Hot news for 2010: A rear-drive coupe is a pleasant surprise with up the 306 horsepower. Ÿ New Tucson tall wagon has great new design but banishes the V6 options. Ÿ New “Blue” Accent and Elantra models strip out features to lower weight, lower the base price and improve fuel economy. Ÿ Entourage minivan is gone, which means that to bring along the equivalent number of people you’ll need to pony up for a Veracruz.
Carryover: Accent; Azera; Elantra; Santa Fe; Tiburon; Tucson; Veracruz
Gone: Entourage; Tiburon
n Unlike other manufacturers, Hyundai is actually doing a booming business. It’s one of the few automakers to have weathered the current economic storm and the Genesis Coupe is just one of the many reasons why.
The new model takes over Hyundai’s sporty car reigns from the smaller front-wheel-drive Tiburon that retired in 2008. However, while the Tib’s role was as an entry-level compact for the younger set, the Genesis takes aim at enthusiasts of every stripe, including the hard-core “tuner” crowd and anyone seeking a competent, sophisticated city and country road machine.
The front seats are especially supportive, leaving just enough wiggle room so as not to feel too constraining. The control panel is cleanly laid-out and quick to master (a rarity in this age of excessive push-buttons and knobs).
The Coupe can be ordered with the optional Track package that includes stiffer suspension components, Brembo-brand brakes and 19-inch alloy wheels (18s are standard). Either powerplant comes with a six-speed manual transmission (standard on Track versions).
The compact Tucson has been a pillar for Hyundai (more than one million have been sold around the globe since its launch for 2005), especially with buyers shunning big and thirsty sport utility vehicles in favor of thrifty wagons. The Tucson’s efficiency level is expected to increase for 2010 when an all-new model hits the streets, possibly by spring. The new five-passenger Tucson has already been unveiled in Asia and Europe and, except for a few minor changes, the North American version that arrives in a few months time will appear similar.
The new base “Blue” versions of the Accent and Elantra come in well below that mark since they’re smaller and come with less equipment since that also saves weight, which increases fuel economy, which is kind of the whole idea of the Blue thing.