Tag: Hyundai

2018 Kia Stinger GT2 RWD Review

2018 Kia Stinger GT2 RWD Review

2018 Kia Stinger GT2

Steven Tyler
Steven Tyler

Back in the day, when General Motors was King, Chevrolet was their bread and butter brand while Pontiac was “where the action was.” At the Hyundai Group, we think it’s appropriate to consider Hyundai Motors in the Chevrolet role while Kia is “where the action is,” as seen with their new 2018 Kia Stinger GT2. Why, the action is so here that even Steven Tyler and Emerson Fittipaldi are interested!

The Upselling of an image.

kia stinger gt2
kia stinger gt2

As has been mentioned more than 10,000 times on the Internet already, the Kia Stinger GT2 is based on the Kia GT concept car that debuted at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show. Impressed for sure, it merely showed some ideas that were bouncing around the design studio. Jet forward seven years and what we actually got Instead looks like a huffed-up version of the Kia Optima, with a steroid supplier on speed dial.

With a Kia Optima parked side-by-side with our Stinger tester, it is clear that they only share a passing familial resemblance, which included the familiar tiger-nose treatment at the grille. While the Optima is a front drive vehicle, the Stinger is a rear- or all-wheel-drive (AWD) Grand Touring machine. Oh, did we mention it has a liftback? So right from the get-go it’s the anti-SUV.

kia stinger gt2
kia stinger gt2

Walking around the vehicle, we notice the wide under-bumper intake for the intercooler flanked by vertical intakes for the air curtains to help trim the airflow over the front wheel wells. There is a lot of detail to like in the LED headlight area which leads to a character line stretching from the front to the rear, ending at the slightly upturned spoiler/deck/trunk lid. There are interesting doo-dads throughout, but we think the side gills tend to fussy things up, where they don’t need fussying up. Along the way, we notice design inspiration from vehicles like the Audi A5, BMWs 4series Gran Sport and even the Jaguar XF sedan.

Trimmed out.

The 2018 Kia Stinger is available in five trim levels starting with Base, Premium, GT, GT1 and highline GT2 models. Of course, we lucked out with the GT2 version (cue the smug grin). We loved the Hichroma Red metallic paint which set off our black Nappa Leather interior nicely.

kia stinger gt2
kia stinger gt2

The interior trim was a step up over anything we have seen in Kias past, and although it looked as though lifted from the interior of an early 2000-era Mercedes Benz sedan, it was nice but not ostentatious.

Being the GT2, that meant that the Stinger was dripping with every possible option from the Kia parts bin including the 3.3-liter twin turbocharged V6 engine that produced 365 hp and 376 lb-ft of torque. That engine, which it shares with the new Hyundai G70, seemed perfectly matched to this five-door, five-passenger Grand Touring sedan that somehow managed to tip the scales at nearly 4000 pounds.

Under the hood.

kia stinger gt2
kia stinger gt2

Although the Stinger’s base engine is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder, twin scroll turbo engine producing 255 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque, the Stinger really cries out for the 3.3-liter twin turbo V6 that was in our tester. Both are mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Our GT2 was equipped with an electronically controlled suspension which adapted on the fly to a specified a drive mode which included Smart, Eco, Comfort and Sport along with custom, which allowed you to pick one from column A, one from column B and so on.

The View from others.

It seemed that the general public got the advanced notice that the Kia Stinger GT2 would be arriving soon. Perhaps that’s why we had so many comments from onlookers, enthusiasts, car salesmen and just regular man on the street types who usually were heard to utter, “that’s a Kia?” We’d nod yes, and acknowledge their polite thumbs up signal with a quick wave before we were off.

Behind the wheel.

Hoofing away from a stoplight had us suddenly pushed back into the adjustable bolstered seats that managed to keep us settled as the skinny pedal unleashed the 365 horses up front. Power continued to pour out from the twin turbo V6, accompanied by a lusty brrrrrrrrrrrrrp from the quad pipes out back. This was like no other Kia we have ever driven.

Stepping into the sport mode found the Stinger holding tight through the turns in a way that almost brought a flashback of what it was truly like to driver a real rear wheel car. Oh, how we miss that! The steering was firm but not overly so, which made us feel as though we were in control at every moment. Kudos, too, to the paddle shift levers that control the eight-speed automatic gearbox. The Stinger felt planted, allowing us to apply power whenever we wanted. When we tired of driving in anger, or when the spousal unit told us to quit hooning and cool it, we were just satisfied to absorb the quietness that came from a well-designed and insulated interior.

