Monthly Archives: January 2007

Hyundai Motor America Records Eighth Consectutive Year-Over-Year Sales Increase


FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif., 01/03/2007 Hyundai Motor America today announced sales of 37,365 units for the month of December and 455,520 for 2006, its eighth consecutive year-over-year sales increase. Year-end sales were bolstered by strong December demand for the all-new 2007 Accent and the all-new 2007 Santa Fe, up 66 percent and 121 percent respectively over December 2005.

"While we celebrate closing the year with record sales, we are disappointed that we fell short of our initial sales objectives," said Steve Wilhite, chief operating officer of Hyundai Motor America. "We will remember 2006 for our continued improvement and outstanding achievements in quality, our commitment to standardizing the most effective safety technologies across our growing product line-up, and extending the Hyundai Advantage, America’s Best Warranty – initiatives we believe will pay meaningful dividends in the years ahead."

Hyundai Motor America, headquartered in Fountain Valley, Calif., is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Co. of Korea. Hyundai vehicles are distributed throughout the United States by Hyundai Motor America and are sold and serviced through 755 dealerships nationwide.

All Hyundai vehicles sold in the U.S. are covered by The Hyundai Advantage, America’s Best Warranty. Hyundai buyers are protected by a 10-year/100,000-mile power train warranty, a 5-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, a 7-year/unlimited-mile anti-perforation warranty and 5-year/unlimited-mile roadside assistance protection.

CARLINE DEC 2005 DEC 2006 CY2005 CY2006
ACCENT 1,661 2,759 41,012 34,735
SONATA 20,853 10,149 130,365 149,513
ELANTRA 8,907 7,444 116,336 98,853
TIBURON 1,183 784 20,600 17,382
SANTA FE 3,753 8,282 68,006 63,931
XG350/AZERA 1,745 2,479 17,645 26,833
TUCSON 4,919 3,669 61,048 52,067
ENTOURAGE N/A 1,799 N/A 12,206
TOTAL 43,021 37,365 455,012 455,520

Hyundai Santa Fe Wins Best SUV of the Year In Autobytel’s 2007 Editors’ Choice Awards



Fountain Valley, Calif., 12/05/2006 Autobytel recognized the Hyundai Santa Fe as the "SUV of the Year" for its 2007 Editors' Choice Awards. Hyundai earned two additional victories in the "Best New Midsize SUV" and "Best New Minivan" categories for the Santa Fe and Entourage respectively. Awards were distributed at the 2006 Los Angeles Auto Show.

The fourth annual Autobytel Editors' Choice Awards is a listing of the best new 2007 vehicles on the market, comprised by a team of veteran automotive editors. The Hyundai Santa Fe unanimously beat its competitors in both the "Best New Midsize SUV" and "SUV of the Year" categories by offering a new, sleek and sporty design coupled with a luxurious interior at an affordable price. The Hyundai Entourage rises above the competition for title of "Best New Minivan" with its smooth and powerful 250 horsepower ride, interior features and flexible trim levels.

"Hyundai is honored to take home three awards from Autobytel, a top consumer resource for expert vehicle information," said John Krafcik, vice president of Strategic Planning and Product Development, Hyundai Motor America". "We're especially proud of Santa Fe's honor, as it bests all SUVs and crossovers across all price ranges, including terrific competition such as the new Honda CR-V, Ford Edge, and Mazda CX-7."

The Hyundai Santa Fe meets consumers' demand for safety, style and performance. All Santa Fe models are equipped with segment-leading standard safety technologies, including a total of six airbags, active front head restraints, Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Brake Assist and Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), and Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). The 2007 Santa Fe also offers a choice of two clean, fuel-efficient V6 powertrains in 2.7 and 3.3 liter, along with an optional third-row seat that significantly expands Santa Fe’s market appeal.

