The coming year will be one of record sales for Korean automaker Hyundai as it shakes free, in our collective memory, of the awful Pony and Excel; eats up the market share Toyota seems intent on throwing away; and strengthens its cachet as world's fastest-rising automaker. If you're buying a Hyundai in 2013, make it one of these five models. All will be contenders for Car of the Year.
MODEL: Hyundai Accent L 6AT
STYLE: CompactSTARTING PRICE: $14,499
AVG. FUEL ECONOMY: 7.1-5.3 L/100km
ACCOLADES:Automobile Journalists Association of Canada’s Best New Small Car (Under 21K)The hyper-efficient Accent Hatchback will appeal to the frugal driver, as its best assets are its tip-top fuel efficiency, abundance of features and a cozy interior. For a car that hangs its hat on practicality, it is has a surprisingly spunky appearance. Sadly, the 1.6L engine’s performance on the road makes for a somewhat limp experience. But if you’re not looking for a turbo-charged ride, there’s plenty to like about the Accent. The combination of Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Traction Control System (TCS), and Vehicle Stability Management (VSM) gives this hatchback a responsive, tight feel.
MODEL: 2013 Hyundai Elantra L 6AT
STYLE: Mid-size STARTING PRICE: $17,149
AVG. FUEL ECONOMY: 7.2-5.2 L/100km
ACCOLADES: The 2012 Canadian Car of the Year. The 2012 North American Car of the Year. AJAC’s Best New Small Car (over $21k)
BUZZ: When it comes to compacts, there’s the Elantra, and then there’s everybody else. Not only is its design ahead of its stale-looking competition, the Elantra offers a smooth driving experience and interior features (iPod®/USB/Auxiliary input jacks, Trip Computer, and more) that rival those of a much more expensive vehicle. Throw in a 5-star crash safety rating and there isn’t the 2012 North American Car of the Year doesn’t bring to the table.
Mazda3 | Suburu Impreza
MODEL: 2013 Hyundai Sonata GL
STYLE: SedanSTARTING PRICE: $23,999
AVG. FUEL ECONOMY: 8.7-5.6 L/100km
ACCOLADES: 5-star crash safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
BUZZ: This four-door sedan doesn’t have the hardware of its younger, more prosperous Elantra sibling, but that hasn’t stopped the Sonata from becoming one of the valuable mid-sizes around. The Sonata is perfect for parents in need of a family car, but who still crave a little sex appeal with their vehicles. The standard 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine provides the pop of a V6, and while its handling won’t blow anyone away, it the ride always feels safe and smooth. For the safety-minded, the Sonata gets top marks, scoring a perfect 5-star score from the NHTSA, and comes with a gaggle of safety features including advanced front airbags, Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS), Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD)Vehicle Stability Management (VSM), Electronic Stability Control (ESC) with Traction Control System (TCS).
Toyota Camry | Honda Accord | Ford Taurus
MODEL: Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 2.4
STYLE: SUVSTARTING PRICE: $26,499
AVG. FUEL ECONOMY: 8.6L/100km
ACCOLADES: Best New SUV (Over $35K)
BUZZ: Hyundai can’t dominate the market without a stellar SUV, and the redesigned Santa Fe delivers just that. The all-new 2.4-litre direct injection four-cylinder petrol engine (the Santa Fe also offers a diesel option) has real guts, but can be overly noisy when you put it through its paces. The body that houses the powerful engine is striking and stylish, as is the interior, which features goodies like a 7-inch LCD colour screen with satellite navigation, reverse camera, and audio & climate control displays. The new Advanced Traction Cornering Control (ATCC) is more than just a fancy name, providing impressive control that makes a difference you can feel.
MODEL: 2013 Hyundai Veloster 1.6 Turbo
STYLE: Sports CarSTARTING PRICE: $25,999 (US)
AVG. FUEL ECONOMY: 7.9-5.2 L/100km
ACCOLADES: Automobile Journalists Association of Canada Best New Sports/Performance Car (Under $50K), AJAC Best New Design
BUZZ: This truly unique sports car is dripping with style and is a gas to zip around in. If you’re interested in the Veloster, this year’s turbo is the one to watch. The twin-scroll turbocharged 1.6-litre engine adds the necessary punch (201 horsepower at 6,000 rpm) to make this car heavy on both style and substance. It’s a bonus that the extra power doesn’t take away from the base model’s surprising fuel-efficiency. With its exotic look, exciting performance and sneaky value, there’s nothing else like it.
Volkswagen Golf | Nissan Juke | Honda CR-Z