Something Special.

From the moment we got into the Stinger, it was clear that we were settling into something special. It was a way of showing that the brand had finally arrived. Many years ago, Kia was what you could charitably call a brand of last resort. Somewhere along the way, a “come to Jesus” moment happened in Seoul, with someone saying “we are done being the laughing stock of the automotive industry.”

The result was transformational, and through the stewardship of such industry “lumineers” like Kia president and chief designer, Peter Schreyer, Kia Motors Europe designer Gregory Guillaume, performance maestro Albert Biermann and numerous others, it is very clear we are not talking about the same company.

2018 Kia Stinger GT2 RWD V6

Story and photo by Mark Elias

Base MSRP: $49,200. As tested: $50,100

No options, includes $900 destination fee.

 

Kia Stinger GT2 Key Specs

Cylinders:                       V6

Displacement:               3.3-liters

Power:                             365 hp @ 6000 rpm

Torque:                           376 lb-ft @ 1300-4500 rpm

Fuel System:                 Gas Direct Injection

Fuel:                                Premium recommended

Acceleration:                 0-60mph in 4.4 seconds

Drive Type:                    RWD

Gearbox:                         8-speed Automatic with paddle shift levers

Tire Size:                        225/40R19 front, 225/35R19 rear

Unladen Weight:         4,023-pounds

Length:                          190.2-inches

Width:                           73.6-inches

Height:                          55.1-inches

Wheelbase:                  114.4-inches

Cargo Volume:            23.3 cu/ft seat up, 40.9 cu/ft seat down

City:                               19

Highway:                      25

Combined:                   21

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”115″ gal_title=”2018 Kia Stinger GT2″]

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2018 Hyundai Elantra GT Sport.

2018 Hyundai Elantra GT Sport.

Hot hatches have always been our favorite type of vehicle, followed closely by what some call a Shooting Brake, but we call a Station Wagon. Yet it seems that the great unwashed prefer Crossovers and SUVs instead. But that hasn’t deterred Hyundai from introducing the 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT Sport.

Styled and benchmarked in Europe, the 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT shares much of its design and DNA with the European Hyundai i30. Directly targeted towards the enthusiast crowd who also like the utility of a hatchback, it attempts to pick the best traits of the European ‘bahn burners. Hop in as we see if anything was lost in translation.

What’s New With The Elantra GT?

On the 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT? Nearly everything. Taking cues from the i30, there is new design everywhere, starting with the Cascading Grille to the lower bumper air curtains that sweep air over the front wheels, to the rear spoiler and available LED taillights and dual exhaust system, this Hyundai is clearly no Corolla wanna-be.

2018 Hyundai Elantra GT Sport
2018 Hyundai Elantra GT Sport

Two versions of the Elantra GT exist, depending on how deep your enthusiasm is rooted. The base Elantra GT is equipped with a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter Gas Direct Injection (GDI) four-cylinder engine that produces 161-horsepower and 150 lb-ft of torque. The base model comes with a six-speed manual or an available six-speed electronic automatic transmission. It rides on a unibody-constructed chassis with MacPherson struts and coil springs in front and a torsion beam axle at the rear.

The high-line Elantra GT Sport that we drove steps things up a bit by swapping the larger engine out for a 1.6-liter turbocharged GDI powerplant that cranks out 201-horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque. Power for the front driver comes from either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission with on-demand Shiftronic manual shifting via the steering wheel-mounted paddle shift levers.

2018 Hyundai Elantra GT Sport
2018 Hyundai Elantra GT Sport

And then things get even more interesting.

The 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT Sport tosses the torsion beam back into the Hyundai parts bin. Instead, it opts for a full multilink independent rear suspension, higher performance front and rear springs, sport tuned dampers, 12-inch brake rotors in front and a 15mm stabilizer bar at the rear.

The pair of Elantra GTs are slated to do battle with the likes of stalwarts like the Mazda3, Volkswagen Golf, Honda Civic, Ford Focus, Toyota Corolla iM and Chevrolet Cruze.

Inside design.

