Hyundai Still Hot for Hydrogen

According to Car and Driver blog writer Clifford Atiyeh Korean automaker Hyundai are still chasing hot on the trail of hydrogen vehicles. Hyundai has just revealed a preview of a completely new, fuel cell powered SUV. This new model, yet to be named, will replace the few, silent Tucson fuel-cell vehicles quietly zipping around Southern California.

The old generation Hyundai fuel cell would take a Tucson about 265 miles (two tanks). The new version, employing three tanks with a range “so ridiculous we won’t even cite it.” Horsepower gets increased to 161 (that’s +27HP) boosting fuel efficiency by 60%. The new design will also allow cold starts down to minus 22 degrees Fahrenheit.

Hyundai hasn’t confirmed the mechanical basis of the new fuel-cell SUV. It is developing a “dedicated architecture for pure electric vehicles” that will include an EV with an estimated 311-mile range. The fuel-cell vehicle is likely to use a dedicated chassis that will give rise to a range of alternative power trains to lower production costs for all alternative fuel models.

Hyundai will sell the new SUV in South Korea in time for the Winter Olympics in Seoul in February 2018.

Hyundai Santa Cruz – nice!

The Victor Crew at the New York International Auto Show:

Hyundai has built a cute little concept crossover truck called a Santa Cruz. It’s compact size makes it adorable (if you can say that about a truck)! They wanted to build something that would be better on gas but have the cargo space people wanted. It was reminiscent of the “Brat” made a number of years ago by Subaru but cleaner looking.

It has a 2-liter turbo diesel engine, 190 hp. Fuel is estimated in the high 30s highway driving. It has all-wheel drive. The cargo bed is expandable to a size almost as long as a midsize truck.

Rumor has it this concept vehicle may become a reality in November. (At least Hyundai is pushing for it!)

Hyundai Santa Cruz

Black Friday Car Deals

Curious if what has become known as “Black Friday” affects car sales, the Victor crew set about to find out what kind of deals there were out there. Here is what we found:

Houston, TX: Sterling McCall Toyota is slashing prices by thousands of dollars for their “Slicer Sale” and some hopefuls may drive away with a car as low as $1. There will be 3 sold at this price. Some people arrived early and camped out hoping for this deal.

GM: Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick, GMC have deals being promoted. Cadillac is offering Black Friday cash discounts, and GMC truck is taking off $5000 on Sierra 1500 Crew Cab for example. Watch for promotions on TV.

Ford: Ford’s website has a promotion called “Black Friday Survival Guide” on their website. You can get up to a $1000 prepaid MasterCard to use toward your purchase or keep for your Christmas shopping.

Hyundai: Their Black Friday special is offering 0% financing for 72 months on four of their Elantras this week.

Totally unrelated to Black Friday, Victory Honda in Monroe Michigan is refunding the price of all Toyotas bought there between now and the big game of MSU vs OSU IF the Wolverines can shut out Buckeyes completely!

~ Joe Victor

For the economy-minded: Here are the 10 Coolest Cars under $18,000

Kelly Blue Book has a list of the 10 Coolest cars under $18,000.

  1. 2013 Chevrolet Spark
  2. 2013 Honda Civic
  3. 2013 Volkswagen Jetta
  4. 2013 Fiat 500
  5. 2013 Mazda MAZDA3
  6. 2013 Dodge Dart
  7. 2013 Honda Fit
  8. 2013 Kia Soul
  9. 2013 Ford Focus
  10. 2013 Hyundai Veloster

(When you go the Kelly Blue Book site (link above) you will be asked for your zip code so you will get the current pricing for your area.)

~ The Victor crew

Joe asks Jody Victor: 10 Best Values In Used Cars, 2012

If you are in the market for a used car, you may have trouble finding one. Here’s Jody Victor® telling us about it from an article by Jessica Anderson of Kiplinger.

