“The Canadian International Auto Show media preview featured 41 “New to Canada” vehicle premieres and for the first time ever a “World Premiere”, which was video cast globally, of the 2018 Hyundai Accent.”
“The Hyundai folks gritted their teeth as the snowflakes swirled but they were smiling by the time the event wound down.”
Keith Morgan picks five trendy faves from Ford, Infinity, Lincoln, Hyundai and Chevy at the L.A. International auto show
Picking five top vehicles for the year is near impossible, but here are the ones that made the biggest impression on me (more…)
“Everything that matches the 2016 Tucson to an active lifestyle applies just as meaningfully to empty nesters and retirees.”
by Rob Rothwell
Halfmoon Bay, B.C.
Hyundai’s all-new compact Tucson crossover is aimed squarely at pre-family buyers living active lifestyles.
But I’ve got a tip for those drifting into a greyer reality; it’s an ideal vehicle for you too.
Everything that matches the 2016 Tucson to an active lifestyle applies just as meaningfully to empty nesters and retirees, whether their activity includes walking the pooch or sailing above the surf on a kiteboard.
While Hyundai’s advertisements for the Tucson feature square-jawed athletic dudes with defined stubble and bronze skin, it doesn’t mean they don’t intend to sell the snappy crossover to folks like me, on the dark side of fifty.
For marketing purposes, my likeness won’t favour sales. You see, I’m told by those in the biz that you can sell a young man’s car to an old man but not the other way around; this applying equally to women.
While my future as a sales prop is only slightly more certain than winning Lotto Max without buying a ticket, I enjoyed my day behind the wheel of the new Tucson. The meandering route allowed my driving partner and me to explore the many bays and coves along British Columbia’s idyllic Sunshine Coast.
It’s in this sort of environment that the 2016 Tucson will have older buyers admiring its exceptional level of operational refinement and day-long serenity. It delivers a near-premium driving experience, though not a particularly exciting one.
A smooth, absorbent ride was clearly more the priority than searing performance in the corners and on the straightaways, and that’s fine by me.
In redesigning the Tucson, Hyundai engineers focused on all aspects of quality in addition to refinement and styling. The latter of which has given us a vehicle longer, lower, and wider than its predecessor.
Aboard the Tucson, one is immersed in a well thought-out cabin transmitting a sense deportment that was sadly lacking in the former execution. Today’s version is as accurately assembled as the best of them in the fiercely competitive compact crossover segment.
While Hyundai’s soft-touch surfaces and intuitive architecture are praiseworthy, it’s the larger slice of ‘content’ pie which they serve that sets the Tucson apart from its contemporaries under competing nameplates.
“More for less” has always been a Hyundai hallmark, and the Tucson adheres to the credo with its outstanding list of standard and near-standard features, including safety tech such as Blind Spot Detection with Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Warning, and Autonomous Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection.
Thoughtful touches include heated front and rear seats, a heated steering wheel, dual-level cargo floor, and a remarkably convenient Proximity power liftgate. The latter opening by merely sensing the key in proximity of the liftgate for three seconds.
No longer can the Tucson be considered an entry-level crossover despite its modest across-the-board increase of roughly $400. The upscale climb includes the availability of an optional 1.6L turbocharged I-4 GDI engine harnessed to a segment-exclusive 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (DCT).
The turbocharged mill fortifies the AWD Tucson with 175 horsepower and 195 lb.-ft. of torque, and is the obvious choice for passing-lane adherents. The base 2.0L I-4 GDI (required with FWD) is the powerplant of choice for the modest. It shells out 164 horsepower and 151 lb.-ft. of torque through the auspices of a six-speed autobox.
Three drive modes – Eco, Normal, and Sport – enable drivers to tweak engine response, shift mapping, and steering resistance, to correspond with the mood of the day. I really didn’t find a need for Sport mode, largely enjoying the Normal setting most.
After spending a day administering the turbocharged and non-turbocharged Tucson variants, I departed the Sunshine Coast with the view that Hyundai has raised the bar for refinement, comfort, and value in the compact crossover segment. Albeit, handling dynamics and sheer athleticism may still belong to the likes of Mazda’s CX5.
Pricing FWD: $24,399 – $26,999
Pricing AWD: $31,549 – $39,599
Base engine: 2.0L I-4, GDI 164 hp. / 151 lb.-ft. torque
Optional engine: 1.6L turbocharged 1-4 GDI, 175 hp. / 195 lb.-ft. torque
Combined city/highway fuel economy: base engine 9.0L/100km, optional engine 9.2L/100km
Seating capacity: 5
Cargo capacity: 877 litres
“Green cars were in evidence in Montreal but when the shows reach the west, you can expect to see many more cars for the eco-conscious drivers.”
“Hyundai has done it again, delivering a very attractive car, full of features and at an attractive price…”
“I’ve occasionally watched Amazing Race on TV and as soon as the partnership starts to go sour, the whole thing can go sour.”
When you’re doing an Amazing Race-style activity, picking the proper teammate is the key success.
Clearly, I chose improperly.
I’ve occasionally watched Amazing Race on TV and as soon as the partnership starts to go sour, the whole thing can go sour. Blood starts to boil. Tension rises. Ratings go up.
That’s all part of the game. It’s also part of the fun.
Hyundai Fun Day has been an annual event for the last few years. It really needs no explanation because the title says it all.
It’s all about fun. That mirth comes in various shapes and sizes and there’s lots to be had.
Unless you’re stuck with a partner for an Amazing Race-style challenge who doesn’t even read the clues properly. Or forgets to tell you an important piece of information during the timed activity, like, say, what your next challenge is.
