Three-Row 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Priced Below Explorer, Pathfinder

Hyundai has announced prices for three-row versions of the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe models, which now slot alongside the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, effectively replacing the now-discontinued Veracruz.

The Santa Fe lands at a base price of $29,195 for the base front-wheel-drive Santa Fe GLS (including destination), or $30,945 for the all-wheel-drive GLS. As Hyundai notes, that places its entry price lower than the Ford Explorer ($765), Nissan Pathfinder ($300), Toyota Highlander ($520), or Honda Pilot ($1,155).

That also positions it at about $2,000 less than the base front-wheel-drive Chevrolet Traverse, or about $2,500 less than the Ford Flex. Compared to the Santa Fe Sport, the three-row model is 8.5 inches longer, with a wheelbase that’s 3.9 inches longer. That said, it’s priced quite a bit higher than the smaller Sport, which starts at just $25,295.

As we’ve outlined in our full review of the 2013 Santa Fe, as well as our First Drive of the Santa Fe, Hyundai has given the Santa Fe a new shape that adds a dash of ruggedness and practicality to its familiar ‘fluidic sculpture’ shapes, while inside it’s much-upgraded the interior to be smooth, swoopy, and well detailed, yet a little more grown-up in look and feel than the smaller Tucson. All-new powertrains complete the package; while the three-row Santa Fe doesn’t get the base four-cylinder engine or available turbo four that powers the Sport, a 280-horsepower, 3.3-liter direct-injection V-6 should provide plenty of pep—and enough sheer muscle to tow up to 5,000 pounds (a Tow Prep package is included on all models).

Standard equipment is plentiful, even on the GLS. Remote keyless entry, rear-seat heat and A/C vents, Bluetooth hands-free calling and audio streaming, steering-wheel audio controls, the Blue Link telematics system. GLS AWD models add a windshield wiper de-icer, as well as an Active Cornering Control feature Separately, for $950, there’s a Popular Equipment Package on the GLS that adds fog lamps, roof rails, heated mirrors, a power driver seat, and heated front seats, among other things, while a Leather and Navigation package brings those things plus heated second-row seats, side-mirror turn signals, a heated steering wheel, power passenger seat, rearview camera system, dual-zone climate control, touch-screen navigation, and Dimension premium audio.

Santa Fe Limited models go to a six-passenger layout with leather upholstery and heated second-row seats, a power front passenger seat, dual-zone climate control, an electroluminescent gauge cluster, a power liftgate, proximity key, push button start, a 115-volt AC power outlet, and 19-inch alloys, among other features.

A Technology Package on the Limited adds a navigation system with six-inch touchscreen, as well as a 550-watt, 12-speaker Infinity Logic 7 surround sound audio system, a panoramic sunroof, heated steering wheel, and manual rear side sunshades.

Unlike the two-row Santa Fe Sport, the three-row Santa Fe will be built in South Korea; it begins reaching dealerships in late February.

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Hyundai’s ‘Epic Playdate’ Super Bowl Ad is, Indeed, Epic

In this Hyundai Santa Fe Super Bowl ad created by Innocean, the brand has fun with something every parent is familiar with; the playdate. While that may sound a bit mundane, this playdate is like no other. With help from the Flaming Lips, Dad and kids head to a skate park, go four wheeling, fools around with museum exhibits, hang with a motorcycle gang, go to a petting zoo where they get chased by an ostrich and go bowling inside a giant balloon.

Epic, indeed. Every kids dream.

The Flaming Lips created the song, “Sun Blows Up Today,” specifically for the commercial. It will be featured as a digital bonus track on the band’s newest album, The Terror, slated for release this April. In addition, the song is available starting today for free download to the first 100,000 fans at

Of the collaboration, Hyundai VP of Marketing Steve Shannon said, “‘Sun Blows Up Today’ perfectly captures the rebellious, playful spirit of the parents and communicates the celebration of pure family fun. A true musical collaboration in the making, we are thrilled with the end result. The Flaming Lips are masters of reinvention and their unique alternative rock music appeals to our target Santa Fe buyer – young-at-heart parents and families looking for a vehicle to celebrate life’s unforgettable moments. The all-new seven-passenger Santa Fe is not just another crossover – its bold design, powerful engine and host of high function features make it the stand out model in its class.”

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Honda adding ‘Eyes Free’ Siri integration in some 2013 cars

Automaker Honda today said it plans to integrate Apple’s Siri voice assistant in some of its upcoming Honda and Acura vehicles.