The Hyundai Entourage offers an unprecedented combination of standard safety, comfort and convenience matched with a powerful engine and outstanding quality backed by Hyundai’s 10-year, 100,000-mile warranty. Entourage earned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) top five-star crash test rating for front and side impacts and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) highest honor – the gold "Top Safety Pick" award – the best rating ever for a minivan. Entourage is also the first vehicle with the Hyundai Hideaway™ third-row seat, a simple-to-use 60/40 split fold-into-the floor seat offering flexibility for up to seven passengers.


Hyundai Motor America, headquartered in Fountain Valley, Calif., is a subsidiary of of Korea. Hyundai vehicles are distributed throughout the United States by Hyundai Motor America and are sold and serviced through more than 740 dealerships nationwide.

HCD10 Hyundai hellion Concept Debuts at LA Auto Show

TOUGH COMPACT HCD10 Hyundai hellion Concept Debuts at Los Angeles Auto Show

LOS ANGELES, November 29, 2006 – The Hyundai Design and Technical Center and Hyundai Motor America presented the world debut of the HCD10 Hyundai Hellion concept during a press conference at the Los Angeles Auto Show today. Hellion is a compact three-door sport crossover designed with attitude and independence creating its unmistakable character. "The HCD10 Hyundai Hellion was designed to appeal to a diverse individualist customer," said Joel Piaskowski, chief designer at the Hyundai Design Center. "Mindset and attitude are becoming the modern way to define new market segments and we feel the Hellion concept will do that. Hellion brings a new attitude to the Hyundai family. It’s the sibling who’s a bit mischievous and always outspoken."


Hellion’s architecture was inspired by a tough, hardshell backpack that uses ribs to provide structural and visual strength. To support this, Hyundai used three ultra-lightweight structural ribs to create Hellion’s safety cage. These ribs connect to a suspended surfboard-shaped spine. Hellion’s ribcage not only provides protection for its occupants, but also adds visual rigidity and shape. By stretching the sheet metal skin away from the common body surface, the ribs give Hellion a new kind of organic ruggedness.


“The proportions of the HCD10 Hyundai Hellion make it look and feel tough,” said Marc Mainville, senior designer at the Hyundai Design Center. “Short overhangs allow for excellent attack angles for off-roading and the skid plates, muscular wheel flares and tow hooks convey Hellion’s strength.”

The Hyundai Hellion’s front design explores how new organic structural forms could look on future Hyundai trucks. Hellion’s stance is wide and its face is assertive, with piercing headlights angled towards its dominant grille. A prominent hood scoop enhances Hellion’s rally car demeanor while the clamshell hood utilizes exposed latches for easy access to the engine bay. The windshield’s fast rake provides a very sporty character to an otherwise stout profile. Front and rear bumpers are distinguished from the organic body shape with a darker, durable wrinkle-finish paint supported by functional aluminum skid plates that wrap underneath the vehicle.

The rear of the Hellion continues the bold design theme. Hellion’s taillights emphasize the tapering of the greenhouse and the wide sculpture of the wheel flares by being cantilevered off the rear quarter glass. Dual chrome exhaust tips are fitted between the bumper and skid plate to complete the integrated appearance.

A removable canvas soft-top roof adds to the independent spirit of the Hyundai Hellion. The roof’s fabric has a subtle abstracted camouflage pattern, but any pattern can be requested by the customer to personalize their vehicle. The exterior is finished in a Dakar Gold paint scheme recognizing the famous Rally Race and its influence on the design. The 20-inch aluminum wheels are constructed in two pieces and are Teflon®-coated to resist build-up of the elements.


Hellion’s efficient, two-box design and three-door package gives the driver and passengers a tidy, functional environment from which to navigate."The HCD10 Hyundai Hellion has a consistent design theme unifying the interior and exterior resulting in a very cohesive concept car," said Martin Frost, senior designer at the Hyundai Design Center. "The exterior is reflected throughout the interior with stretched surfaces creating interesting negative forms contributing to the perception of space.”

