Another redesigned crossover; another redesigned Hyundai. Ho-hum. The Santa Fe is certainly not much to get excited about – unless you like getting lots of kit for not much money. In that case, then, yes, there’s plenty to like here, and in a vehicle that’s really quite nice to drive.
Category Archives: Hyundai
This summer, I spent a few weeks with a 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2.0T. I did a little bit of everything with this car: city slogging, highway cruising, and hauling heaps of stuff. Click through the links below to read my impressions of a car that was fun, but far from perfect.
I’m in the early weeks of an extended, four-month test of the Hyundai Genesis Coupe, a rear-wheel drive car that challenges many of the negative stereotypes that continue to dog this carmaker, in spite of the recent, massive strides in quality they’ve made. Click here to read my Autos.ca Long-Term Introduction.
In Canada, hatchbacks and Hyundai are hot stuff right now. Hyundai’s problem (a first-world problem if ever we’ve heard one) is that its strong-selling compact Elantra was available only as a sedan, while many of its competitors’ small cars can be had in a variety of body styles.
For 2013, the Korean automaker answers a question that I’m sure some have been asking, by adding a hatchback and coupe to the Elantra line.
True, the Elantra Touring station wagon has been available since 2009, but, as the marketers are so eager to tell us, wagons aren’t cool and no one wants them. The 2013 Elantra GT therefore sacrifices some practicality for a more stylish hatchback body, in the vein of a Mazda3 Sport or Ford Focus five-door, which happen to be the cars Hyundai sees the GT competing most closely with for buyers. We got a chance to drive both coupe and GT models at a recent first drive event in Montreal.
The need for an Elantra coupe was less obvious to us, but Hyundai’s Canadian PR reps say this car presents an opportunity to take a bite out of a market that is largely owned by Honda’s Civic coupe. In the past, General Motors was a major player in small two-doors, until it replaced its Chevrolet Cobalt with the four-door-only Cruze. With that popular player gone, the Elantra two-door will compete with the Civic and its corporate cousin, the Kia Forte Koup.
Like the Elantra sedan, the GT and coupe offer good interior space that’s around average for the class. The GT’s cargo space is less generous than the old Elantra Touring had; the coupe really only sacrifices some rear seat headroom; its trunk space matches the sedan’s, and the rest of the interior is as spacious (if not as easy to get in and out of, thanks to the lack of rear doors) as the sedan’s and GT’s.
While all three cars share the Elantra name, they are not all the same underneath. The coupe is essentially an Elantra sedan with two fewer doors, but shares a different rear suspension with the GT, a torsion axle setup with a stabilizer bar in place of the sedan’s less-sophisticated (Hyundai’s word) rear suspension. GT models get stiffer rear springs and better shock absorbers, and the coupe’s suspension is tweaked depending on trim level to accommodate the two wheel and tire packages (16 and 17 inches) offered on the two-door. The GT also rides on a unique platform, the car being a near-twin to the Hyundai i30 sold in overseas markets.
All three cars use the 1.8-litre four-cylinder “Nu” engine found in the Elantra sedan, as well as that car’s six-speed manual and automatic transmissions. Its power ratings (148 hp/131 lb-ft of torque) remain the same for all three cars, putting it roughly mid-pack in the numbers game. It’s a good engine, but if you choose to shift for yourself, you’ll be doing a lot of it to keep the motor in its sweet spot.
Hyundai has made much of this engine’s fuel efficiency, and its Natural Resources Canada ratings of 7.3/5.0 L/100 km (with the automatic transmission; the stickshift does slightly better); this engine does without the direct fuel injection technology used by a number of its competitors (and, indeed, other Hyundai models) because, as Hyundai explains, it wasn’t necessary to meet the company’s economy goals. Automatic-equipped cars have an ActiveECO fuel-saving mode, a driver-selectable system that softens throttle response and changes the transmission’s shift pattern to boost efficiency.
The GT also gets what Hyundai calls Driver Selectable Steering Mode (DSSM), which lets the driver choose from three levels of power assist: comfort, normal and sport. This feature is a first both for Hyundai and the compact segment, and was conceived to allow different drivers to tailor the steering to their own preferences. It’s a bit gimmicky, though, and doesn’t actually affect the car’s performance in any meaningful way; the GT’s steering ratio is virtually identical to the sedan’s. The coupe, meanwhile, has slightly quicker steering than its linemates.