Jody Victor®: Hey, Joe, sometimes a used car is the way to go, no matter what kind of vehicle you are looking for. But since the Great Recession, used cars have not been around – people are hanging on to their older cars longer. Here’s a list, in two parts, from msn.com  that will give you something to go on.

2008 Hyundai Sonata GLS

Price when new: $19,545 (automatic)
Dealer used price: $9,902
Private-party price: $8,731
Certified used price: $11,480
MPG (city/hwy): 21/30

Hyundai’s Sonata offers a thrifty 2.4-liter engine, standard stability control and six airbags. Plus, it keeps ownership costs low — the brand’s 5-year/60,000-miles new-car warranty and five-year no-charge roadside assistance transfer to new owners (they get the remainder of both). The famed 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, however, doesn’t transfer.

2009 Subaru Impreza 2.5i sedan

Price when new: $18,190
Dealer used price: $12,191
Private-party price: $10,967
Certified used price: $12,859
MPG (city/hwy): 20/27

Engaging driving dynamics and Subaru’s always-standard all-wheel drive are only part of the Impreza’s appeal. It garnered a Top Safety Pick from the IIHS and has side and side-curtain airbags. If a collision causes the front airbags to deploy, smart technology protects the driver and front-seat passenger. Sensors measure the driver’s proximity to the steering wheel, as well as the passenger’s weight (to determine whether a child or an adult is occupying the seat), and adjust the airbags’ force accordingly.

2009 Chevrolet Malibu 1LT

Price when new: $23,225
Dealer used price: $13,114
Private-party price: $11,937
Certified used price: $14,141
MPG (city/hwy): 22/33

With its 2008 redesign, the Malibu garnered a lot of accolades: Kiplinger’s Best New Car and Best in Class awards were just a cherry topping to the industry’s prestigious North American Car of the Year award. But to play it safe, we recommend buying a redesigned vehicle in the second year of production — the first year’s examples often have kinks to work out. For 2009, stability control became standard across the trim lineup, along with side and side-curtain airbags.

2009 Nissan Rogue S

Price when new: $21,020
Dealer used price: $14,971
Private-party price: $13,435
Certified used price: $16,123
MPG (city/hwy): 22/27

After a 2008 redesign, when we named it Best New Small Crossover, the Rogue ascended to Kiplinger’s Best in Class award for 2009. Its stylish exterior complements the value it holds inside — including a peppy 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, stability and traction control, and six airbags. Plus, it was rated a Top Safety Pick by the IIHS.

2008 Honda CR-V LX

Price when new: $21,370
Dealer used price: $15,135
Private-party price: $14,089
Certified used price: $16,402
MPG (city/hwy): 20/27

A perennial Kiplinger’s Best New and Best Used pick, the CR-V keeps its value throughout its lifespan. It boasts fuel economy on par with a midsize sedan, but it has more than twice the cargo capacity (36 cubic feet behind the rear seats). Its standard stability control and six airbags helped win it a Top Safety Pick from the IIHS.

Thanks, Jody! More next time.

Joe Victor

Joe asks Jody Victor®: 10 Best Values In Used Cars, 2012

If you are in the market for a new car, you may want to consider a used car instead. In keeping with this idea, I asked Jody Victor®  to give us some used car suggestions.

Jody Victor®: Hey, Joe, you might have hit on something there. A good used car can save you money and you may be able to afford a fancier car than you would have new. Here’s a few suggestions from an article by Jessica Anderson of Kipplinger and msn.com  in 2 parts.

2008 Hyundai Sonata GLS

Price when new: $19,545 (automatic)
Dealer used price: $9,902
Private-party price: $8,731
Certified used price: $11,480
MPG (city/hwy): 21/30

Hyundai’s Sonata offers a thrifty 2.4-liter engine, standard stability control and six airbags. Plus, it keeps ownership costs low — the brand’s 5-year/60,000-miles new-car warranty and five-year no-charge roadside assistance transfer to new owners (they get the remainder of both). The famed 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, however, doesn’t transfer.