The ribs on the exterior are evident on the interior as they grow from the side panels to encapsulate the occupants and suspend an overhead console running the length of the interior. The console houses integrated interior lighting and a drop-down LCD monitor for rear-seat entertainment.The customizable camouflage pattern used on the exterior of the removable roof has been scaled down and trimmed as accent panels on the four race-inspired bucket seats. The interior is composed of glossy white accents and matte aluminum details contrasting with the black Desert Night interior giving Hellion a crisp, modern look.

The HCD10 Hyundai Hellion’s compact exterior appearance belies its abundant interior space. Inventive cargo and storage spaces make the Hellion gear-ready. The seat-mounted gear packs transform into fully functional backpacks via push-button releases, allowing drivers and passengers to continue their adventures on foot. In addition, convenient hideaway drawers push out from the front of each seat. Storage is also found along the center console and there are two lids with translucent strips for easy access to belongings.

The Hyundai Hellion includes extras that will help drivers take on rugged driving conditions while providing necessary amenities to keep the driver and passengers nestled in relative comfort. As an example, the bucket seats are equipped with a unique hydration system. A removable, refillable reservoir inside each seat replaces the common cupholder. The fluids are accessed by a pump-assisted flow tube that is attached to each seat allowing the individual to hydrate with ease. This hands-free hydration system allows the driver and passengers to focus on the road and scenery.

The instrument panel-mounted information display indicates the status of all in- car systems. Immediate control over climate and audio functions are facilitated via the control panel directly below the monitor. Navigation and more involved instructions are directed through the console-mounted mouse.


Performance had to equal the outspoken styling, so the Hyundai Hellion has been outfitted with an eco-friendly 3.0-liter V6 Common-rail Diesel engine (CRDi) with 236 horsepower and 332 lb.-ft. torque. The engine is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission to fit Hellion’s performance demands. The Hellion also comes with 4WD, further underscoring the capability aspects of this CUV.


The HCD10 Hyundai Hellion is equipped with next-generation technology including:

  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Shift-by-Wire Transmission
  • Wireless Internet
  • Navigation
  • Adaptive Cruise Control


All-wheel drive, 2+2 three-door sport crossover utility vehicle
2555 mm. (100.6 in.)
Overall Length:
4171 mm. (164.2 in.)
Overall Height:
1559.3 mm. (61.4 in.)
Overall Width:
1890.4 mm. (74.4 in.)
Track, f/r:
1542 mm. (60.7 in.) / 1542 mm. (60.7 in.)
20-in. aluminum 5-spoke design with Tefflon® coating
P275/55 R20
3.0-liter V6 Common-rail Diesel producing 236 horsepower
6-speed automatic
Fully independent front and rear
Dual chrome tips
Dakar Gold paint scheme
Black Desert Night with glossy white accents and matte aluminum details
Special Features:
Removable sliding soft top and tilt front hood


Hyundai Motor America, headquartered in Fountain Valley, Calif., is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Co. of Korea. Hyundai vehicles are distributed throughout the United States by Hyundai Motor America and are sold and serviced through more than 740 dealerships nationwide.

Hyundai Debuts New 2007 Veracruz At North American International Auto Show

Check out the all new 2007 Hyundai Veracruz at

DETROIT, Mich., 01/08/2007 The new Veracruz midsize crossover made its North American debut today at the 2007 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). Just as the Hyundai Azera is altering perceptions about premium sedans, Veracruz breaks new ground in premium crossovers. Hyundai has once again made luxury and performance attainable in previously unthinkable ways: with standard Electronic Stability Control (ESC), upscale amenities and more cargo volume than the full-size Mercedes-Benz GL, Veracruz uniquely blends substance with style.

Veracruz takes on the Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander and beats them in terms of powertrain performance and standard safety features while adding sophisticated design, high-quality craftsmanship and seating for seven adults.