On the list is the 2013 Honda Accord, and two Acura models, the 2013 RDX and ILX.

The feature in question is Siri’s “Eyes Free” mode, a way to use Apple’s iOS voice assistant without having to rely on visual cues, or interact with on-screen menus. The functionality, which was introduced at last year’s WWDC, works over Bluetooth and connects through Honda’s HandsFreeLink setup just like other mobile phones.


Honda is the latest company to offer integration with Apple’s software. Last November Chevrolet announced plans to include the feature in its Spark and Sonic automobiles.

Siri is now available on all of Apple’s portable products, short of some iPod models, and its Mac computers. The feature requires an active Internet connection to pipe spoken queries through Apple’s servers, making it more useful on the iPhone and cellular-enabled versions of the iPad.

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2012 Hyundai Azera – A fine and silky ride

We all know there are far too many cars out there. At least three dozen auto brands vie for your dollar – or, in these parlous times, your $30,000, the average price of a new car in the U.S. There are hundreds of models, and the people who design cars, or figure out how to market them, are slotting so many of them into the lineup that sometimes you think, hey, just make it simple, give me one or two choices. Well, if today’s example is any indication, you’re not going to get that choice anytime soon, and in there is a point to be made.

Hyundai, the Korean manufacturer whose first attempts to sell cars on these shores, the 1980s-era Excel (aka the Execrable), ended in ignominious failure, has zoomed up the ladder here. Hyundai now sells an array of modern, well-made sedans, SUVs, and sports cars that, frankly, are giving the veteran Japanese auto makers fits, just as the Japanese gave the Americans fits more than 30 years ago with their own incursion. Hyundai’s darling-of-the-auto-press these days is the Sonata, a four-cylinder sedan that competes favorably with Honda’s venerable Accord and Toyota’s ubiquitous Camry. These cars – the bread-and-butter sedan of America – all start in the low $20,000 range and range up to a shade over $30,000. The Sonata has gotten rave reviews and is clearly making a dent (so to speak) on the car buyer’s consciousness.

In the world of Hyundai, there’s the Sonata in that popular range and then, when your ship arrives, you trade up to the Genesis, a rear-wheel-drive sedan in the wannabe-luxo area (roughly $34,000 to $46,000).

In between is the Azera (where do they get these names?), the car that, more than almost any car out there, screams anonymity – or, at least, a tendency to stay firmly in the middle; it’s a centrist, a political hothouse flower that isn’t ready to make a commitment to anything. Maybe we’re getting carried away here, but when several friends asked me recently what I was driving and I brightly said, “a Hyundai Azera!,” the reaction was a mixture of “huh?” or “hmmm, a what?” and so on.

Okay, okay. It’s not as bad as all that. What we do have here is a car with a remarkable array of features, goodies we really shouldn’t take for granted, wrapped up in a package that has a base price of $32,000. Its competitors are the Toyota Avalon, Acura TL, Nissan Maxima, Buick LaCrosse and Lexus ES350, among a few others. (The Lexus, equipped like the $36,875 Azera I tested, will run you nearly $10,000 more, by the way. But you do pay for that Lexus name. It’s the star factor.)

The Azera is powered by a 3.3-liter, 293-horsepower V6 and glides down the road with the help of a six-speed automatic gearbox (with the requisite manumatic shifter so you can play Boy Racer at will) and gets about the average gas mileage you’d expect in a car like this (20 mpg city, 29 mpg highway.) The design is in that currently voguish look of high beltline, fairly short window glass and, as Hyundai puts it, the car is a product of “fluidic sculpture.” I liked the style touch of the exhaust tips that blend into the rear bumper (viz. Lexus LS460). My first visual impression of the silver Azera I tested, with its dark glass roof, was that it looked kind of like a Mercedes-Benz CL series (I can hear the howls in Stuttgart) and maybe that was Hyundai’s intention. The car had the $4,000 technology package whose greatest feature, frankly, has little to do with technology – it’s a panoramic double sunroof, in which a huge piece of glass over the front seats slides back over another big piece of glass on the back half of the roof. You can also drive with the glass closed up, but the two, yes two, sliding roof curtains fold into the roof’s interior. You also get the 550-watt “Infinity” audio system, 19-inch (instead of 18) wheels, rear window sunshade and other doodads, such as ventilated front seats (chilled air as well as heat), and a “driver’s seat cushion extension.” (The 2012 Azera we tested is identical to the 2013 model, Hyundai says.)