The new interior of the Elantra GT Sport features a more contemporary view of things looking forward,

2018 Hyundai Elantra GT Sport
2018 Hyundai Elantra GT Sport

and even goes slightly Mercedes-like through the use of an 8.0-inch pedestal mounted display screen. The telescoping steering column brings the tiller closer to the driver for ultimate control. Speaking of controls, they are easily reached and, we think, nicely accented by red stitching and brightwork around the cabin. An available Infinity Premium Audio System with Clari-fi music restoration software and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are all now part of the mix.

The rear seats are a tighter fit although if it is just you and a significant other, there are more than 55-cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats folded forward.

Safety

From a safety standpoint, the Elantra GT Sport doesn’t disappoint with available Blind Spot Detection, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Smart Cruise Control, Automatic Emergency Braking and Lane Keep Assist. One day they might be included at no charge.

Behind the wheel

A majority of drivers will be content with the 2.0-liter four-banger for most applications. We’re not most drivers though, and sprang for the 1.6-liter Elantra GT Sport instead. While not head snapping, we did get off on having our heads bounce off the headrests while climbing through the gears of our DCT gearbox. The Sport GT did manage to keep noise at bay during most situations and on most road surfaces, while at the same time managing to let a few high-rev engine dBs penetrate the cabin.

The handling in the GT Sport is greatly improved over the standard torsion beam setup and practically invited us to thrash it through the sweeping curves found in the Low Country of suburban Charleston, SC. The steering was well-weighted and helped to make sense of the rather firm ride. That included the feeling of virtually every piece of ballast stone that makes up some of the older streets found in this legendary town. What’s ballast stone, you may ask? It was a stone carried in empty ships to help stabilize them when not carrying a load. When they would load up with goods such as tobacco or cotton, the ballast stones were removed, and piled at dockside. Eventually there were too many of the stones to go around so they started to pave the streets with them instead.

The front seats were nicely bolstered but as we have found with other Hyundai products, rather hard to the backside, especially if you have what is generally known as a boney ass. Still, at the end of the day, as the price of its competition has risen, the new 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT Sport hits the sweet spot in hot hatchdom today.

Story and photos by Mark Elias

2017 Hyundai Elantra GT Sport

Base MSRP: $24,350 As tested: $25,235

Includes: Destination fee, $885.

Key Specs

Cylinders:                                    Inline four-cylinder

Displacement:                            2.0 GDI or 1.6 Turbo GDI

Power:                                         2.0: 161hp @ 6,200 rpm; 1.6: 201hp @ 6,000

Torque:                                       2.0: 150 lb-ft @ 4,700 rpm; 1.6: 195 @ 1,500-4,500 rpm

Fuel System:                              Gas Direct Injection

Fuel:                                             Regular

Drive Type:                                FWD

Gearbox:                                     6-speed Manual or 7-speed dual clutch automatic

Unladen Weight:                      3,158-pounds

Length:                                       170.9-inches

Width:                                        70.7-inches

Height:                                       57.7-inches

Wheelbase:                               104.3-inches

Cargo Volume:                          55.1-cubic feet rear seat folded

City:                                                         26

Highway:                                                32

Combined:                                             28

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”43″ gal_title=”2018 Hyundai Elantra GT Sport”]

 

2018 Hyundai Sonata First Drive.

2018 Hyundai Sonata First Drive.

Charleston, South Carolina is what we would call a seasoned city in the sense that it has been around for a while but is (hopefully) constantly undergoing a change for the better. The same can be said for the 2018 Hyundai Sonata. Hyundai flew us to the Low Country for a look-see at the refreshed new Sonata, and a first drive with its new smaller, but decidedly sportier younger brother, the Elantra GT Sport.

2018 Hyundai Sonata
2018 Hyundai Sonata

 Refreshing.

The 2018 Hyundai Sonata essentially received a mild refresh on the outside, but this slight restyling is more than skin deep. The new Sonata’s most obvious trait is its restyled “cascading grille,” which seemingly bears a resemblance to Audi’s “singleframe” grille, drawn by former Audi chief designer Peter Schreyer. So important to the Hyundai-Kia Motor Group, the company named him as its first non-Korean president.

Schreyer and his team did not stop at the grille, though, and added more details to the new Sonata including an enhanced front and rear fascia, more flowing lines, a reworked hood, revised trunklid, improved taillights and a wider expanse of brightwork around the greenhouse. It’s just the thing to help the 2018 version break away from its more conservative 2015 predecessor.

