Here comes Hyundai | When did Hyundai become a major motorsports player?

Steven Cole
By Steven Cole Smith
Oct 4, 2022 | Hyundai, Motorsports, Veloster N, TCR, Elantra N | Posted in Features | From the Oct. 2021 issue | Never miss an article

Photograph Courtesy IMSA

When Hyundai decided to jump into pro racing here in the States, the company shuffled through its resumés for a partner. One name rose to the top: Bryan Herta, a winning IndyCar driver, a two-time victor of the Indianapolis 500 as an owner, and an admitted perfectionist.

Herta had long been interested in partnering with a manufacturer, though he admits Hyundai wasn’t the first company to come to mind. It all started at the Grand Prix of Long Beach in April 2017, when Herta mentioned at a luncheon with Hyundai executives that if the company ever decided to return to motorsports in the U.S.–it had been big in SCCA rally in the ’90s and then had a run in Global Rallycross with Rhys Millen–Herta would be interested in talking.

Photograph Courtesy Hyundai

A few months ago,” Herta said in February 2018, “they reached out to us and said they had a project we might be interested in.” 

Herta was interested, and the result was unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show. Bryan Herta Autosport would field a two-car team in the 2018 Pirelli World Challenge’s sophomore TCR class. Hyundai won the championship. The new TCR class, which stands for Touring Car Racing, migrated from Europe in 2017 to the Pirelli World Challenge and in 2018 expanded to the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, now the Michelin Pilot Challenge. 

The TCR cars are built at a factory facility and sold to teams in race-ready condition, with very few modifications allowed. Other cars in the TCR class include the Audi RS3, Honda Civic Type R, Volkswagen Golf GTI and Alfa Romeo Giulietta. More are coming.

Photograph Courtesy Hyundai

Herta knew that Hyundai had been racing TCR in Europe, based out of a Hyundai Motorsports facility at the Nürburgring. That’s where Herta’s basic cars come from; he completes them and they either become part of the Herta Autosport stable or are farmed out to teams in both the IMSA and World Challenge series. Herta also offers a less radical, turnkey race Veloster for World Challenge TCA-class competition. 

The fact that the first two drivers Herta hired are still with the program says something about what sort of place it is to work. Mark Wilkins brought a lot of front-wheel-drive experience from Kia’s since-canceled Pirelli World Challenge program, and Michael Lewis had been racing in Europe before coming home to join the team. Lewis has been driving several models, mostly Porsches, in World Challenge races with considerable success. 

At the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Park on May 15, the largest-ever contingent of Hyundais competed: The Mid-Ohio 120 saw an impressive eight Hyundais in the 15-car field, with the new-for-2021 Elantra TCR sedan taking its first win. Another Elantra finished fifth. The rest of the Hyundai race cars–based on the Veloster N hatchback–took second and fourth, meaning four of the top five spots went to the brand. That put veteran Lewis and partner Taylor Hagler in the points lead.

The cars are so much fun to drive,” said Lewis, whose father, Steve, is the founder of the Performance Racing Industry show and magazine. “I’m so lucky to be part of this program.” Last year, Hyundai took the top three spots in the IMSA standings.

Hyundai’s current stateside race effort, headed by Indy winner Bryan Herta, centers around the TCR cars found in IMSA and SRO competition. Back in the ’90s, though, the brand teamed up with Paul Choiniere and rally legend John Buffum to dominate SCCA rally. Photography Credit: Rupert Berrington

Herta said at Mid-Ohio that being aligned with a factory program is all he hoped it would be “and more. We’re racing at a high level, and we get to innovate. Hyundai supported us as we adapted a hand control system for Michael Johnson, who is paralyzed from the waist down, and last week we put Robert Wickens in the car for the first time since he was paralyzed in an IndyCar accident. It’s fun being part of a company that invests in motorsports and in the human aspect of racing, too.”