"Veracruz is an exceptional vehicle at the right time for this developing segment," said Steve Wilhite, chief operating officer of Hyundai Motor America. "The vehicle's designers recognized that the needs and desires of traditional SUV buyers weren't being met and focused on meeting those needs in an elegant and ingenious way. The result is a spacious crossover that delivers both refined style and first-rate performance."


The Veracruz continues Hyundai's product expansion and global design evolution through the continued use of fluid and organic forms to create a refined, and luxurious exterior appearance.

"We are very proud of Veracruz and feel this design will not only reinforce our design direction as a company, but also greatly enhance our escalating brand image on a global basis," said Joel Piaskowski, chief designer at the Hyundai Design Center in Irvine, Calif. "Fluid lines combined with the integrated headlights and taillights envelop Veracruz to create a unified aesthetic."

Up front, the sculpted bumper creates the appearance of additional height. Three-tiered headlights complement the design. The grille combines a flat-lined upper chrome bezel and a curved lower bezel which houses the Hyundai flying-H logo. Distinctive character lines and a fast profile enhance the stylish yet functional imagery. The vehicle's seductive beltline ascends from the wraparound headlights and follows the tapering greenhouse to include the prominent taillights. Chrome trim is strategically applied to highlight some of its design features while giving Veracruz an elegant, luxurious presence. The prominent wheel arches house 17- or 18-inch wheels and tires.

Smooth and solid in its stance, the Veracruz even impresses as it departs. The integrated rear fascia has a sculpted section that blends seamlessly into the sides of the taillights. The taillights decisively angle towards the character line highlighting the rounded back glass. Dual chrome exhaust tips, a Hyundai design trademark, allow Veracruz's 3.8-liter V6 engine to breathe freely. A rear spoiler enhances the sporty profile.


Inside, passengers are coddled in a rich, sophisticated environment that was inspired by boutique hotels. The result is an interior that could be found in the finest luxury sedans thanks to Hyundai's intelligent ergonomic engineering, intuitive design, and superior craftsmanship. Hyundai has combined space with elegance including conveniences that exceed expectations. For example, although the Veracruz is 9.7 inches shorter than the Mercedes Benz GL, it has more cargo volume.

Every major component of Veracruz has been designed to reduce cabin noise below the whisper-quiet Lexus RX350. To isolate outside noise, Hyundai applies acoustic dampening sheets to the doors and unibody, a steel plate beneath the engine and four layers of carpet padding. Engine noise is reduced through electronically controlled engine mounts, a multi-curvature dash, custom hood insulation and a pillow tripod joint which lessens vibrations from the driveshaft at idle.

Seating for seven adults is made possible thanks to the standard Hyundai Hideaway™ third-row seat. Access to the third row is just a step away with the flip of a lever to slide the second row forward. Available dual-zone climate controls for driver and front-seat passenger further enhance the Veracruz's luxury credentials. Second- and third-row passengers will enjoy a new level of comfort, thanks to B pillar-mounted adjustable vents, rear HVAC controls and roof-mounted vents.

Brushed metal accents and blue backlighting for all interior gauges, switches and buttons highlight the modern, integrated interior design. Even the front cupholders are ringed with blue light to aid nighttime driving, while a soft blue spotlight in the overhead console provides subdued task lighting. Hyundai's focused attention to detail can be seen throughout the interior - console bins and the glovebox are lined with soft flocking material. Powerpoint caps, seatbelt buckles and cupholder inserts are color-keyed for design harmony. Soft-touch, high-quality materials, low-gloss surfaces and zero-tolerance net-fits are used throughout the interior.

An AM/FM/XM/CD/MP3 audio system that includes an internal amplifier and six speakers comes standard in the Veracruz GLS and SE. The 315-watt Infinity® AM/FM/XM/CD-changer/MP3 audio system with subwoofer and external amplifier is standard on the Limited trim and optional in the SE. Audiophiles with even more demanding tastes will be impressed by the available Infinity AM/FM/XM/CD-changer audio system that includes a 605-watt external amplifer, 10 speakers and Logic 7® surround sound available on the SE and Limited trim levels.