That said, the GT gets the nod as the best-handling member of the Elantra family. It feels a bit more substantial over the road than the coupe and sedan, and the rear suspension provides better body motion control, too. The coupe is a decent handler in backroad driving, as long as the asphalt is smooth; broken pavement brings out the same skittish rear-end feel the sedan is guilty of.
Both coupe and GT models come with a comprehensive list of standard kit that includes air conditioning, heated front seats, cruise, trip computer and Bluetooth. The coupe is offered in GLS and SE trims, while the GT can be had in base, GLS and SE configurations. It’s worth noting that in both cases, the SE trim includes the automatic transmission, with cannot be deleted in favour of the manual.
Coupe pricing ranges from $19,949 for the GLS ($21,149 with automatic) to $25,199 in SE form, which includes navigation, premium audio, leather, automatic climate control, among other niceties.
The GT hatch starts at $19,149 in base form and bumps to $21,349 for the GLS model (the automatic is a $1,200 option in base and GLS models). The GT SE is worth $24,349, including leather, automatic climate control and a front windshield de-icer, and can be optioned with a Tech package that adds push-button start, proximity key, navigation and backup camera, for $26,349.
It’s only been on the road for about three years, but I’m fairly confident in suggesting the Hyundai Genesis Coupe is a well-built sports coupe that makes a smart used car buy. Check out my full review at Autos.ca.
The letter R is a dangerous one when used in a vehicle trim designation.
I’ve been lazy about updating lately, so here are links to a number of recent reviews of mine, published at Autos.ca:
Test Drive: 2012 Acura TSX V6 — A very nice sport sedan that nonetheless needs a serious dose of personality and a number of high-tech features that
many most of its competitors offer.
Used Vehicle Review: Nissan Altima, 2007-2012 — As a Japanese company, Nissan has a reputation for building tough cars. It earned that in the 1980s and 90s, but its later models are less robust; the fourth-generation Altima mid-size sedan is a good example.
Used Vehicle Review: Lexus GS, 2006-2012 — Speaking of Japanese cars that don’t live up to the nation’s reputation for well-built cars, there’s the third-generation Lexus GS. Compared to the quality benchmark set by Lexus (and parent-company Toyota) in the 1990s, this car falls well short.
Used Vehicle Review: Mitsubishi Outlander, 2007-2012 — Then, there’s Mitsubishi, a company with plenty to prove. It’s proving it well, apparently, with the well-built Outlander crossover, an underrated vehicle that gets overlooked by many used-vehicle buyers.
Used Vehicle Review: Mazda Tribute, 2001-2011 — I always thought the Tribute was a stop-gap vehicle added to Mazda’s lineup to fill a gap until it designed its own crossover model. It was a near carbon-copy of the Ford Escape, and so inherited that vehicle’s positive traits — and its common flaws.
Used Vehicle Review: Nissan Frontier, 2005-2012 — Here’s a modern Nissan that seems more in line with the company’s reputation. The Frontier has a few common problems, but is generally a decent little truck.
Used Vehicle Review: Acura RDX, 2007-2012 — The RDX is Acura’s compact crossover, and the first-generation model is a quirky vehicle, for being the only Honda-built product to use a turbocharged engine. Common problems include air conditioning compressor failures, but the basics — engine, transmission and nifty all-wheel drive system — seem to be pretty tough.
The second-generation Hyundai Santa Fe, produced between 2007 and 2012, is a good vehicle, but is more representative of the company in transition that Hyundai was then, and not the brand gunning for the top that it is now. Read my Autos.ca used vehicle review here.
Canadians seem to love compact SUVs and hatchbacks, but neither of those vehicle types can rival a small station wagon’s combination of utility and affordability. The Hyundai Elantra Touring, sold in Canada from 2009 through the 2012 model year (and due to be replaced in 2012 by the redesigned 2013 Elantra GT), is a great example of a simple, solid and (surprisingly) fun-to-drive wagon. Click on through to Autos.ca to read my opinion on buying a used one.
In the past, upscale, stylish compact hatchbacks have, naturally, been the exclusive domain of upscale manufacturers. That changes, now, with the introduction of the Hyundai Veloster, a car that pitches the Korean manufacturer into the same arena as cars like the Mini Cooper and Volvo C30.