Expect Hyundai to become more involved in amateur racing, too, especially through the Veloster N program. “I didn’t have much exposure to Hyundai at first, but the more experience I have with the brand, the more impressed I am,” Herta said. “Their approach to racing is much like it is in the car business: Everything they do, they do at the highest level.” Herta drives a Palisade, his daughter drives a Tucson, and his parents drive a Genesis. “Once people drive the car,” he said, “they get it.”

Photograph Courtesy Hyundai

Hyundai: Once Starting at $4995

The 2021 North American Car of the Year is the Hyundai Elantra, chosen by some 50-odd North American automotive journalists.

Had you been in a coma for, say, 35 years, and you awoke to that news, your first thought would likely be: Hyundai? Builder of the rust-prone lil’ crappy Excel they sell for $4995 new? No! What’s next, a reality TV star getting elected president?

Compounding your confusion might be that Hyundai also won the award for best SUV in 2019 (Kona) as well as best car in 2012 (Elantra) and 2009 (Hyundai Genesis). The Genesis G70, which Hyundai spun off into a standalone luxury brand, won best car in 2019. That’s five wins in 11 years. That’s pretty good, especially considering Hyundai and Genesis were among the three finalists five more times since 2009. 

Let’s compare that to Toyota: zero wins since 2009. Honda: three wins since 2009 with best car (Accord) in 2018 and 2016 (Civic) and best truck in 2017 (Ridgeline).

The North American Car of the Year awards have been going on since 1994, and the fact that we didn’t name Hyundai to a best-anything list until 2009 shows that the appeal and dependability Hyundai enjoys didn’t happen overnight. The climb is unprecedented in recent years–unless you count Kia, Hyundai’s close Korean cousin, which won the SUV award for 2020 (Telluride) and was a finalist in 2018, when the Stinger gave the Accord a run for its money.

So how did it happen?

Let’s go back to those grim days of the mid-1980s, when America was scrambling for a dependable, cheap car that got good fuel mileage. Honda Civics and Toyota Corollas were selling at premium prices; even American entries like the Ford Escort, Chevrolet Cavalier and Dodge Shadow were popular, but there was room for something new.

The market was there: Hyundai began rolling out the Excel in February 1986, setting a record by selling nearly 170,000 copies, the most of any company in its first year of business in the United States. I reviewed the Excel back then, calling it “a welcome entry into the entry-level market.”

Hyundai entered the U.S. market in 1986 with the Excel: At just $4995, it only cost a grand more than a Yugo. Photograph Courtesy Hyundai

Keep in mind that I had recently tested the new Yugo, first offered at $3995, and found little good to say about it. Even though a dealer had gone over my tester with a fine-toothed comb, it took me a block to see that the turn signals didn’t work, the radio didn’t turn on, and the wheels seemed unbalanced, likely due to the lumpy Yugoslavian Tigar radials it wore.

Yugo had bought the rights to the Fiat 128, just as Hyundai had bought the rights to a small Mitsubishi, sold here later as the Precis. Neither donor car was a Honda Civic by any measure. They started falling apart–the Yugo on the way home from the dealer lot. 

Indeed, the little Excel, especially with the optional alloy wheels, looked good, drove well, seated four and asked little–at first. Soon, dependability problems reared their heads, and dealers, working in a tight margin, were reluctant to do warranty work or even major non-warranty jobs on the cars. Parts became plentiful as junkyards began filling up with Excel coupes and sedans. Repos were abundant, as buyers–many of them first-timers–just walked away.

Yugo’s response to the problems: Leave.

Hyundai’s response: Get better.

I went to Korea on a press trip in 1988 to visit Hyundai and drive the new mid-sized Sonata. It was memorable. I left the airport in Seoul and boarded a Hyundai-built bus; it went to the Hyundai hotel; I rode up the Hyundai-built elevator; I relaxed in front of the Hyundai-built television.

