Tag Archive | "Hyundai"

It’s Another Motor Show!

Once upon a time in the distant past of the Twentieth Century there was the Earl’s Court Motor Show. Serious looking chaps with pipes wearing serious looking hats would reveal new cars and that was pretty much it for the year. These days it seems that every city has a show. The good councillors of towns like Truro or Scarborough are clearly missing a trick.

This time it’s the turn of Seoul in South Korea and most of the usual suspects rocked up from the Korean branches of worldwide manufacturers and from the indigenous car makers. We were going to show you a picture of the truly magnificent Lexus LF-LC concept car together with gratuitous posing model, but for this article we are concentrating on concept vehicles from the Korean companies so it’ll be the Kia Cub instead.

In many ways the rising stars of the motor industry are companies like Hyundai, Ssangyong and Kia. In the early days these manufacturers were derided for producing third rate cars. This is no longer so. There has been a spectacular rise in quality, so much so that their cars are a match for most offerings from Europe.

Ssangyong are a case in point. This is not a name that has inspired much confidence in potential buyers but the new Korando, for example, is a smart 4×4 that is well made and competitively priced although the world could still probably do without the dire Rodius. Never mind – they have now shown us the LIV-1, a concept SUV that is designed to look robust, purposeful and sporty. The car features a sizeable body with large bumpers front and rear, yet with slim A and B pillars, a glasshouse silhouette and, intriguingly, a full length glass roof.

Hyundai meanwhile have been busy with the HND9, a luxury sports coupé that hints at their future direction in design. HND9 comes with gull-wing doors and a 3.3L GDi (gasoline direct injection) engine driving the rear wheels. A product of the design centre at Namyang it is another evolution of Hyundai’s so called ‘Fluidic Sculpture’ philosophy.

Finally Kia have popped up with an urban design surprise called the Cub. There are no production plans right now but not to build this one seems like a shame. Like the Mini Paceman it has four individual seats but the rear doors open in a rearward direction and there is a complete absence of B-pillars making access easy. The Cub is small and sleek with a turbo-charged GDi engine of 1.6L driven through a six-speed gearbox. We like this very much.

All in all the Seoul Show deserves to be part of the global motor industry experience and it is good to see some interesting designs emanating from the Korean players.

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WRC Gets Great New Promoters

Rally fans rejoice! The World Rally Championship – so disappointing in recent years – has at last hooked the right promoters to bring the sport back to the level it achieved in the old Group B days; but hopefully without all the tragedy.

After much unnecessary faffing about by the FIA, it has finally been announced that The Sportsman Media Group and Red Bull Media House have signed up to promote this great sport in 2013 and beyond. With a household name like Red Bull – no strangers to active sports promotion – on board there is every reason to hope that next year will see a massive resurgence in the popularity of this great motor sport.

This announcement has been enhanced by the further news that nine times World Champion Sebastian Loeb is to retire from active participation at the top level; although he will contest a few rounds next year for Citroen, he won’t be in contention for the title. This will be good news for every other driver as Loeb has dominated the sport for the last decade, establishing himself as, without argument, the greatest rally driver ever.

Alongside the new promoters come some rule changes. Basically, it will cost less for teams to compete which in turn means that there will hopefully be greater participation from manufacturers. Already Volkswagen have confirmed a full blown WRC Polo Team, probably headlined by rising French star Sebastian Ogier. Hyundai will make a belated return and field a rally version of its popular i20 (pictured) with the intention of full commitment by 2014.

Over the years fans have been increasingly starved of TV coverage as time has gone on. This hasn’t been helped by the total domination by the mighty Citroen / Loeb alliance. In 2012, with no real promoter other an the individual sponsors for each event, Motors TV have struggled on with ‘day after’ highlights of each events. The commentary from Colin Clarke and Julian Porter is terrific but this doesn’t make up for the paucity of media interest.

Although the in-car shots are great it would be good to see more use of the aerial helicopter coverage too. The manufacturers need top media coverage to promote their wares. The cars look like the ones we drive (on the outside at least) and the sport itself is a truly exciting spectacle.

Let’s hope that between the promoters, the FIA, the World Motor Sport Council and the car makers themselves, 2013 will be the year that the WRC once again reached the heights it has previously achieved. Let us also hope that it’s free-to-air viewing too!

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Paris Motor Show

Ahh, Paris. City of dreams; and never more so when the prestigious motor show comes to town and reveals our Autumn automotive surprises.

There has been talk for some time of a long-awaited replacement for the iconic E-Type Jaguar. Well, finally, it’s here. That’s it in the picture and boy, does it look good. To be honest there’s not much there to remind us of the legendary predecessor but it most certainly is a Jaguar. If the performance matches the looks then we’re in for a treat. The company are competing well on price too as this will cost from under £60k up to just shy of the £80k mark. For this market and against the known competition this appears to be good value.

The Paris Motor Show isn’t just a chance for car makers to unveil their super cars; it is also a market place for the more run-of-the-mill cars that most of us buy and there’s plenty of exciting new developments in this sector too.

Hyundai have really pushed the boat out with not one but three launches. There’s a three-door i30, a rally ready i20 – which heralds the brand’s return to the World Rally Championship in 2013 – and also a really exciting eco-car which successfully counters the range anxiety problem with EVs. It’s called the ix35 Fuel Cell. Powered by a lithium-polymer battery and a 100kW hydrogen fuel stack, this car should be good for 365 miles according to the company blurb. It is due to commence production late this year and initially will be available to fleet operators.

As ever, Ford are pitching some great new cars including a new version of the well received Kuga, a hybrid Mondeo and the B-Max. FIAT, SEAT and those new dynamos of automotive industry Dacia are all previewing new vehicles. Dacia, in particular, are showing the Sandero – so beloved by James May – the Logan (a family sized car) and the slightly odd Sandero Stepway which is described as a ‘charismatic adventurer’. Rugged.

There is much to appeal to all budgets at this years show. Manufacturers are pulling out all the stops to revive the ailing car industry by building cars that are featuring all the latest technology and safety devices as well as stunningly good design.

For those that like to dream though; as well as the Jag, there is also the Maserati Grancabrio MC, a car so beautiful it will make you fall in love with anyone standing near it, and another version of the Porsche Panamera – a car we are growing to like despite it’s unusual looks.

So, something for everyone then. If you can afford to buy a new car this year then you are definitely spoilt for choice.

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