With Type-A personality tendencies, the need to be spot-on sometimes takes over. For the better or the worse, that trait has led me to victories in other rally events.
Sadly, not on Fun Day.
In true Canadian fashion, the first challenge was to score three shots on goal.
Stick in hand and ball on the floor, part of the parking lot at the revamped Driver Development Track (DDT) at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park was dedicated to the nation’s favourite pastime (and no, it’s not drinking beer.)
After completing the challenge, the stick was passed to my partner, who struggled, to say the least. A few minutes later, and quite a few shots on goal, we were finally given our next clue.
Our chariot for this part of the event was the Hyundai Elantra, equipped with a new 2.0L engine equipped with Gasoline Direct Injection, delivering 173 horsepower.
He was deemed navigator while I drove.
After we found the second clue, I asked him to take a photo of it – as it was outside of the vehicle – so we could look at it.
Without even reading what he took a picture of, he said: “There was no clue. It was just a sign. I think we just head back.”
I used my vetoing power and asked him to show me the photo of the clue he took. It didn’t say to drive back.
Had some cameras been there, it would have made for some nail-biting television.
We finally figured it out and kept on trekking. We didn’t have to go too far for any of the given clues, but since we lost a little bit of time at the beginning, I needed to make it up.
Putting the Elantra’s acceleration to the test might not have been the instructions we were given, but it was what we had to do.
Making a long-ish story short, we didn’t come out as victors but the day in itself was a win all around.
Veloster Turbos were ready and waiting to be driven around the autocross circuit that was specifically designed for us.
A parking challenge with the Accent was quite fun: see how fast you can parallel park, pull forward into another spot, back into another, and then cross the finish line.
Hit a cone that marked the area you were supposed to stay in and you’d get additional time put on your score.
Unleashing the Genesis V6 coupes on the fresh-faced DDT also had its sensational perks; complete with manual gearboxes.
And when all was said and done, the all-new 2015 Sonata sedan and I would stick around for a few more days in rural Ontario and explore some of the natural habitat in the Ganaraska region, just east of Toronto.
“We had air conditioning in case it got really hot and directions via the navigation system in case we wanted to go to Hell and back and lost our way.”
Ann Arbor, Michigan.
If you’re driving to Hell, what kind of car would you want to be in?
An SUV? A sports car? One that if you never come back, at least your missing person’s report would list you last seen: “in something fast, flashy and awesome?”
When my driving partner and I stumbled upon Hell, Michigan, or at least the sign that directed us that way, we were in the all-new, 2015 Hyundai Sonata; a sedan that is now seven generations strong.
We had air conditioning in case it got really hot and directions via the navigation system in case we wanted to go to Hell and back and lost our way. And comfortable seats in case the crossing of the River Styx was long and arduous. Furthermore, we had the power to get us out of there if we needed to leave in a hurry.
Okay, enough about Hell and back to the car… for 2015, the Sonata gives you two engine options; both of which have been revised for the seventh generation.
The first is a peppy 2.4L, 4-cylinder with 185 horsepower and 178 lb-ft of torque.
Then there’s the spirited, optional, 2.0-litre twin-scroll turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 245 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. Both engine variants are linked with a 6-speed automatic transmission.
There’s a lot going on with Hyundai’s mid-size sedan. It’s built with an all-new chassis, which equates to a more comfortable ride, better handling and an overall improvement in NVH (Noise, Vibrations, Harshness.) To test that out, we took it to the streets of Ann Arbor in Michigan, as well as the backcountry roads that have sweeping corners and tight turns.
The first thing I noticed was how much better the handling was, especially when you have it in Sport mode. The 2015 Sonata gives the driver a choice of three drive modes. These modes work together with the sedan’s engine, transmission, and Motor-Driven Power Steering (MDPS) to suit different driver preferences.
In Sport, powertrain responsiveness and heavier steering weight are both increased. The steering weight definitely comes in handy on the twisty parts of the road. In Normal mode, steering isn’t as responsive but better suited for urban environments. And if you’re in a fuel saving mood, pop the car into Eco mode. This softens throttle response and recalibrates transmission response so you get the most out of your tank.
Speaking of steering, Hyundai mentions, “The 2015 Sonata’s steering wheel features an irregular shape with increased rim thickness and ergonomic grip rests. These subtle changes ensure more of the steering wheel surface remains in contact with the driver’s hands. In turn, the vehicle offers enhanced steering system feel, especially at high speed.”
I’d agree with this. My fingers were comfortably placed at 9 and 3 o’clock and felt pretty good there.
But it’s not just the driving modes and steering wheel that make the Sonata as popular as it is. The 2015 comes with all new styling inside and outside.
Let’s start with the cabin, since the driver will spend more time looking at a centre stack than they will the front, hexagonal grille.
Featuring even higher quality materials than before, it’s softer to the touch and the layout is optimized for the driver. Placement of the buttons and switches in the Sonata was paramount and was a major focus for designers and engineers.
On the outside, you’ll see a family resemblance to the Sonata’s big brother, the Genesis.
The character line is more pronounced, yet the cumulative look is more sophisticated and mature.
It’s a tough segment to be in. When you have frontrunners like the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Mazda6 and more, it can get pretty heated. But the Sonata remains cool and collected and has the goods to keep up with the best of them.
The 2015 Hyundai Sonata has a starting MSRP of $23,999. The top of the line Sport 2.0T Ultimate has an MSRP of $34,799.
Visit www.hyundaicanada.com for more information.