On the road, the Azera is quiet, nimble, and quick to react in the usual panic stops that inevitably happen in freeway driving. I did feel that the electrically-aided power steering was a bit numb – you didn’t get much road feel coming back through that steering column – but this is clearly not the end of the world and you don’t have to take the car back to the dealer and demand your money back.

A few nits: the front seat adjustment buttons, mimicking the sideview outline of a seat cushion and its backrest (looks a lot likes the ones in a Mercedes), are mounted high up at the front of the doors and are a bit too far away. Or maybe I was just pushing the seat back too far.  Because of that high mass of steel on the sides, and the lower roofline, you feel a little cramped when you look around while backing out of a parking space. The Azera’s predecessor had a larger greenhouse and the sightlines were better. But these are nits.

The main thing about the Azera is this: it is a car for people who don’t want to be noticed. It will blend in with all the other four-door near-luxury sedans in that sprawling shopping center parking lot (good luck on finding your car in that sea of sameness) and it will do a fine job of getting you from here to there.

In truth, it’s a stealth car. It’s as if Hyundai sneaked it in between the Genesis and the Sonata and is now telling its customers, almost as an afterthought, “well, come over here and take a look at this one.” And they’re right. It’s worth looking at.

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Hyundai’s Super Bowl ads highlight speed

By: Davey G. Johnson on 1/28/2013

Having been batted about regarding their fuel-economy claims, Hyundai has decided to use their Super Bowl ad dollars to highlight the raw power of the Sonata Turbo and the Genesis R-Spec sedan.

We find the above Sonata ad a whimsical piffle, featuring a couple utilizing their family sedan’s turbocharged 2.0L four to handily pass obnoxious/dangerous motorists. We’re partial to the whipping, slimy ropes of dog drool.

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2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo Manual / Automatic

Life is full of unexpected detours, and here’s a good illustration: We set out to quantify the performance distinctions between two new Hyundai Veloster Turbos, one equipped with a manual transmission, the other with an automatic. But we seem to inadvertently have also conducted a tire test. Or, more accurately, a demonstration of the difference between performance rubber and the all-season tires worn by most new cars these days.

The distinctions are telling. Numbers in a minute. First, back to our original mission, with a look at the transmissions.

A Pair of Sixes

As with the naturally aspirated Veloster, the Turbo’s transmission choices are both six-speeds: one manual, one automatic. But the automatic option in the basic Veloster is a dual-clutch automated manual—officially, the EcoShift dual-clutch transmission, or DCT for short. It’s Hyundai’s first of the type.

The Turbo’s automatic, however, is a conventional one, with a manual shift mode; Hyundai’s DCT won’t handle the torque (195 lb-ft at 1750 rpm) generated by the turbocharged and intercooled version of the Veloster’s direct-injected 1.6-liter four-cylinder.

This is not a bad thing. In our earlier test, we weren’t impressed by the DCT’s what’s-your-hurry shift speed, whereas the Turbo’s six-speed automatic pops its shifts relatively briskly, particularly in the Sport setting. It upshifts automatically as redline approaches, manual mode or not, but that’s true of the DCT as well.

The paddle shifters are handily placed behind the horizontal spokes of the three-spoke steering wheel, finger-reachable from the rim, and rotate with the wheel. Paddles fixed to the column are preferable to many drivers, since they’re easier to locate while steering. But the Hyundai setup works well, and the transmission also functions well in full automatic mode, with all but seamless shifts and prompt kickdowns for passing.

The manual transmission, for its part, is a pleasure to employ, with precise engagements and a very forgiving clutch. It saves some dough, too; the automatic costs $1000.


Hyundai’s manual is not a launch enhancer, however. For our instrumented test of the naturally aspirated manual, we recorded 0-to-60-mph acceleration in 8.5 seconds and a quarter-mile run of 16.7 seconds at 84 mph. The DCT-equipped version was even slower: 0–60 in 9.1 seconds, the quarter in 17.0 at 83 mph. In the mid-1980s, those numbers would have been respectable. Today, well—they’re slow.

The pace picks up with the Turbos, of course, thanks to 201 hp versus the unboosted 138 and increased torque across a broad curve. But we weren’t prepared for the automatic’s advantage in the 0-to-60 sprint—6.8 seconds, a half-second quicker than the manual version.

The test report noted that the manual’s gearing bumped against the rev limiter twice en route to 60 mph, requiring two upshifts. Worth a half-second versus the automatic? Our test-track hotshoe reported that “the 1-2 upshift sucks life from the engine.” It got better after that: 15.4 seconds at 90 mph for the automatic in the quarter-mile, 15.5 at 91 for the manual.