Other thoughtful convenience features include a proximity key, rain-sensing wipers, auto dimming exterior mirrors, mirror-mounted approach lights, adjustable pedals, memory settings for the power mirrors, driver seat and steering wheel, backup warning system, power liftgate, and a rear-seat entertainment system that includes a DVD player and eight-inch overhead screen.


On the street, the new has thrilling performance courtesy of the same 3.8-liter DOHC V6 engine that powers the Azera. It delivers an estimated 260 horsepower and 257 lb-ft. of torque. To maximize the power spread, the engine utilizes Continuously Variable Valve Timing (CVVT) on the intake valves and a Variable Intake System which helps cylinders breathe efficiently at both low and high RPM. The engine uses an aluminum block and cylinder heads for light weight and thermal efficiency, and features timing chains with no scheduled maintenance.

To reduce vibration, the engine rides on newly developed semi-active engine mounts, which consist of three passive mounts integrated with a controllable element, rpm sensor and solenoid valve. The mounts harness engine vacuum to create a dynamic response which offsets engine vibrations. In fact, Veracruz has less idling vibration and noise than the Lexus RX350.

To help put the power to use, the engine is mated to an Aisin six-speed gearbox with SHIFTRONIC® manual control. The transmission offers silky smooth shifts and a wide spread of ratios that ideally suit the engine's capabilities. Drivers can access the SHIFTRONIC® feature by moving the gear selector into a separate gate. Pushing the selector forward or pulling it rearward will shift the transmission up or down sequentially, adding to driver control. A clear LCD readout on the instrument panel shows the gear that’s in use. The transmission uses an integrated transmission control unit and low noise gears which reduce friction.

All of this powertrain technology is put to efficient use in the Veracruz, with an EPA highway fuel economy estimate of 25 miles per gallon, exceeding the smaller, less powerful Honda Pilot. Veracruz also delivers clean air, with an anticipated Ultra-Low Emissions Vehicle (ULEV) classification.


Hyundai engineers benchmarked the best crossovers in the world before designing Veracruz's unibody and four-wheel independent suspension system. The rigid chassis and suspension geometry were specifically designed to deliver a supple, confident ride and help isolate the passenger cabin from imperfection in the road. The underpinnings are governed by a MacPherson strut front suspension and multi-link rear suspension system.

Upfront, reverse L-shaped lower control arms and high caster angles provide superior steering feel and excellent straight-line stability. Large subframe bushings improve the ride and isolate unwanted noise, vibration and harshness. All four wheels are controlled by coil springs, fade-resistant, gas-charged dampers and front and rear stabilizer bars. The Veracruz GLS uses 17-inch, five split-spoke aluminum wheels and 245/65R17 tires, while the SE and Limited trims ride on 18-inch, five-spoke aluminum wheels and 245/60R18 tires. Add in rack-and-pinion power steering, with a tighter minimum turning radius than the shorter Lexus RX350 and Nissan Murano, and the end result is a vehicle with precise steering and handling, and a well-controlled yet comfortable ride.


Hyundai has added an Intelligent Torque Controlled Coupling All-Wheel Drive (AWD) system to propel Veracruz through the elements. Using wheel speed sensors to monitor the road and the driver, this electronic system can sense when and where more torque is required and route it there automatically. Power is transmitted to the rear wheels through a multi-plate clutch without any extra effort from the driver. An AWD lock mode can be engaged with the touch of a button providing a 50:50 torque ratio when needed.


"The 2007 Veracruz embraces both active and passive safety with a host of leading-edge technologies," said John Krafcik, vice president of Strategic Planning and Product Development, Hyundai Motor America. "Electronic Stability Control, six airbags including side curtain airbags protecting all three rows, and active front head restraints are found standard in Veracruz and are some of the industry's most effective technologies."