2009 Subaru Impreza 2.5i sedan

Price when new: $18,190
Dealer used price: $12,191
Private-party price: $10,967
Certified used price: $12,859
MPG (city/hwy): 20/27

Engaging driving dynamics and Subaru’s always-standard all-wheel drive are only part of the Impreza’s appeal. It garnered a Top Safety Pick from the IIHS and has side and side-curtain airbags. If a collision causes the front airbags to deploy, smart technology protects the driver and front-seat passenger. Sensors measure the driver’s proximity to the steering wheel, as well as the passenger’s weight (to determine whether a child or an adult is occupying the seat), and adjust the airbags’ force accordingly.

2009 Chevrolet Malibu 1LT

Price when new: $23,225
Dealer used price: $13,114
Private-party price: $11,937
Certified used price: $14,141
MPG (city/hwy): 22/33

With its 2008 redesign, the Malibu garnered a lot of accolades: Kiplinger’s Best New Car and Best in Class awards were just a cherry topping to the industry’s prestigious North American Car of the Year award. But to play it safe, we recommend buying a redesigned vehicle in the second year of production — the first year’s examples often have kinks to work out. For 2009, stability control became standard across the trim lineup, along with side and side-curtain airbags.

2009 Nissan Rogue S

Price when new: $21,020
Dealer used price: $14,971
Private-party price: $13,435
Certified used price: $16,123
MPG (city/hwy): 22/27

After a 2008 redesign, when we named it Best New Small Crossover, the Rogue ascended to Kiplinger’s Best in Class award for 2009. Its stylish exterior complements the value it holds inside — including a peppy 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, stability and traction control, and six airbags. Plus, it was rated a Top Safety Pick by the IIHS.

2008 Honda CR-V LX

Price when new: $21,370
Dealer used price: $15,135
Private-party price: $14,089
Certified used price: $16,402
MPG (city/hwy): 20/27

A perennial Kiplinger’s Best New and Best Used pick, the Honda CR-V keeps its value throughout its lifespan. It boasts fuel economy on par with a midsize sedan, but it has more than twice the cargo capacity (36 cubic feet behind the rear seats). Its standard stability control and six airbags helped win it a Top Safety Pick from the IIHS.

Thanks, Jody! More next time.

Joe Victor

Joe asks Jody Victor®: 10 Cheapest Cars to Own

The price you negotiate for a car and the interest you pay on the car loan are only part of the cost equation. Insurance, depreciation, taxes and fees, what you pay over the years for fuel, service and repairs are all important ingredients in the cost of ownership. I asked Jody Victor® to tell us more about it from an article by Jessica Anderson of Kiplinger and msn.com.

Jody Victor®: All the vehicles on the list are small — either compacts or subcompacts — because they tend to have the lowest market price, the best fuel economy and reasonable insurance rates (premiums tend to rise with horsepower). Sticker price isn’t the only cost associated with owning a car. Here are the least expensive rides over a five year period in a two parts.

Nissan Versa S 4dr

5-Year fuel cost: $9,048
5-Year insurance cost: $5,134
Total 5-Year ownership cost: $27,135

The Nissan Versa gets a redesign for 2012, and the added amenities bump the bargain-basement feel out of the base model — without a big boost in price. An AM/FM/CD stereo with auxiliary input is now standard (only audio wiring was included in 2011), as is air conditioning. The Versa gets better mileage, too (27 miles per gallon city, 36 highway). An automatic transmission costs $2,130 extra. It’s also been chosen as a Top Saftey Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) for 2012.