The brand’s first in-house design for the American market came with the release of the Sonata for 1989. Photograph Courtesy Hyundai

Later we visited the Hyundai car plant in Ulsan, which was already the world’s largest car factory, cranking out one million cars a year. Eventually we boarded a Hyundai bus for a long trek to the Hyundai proving grounds, where we entered the facility, took a lap on the track in the bus, and headed for the exit to return to Seoul.

The Hyundai bus had no bathroom, so we protested. Loudly. Chris Hosford, a public relations executive who had worked with Chrysler and had just been named head of Hyundai P.R. in the U.S., buried his head in his hands.

Finally, we stopped at the guard shack at the edge of the property and, for the first time on the trip, were able to stretch our legs. We relieved ourselves in the guard’s one-room outhouse. He was very kind and generous: He showed us where the company’s onsite vegetable garden was, and it was blossoming with veggies. He offered us some, but we declined when somebody noticed the garden was directly downhill from the outhouse.

Though Mitsubishi was still helping Hyundai, the Sonata was largely a Hyundai creation, as the company knew that it would have to invest in its own technology to genuinely grow, especially in the U.S. The Sonata was an improvement, but it was still a slow, boring car, inside and out.

I recall one line from my review for Automobile magazine: “A leather interior is offered at a very reasonable price, but you will have to excuse the odor. If car leather were made from fish hides, this is what it would smell like.”

Eventually Hyundai got better and more adventurous. It released the Scoupe, a handsome little coupe that was, like all Hyundais until much later, underpowered by old technology. Only in the last 10 years has Hyundai figured out engines–and hybrids; the first Sonata hybrid was dismal.

Hyundai had built a deserved reputation for making cheap, disposable cars, and then came models like the Sonata. Were we supposed to buy a real car from this company when we could get a lightly used Accord or Camry for the same price? Resale value was horrid; even Hyundai dealers didn’t want to take them in trade.

But the cars were getting better. In 2003, Consumer Reports, based on complaints about new 2002-model-year cars that in general were less than 1 year old, showed Hyundai’s reliability was tied with Honda’s. A few years later, Consumer Reports said the most trouble-free car in America was the Hyundai Sonata, which made headlines everywhere.

By 2003, Consumer Reports labeled Hyundai as reliable as Honda. Photograph Courtesy Hyundai

But that resale issue remained. It was solved by a stroke of genius: Hyundais began coming with “America’s best warranty,” a tagline that’s still in use. The warranties, in a limited but effective way, were transferable, which suddenly spiked Hyundai’s resale value: Buy one and it will still be worth something later on. It was brilliant. Combined with improved quality and a Hyundai Design Center, which opened in 1990, that was finally figuring out what Americans wanted, Hyundai was on its way.

Integra? Celica? For a while, Hyundai offered their own front-drive coupe–first the Scoupe and then the Tiburon shown here. Photograph Courtesy Hyundai

Styling went from bland to crisp, while chassis dynamics made huge strides. In 2015, the brand hired Albert Biermann away from BMW’s M Division and eventually put him in charge of R&D. Hyundai then launched its own N Brand, with the letter signifying Namyang, South Korea, home to Hyundai’s R&D center. 

A promise of N Brand cars was race track capability. Indeed, we found the Veloster N to post faster lap times than the much-vaunted Civic Type R. 

[2021 Hyundai Veloster N DCT Review]

Hyundai’s current top performer is the turbocharged, track-tuned Veloster N. GRM testing found it ran with the Civic Type R–watch the video on our YouTube channel. Photograph Courtesy Hyundai

And Hyundai’s success has brought Kia along with it; Hyundai owns about one-third of Kia, and platform and powertrain sharing has benefitted both companies. Kia has a plant in Georgia, Hyundai has one in Alabama, with a joint investment approaching $3 billion. The new Hyundai Santa Cruz, a trucklet with a small bed that is a genuine innovation, will be built in Alabama in 2022, along with the Sonata, Santa Fe, Tucson, Elantra and several engines. 