For contrast, the DSG-equipped VW GTI we tested in 2010 hit 60 mph in 6.1 seconds and ran the quarter in 14.7 at 96 mph, although, at 3171 pounds, it outweighed the auto-equipped Veloster Turbo by 192 pounds. Another contrast: We clocked a 2012 Honda Civic Si coupe with a manual (2864 pounds) at 6.3 to 60 and 15.0 at 94 in the quarter. Turbo hotties such as the Mazdaspeed 3 and new Ford Focus ST are also quicker than either boosted Veloster, although with 50-plus more horsepower, that’s to be expected.

If fuel economy is high on your list of priorities, know that the naturally aspirated Veloster has better EPA ratings than the boosted version: 27 mpg city with the manual, 28 automatic, 37 highway for both. The manual Turbo has an edge versus the automatic on the highway (35 mpg versus 31), but they both get 24 mpg in the city. We recorded 22 mpg with the manual, 24 with the automatic. (Note that the EPA estimates shown here are 1–3-mpg lower than earlier numbers listed for 2013 models as a result of an investigation of Hyundai‘s mileage reporting. It revealed most of the maker’s vehicles to be overly optimistic.)

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2013 Hyundai Santa Fe available in Sport, LWB models

It’s tough to find anything not to like about the new 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport. It has a zippy turbocharged engine, a high-quality interior with an upright dash design, a roomy rear area with sliding and reclining seats, which means that passengers can get comfortable.

The Santa Fe Sport and sibling LWB Santa Fe were both designed under Hyundai’s “Fluidic Sculpture” concept, which aims at giving the impression of constant motion. Hyundai designers used a three-bar hexagonal front grille, a low stance and a rising beltline with a roof spoiler and wraparound taillights to create the constant motion concept. Design elements also include a standard chrome grille and door handle accents and bodycolor mirrors. In addition, 19-inch wheels and a twin-tip chrome exhaust are standard on Santa Fe Sport 2.0T.

Hyundai designers evolved both Santa Fe models together, with the differentiating element being the side window shape. The longer Santa Fe LWB has a shape that highlights the increased passenger and cargo room behind the second row seat. Santa Fe also has its own bodyside character lines from the B-pillar back, a different grille design, 18-inch alloy wheels, dual exhaust tips and a flush-mounted tow hitch design.

Both Santa Fe models have the same flowing interior designed for passenger functionality and comfort. From the heated rear seats and available eight-way power driver seat, to a standard 40/20/40 folding rear seat back, both have flexibility and a pleasant cabin. Also new for 2013 – and standard on all Santa Fe models with cloth seating – is a YES Essentials seat fabric treatment that provides soil-resistant, antiodor and anti-static properties for added longevity and livability.

Special attention went into other interior details, such as an optional panoramic sunroof that allows more natural light into the cabin, and premium window switch trim.

The three-row Santa Fe increases second- row legroom by 1.9 inches and cargo capacity 5.6 cubic feet and houses secondrow HVAC controls and vents to increase family comfort, while also offering a standard 50/50 split folding third-row bench seat with 31.5 inches of legroom.

As for power, the Santa Fe Sport offers a choice of a 2.4-liter Gasoline Direct Engine (GDI) engine or a turbocharged 2.0-liter GDI engine. Both engines have been extensively tested in the Hyundai Sonata and provide excellent power for city or highway driving, and have the ability to tow up to 3,500 pounds. With 190 hp and 181 pounds-feet of torque, the 2.4 liter engine delivers impressive fuel economy of 21/29 mpg. The higher output 2.0-liter turbocharged engine in the Santa Fe Sport 2.0T increases horsepower to 264. The LWB Santa Fe is powered by the acclaimed 3.3-liter GDI V-6 engine, which also powers the Hyundai Azera.

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Hyundai Takes To Twitter To Discover Reviews

In an effort to improve customer satisfaction,  Hyundai is actively trolling Twitter for negative consumer feedback in order to  address customer concerns before they escalate.


Conventional wisdom tells us that those who’ve had a negative experience with  a business are more inclined to tell people than those who’ve had a positive  one. The figures change depending on who you talk to, and none of them are  exactly based on hard evidence anyway. But that doesn’t mean that  there isn’t any truth to them, and it’s something that business owners  need to be aware of. In the age of Twitter, the number of people who will hear  about your bad experience increases exponentially, and for big companies like  automakers, negative reviews can reach millions in just seconds. So Hyundai have  implemented a program whereby a member of its Customer Connect team scours  through Twitter every day looking for people reporting on negative Hyundai  experiences, according to WardsAuto.