Hyundai Accent GLS 4dr

5-Year fuel cost: $8,143
5-Year insurance cost: $5,145
Total 5-Year ownership cost: $27,895

Riding a strong wave of redesigns, Hyundai has given the all-new Accent styling cues from the Sonata and Elantra. The Accent exhibits the brand’s commitment to quality, even at the lower end of the price spectrum. A six-speed manual transmission and direct-injection technology help it get 30 mpg in the city and 40 on the highway. One caveat: The base model doesn’t come equipped with a radio or air conditioning, and adding those costs $1,750 more. An automatic transmission costs $2,750 extra.

Ford Fiesta S 4dr

5-Year fuel cost: $8,568
5-Year insurance cost: $5,623
Total 5-Year ownership cost: $28,524

Introduced last year, Ford’s Fiesta adds a dollop of style to the sensible subcompact class. Dramatically raked headlamps and sharp creasing along the side give the Fiesta an aggressive look. Inside, the cockpit is sporty yet functional. On its menu of safety features is a driver’s knee airbag, and it’s been named an IIHS Top Safety Pick. It gets 28 mpg in the city and 38 on the highway. An automatic transmission is $1,095 extra.

Toyota Yaris L 2dr hatch

5-Year fuel cost: $8,306
5-Year insurance cost: $5,451
Total 5-Year ownership cost: $29,153

The Yaris sports a whopping nine airbags, including a driver’s knee airbag and dual front seat-cushion airbags, which inflate under your knees and thighs to hold you in your seat during an accident. A USB input with iPod connectivity comes standard, so you can control music choices through the screen in the dashboard. It’s fuel-efficient, too — 30 mpg city, 38 highway. An automatic transmission costs $725.

Kia Soul 4dr hatch

5-Year fuel cost: $9,146
5-Year insurance cost: $4,402
Total 5-Year ownership cost: $29,190

The Kia Soul makes boxy cool again. Along with its funky looks, it has 19 cubic feet of cargo space, a USB input and Sirius satellite radio standard (a subscription costs extra after three months of free service). It gets 27 miles per gallon in the city and 35 on the highway, and it’s an IIHS Top Safety Pick. An automatic transmission is $1,800 extra.

Thanks, Jody! More next time.

Joe Victor

Joe asks Jody Victor®: 12 Cars We Can’t Wait to Drive III

The annual North American International Auto Show in Detroit can induce serious sensory overload. For a true car nut, it’s like being a kid in a candy store – drooling over all that tasty sheet metal. I asked Jody Victor  to tell us about 12 of them (in 3 instalments) from an article by Kirk Bell of MSN Autos, and msn.com.

Jody Victor: Hey Joe, can’t wait to see and drive some of these fantastic vehicles. Here’s the third batch.

Lexus LF-LC Concept – Though the LF-LC is just a concept, the hybrid sports coupe signals a new design direction for Lexus. If the luxury car brand gets positive response here in Detroit, it might be inspired to build the car, which would be super. Ideally, we’d like it to possess the handling prowess of the automaker’s celebrated LF-A, come in a rear-wheel drive platform and have the turbocharged V6 hybrid powertrain pump out between 450 and 500 horsepower. Now that would be a world-class sports car.

2013 Mercedes-Benz SL – In Mercedes parlance, SL stands for Super Lightweight. But the SL roadster hasn’t stuck to that philosophy in recent years. The 2013 SL550 gets back to those roots. With a body and structure rendered in almost all aluminum, the new SL is 242 pounds lighter than its predecessor, the equivalent of a good-sized middle linebacker. That should translate into improved handling for this grand tourer, as well as make the new turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 engine’s 429 horses all that more effective. Add in Mercedes’ responsive Direct Steer variable steering ratio and available active body control, and the new SL should be sportier than ever.