Veracruz's advanced engineering provides a high level of precision during all aspects of driving, and is anchored by standard Electronic Stability Control (ESC), the industry's most important new safety technology. By continually analyzing road speed, steering input, throttle position, lateral yaw rate and other factors, an onboard microprocessor determines if the vehicle is starting to understeer or oversteer, and automatically engages one or more brakes. The system also reduces engine output to help the driver maintain the intended path.

In addition, Veracruz adds large four-wheel disc brakes with a 10-inch tandem brake booster and Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) for impressive stopping distance for a vehicle of its size. Brake Assist maximizes braking force when an emergency stop is detected.

Veracruz's passive safety features are equally impressive, beginning with six total airbags, including advanced dual front airbags, front seat-mounted side-impact airbags and roof-mounted side curtain airbags for all three rows of seating. In addition, active front head restraints help prevent whiplash. All seating positions feature three-point seatbelts, while the second and third row also have adjustable head restraints. Security is further provided through the standard alarm system and available engine immobilizer.

To absorb impacts to the passenger cabin, Hyundai engineers optimize crumple zones and reinforce the architecture's rails, side sill frame, floor cross-members and center pillars. These reinforcements have been tested thoroughly in laboratory and computer simulations. Veracruz has been designed and tested to receive the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) top five-star crash test rating for front and side impacts.

Convenient Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) points allow child seats to be secured in the second-row seats. Additional standard safety equipment includes a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), which alerts drivers if one or more tires are under inflated. An illuminated readout on the dash lets drivers know the exact tire needing inflation so corrective action can be taken.


As with all Hyundai vehicles, Hyundai put a great deal of thought and attention to detail into every aspect of Veracruz. One touch opens and closes the available power tailgate, and the proximity key means no more fishing for keys with groceries in hand. Puddle lamps save your best pair of shoes. An integrated memory system returns the driver's seat to a default setting. Lining the rear bumper with rear distance warning sensors makes parallel parking a snap. Aerodynamic wiper blades improve visibility, and two-way nozzles, each with four streams of fluid, provide for remarkably clean windshields.


The Hyundai Veracruz comes in three distinct trim levels: The well-equipped GLS, sporty SE and premium Limited.


Veracruz GLS comes well-equipped with a 3.8-liter V6 engine, six-speed automatic transmission, ESC, ABS, rear spoiler, 17-inch alloy wheels and seating for seven. Also standard is an AM/FM/XM/CD/MP3 audio system (including three months of complementary XM service), air conditioning with cabin filter, steering wheel audio/cruise controls, heated power side mirrors with puddle lights and side turn signal repeaters, front solar glass and rear privacy glass, remote keyless entry, and power windows and door locks. Inside are active front head restraints, dual front airbags, front seat side-impact airbags plus side-curtain airbags. Other useful features include a tire pressure monitoring system, a trip computer and a tilt and telescoping steering wheel. The Hyundai Hideaway third-row seat folds flat into the floor and is split 50/50, and the third row includes its own roof-mounted vents. The optional Premium Package adds a power tilt/slide glass sunroof, power driver seat, heated front seats, leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, and backup warning system.


The SE features the GLS equipment plus standard 18-inch alloy wheels, power driver seat, electrochromic auto-dimming rearview mirror with compass and HomeLink®, and front fog lights. A streamlined roof rack, center storage console with Cool Box functionality, auto-dimming exterior mirrors and automatic headlights are also standard equipment. An optional Premium & Leather Package adds a power tilt/slide glass sunroof, leather seating surfaces, heated front seats and a 315-watt Infinity™ audio system with CD changer and backup warning system. The available Entertainment Package (requires Premium and Leather Package) features a rear-seat entertainment system with an eight-inch LCD monitor, 605-watt Infinity AM/FM/XM/CD-changer/MP3 audio system with Logic 7 surround sound, 115-volt power outlet and conversation mirror.


