Monthly Archives: September 2008

Light the Night Follow Up

Dear Friends,

Last night was the 2008 Light the Night Walk for leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s Disease and myeloma. Thanks to all of you who contributed, it was their most successful walk ever! The Gary Rome Hyundai Team, with Gary matching every donation dollar for dollar, raised over $5000 to help find a cure for these dreaded diseases.

As part of the ceremony, we brought a Hyundai “Hope on Wheels” Santa Fe for children who have survived their battle against disease to hand paint their impressions on. Ten kids from ages 5 to 18 participated in the event and I’ve attached a picture of one of them.

I’ll be back next year with a goal of $10,000 and hope you can renew your commitment to this most worthy cause. If you didn’t get a chance to contribute this year, please click here.

Thank you again,

Cliff Dexheimer and the Gary Rome Hyundai Team

Cars.comparison: Living Large — Full-Size Sedans

Full-size sedans don’t usually grab the kind of attention their smaller brethren do, but there’s been quite a bit of talk about the segment lately thanks to the introduction of the Hyundai Genesis and Lincoln MKS. Both models are critical to their respective brands, and here they take on a performance-oriented version of the Buick Lucerne to see which wins large-car bragging rights.

Category Winner = Category winner

The Contenders

2008 Buick Lucerne Super 2009 Hyundai Genesis 4.6 2009 Lincoln MKS AWD
$38,980 $37,250 $39,555
Price as tested
$42,780 $42,000 $46,070
Country-club cred
Par: Buick’s probably the most invested of these three in golf — it sponsors Tiger Woods, after all — but while the Lucerne might hold appeal for older folks heading to the club for a hand or two of gin rummy, it’s not going to interest the youngest members. Birdie: While the Hyundai brand probably gets as much respect as a knock-off Big Bertha driver, the Genesis is the automaker’s best shot to change that perception, with its well-proportioned Lexus-like looks. Category WinnerEagle: Like the guy who won’t back down from a tough tee shot over water, the MKS has an aggressiveness to it, thanks mostly to its toothy chrome grille. Overall, it’s an elegantly styled sedan that will look at home in the members-only parking lot.
Ride comfort
The Lucerne cruises comfortably, but its suspension is more taut than you might expect from a Buick. Rough pavement can be jarring, and large bumps produce boat-like body motions — though many shoppers may expect that from a car in this class. Category WinnerThe Genesis’ firm suspension is more like what you’d find in a small sport sedan. The sedan rides comfortably, but the suspension also transmits road imperfections to the cabin. Though their results are inconsistent, the Lucerne and MKS’ suspensions are tuned mainly for comfort. Here, as in the Buick, the ride is firmer than you might expect and not as comfortable as you’d like. There is noticeable road noise, which was augmented by the optional 19-inch tires on our test car. Many automakers will tweak a new model’s suspension the following model year if necessary, and we hope Lincoln can make the MKS more comfortable without giving anything up in the handling department.
The Lucerne Super’s standard Magnetic Ride Control keeps body roll in check, but it doesn’t lend enough sportiness to excuse its jarring ride in some conditions. Its front-wheel-drive layout can’t compete with the Genesis’ rear-wheel-drive architecture. Category WinnerDespite its large size, the rear-wheel-drive Genesis’ balanced chassis and limited body roll let you drive it like a sports car, which helps justify its firmer ride. Body roll when cornering is well-checked in the MKS, but a quick turn can produce floaty boat-like sensations as the large chassis adjusts. Here again, the taut ride probably isn’t worth the resulting handling.
The Super’s V-8 works well with a smooth-shifting four-speed automatic, but its 292 horsepower comes mostly at higher engine speeds. For a V-8, it has relatively modest output. A pronounced exhaust rumble emerges when you hit the gas. Category WinnerThe Genesis’ 375-hp, 4.6-liter V-8 will propel the sedan forward like an unstoppable force of nature if you let it. It doesn’t hurt that the six-speed automatic it teams with is a good one, delivering quick kickdowns when needed. The 3.7-liter V-6 — currently the only engine offered — is reasonably powerful, but the six-speed automatic is fussy and sometimes slow to downshift. The manual shift function is clunky to operate and doesn’t provide any added driving thrill, either.
Thirst (city/highway, mpg)
The automatic transmission’s low gear count doesn’t help the Lucerne’s gas mileage, which is the lowest of the three.
Power and fuel efficiency coexist happily in the Genesis, which gets the best gas mileage of the trio while also producing the most horsepower.
If you don’t need all-wheel drive, choosing the front-wheel-drive MKS brings better estimated gas mileage of 17/24 mpg.
Seat comfort