Really, the Hyundai story is remarkable. We just put 1800 miles on a 2021 Hyundai Elantra, the North American Car of the Year, with zero issues and a fuel mileage average of 43.1 mpg, city and highway. The company is dedicating a lot of resources to electrics, hybrids and even hydrogen power with its Nexo, the first hydrogen SUV, with a range of 380 miles. It’s available in California.

So long, Yugo, Daihatsu, Daewoo. Hyundai figured out how to get a toehold and use it to leave footprints all over the competition.

Photograph Courtesy IMSA

Join Free Join our community to easily find more Hyundai, Motorsports, Veloster N, TCR and Elantra N articles.
More like this
Comments
View comments on the GRM forums
Junkers
Junkers New Reader
8/16/21 1:48 p.m.

I recall first seeing Hyundai at the Sno Drift Rally in January of 2000.  At the time no manufacturers' teams were competing aside from a few Honda engineers in a civic but they were hardly "factory backed."  VW may have pumped in some bucks as well as Ford in the form of an Escort ZX2 sold to a private team I helped out (Tad Ohtake and Cynthia Krolikowski).  The fastest 2wd I recall was in the form of a very hot turbo GLH motor stuffed into grandma's Plymouth Horizon.

Hyundai showed with a few new Elantras built by Vermont Sportscar and were essentially Mitsubishi Evos with lots of Buffum's secret sauce.  There were plenty of STi's and Evo's on the field in the hands of some great talent, but the Elantras mopped the floor with everybody.  It was like a walk in the park for the factory Hyundai team.  I hadn't taken Hyundai seriously as a manufacturer of "durable goods", but that performance made me take note and applaud them for shelling out such money to make sure they were winning and seen by enthusiasts.

Fast forward to 2003 and the entire Hyundai lineup was still the worst handling bunch of cars since the first front drivers designed in the USA in the early 80's.  It was as if they hadn't learned anything from their "racing efforts".  Indeed, I would've chosen any GM X-body car with less than 100k miles and bought 2-3 of them rather than plunk down money on a new for '03 Hyundai.  I think they finally committed to making properly modern cars with the release of the Genesis and Veloster, so thank God for that.

Incidentally, at that rally in 2000 I recall seeing an as-yet-to-be-released PT Cruiser with some very nice aftermarket wheels and either a large exhaust or 4 big SuperTrap mufflers hanging out the back.  I didn't get a chance to get close to it, but clearly this was a few of the Chrysler skunkworks boys taking a project car out for a few "wows."  Was it a turbo?  AWD?  Who knows?

LeftLaneLoser
LeftLaneLoser UltraDork
8/16/21 2:49 p.m.

I think they became a major contender when they decided to hire somebody who actually came from a firm that produced actual sports cars. Ahem BMW.

asphalt_gundam
asphalt_gundam Reader
8/16/21 2:53 p.m.

Dad brought home an '89 Excel for a field car us kids could thrash. No power, burned lots of oil but it was a blast on wet grass and I taught my little brother to do J turns in it. Eventually tossed a rod.

BMWGeoff
BMWGeoff GRM+ Memberand Reader
8/16/21 2:58 p.m.

I remember Antoine L'Estage winning a couple of Canadian Rally Championships in a Hyundai Tiburon.

Junkers
Junkers New Reader
8/16/21 3:00 p.m.

Rodney King got beat up driving an Excel and I think Chris Rock popularized that fact.  I wonder if that drove the tireless ad campaign to improve the brand?  "Can't we all just get along?"

Junkers
Junkers New Reader
8/16/21 3:03 p.m.
BMWGeoff said:

I remember Antoine L'Estage winning a couple of Canadian Rally Championships in a Hyundai Tiburon.

I think Canada was blessed with the Hyundai Pony a few years before they brought it to the USA as the Excel.  I remember Hyundai Tiburons were quite popular on the streets of Montreal in the late 90's.

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
8/16/21 3:13 p.m.