Mercedes-Benz E300 BlueTec Hybrid – Hybrids aren’t usually the objects of passion for auto enthusiasts. They are, after all, usually underpowered and bland in the handling department. But we appreciate the compatible technologies involved in the E300 BlueTec Hybrid. Diesel engines offer great highway fuel economy and hybrids do the same for city efficiency, so combining the two is only natural. Mercedes has said the E300 BlueTec Hybrid will be offered only in Europe, at least initially, so U.S. fuel-economy numbers aren’t available, but we expect 50-plus mpg. Hopefully, Mercedes will see fit to bring this efficient car to these shores in the future. It’ll offer Prius-level efficiency in a fun-to-drive luxury package.

2012 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet – The last generation of the Porsche 911 was a model of precision and agility. With its longer wheelbase, wider track and lighter weight, the all-new 911, code name 991, is even better. We’ve driven the coupe and it is more refined, more efficient, more luxurious and even more agile than the outgoing model, which was outstanding. The 2012 Cabriolet, shown here, gets a lighter top thanks to a new design that incorporates magnesium bows. Give us the 400-horsepower 911 Carrera S Cabriolet with the 7-speed manual transmission, a winding road and a clear summer day, and we’ll be in automotive heaven.

Thanks, Jody! We can’t wait to check ’em out!

Joe Victor

Joe asks Jody Victor®: 12 Cars We Can’t Wait to Drive II

The annual North American International Auto Show in Detroit can induce serious sensory overload. For a true car nut, it’s like being a kid in a candy store – drooling over all that tasty sheet metal. I asked Jody Victor  to tell us about 12 of them (in 3 instalments) from an article by Kirk Bell of MSN Autos, and msn.com.

Jody Victor: Hey Joe, can’t wait to see and drive some of these fantastic vehicles. Here’s the second batch.

2013 Dodge Dart – It’s not too often we look forward to driving a mass-market compact car. They’re usually pretty vanilla. The 2013 Dodge Dart is a clear exception to that rule. With its Alfa Romeo Giulietta roots and extensive use of high-strength steel, the Dart should have a nimble European driving character. We want to see how much Chrysler Group has improved the 2.0- and 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engines, and we are intrigued by the new turbocharged 1.4-liter four sourced from Fiat. Perhaps most impressive, though, is the interior. With extensive use of soft-touch materials, the Dart’s cabin looks worthy of a luxury car.

2013 Ford Fusion m– Midsize sedans are the best-selling cars in America. With the release of the 2013 Fusion, Ford may vault to the top of that important class. The looks are sure to attract buyers. With its sweeping lines and Aston Martin-like grille, it will be one of the prettier cars on the road. The Fusion will also boast class-leading fuel economy for both its turbocharged 1.6-liter 4-cylinder base engine and its hybrid model, and it will offer a highly efficient, plug-in hybrid Energi model, too. Ford also promises improved handling, safety technology worthy of a luxury car, and a richer interior environment.

Honda Accord Coupe Concept – Honda has underwhelmed us with dull styling in recent years. But if the Accord Coupe Concept is true to form, the automaker might be back on track. It’s the most aggressively styled and best-looking Accord in years. Though this car is only a concept, Honda promises improved power from its 2.4-liter 4-cylinder and 3.5-liter V6 engines, as well as class-leading fuel economy and an available plug-in hybrid. A shorter wheelbase may give the car a sportier feel, but Honda says it will lose no space inside. Interior materials are still a matter of speculation, but let’s hope Honda ramps up the quality in light of improved new offerings from Ford and Chevy.

2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe – The more the merrier, we always say, especially when it comes to power. The extra ponies are even more welcome when they come under the hood of a rear-wheel drive sports car like the Hyundai Genesis Coupe. Although we don’t necessarily like the 2013 edition’s styling changes, the modifications made to turbocharged 2.0-liter engine increase the power output by 64 horses without sacrificing fuel economy. Hyundai also gave its already powerful 3.8-liter V6 a boost by increasing its output by 42 ponies to 348 horsepower. Hyundai says the increased power will help the Genesis Coupe 3.8 reach 60 mph in the low five-second range and on to a top speed of 149 mph.

Thanks, Jody! More next time!

Joe Victor