in 2015. But it seems the truck is finally coming to fruition as some new spy shots reveal.
      Compared to the concept which was an extended cab, Hyundai is using a crew cab layout. The bed is quite short, possibly around four to five feet being our guess. Up front, the Santa Cruz gets the same front end treatment as the refreshed 2021 Santa Fe - wider front grille and new headlight treatment.
      Following in the footsteps of the Honda Ridgeline, the Santa Fe will be based on a unibody platform. In this case, the Santa Fe. This likely means power will come from either the 2.4L four-cylinder with 185 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque or turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder with 235 hp and 260 lb-ft. Our money is on the latter engine. 
      Expect more details to come out on the Santa Cruz before its launch next year.
      Source: Autoblog, Car and Driver

      View full article
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