The cushy leather- and suede-covered front bucket seats are heated and cooled, but their support is only so-so, and the power height adjustment doesn’t allow the seat to go very high off the floor. The rear bench seat’s cushioning is too soft. Standard heated leather bucket seats give the driver and front passenger good thigh support and are finished in a higher grade of leather than the V-6-powered Genesis 3.8’s seats. A cooled driver’s seat is optional. Backseat comfort is equally good. Whether you’re sitting in the front or back, the MKS has soft, comfortable seats that offer terrific support on long drives. The front ones also have standard heating and cooling functions.
The Lucerne’s 108-cubic-foot passenger cabin is slightly smaller than the Genesis’. There’s plenty of room in front, but the mushy cushions in back diminish overall comfort even though legroom back there is good. With 109.4 cubic feet of passenger volume, the Genesis offers the most space. It feels like it, too; there’s plenty of room in front, and the spacious backseat treats passengers well. The MKS’ 105.8-cubic-foot passenger compartment is slightly smaller than the Lucerne’s, and you feel it up front, especially in the knee area. In back, there’s plenty of legroom despite its numbers, but headroom is sacrificed when you opt for the dual-panel moonroof.
Luxury doodads
Though the Lucerne’s optional navigation system is a touch-screen, which we typically prefer, it’s showing its age in terms of inadequate street labeling and quirky operation. There’s also no backup camera, though rear parking sensors are included. An MP3 player input and cooled seats are two contemporary features. Hyundai follows luxury brands like BMW and Audi in introducing a navigation and entertainment system that’s controlled by a knob in the center console. Part of the Technology Package, the system is reasonably intuitive, and the dash screen’s graphics are impressive. Additional package features include a Lexicon audio system and a backup camera. Standard features such as the heated and cooled seats and options like the dual-panel moonroof take things up a notch in the luxury department. The optional voice-activated entertainment/navigation system is remarkably well-done. It’s one of the best in the market — in any class — because of its simplicity, crystal-clear touch-screen and useful features, like real-time gas prices.
Trunk room
Measuring 17 cubic feet, the Lucerne’s trunk almost splits the difference between those in the Genesis and MKS. A pass-thru to the passenger compartment is standard. The Genesis’ 15.9-cubic-foot trunk is small compared to the Lucerne’s and MKS’, but like those two it has a standard pass-thru. The MKS’ 18.7-cubic-foot trunk soundly beats the Lucerne’s and Genesis’ in terms of overall size, and like those models it has a pass-thru for carrying long items inside the car.
Overall value
Because it’s based on a Cadillac, the V-6-powered Lucerne CX looks like a bargain, but this Super trim level demands a lot more pay for not enough play, even when compared to the middle, CXL trim level with its optional V-8. No matter how you measure value — lots of features for the money, low operating costs or just a low price — Hyundai comes through by giving the Genesis plenty of standard features, a long warranty, best-in-test gas mileage and the lowest as-tested price. Choosing the front-wheel-drive MKS lowers the base price to $37,665, which makes it more competitive with the Genesis. Expensive options like the navigation system are almost a must, though, so the out-the-door price quickly ratchets upward. Still, the all-wheel-drive MKS comes in thousands of dollars less than its platform mate, Volvo’s S80.
Editors’ choice
A satisfying drivetrain is a Lucerne plus, but it comes with gas mileage that’s hard to swallow. The Genesis and MKS make the Lucerne’s lower-grade interior and relatively bland looks more apparent. The Genesis is an impressive car however you look at it. It offers the best engine, a comfortable ride, spacious accommodations and luxurious amenities. To do so with the lowest price in the Faceoff makes the feat that much more remarkable. Lincoln has a winner in terms of looks outside and comfort inside, along with a slick multimedia system. Still, that’s not enough to triumph over the Genesis, which is a better car overall.

By Mike Hanley, David Thomas and Joe Wiesenfelder

Hyundai Collaborates With HKS USA to Unveil Genesis Coupe at SEMA Show

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif., 09/03/2008 Hyundai Motor America today announced that HKS USA, Inc. will create a high-performance Genesis Coupe 2.0t for the 2008 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show. The all-new, rear-wheel drive Hyundai model will make its SEMA debut at the Las Vegas Convention Center Nov. 4 – Nov. 7, 2008. HKS, the leading manufacturer of premium performance parts, is the second company to join Hyundai for this year’s SEMA show.

Genesis Coupe has the basic DNA that HKS looks for – an excellent chassis, rear-wheel drive, aggressive styling and a new generation turbo-charged engine. These attributes provide the opportunity for HKS to maximize the Genesis Coupe driving performance capabilities for the serious driving enthusiast,” said Rick Lafferty, president, HKS USA, Inc. “HKS is allocating R&D, engineering and prototyping resources to lay the groundwork for HKS-brand Genesis Coupe performance parts. We are looking forward to working with Hyundai to realize the full performance potential of the Genesis Coupe.”