Veracruz Limited comes standard with all of the equipment found standard on the SE and adds leather seating surfaces, heated front seats, power front passenger seat, automatic temperature control, a 315-watt Infinity™ audio system with CD changer, power tilt & slide glass sunroof, power tailgate, chrome door handles, brushed metal door sill scuff plates, conversation mirror, windshield wiper deicer and backup warning system. For even greater luxury, the available Ultimate Package includes power-adjustable pedals, integrated memory system, power tilt and telescoping steering wheel, blue backlit sill scuff plates, 605-watt Infinity AM/FM/XM/CD-changer/MP3 audio system with Logic 7 surround sound, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system with an eight-inch LCD monitor, 115-volt power outlet, proximity key and rain sensing wipers.


Hyundai Motor America, headquartered in Fountain Valley, Calif., is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Co. of Korea. Hyundai vehicles are distributed throughout the United States by Hyundai Motor America and are sold and serviced through 740 dealerships nationwide.

© Copyright HYUNDAI MOTOR AMERICA 1998-2006. All rights reserved.

SUNDAY DRIVE : More Hyundai value


How about an almost-luxury car for under $20,000?

That pretty much sums up the redesigned 2007 Hyundai Elantra, whose top-of-the-line Limited model with all available options lists for $19,910, including $600 freight.

Included in that price are a leather interior, super 220-watt audio system, automatic transmission, tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel, power heated mirrors, air-conditioning, and both seat-mounted and side-curtain air bags.

A few of the Elantra’s features are not even offered on some of its supposed direct competitors, which include the Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic, Nissan Sentra and Chevrolet Cobalt.

Hyundai continues to amaze the automotive world with the value it offers in its vehicles, most of which have more standard content and available options than their competitors for hundreds to thousands of dollars less.

The new Elantra is no exception.

The base GLS model, which begins at $13,995 (including freight) comes with lots of standard equipment, including the front seat-mounted side air bags and side-curtain air bags for both rows of seats, although air conditioning, a necessity here in Texas, is a $900 option.

Even a well-equipped GLS, including automatic transmission ($1,000) and a preferred-equipment package ($1,500) that adds the air conditioning, a 172-watt AM/FM/CD audio system with steering-wheel controls, cruise control, fog lights and dual illuminated visor mirrors, lists for just $16,495, including freight.

In between the base GLS and uplevel Limited is the SE model, which starts at $16,295 (with freight). It comes with the features of the preferred package, along with some other extras, including leather shift knob, 16-inch alloy wheels, and a trip computer.

The automatic transmission adds $1,000, and a premium package ($1,150) adds a power sunroof and heated seats.

With the automatic transmission and sunroof package, the SE lists for just $18,445. The biggest difference between the SE and the Limited at this price is that the SE has cloth rather than leather seats.

Even the Limited model can be had for well under $20,000 if you leave off the automatic transmission and the “sun and sound” package ($1,300), which brings the sunroof and 220-watt stereo.

Base price of the Limited is just $17,295, which includes the leather seats, door panel inserts and armrest, along with the front-seat heaters. This is a remarkable price for a car this well-equipped. Even with the automatic transmission, it’s still just $18,295.

Styling of the new Elantra isn’t a radical departure from the previous generation’s, but it does offer some cues from the brand’s flagship Azera sedan. Hyundai says the Elantra’s new look also has some features in common with the 2007 Santa Fe.

Under the hood there is just one engine available — a 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder rated at 138 horsepower (except in California and a handful of Northeastern states, where it has lower emissions and a 132-horsepower rating).

Standard is a five-speed manual transmission, and the optional automatic is a four-speed with lockup torque converter.

Either transmission gives the new Elantra impressive EPA fuel-economy ratings of 28 miles per gallon city/36 highway.