2018 Hyundai Sonata
2018 Hyundai Sonata

But even more, it’s just the refresh needed to compete against the new Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, both scheduled to hit dealerships shortly.

Dressed up interior.

The interior of the 2018 Hyundai Sonata includes a newly designed instrument panel and centerstack that continues the contemporary vibe seen outside. A new 8.0-inch display with Navigation is part of our 2.0T Limited package, with a three-year subscription for Guidance Package Services, which automatically download updated maps to your system. A high-line Infinity premium audio system along with heated and ventilated seats help to round out the package. A Qi Wireless charging pad can be had for untethered charging of your android (and hopefully soon, Apple) devices.

While driving around Charleston and its surroundings, the rear legroom took us completely by surprise with its expansive space. If we didn’t know better, we would have sworn we were driving a full size sedan.

Safety

Blind Spot detection with Rear Cross Traffic Alert…according to Hyundai it’s the only mainstream mid-size sedan with this as a standard feature.

 Motivating factors.

Three different powertrains are on tap for the 2018 Hyundai Sonata, ranging from the base SE with a 185-horsepwer 2.4-liter / six-speed automatic combo. It was followed by the 178-horsepower ECO version with its 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and seven-speed EcoShift dual-clutch transmission. At the pinnacle of the Sonata lineup was our 245-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-banger with eight-speed Shiftronic automatic transmission.

2018 Hyundai Sonata
2018 Hyundai Sonata

We found the 2.0-liter turbo mill to be energetic throughout the range, and really like the new eight-speed automatic slushbox. Switchable from Comfort, ECO and Sport modes, it also offers Smart mode which finds the gearbox’s sweet spot once a solid cruise mode has been established, as on a highway, for instance. It’s at that point that the EPA says the Sonata’s mileage improves from 22 city/ 31 highway to 23 city/ 32 highway. Yeehaw!

The 2018 Hyundai Sonata’s suspension has been beefed up a bit through the recalibrating of the electric rack and pinion system and thickening up of the rear trailing arms. It’s not a track day runner by any stretch but the bottom line is an improved Sonata that is still in the hunt against the revised Accord and Camry.

For how long? That’s for the marketplace to decide.

Story and photos by Mark Elias

 2018 Hyundai Sonata

Base MSRP

 SE 2.4:                                  $22,050

ECO 1.6T:                             $22,650

SEL 2.4:                                $23,700

Sport 2.4:                             $25,200

Limited 2.4:                        $27,400

Limited Ultimate 2.4:     $30,300

Sport 2.0T:                          $27,600

Limited 2.0T:                     $32,450                      

Destination:                       $      885

 

Key Specs

Cylinders:                                4 cylinder

Displacement:                         1.6-liter

2.4-liter

2.0-liter

Fuel System:                           Gas Direct Injection

Drive Type                              FWD

Gearbox:                                  2.4: 6-speed

1.6: 7-speed

2.0: 8-speed

Unladen Weight:                    3247-3527-pounds

Length:                                    191.1-inches

Width:                                     73.4-inches

Height:                                     58.1-inches

Wheelbase:                             110.4-inches

Cargo Volume:                       16.3-cubic feet

Cd:                                            0.27

Mileage:

2.4: 25 city/36 highway/29 avg

1.6: 28 city/37 highway/31 avg

2.0: 23 city/32 highway/26 avg

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”40″ gal_title=”2018 Hyundai Sonata”]

 

 

 

 

 

2018 Genesis G80 Sport

2018 Genesis G80 Sport

Punching above its weight class is always a way to be noticed. Think of the slight schoolyard kid who packs a wallop when confronted by the playground bully. That’s a perfect analogy to the 2018 Genesis G80 Sport.

Now in its second year of production, you may have remembered a previous version known as the Hyundai Genesis. At the time, it was part of a high-zoot tag team partnership with the Hyundai Equus. Both were good, but with the breakneck speed of advancements the brand, and the industry seemingly make, they were quickly surpassed both on the outside and within. In that sense, this new luxury spinoff from Hyundai is punching above, and actually landing a few blows along the way.

Muscle-bound.