The HKS plan for the Genesis Coupe includes a HKS GT Turbo upgrade to maximize horsepower and torque, HKS engine internals, HKS limited-edition turbo exhaust system, HKS Super Mega Flow Intake System, HKS Engine Management and HKS Hipermax III fully-adjustable suspension.

“We’ve designed Genesis Coupe from the start to be tuner-friendly,” said John Krafcik, vice president, Product Development and Strategic Planning, Hyundai Motor America. “Partnering with an industry leader like HKS is a terrific way for us to stretch the performance envelope of Genesis Coupe.”

The HKS Genesis Coupe will also showcase functional ground effects designed by Ken Style, HKS Time-Attack cars’ aerodynamic partner. The interior will emphasize driver comfort and control with HKS electronics including CAMP2 that monitors up to 24 data signals from the Genesis OBD2 and programmable calculations for fuel costs, average fuel consumption and fuel efficiency in real time.


– Hyundai’s first rear-wheel drive sports car
– 306 horsepower (est.) from enhanced 3.8-liter V6 from Genesis sedan
– Standard 210 horsepower (est.) turbocharged, intercooled inline four cylinder
– Genesis Coupe arrives in the spring of 2009 as a 2010 model


HKS USA, Inc. is a leading manufacturer and supplier of premium automotive aftermarket performance systems, parts and accessories. Delivering its products to both the import and domestic car markets, HKS has been recognized for its engineering and performance excellence in the automotive industry since 1973. Established in 1982, HKS USA, Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of HKS Company, Ltd. Japan and distributes its products through its worldwide dealer network. For more information about HKS USA., visit their website at


Hyundai Motor America, headquartered in Fountain Valley, Calif., is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Co. of South Korea. Hyundai vehicles are distributed throughout the United States by Hyundai Motor America and are sold and serviced through 800 dealerships nationwide.

Tucson and Elantra Make Back-to-School Cars Lists by Kelley Blue Book’s

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif., 09/03/2008 Kelley Blue Book’s recognized the 2008 Hyundai Tucson as a “Top 10 New Back-to-School Car” and the 2006 Hyundai Elantra as a “Top 10 Used Back-to-School Car.” The “Top 10” lists are designed to help students and parents decide which vehicles are best to consider for their next automotive purchase by offering expert advice from editors and top recommendations for getting to and from class in an economical and reliable new or used car.

“There are so many options these days, in both the new- and used-car realm, for safe, fun and affordable back-to-school rides,” said Jack R. Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst, Kelley Blue Book and “Hyundai offers vehicles that are better built and better equipped than ever before, and more importantly, they include potentially life-saving standard safety features at prices that parents and students will find difficult to beat.”

The 2008 Tucson boasts safety and convenience with standard safety features like active front head restraints, Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and six airbags. It also offers new entertainment upgrades to better fit a student’s lifestyle, such as standard XM Satellite Radio® and an auxiliary audio input allowing drivers to listen to music from their iPod® or mp3 player.

The affordable 2006 Elantra earns high marks with a comprehensive list of standard and available safety features, earning five stars in National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and a “Good” score in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) crash testing. With more interior volume than key competitors Civic and Corolla, the Elantra provides comfortable and versatile seating for all.

All of the new cars on this year’s Back-to-School lists from Kelley Blue Book’s feature starting New Car Blue Book Values of less than $18,000, while all used cars have a Kelley Blue Book Suggested Retail Value of less than $12,000.

“We’re very honored to have our vehicles recognized by as a smart option parents should consider for their children,” said Tim Benner, national manager, Product Development, Hyundai Motor America. “The Tucson and Elantra come equipped with robust standard safety packages, expansive interiors and fuel-efficient engines – all at an affordable price. The Elantra and Tucson exemplify the quality and value that parents are looking for when they are shopping for the household fleet.”


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 almost 800 dealerships nationwide.

Hyundai Hope On Wheels is Coming to Northampton!

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Hyundai and its dealers’ commitment to supporting the fight against pediatric cancer. Since its inception in 2004, Hyundai Hope on Wheels, an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, has donated more than $10 million to institutions nationwide to help kids fight cancer. In celebration of its 10th anniversary, Hope on Wheels and Hyundai and its dealers have expanded the program to make a donation to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s network of doctors engaged in pediatric cancer research. The Hope on Wheels Tour will be represented at all 240 of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Light The Night Walks nationwide and will hold handprint ceremonies at select events.

Gary Rome Hyundai in Holyoke, MA has graciously teamed up with Hope On Wheels and will be attending the Northampton Light The Night Walk on Sunday, September 14th. Gary Rome Hyundai will be providing a Hope on Wheels Santa Fe vehicle for the event to be used during the handprint ceremony as well as to serve as a pace car for the Walk.

If you are a child patient/survivor or you will be walking with one of these individuals , please contact or 508-810-1318 to reserve your place in the handprint ceremony.