Another great thing about the Elantra is that even though it’s priced to compete in the compact sedan segment, its 112.1 cubic feet of interior space, including the 14.2 cubic-foot trunk, give the car an official EPA classification as a midsize sedan.

It has more interior space than the 2007 Civic (102.9 cubic feet), Sentra (110.8) and Corolla (103.8). In fact, it has more interior volume than even the midsize entry-luxury Acura TL sedan (110.4), which is built on the same chassis as the Honda Accord.

Hyundai says the redesigned Elantra is 2 inches wider and 2.2 inches taller than last year’s model, allowing for the increased interior space. Front and rear shoulder room have been increased, and the rear bench seat is more comfortable for three people than it was last year.

The Elantra’s trunk is 18 percent larger than the Civic’s and 5 percent bigger than the Corolla’s, Hyundai says.

With the 2007 Elantra, Hyundai now has introduced seven new or completely redesigned models in just two years. It’s the last part of the company’s so-called “24-7” program that promised seven new models in 24 months.

The others are the Tucson compact sport utility, introduced last year; the redesigned midsize Sonata, which arrived two years ago; the compact, entry-level Accent, whose sedan model showed up last year and whose hatchback version was added for 2007; the flagship premium Azera sedan, new last year; the redesigned midsize Santa Fe sport utility, whose second generation arrived this fall; and the Entourage, Hyundai’s first minivan, which made its debut this year as a 2007 model.

All of these new models give Hyundai, the largest South Korean automaker, the “freshest lineup” in the industry, the company says.

The Elantra, which is a step above the compact Accent and intended for people who can afford to spend a bit more, has been one of Hyundai’s top-selling models for years.

The new model, with its vast improvements, is expected to help build significantly on the Elantra’s success.

“The all-new Elantra delivers a level of ride and handling refinement that’s both agile and comfortable,” said John Krafcik, Hyundai Motor America’s vice president for product development.

“Add in great standard safety features like six air bags, antilock brakes and active front head restraints, and our assertive new design, and it’s clear that Elantra offers unbeatable value.”

The front-seat side air bags and the side-curtain are a surprising standard feature for this vehicle class, and offer occupants protection from side impacts as well as rollovers.

These types of air bags are believed to be capable of reducing fatalities by more than 45 percent overall, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Hyundai notes that the side-impact air bags are “expensive options on competitors such as Toyota Corolla and Ford Focus, and are not available on the Chevrolet Cobalt. Side-curtain air protection is optional on Corolla and Cobalt and still not available on Focus.”

The Elantra does not offer electronic stability control, however, which is an emerging technology that is quickly becoming standard on SUVs, and at least optional on many other vehicles.

Still, the Elantra’s safety features are well above average for its class.

The car’s “accident avoidance technologies” begin with the car’s independent suspension, front and rear stabilizer bars and motor-driven rack-and-pinion power steering, Hyundai says.

In addition, standard on all three trim levels are four-wheel antilock disc brakes with electronic brake-force distribution.

Antilock brakes — or ABS — help prevent accidents, while the air bags are intended to help protect the occupants should an accident occur.

The best protection against accidents is prevention, though, and beyond the ABS, the brake-force distribution system is designed to automatically adjust braking pressure to the front and rear axles based on the vehicle’s load. That can help prevent an accident during a panic braking maneuver.

As for the four-wheel disc brakes, they are found only on uplevel versions of most of the Elantra’s competitors if they are offered at all. Most cars in this class have front disc and rear drum brakes. Drum brakes, an old technology that is disappearing from the automotive scene, are more susceptible to failure than disc brakes, especially when they get wet.

The Elantra also comes with standard front-seat active head restraints, designed to help prevent whiplash injuries.

Hyundai also offers one of the best warranties in the industry — five years/60,000 miles total coverage, and 10 years/100,000 miles on the powertrain.

San Antonio Express-News (TX)
SUNDAY DRIVE : More Hyundai value
G. Chambers Williams
Publication Date: December 17, 2006