I’m on a Hyundai kick. I test drove one after another until I could critique them no more. Why you ask? Because Car Pros Hyundai treated me like a king and who doesn’t like that? Also, if you haven’t forgotten we’re working our way up to a review of the Camaro SS and I’d like to bait the hook with several “sporty” cars before dropping the hammer on a 425hp monster that’s sure to rock this blog like a hurricane. Befittingly then, the first Hyundai to accommodate MotorSpaceNW this sunny week was:
GENESIS COUPE 2.0 T (Starts at $22,000)
Lowdown: She was red and perky with a 210 hp turbocharged inline 4-cylinder, five-speed paddle shifter and a delightful 223 lb-ft of Torque. There was nothing fast about this car but that wasn’t the point. Zip, scoot, fun – you can mash the hell out of it, have a great time and still manage gas mileage in the twenties. Nurse it on the free ways and she’s good for 30 mpg.
Likes: Paddle shifters can be little more than floppy, unresponsive toys to make boring cars feel like you’re a real “driver,” but this wasn’t the case with the Shiftronic on the Genesis Coupe. I was skeptical of the finger flaps at first but they turned out to be respectably precise. It didn’t hurt that the little 4-cylinder begs to be played with at all times and isn’t satisfied unless it’s pinned wide open.
For interior roominess I’d take the Genesis hands down over the new Mustang. When I test-drove the GT it fit like a glove that was almost too tight. The bulging lines of the Stang’s body combined with the low-cut roof ate up driver visibility like oversized Trapezius muscles can make a body builder’s neck disappear. In contrast the Genesis feels like a sedan without the back seat, because it is.
Gripes: For all the fun it still feels like a starter sports car: The front seats don’t provide much side-support to hold you in place around turns and the 2.0 isn’t much engine without some serious help from the turbo charger, which takes a deep breath before kicking in if you’re not careful to keep it wound up to the sweet spot.
Bottom Line: Has go-cart charm to spare and is sure to bring out the 12 year-old in just about anyone. Just don’t expect to win too many races.
TUCSON V6 (Starts at $18,095)
Lowdown: I don’t remember much from my drive in the Tucson and that’s not a good sign. Granted, it’s supposed to compete with the Toyota RAV 4 and already that’s a discussion that makes my left eye drift away to a more interesting place. If any of you would like more details on my time spent behind the wheel of the Tucson leave a request on the comment board and I’ll do a blog on it just for you. In the meantime here are a list of words to describe how the Tucson made me feel:
Gripes: Looks like the fat Baldwin brother of Hyundai’s otherwise smartly designed lineup -In my personal opinion. I'm sure plenty of people think it's a very attractive automobile.
Bottom Line: I'll pass.
SANTA FE Limited ($28,845)
Of all the vehicles I drove at Car Pros, the Santa Fe best encompasses all that Hyundai has going for them. Just about everywhere you expect a top of the class car to impress, it does, but without shooting for the industry pinnacle most of us don’t need or could bring ourselves to pay for.
Likes: A loaded Santa Fe costs less than most of the competition starts at. The back seats coddle your butt like the spacious palm of a giant’s leathery hand (as if he were a carpenter), there’s plenty of power, fun factor, and all around it feels like more than it costs.
Gripes: While power is ample it wont keep up with some of the higher-end competition.
Bottom Line: You might be silly to pay more for a Lexus, Acura or BMW. Downright silly.
’08 AZERA Limited (’09 starts at $24,970)
Lowdown: Imagine a BMW 328i made by Hyundai, but with an extra 30hp (263) and a price tag that’s about 10k lighter. Now imagine all that an extra 10 grand can do for a car. Still interested? Read on.
Likes: Out on the highway the Azera was a blast; besides making the Genesis Coupe squeal with finger tickles, jumping from 50mph-75mph in the Azera was the most fun I had all day.
Gripes: Where are the ultra-plush seats and undeserved air of accomplishment? Answer: Possibly in the ten grand that was shaved off the price tag. For some it would be a stretch to call the Azera a true luxury car.
Bottom Line: Shouldn’t disappoint anyone who can appreciate the savings, especially after a test drive.
BIG THANKS to everyone at Car Pros Hyundai of Seattle. Especially to Antonio A. Sanchez for personally putting up with my shenanigans for the better portion of a very hot day on the lot - I was impressed, and found Hyundai has quite a few offerings outside of economy cars that I probably wouldn’t have paid much attention to had I not been able to get behind the wheel. Take a look for yourself at www.carpros.com or visit them in person at 14005 Aurora Ave. N. Seattle, WA 98177.
*The Hyundai prices listed here were taken from www.hyundaiusa.com and may not reflect Car Pros Hyundai's prices.