Exhibit A: The G80 Sport sedan. It’s a muscular four-door that admittedly shouldn’t show up for track days at your local racecar country club and day spa, but does manage to transport its occupants in luxury, while managing to not squeeze its owner’s bottom line. Oh, and did we mention its 10-year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty?

Genesis G80 Sport
Genesis G80 Sport

Clearly the best value in midsize luxury cars today, it competes against the Audi A6, Mercedes E-Class, and BMW 5-series. It is loaded with nearly everything a salaryman could hope for as he climbs the corporate ladder. The 3.3-liter twin turbocharged V6 is a direct injection powerhouse that makes 365 horsepower and a genuine 376 lb-ft of torque. It’s mated to Hyundai’s eight-speed automatic transmission that does everything asked of it, even if the steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters are a little on the smallish side. Zero-to-60 mph times come on in 5.3-seconds for this somewhat heavy (4,519-pounds) lead sled, but it still imparts a sense of power by way of the growl that comes on while added pressure is loaded on the skinny pedal. Quiet isolation is this sedan’s strong suit.

In the oft chance that you don’t speak turbo, the G80 can be equipped with either a 420 horsepower 5.0-liter V8 or a 311 horsepower 3.8-liter V6.

The 2018 Genesis G80 Sport includes nearly every item on the Genesis options list except for the available winter-oriented AWD system, which comes with a heated steering wheel and a $2,500 price tag. A huge standard panoramic sunroof lets enough UV light in to insure your dermatologist is able to send all four of his children to college. One thing we would love to see in the Genesis lineup is an alignment with a major watchmaker for an added sense of caché. Mercedes-Benz dances with IWC. Bentley rides with Breitling. Ferrari shuffles with Panerai. It goes a long way to help boost a car’s bonafides, especially in this luxury segment, where attention to detail is everything.

Genesis G80 Sport
Genesis G80 Sport

The 2018 Genesis G80 Sport is a real charmer, but it’s not without a few minor quibbles. We found at various times the volume on the stellar Lexicon (by Harman) audio system with Clari-Fi would creep up prompting us to reach towards the centerstack for a quick readjustment. Soon we discovered we were riding along with the air conditioning blowing a balmy 85-degrees. That’s’ a result of Genesis designers placing the climate control dials where the volume and tuning knobs of the audio system are traditionally located.

Genesis G80 Sport
Genesis G80 Sport

Secondly, and this might be a bit more subjective, and perhaps a result of not being gifted with an adequately padded gluteus, but to our bottoms, the Genesis interior designers apparently received their degrees from the Major League Baseball College of Seating Design. The seat cushions in the Genesis are as hard as a bench in the dugouts of Chicago’s Wrigley Field (Home of the World Series Champion Chicago Cubs).

But does it go?
Power from the 3.3T spooled up rather quickly, putting out almost V8 power with the mileage of something you would expect in a Hyundai Accent. Not really, but you get our drift. While the Comfort settings did the job for the most part, we found the Sport gate to be much more engaging on backroads where we had a chance to see this Genesis unwind. When you hit the Drive Dynamics button to go from Eco to Comfort to Sport, things firm up in the steering and throttle departments. The suspension, whether it actually does or not, felt like it firmed up, too.

Critics commented how audacious it was that a South Korean econo-car company felt like it was time to compete with the big boys. Along the way, there have been fits and starts but they seemed to get fixed quickly as the Genesis brand does not seem content to work things out over the long term.

We find their rate of progress to be part of a plan that includes punching above that weight class, and making a name for themselves in relatively short order. With the 2018 Genesis G80 Sport, they are on a fast track.

Story and photos by Mark Elias

2018 Genesis G80 Sport
Base MSRP: $55,250 As tested: $56,225.
Includes: Destination fee, $975.

Key Specs
Cylinders: V6
Displacement: 3.3-liters
Power: 365 hp @ 6,000rpm
Torque: 376 lb-ft @ 1,300-4,500 rpm
Fuel System: Direct Injection
Fuel: Premium
Acceleration: 0-60mph in 5.3 seconds
Drive Type Rear Wheel Drive
Gearbox: 8-Speed Shiftronic Automatic Transmission
Tire Size: 245/40R19 F 275/35/19 R
Unladen Weight: 4,519-pounds
Length: 196.5-inches
Width: 74.4-inches
Height: 58.3-inches
Wheelbase: 118.5-inches
Cargo Volume: 15.3 cubic feet
Cd: 0.27
City: 17
Highway: 24
Combined: 20

