Hyundai Santa Cruz

The first thing I will say about Hyundai’s new pickup truck, the Santa Cruz, is that it is designed to be less of a utility vehicle and more of a sport vehicle to compliment those with an active lifestyle. Its driving style is like that of an SUV, with supple road manners, however the open bed in the back to accommodate things like salty surfboards, muddy dirt bikes, and anything else you’d not want dirtying up your upholstery, is a great feature for those with messy outdoor hobbies. 

Just from a comfort perspective the front and rear compartments both have a decent amount of space to stretch out in; the seats also feature heating and cooling options, which is a nice touch, especially for the adventurer who might be traveling during extreme temperatures for escapades such as snowboarding or water-sports. Additional great features include a sunroof, dual-zone climate control, and large dual-screen display options. 

The Santa Cruz gets about 27 miles to the gallon of gas, and up to 281 horse power drive terrain, making it a decent drive for a truck that prices in at just under 25k. An apt description came from a coworker of mine who described it as “this generation’s El Camino,” which I stand by as accurate. All in all I would recommend this truck for any adventure hobbyist in need of a comfortable ride with a storage bed to accommodate messier pastimes. 

Hyundai Kona Electric

Usually when writing these reviews I save the price point for the end, but for the Hyundai Kona Electric I have to start by saying how impressed I am that for about the price of a new Camry you can get an electric vehicle. Coming it at $34k, plus an optional federal tax credit of $7500, the ride makes purchase of an electric vehicle within the realm of the possible even for budget buyers and is, in my opinion, one of the best bargains on the market. 

Perfect for drivers converting from a gas-powered to electric vehicle, this car drives with a similar gait to a gas-powered car; oftentimes I even forgot I was driving an electric car, which I have often noticed to have more quirks that require adjusting to if you’re not used to driving electric. The automatic cruise control was another great driving feature that allowed for an effortless ride. 

The regenerative breaking feature converts breaking energy into electric power, which is great for recharging the vehicle – especially while driving in the city where breaking frequently is a standard. The car boasts an average of 258 mile range, however while driving on the highway I noticed I was getting closer to an average of a 200 mile range. With a respectable horse power of 201, the car was fast enough, though not faster than a Tesla; although, speaking on Tesla comparisons, I will say the Hyundai Kona Electric is a better value and has a better build quality overall. 

Some notable interior features include the heated steering wheel, and heated and cooling seats, which make for comfortable driving in any temperatures. I also appreciated the large digital displays of the entertainment screen and instrument cluster, which felt very high-tech. The car is also notably compact, making for easy maneuvering, but didn’t sacrifice spaciousness on the inside. It also featured a rear hatch with folding seats, making it great for hauling larger items. 

Overall this car is a great ride for the value, and the perfect pick for those transitioning from gas-powered to electric. If you’re considering going electric, consider the Hyundai Kona Electric.

A Solar Powered Car? The 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

To say the 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is a solar powered car is a bit of a stretch, but I am not too far off. Instead of a traditional sun roof, the production vehicle that I drove for a week featured a large solar panel on the roof. This allows the car to re-charge its batteries while sitting in the hot sun. Effectively allowing you to drive an electric vehicle up to 2-miles per day on solar alone. Hyundai did a great job with this; not only from an engineering side, but from an understated design perspective. It look like a sleek Hyundai sedan from a distance, which I like. Solar powered roof only gets noticed when you closely look at the roof. Click Here To Continue Reading

The 2018 “Hyundai Santa Fe Sport Ultimate” Ticks All The Boxes

When browsing a corporate parking garage, it is easy to get lost in the sea of executive and middle management cars. Everyone tends to drive BMWs and Audi’s that cost north of $50,000, but have half of the features of this week’s test vehicle. And arguably, the 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport looks better too. I am a big fan of the brand’s new design language, which appears to have a little German and Japanese influence in it. Yet, this crossover utility vehicle was assembled in the USA and is technically more American than a Ford Edge or a Chevrolet Equinox. Click Here To Continue Reading

The new Hyundai Sonata is on whole new level!


I usually don’t get excited about cars that get a refresh. But the new Hyundai Sonata has peeked my interest. While it visually looks similar very similar, it is not. Hyundai has reworked almost every exterior element on the front of the car. It has new grill with sleeker lines that remind me of an unnamed luxury car. It’s stance is more aggressive, and it is complimented with a reworked rear end. It has got an all-new trunk, bumper and tail lights.

The interior although they say it is new, you can’t tell the difference unless you are comparing the two vehicles side by side. But what is noticeable different is the driving dynamics. The feel of the vehicle is enhanced by new steering and suspension systems that give the driver more feedback while also delivering a smoother ride. Another impressive item related to the car is a new transmission. Even though you will never (don’t quote me) see a Hyundai Sonata on the drag strip, you still want to have fun with it. The transmission has been reworked to deliver quicker shifts when you hit the gas pedal hard, but still offer smooth transitions between gears when cruising casually. I also noticed less lag between shifts while manually selecting a gear using the paddle shifters.


For those concerned about fuel economy, both models of the Hyundai Sonata I tested got over 30mpg. If you are interested in performance, you have your choice of a 1.6L twin-turbo 4-cylinder that produces 178hp, a 2.4L naturally aspirated 4-cylinder that produces 185hp, or a 2.0L twin-turbo that produces a respectiable 245hp.

Overall, Hyundai did a fantastic job of enhancing an already great product. Even though a well equipped Hyundai Sonata is priced at under $25,000, it still offers premium luxury features. A 7 inch touchscreen infotainment system, power and heated front seats, automatic headlights, and blind-spot detection are all standard features on the SEL trim. If you want to add the $1,000 Tech Package to your options list, the car can nearly drive itself… you get automatic emergency braking, lane-keep assist, and adaptive cruise control. 