The complaints Hyundai finds are treated just like any other complaint it  receives via phone or email. These tweets are a possible future avenue by which  Hyundai can gather data on dealership performance, theoretically replacing the  current dealer satisfaction survey. This is still probably a long way off, but  Hyundai is still reeling from a storm of bad publicity generated by lawsuits  connected to inflated fuel economy figures, and no doubt a bit of  preemptive damage control will go a long way for the company. Of course, the  problem with Twitter is that the information goes public instantly, meaning an  issue a dealer might not even be aware of could become a big PR nightmare before  it even has a chance to react, let alone find out about it. So the Twitter  response program is just the first step toward improving how Hyundai responds to  customer satisfaction problems. The next step will obviously be to find a way of  dealing with these problems before they become public

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Call It Anything, Hyundai Says, but Not Genesis

Introduced on Monday, Jan. 14 Hyundai HCD-14 Genesis Concept

What is it? “A spiritual guide for a future lineup of premium products” said John Krafcik, chief executive of Hyundai Motor America. It also hints at future eye-tracking and interactive 3-D gesture recognition technology.

Is it real? No and no. Or doth they protest too much? Perhaps we could be forgiven for thinking this was a glimpse at the next-generation Genesis sedan given its name, the HCD-14 Genesis Concept.

What they said: Early in the news conference, Mr. Krafcik called the concept “a look at the future as we see it, in the early creative stages, for a concept car. I want to make it really clear to you guys. This is not the next Genesis production sedan.” Near the end of the event he posed and answered his own question: “Is this a thinly disguised Genesis sedan? And I am saying this twice, because it’s really important. It is not the next-generation.”

What they didn’t say: As in many segments, competition is getting stiffer and Hyundai wants to send a signal that the company is committed to its premium products.

What makes it tick? The concept car has what Hyundai calls the 5-liter Tau V-8 direct injection engine that is in the current Genesis. What does not make it tick are buttons and knobs. It uses optical recognition to identify the driver and start the ignition, and it has 3-D hand-gesture recognition to work controls, similar to gesture-based video games. Hyundai did not disclose exactly which hand gestures the technology would recognize, should it prove as frustrating as MyFord Touch.

How much, how soon? No way to know. Remember —  this is not the next-generation Genesis. But Hyundai did say that it would show the production version of the next Genesis next year in Detroit. And Mr. Krafcik said a vehicle that would have a strong dose of the HCD-14 would be coming in another premium model.

How’s it look? The HCD stands for Hyundai California Design, as it was styled at Hyundai’s Irvine, Calif., studio and is the first Hyundai from the company’s new designer, Christopher Chapman. In profile, it is elegant and simple; don’t know about that upright grille, however, which is anything but simple. The new design theme, fluidic precision, is an evolution of Hyundai’s current design language of fluidic sculpture.

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Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Supplants Ford Fusion As Government’s Green Car Of Choice

President Barack Obama pledged to modernize the government fleet, and he has done just that…though many of these new, fuel-efficient cars aren’t American. In fact, 54% of the Obama Administration’s fleet of alternatively fueled vehicles come from Asian brands.

The Asian brands that make up a bulk of U.S. government fleets are Hyundai Motor Co, Honda Motor Co, Toyota Motor Corporation, and Mitsubishi Motors Corporation.

The Obama administration set a goal of purchasing only alternatively fueled vehicles for its fleet by 2015. They have been purchasing alternatively fueled vehicles since 2009 by the thousands. However, their purchases of these vehicles has been decreasing for years. Sales of these vehicles was 8139 in 2009, and dropped to 6,467 in 2010, it then dropped to 2,645 in fiscal 2011. In 2012, the government purchased just 1,801 hybrid vehicles, making up about 3.6% of the more than 50,000 vehicles purchase by the government last year.

It is certainly true that the U.S government should practice what it encourages, and use alternatively fueled vehicles as well to set an example, however, they don’t favor American cars as much as they used to. The Hyundai Sonata Hybrid has replaced the Ford Fusion hybrid as the most popular green car in government fleets.

One of the reasons stated for this is that the Fusion was not available in large quantities at the time as anew Fusion hybrid was coming out. The same was said for the Ford C-Max hybrid, though there is no mention of the Chevy Volt, another popular hybrid vehicle.

It’s worth asking…is the Obama administration backtracking on its hybrid fleet pledge? Is the 2015 goal even possible anymore?

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