Questions? Contact Rebecca. (See contact info above)

Hyundai Elantra moves up within its class

Every once in a while, a car will really surprise you – the 2008 Hyundai Elantra is one of those cars. Past Elantras offered a long warranty and a low price, but couldn’t really compete with all-star compact sedans like the Honda Civic, Mazda 3 and Toyota Corolla. Now in its second year since a full redesign, the Elantra is the real deal, capable of standing toe-to-toe with the big boys. Plus, it still has that long warranty and low price.

Larger than the car it replaced, the supposedly compact Elantra is now considered a midsize sedan by the EPA. (Mind you, the EPA also classifies the Dodge Magnum as an SUV, so take it with a grain of salt.) Still, the Elantra is more spacious overall than its economy car rivals, and Hyundai is quick to point out that it boasts more interior volume than an Acura TL. The backseat is particularly impressive, as its high-mounted bench and generous foot room make it an easy fit for full-size adults.

The Elantra’s 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is an old design and isn’t as refined as those found in its Japanese competitors, but it’s surprisingly responsive and returns pretty good fuel economy. It also runs clean, as it’s classified as an Ultra-Low-Emissions Vehicle (ULEV) in most of the country, and a Partial-Zero-Emissions Vehicle (PZEV) in California, Oregon and the Northeast.

Once underway, the 2008 Hyundai Elantra continues to impress, with decent steering and handling responses, as well as a smooth ride and a stable demeanor at high speeds. It often feels like a more upscale car than it really is, an impression furthered by the handsome, well-constructed interior. Top-quality plastics and other materials are utilized throughout; however, they are betrayed by some cheap plastics here and there, as well as a leather-wrapped steering wheel (on the SE trim) prone to making your hands feel a bit clammy.

As always, there are a multitude of choices in the small economy car segment.

Although top-ranked sedans like the Civic may be better known, the 2008 Elantra manages to keep up with them, matching or besting each in a number of different ways. In particular, it’s hard to beat the Elantra’s level of features, space and quality construction at such a low price. Of course, taking a test-drive of all these choices is recommended, but when it comes time to stop by the Hyundai store, prepare to be pleasantly surprised.

The 2008 Hyundai Elantra is a small sedan available in GLS and SE trim levels. The base GLS is sparsely equipped with 15-inch steel wheels, keyless entry, a 60/40-split folding rear seat, a tilt steering wheel and full power accessories. The GLS Popular Equipment Package adds air-conditioning, foglights, cruise control, vanity mirrors and a six-speaker stereo with CD/MP3 player, auxiliary audio jack and satellite radio. The SE includes this equipment, but adds 16-inch alloy wheels, a trip computer and a tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped wheel with audio controls.

This year’s new SE Premium Package outfits the Elantra with heated seats and a sunroof. (The latter is a stand-alone option on the GLS.) Leather upholstery can also be added to this package.

The Elantra is front-wheel drive and powered by a 2.0-liter inline-4 engine capable of 138 horsepower and 136 pound-feet of torque. All trim levels can be equipped with either a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic. In California-emissions states, automatic-equipped Elantras are certified as Partial-Zero-Emissions Vehicles (PZEV) and are rated for 132 hp. Fuel economy for 2008 is a very respectable 24 mpg city and 33 mpg highway regardless of transmission or which state it is sold in.

All Elantras come standard with antilock disc brakes, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and anti-whiplash front head restraints. The SE trim level adds standard stability control and brake assist for the ABS. In crash testing conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the 2008 Hyundai Elantra earned a top five-star rating in frontal-impact collision protection and a four-star rating for side collisions. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety frontal offset testing, the Elantra received a rating of “Good,” the agency’s top score.

The Elantra’s interior quality is quite literally hit or miss. For instance, the dash-top grain and cool blue lighting looks like it could have been removed from an Acura. However, there are a few pieces here and there that wouldn’t cut it in a Honda Civic. Still, the overall design is attractive and pleasing, looking as if it belongs in a much more expensive car. Your carpool buddies should be impressed. They’ll also appreciate the Elantra’s generous amount of space provided by the generous head-, shoulder, hip- and legroom found in both the front and rear seats. Storage is also plentiful, with plenty of cubbies and a 14-cubic-foot trunk.

Considering its so-so 138 horses, the 2008 Hyundai Elantra is decently quick out of the gates (zero to 60 mph in 8.4 seconds), especially when equipped with a manual gearbox. The engine suffers from a somewhat coarse demeanor above 3,500 rpm, however. More refined is the ride quality, which is smooth yet stable, even at high speeds, and is one of the Elantra’s best attributes. Wind and road noise are also negligible.

Although its personality isn’t overtly sporting, the Elantra is actually a capable handler. Body roll is moderate, but this Hyundai manages to hold tight through turns, offering plenty of grip and decent steering response.