For more information about the new Hyundai Sonata, visit your local dealer or click here to visit Hyundai’s website.

New Name, Same Great Car! The Genesis G80

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I wrote a First Drive review on the Genesis G80 a few years ago, back when it was called simply the Hyundai Genesis. The vehicle hasn’t changed much outside of the rebadging. It is still the same great car with german like styling, but it is more affordable and has double the warranty. When compared to the competition, for a little over $50,000 you can get a fully loaded G80 with ventilated leather seats and a 311 horsepower 3.8L V6 motor OR a base E-Class with vinyl seats and 240 horsepower 2.0L 4-Cylinder motor.

Obviously a lot of people are driven (punt intended) by the Mercedes badge, which is why the G80 is no longer technically Hyundai product. Genesis has spun off into its own manufacture. If you want to buy the car though, you will still be forced to visit a Hyundai dealer until Genesis starts building their own dealerships. You won’t have to visit the dealership for oil changes though because the marque has created “Genesis Service Valet.” The program offers owners the opportunity to have a service professional pickup your vehicle for service and deliver a loaner vehicle complimentary. You also get free scheduled maintenance for 3 years or 36,000 miles.

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Now on to the good stuff… The interior of the Genesis G80 is suburb. The seats are wrapped in Nappa leather and the dash featured genuine wood trim – Nappa leather is an expensive option on the German competition. The seats are also heated and cool, and the steering wheel is heated. Above the dash you will find a full-color heads up display so you no longer have to look at the speedometer to check your speed. The Genesis G80 is a fairly quite ride on the highway, until you crank up the 17-speaker Lexicon Surround Sound system. While Lexicon doesn’t have the brand name of Burmester or Bang & Olufsen, it does deliver a comparable sound – standard issues on the G80 of course. It seems that Hyundai executives told their engineers to buy a Mercedes-Benz E-Class, BMW 5-Series, and an Audi A6, then to make a car that is just as good, but cost less.

I could go on an on about the value Genesis gives you with the G80, but the best way to experience is to visit your local deal or click here to visit Hyundai’s (I mean Genesis’) website.

 

5 Must See Cars At The 2016 Miami Auto Show

1. Alfa Romeo Guilia


I saw this car at the Frankfurt Autoshow last year and fell in love with it. Now it is for the US market to compete head to head with BMW’s M series and Mercedes’ AMG series vehicles. If you want a unique high performance sedan, this is your car!

2. Acura NSX


Acura (Honda, everywhere else in the world) has been teasing us with a new NSX for the past five years. Now it is finally here and a production ready prototype is on display at the Miami Auto Show. Get ready to see them on the streets of South Florida, because I know of at least one local dealer who delivered the car to a customer.

3. Genesis G90


While the Genesis G90 isn’t the most thrilling car on our list, it is definitely the most luxurious. The new G90 is the successor to the Equus and will give the Mercedes S-Class a run for its money.

4. Audi R8


The new Audi R8 is at the 2016 Miami International Auto Show. Its jaw dropping V10 motor and dual-clutch transmission makes it the fastest naturally aspirated production vehicle on the planet.

5. Lexus LC500 Hybrid 


Lexus has taken the luxury grand-touring car segment to the extreme with their newest vehicle. I saw it from a distance on stage at the Detroit Auto Show, but it is even more impressive up close.

First Drive: The 2016 Hyundai Tucson

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The 2016 Hyundai Tucson has big shoes to fill… The 2015 Tucson was the “highest ranked small SUV by JB Power.

At first glance of the upcoming Hyundai Tucson, I thought that the styling resembled a german luxury compact SUV. Then, when I got behind the wheel, my impression changed to an American compact SUV. Turns out, both observations were correct…. The exterior of the 2016 Tucson was designed by Hyundai’s German design team, and the exterior was designed by the American design.

After a wonderful dinner with Hyundai’s product manager, I learned that this is common practice for Hyundai. The American, German, and Korean design teams faceoff to design each new vehicle concept.

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The 2016 Hyundai Tucson is a completely new compact SUV. In addition to a new exterior and interior, a new drivetrain is available. The 1.6L 4-cylinder turbo provides ample power and great fuel economy at 33 mpg on the highway.

I was impressed with Hyundai’s use of a dual-clutch transmission in the Tucson. Dual-clutch transmissions are more expensive to build, but they offer the performance and economy benefits of a manual transmission with the ease of use of a traditional automatic.

2016 Tucson

The interior of the 2016 Hyundai Tucson feels solid. Long smooth arches gives the dash and center console an almost futuristic look. The design is consistent with most of Hyundai’s other vehicles. Premium options include ventilated leather seats, as well as, a panoramic sunroof.

I quite surprise with how spacious the cabin felt for a compact SUV. Both the front and backseat felt cozy. Most passangers will have plenty of leg room.

Hyundai was inovative with the cargo area on the 2016 Tucson. Suprisenly, it offers more cargo volumn than many mid-size or large SUVs – more than the Porsche Cayanne.

Technology wise, the new Hyundai Tucson is available with all of the usual bells and whistles: 8″ touchscreen display, Bluetooth, navigation, and a backup camera. There is only one USB port, which is a disappointment. Hyundai makes up for it with multiple power plugs in the vehicle.

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This compact SUV is a bargain with a starting price of $22,000. It feels solid, looks great, and practical.

For more information on the 2016 Hyundai Tucson, contact your local dealer or click here to visit Hyundai’s website.