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”34″ gal_title=”2018 Genesis G80 Sport”]

2017 Genesis G90 RWD Ultimate

2017 Genesis G90 RWD Ultimate

Even though the 2017 Genesis G90 5.0 Ultimate is a totally new vehicle- and Genesis is now a stand-alone brand, parent company Hyundai has had a few years to get it right. As far as luxury goes, the South Korean company introduced the Equus, in 1999. We didn’t see it until its second-generation sibling appeared in North America, which was an okay first effort for these shores. Still, it suffered from some cost-cutting measures that rendered that horse a little lame from the start.

What a difference a name change and a total re-imaging of Hyundai’s prestige brand can accomplish. We are just thankful they have re-imagined their current ad campaign (“Respect is the ultimate Luxury.” Huh?) Hop in as we test the new 2017 Genesis G90 5.0 Ultimate.

Choices: You get two.

Available in two trim levels, the 3.3T Premium, and as our tester, the 5.0 V8 Ultimate, the G90 is the large flagship of the Genesis premium line. A five-passenger unibody design, it is adaptable for family or executive transportation duties nearly anywhere in the world.

2017 Genesis G90 5.0-liter V8

Our tester received motivation from a 5.0-liter V8 direct-injection engine making 420-horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque. It is mated to an eight-speed electronic automatic transmission with Shiftronic manual shift mode using the steering wheel-mounted paddle shift levers.

This sled rides on a Nürburgring-developed multilink front and rear suspension with Genesis Adaptive Damper Control, allowing the driver to adjust ride characteristics according to road conditions and driver’s mood. They can be set for Eco, Smart, Sport and Individual drive modes that set specific calibrations for throttle and road conditions.

Both 3.3T and 5.0 versions are available with optional all-wheel-drive.

Looks.

While not exactly following the design ethos of its Mercedes S-Class, BMW 7-series or Lexus LS competition to the “T,” the G90 is still as large and imposing. Accented with just the right amount of chrome brightwork, the exterior of the new G90 also features the trademarked Genesis grille as seen through most of the lineup. Expressive LEDs illuminate the G’s path and include self-leveling and steerable lighting to brighten up the darkest corners of the night.

The swept-back roofline finishes with a short rear overhang that is elegant and functional at the same time. The rear fascia includes a pair of chromed finishing pipes that exit just under the rear bumper.

Interior fitment.

The part where driver and passengers interact shows that Hyundai / Genesis have been paying close attention to the cabins of their competition. Well-made, the G90 interior breaks no new ground but, with a few exceptions, does offer all the features you would expect from highline rides costing thousands more.

2017 Genesis G90’s 14-way adjustable front seats.

Workmanship in the car is beautiful, and a huge improvement in quality over the Equus. Gone is the polished leather feel found in that dearly departed, replaced with a higher-quality, more heavily-gauged Nappa hide that actually feels like it belongs here. The buttons are all over the place–lots of them. But their arrangement is much better sorted than the outgoing model. Still there is room for improvement.

Seating in the G90 is found at the intersection of elegant and comfortable. A 14-way driver’s seat offers a multitude of adjustments including bolsters that widen or narrow as needed. Heating and ventilation occur in the outboard seats, which also include reclining front and rear seatbacks. We were only wishing they included a massage function.

On the dashboard sits an analog clock that is a nice touch, but we think it is definitely in need of a specialty watchmaker brand, to boost the caché of this car. IWC, Bulova, and other brands could be leveraged in this spot.

While a factory rear seat DVD system does not currently exist, we were thoroughly entertained by the Lexicon 900-watt audio system with Clari-fi technology, which helped to restore sound quality lost in digital audio tracks. It goes a long way to enhance the musical quality coming from the 17-speaker 7.1 Surround-Sound system.

Safety

The Genesis G90 is loaded with all the safety features typically found in this class of vehicle including a forward collision warning system with automatic braking, driver drowsiness sensing, blind-spot monitoring with cross-traffic sensing, full front, rear and side air curtain airbags, and of course, lane departure warning and prevention.

Behind the wheel

Intensely quiet, the Genesis G90 sits alongside such segment luminaries as the BMW 7-Series, Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Audi’s A8, Lexus’s LS460, and even the Cadillac CT6. Except for the engine raising its voice under pressure, it manages to proceed with little more than a purr from the pavement. Credit to the ContiProContact tires and the gobs of underbody insulation to keep the road noise at bay.

Power from the 5.0-liter V8 is immense. While not absolutely necessary for most people, it will still be the choice for those who equate luxury with power. Steering from the motor-assisted power steering system offered a competent feel that is perfectly at home in a luxo-barge like this Genesis. If the standard Smart setting is not to your liking, a quick flick of the switch will place you in either Eco, Sport or customizable Individual settings, that while not appreciably firming up the suspension to any major degree, still offer a slight throttle and suspension remap. Either way, it results in a satisfying ride quality.

The wrap-up.

Despite the fact the Genesis G90 will feel to some as the next-generation Equus, it is all new from the ground up. While the G90 may not attract the conquest buyer the brand is hoping for, it is priced right. Going for the fences, this Genesis hits solidly. While it may not be a grand slam, this one is out of the park.

2017 Genesis G90 RWD 5.0 Ultimate

Story and photos by Mark Elias

MSRP: $69,700. Price as tested: $70,650.

Includes: $950 Destination fee.

 

Key Specs

Cylinders:                                            V8

Displacement:                                    5.0-liter

Power:                                                420 hp @ 6,000 rpm

Torque:                                              383 lb-ft @ 5,000 rpm

Fuel System:                                     Direct Injection

Fuel:                                                   Gasoline

Acceleration:                                    0-60mph in 5.3 seconds

Drive Type                                        4WD

Gearbox:                                           8-speed automatic with Shiftronic

Tire Size:                                          245/45R19F front — 275/40/R19 rear

Unladen Weight:                            4,905-pounds

Length:                                             204.9-inches

Width:                                              75.4-inches

Height:                                             58.9-inches

Wheelbase:                                      124.4

Cargo Volume:                                15.7 cubic feet

Cd:                                                      0.27

City:                                                    15

Highway:                                           23

Combined:                                        18

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”24″ gal_title=”2017 Genesis G90 RWD Ultimate”]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid First Drive.

2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid First Drive.

2017 Hyundai Ioniq First Drive

Story and Photos by Mark Elias

Durham, North Carolina. Think of the 2017 Hyundai Ioniq as a carton of Neapolitan ice cream. You know, the chocolate, vanilla and strawberry flavors neatly sorted inside a single container of Edy’s or Breyer’s finest. It’s simplistic but it sums up Hyundai’s latest offering into the field of alternative fuel vehicles.

While it’s not 31 Flavors, or even close, there’s something for everyone in this new compact alternative fuel vehicle. Just how green do you want to be is really the only question you need to answer.

A massive undertaking.

Designed with over 500 development engineers, this might be Hyundai’s Manhattan Project. But you have to admit they were smart about it. Instead of designing individual body styles to accommodate different forms and techniques for propulsion, Hyundai engineers developed one body that could accommodate a traditional hybrid, plug-in hybrid and pure electric powertrain versions without radically altering the basic design.

And it is a handsome looker, at that.

The basic tenets are all there, starting with the hexagonal trademark grille that has fronted most vehicles in the Hyundai lineup for the past several years. New techniques including the use of front wheel air curtains, active air flap grills, rear spoilers, aero panels and undertray diffusers all do their part to help the Ioniq achieve a wind-cheating Cd of .24. That’s swoopy indeed. And no need to go mondo-bizarro in the body design: The Ioniq appears like a wind swept-modified version of its Elantra sibling.

Overall, Hyundai has stepped up the use of aluminum and high-strength steel along with more than 475 feet of structural adhesives throughout the vehicle in an effort to increase efficiency and cutting weight at the same time.

Get up and go.

Power for the Ioniq is derived from three different power supply systems. The limited mileage Ioniq Electric is a city car that utilizes a Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor producing 88kW with a horsepower equivalency of 118 ponies, and 215 lb-ft of torque. Battery power is delivered via a 360 volt Lithium-ion Polymer cell located under the rear seats. The combination of it all is delivered to the front wheels via a single-speed reduction gear transmission, and this model achieves a 136 MPGe (miles-per-gallon equivalent) and a range of 124-miles.

Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid 1.6-liter engine / electric motor.

The Ioniq Hybrid and Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid have certain similarities including a 1.6-liter direct-injection Atkinson Cycle four-cylinder that produces 104 horsepower at 5,700 rpm and 109 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm. The standard Hybrid includes a 240 volt Lithium-ion Polymer battery that energizes a 32 kW electric motor that’s good for 43 horsepower, while the Plug-In Hybrid does the same with a 360 volt cell to charge the 44.5 kW motor that produces 60 horsepower. Net output from both engine/motor combos taps out at 139 horsepower. Not a fan of continuously variable transmissions? Hyundai has you covered with the utilization of a six-speed EcoShift dual clutch transmission in both hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions.

More impressive is how Hyundai has managed to shrink the size of the Hybrid Power Control Unit, while making it more power-dense than its older Hyundai Sonata hybrid relatives. Speaking of power, Hyundai has incorporated an ECO Driving Assistant System for its Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid Ioniqs that checks a particular drive route using 3D mapping to enable Predictive Energy Management to optimize and regenerate battery usage depending on the terrain.

Ride control on all versions utilize a tried and true MacPherson strut arrangement at the front end with multilink kits at the rear of the Hybrid and Plug-In Hybrid versions. The all-electric Ioniq makes do with a torsion beam rear axle. All versions steer with a power-assisted rack and pinion system to point their noses in the appropriate direction. Michelin is the exclusive tire manufacturer for the Ioniq, with Energy Saver meats sized from 15 to 17 inches depending on the vehicle model.

From a safety standpoint, the Ioniq doesn’t scrimp. Features such as Smart (adaptive) Cruise Control, lane keep assist, and Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection provide partial braking from 5 to 112 mph and full braking from 5 to 50 mph.

Interior decorating.

Interior design of the 2017 Ioniq is directly in line with current standards, meaning that space-aged accoutrements that appeared in a Buck Rogers movie from 50-years ago won’t put you off. Instead, you will find plenty of features that look as contemporary as anything else on the road.

2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Interior.

Contemporary can also mean stodgy and boring but the Ioniq goes beyond that. Innovation is everywhere, including on the doors. What, you say? The interior door panels are made of a plastic / powdered wood / volcanic stone combination that rightly mimics traditional petroleum-based materials, just minus the petroleum. Sugar cane by-products are applied to the headliner and carpet, while soybean oil is used in the composition of the car’s metallic colors.

2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid

Other innovations include a “driver only” mode, which reduces the drag on the Ioniq system by concentrating just on the driver’s zone to the exclusion of all others. It’s just the thing when you are driving alone to and from work.

Behind the wheel.

Our time behind the wheel of the 2017 Hyundai Ioniq featured sweeping turns along country roads throughout the Raleigh-Durham Research Triangle. Driving around seasoned but up-and-coming downtown Durham found a Hybrid and Plug-In Hybrid that purposefully was conservative in its habits, in an effort to behavior modify your way to good gas mileage. By and large, it did the trick and we easily found instant mileage readouts of 54.3 mpg from the gas-electric powertrain, while in that realm. Behaving as a hoon will quickly see the efficiency ratings plummet, but you knew that would happen anyway, right? A quick turn onto the on-ramp of Interstate 85 saw power-assisted mileage in the range of 48 to 50 mpg while cruising at normal what the traffic flow will bear speeds.

A flick of the wrist found us motoring in a rather engaging sport mode that had the gas 1.6-liter four-cylinder operating all the time with a power-assist from the electric motor for additional traction. Much more emotional that running in ECO mode, the Sport setting had the car delaying gear shifts longer, firming up the steering wheel, and changing the characteristics of the TFT digital gauge readout. Overall though, we realized we were being irresponsible in our pursuits, which had us switching back to ECO mode in rapid order.

Talk about behavior modification, indeed.

2017 Hyundai Ioniq

Ioniq Hybrid Base MSRP:                $22,200

Ioniq Hybrid SEL MSRP:                 $23,950

Ioniq Hybrid Limited MSRP:         $27,500

 

2017 Hyundai Ioniq Electric

Ioniq Electric MSRP:                       $29,500

Ioniq Electric Limited MSRP:       $32,500

Ioniq Electric Ultimate MSRP:     $36,000

 

Freight charges:                               $     835

 

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