My wife's previous car was an early 2000s top-trim Elantra. It wasn't anything particularly noteworthy, but it did, somehow, come back to life after the engine flooded (long story, and yes, it was my fault).

Never quite ran the same after that, though.

BMWGeoff
BMWGeoff GRM+ Memberand Reader
8/16/21 3:20 p.m.
Junkers said:
BMWGeoff said:

I remember Antoine L'Estage winning a couple of Canadian Rally Championships in a Hyundai Tiburon.

I think Canada was blessed with the Hyundai Pony a few years before they brought it to the USA as the Excel.  I remember Hyundai Tiburons were quite popular on the streets of Montreal in the late 90's.

You're correct about the Pony. I have a picture of one somewhere with a historic vehicle licence plate.

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
8/16/21 3:21 p.m.

I've been buying them since April 15, 2002. Started "racing" them in 2007. Little things made them sooooo much better for handling.  Rear sway bar from the 03 Tiburon and some H&R springs with KYB struts would wake up the Elantra. Durable little cars that you could put a lot of miles on. Nothing fancy. The newer stuff (first gen Forte for instance) has a ton of potential in them but the aftermarket is not quite up to speed.

BMWGeoff
BMWGeoff GRM+ Memberand Reader
8/16/21 3:23 p.m.

In the beginning:

Mr. Peabody
Mr. Peabody UltimaDork
8/16/21 4:28 p.m.
Junkers said:
BMWGeoff said:

I remember Antoine L'Estage winning a couple of Canadian Rally Championships in a Hyundai Tiburon.

I think Canada was blessed with the Hyundai Pony a few years before they brought it to the USA as the Excel.  I remember Hyundai Tiburons were quite popular on the streets of Montreal in the late 90's.

The Excel had nothing to do with the Pony, and Hyundai were running some showroom stock class with one of  their sedans in Canada the 90's. I have some cams from those cars.

Actually factory sponsored

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
8/16/21 4:52 p.m.
BMWGeoff said:

In the beginning:

Not for us.... 

1989 Hyundai Excel GL Front Left.jpg

This was our beginning. 

msterbeau
msterbeau New Reader
8/16/21 5:13 p.m.

My most recent cars have been a Hyundai Veloster R-Spec and a Kia Forte GT (Hyundai Elantra underneath.).  Both great little cars.  Great quality, great performance and handling and nicely designed.  

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/16/21 5:39 p.m.

Hyundai were out and about in WRC twenty years ago too, with a version of the Accent.

 

Somehow I'd like to say that they had Armin Schwarz and Alister McRae as drivers amongst others.

jb229
jb229 New Reader
8/17/21 3:17 p.m.

In reply to Pete. (l33t FS) :

They're currently ruthlessly dominant in WRC as well, with the i30N (5 door euro Veloster).

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/17/21 5:03 p.m.

In reply to jb229 :

Yes, but modern WRC is boring.  The cars are about as related to production cars as NASCAR or DTM.  They don't even need to run production based engines anymore.

 

At least the early WRC cars had a little pretense that they were production based.  It looks like the Hyundai used an aluminum block engine (so no 4G63 based lump), have yet to see underhood pictures.  Transverse engine and longitudinal trans, which sounds weird, but Ford and Peugeot did it that way too.

karussell
karussell New Reader
8/18/21 4:21 p.m.

In reply to Pete. (l33t FS) :

It's still(until WRC goes Hybrid in a few years) somewhat based on a production car(made in Hyundai production line in Turkey then shipped to Alzenau for modification), so I think it is kinda unfair to compare WRC cars to NASCAR or DTM.

Here's pic from TopGear. 1.6L Theta engine, but some says it's Gamma. I'm not sure what is the difference between the two. Tried to search it on Google but couldn't find any useful information...

Also, I found some interviews about Hyundai's WRC project. Here's some interesting quotes(translated from Korean):

We did not give up on doing motorsport back in 2003. We just disbanded outsourced team, so we could build our own team. I don't know what others had thought about it, but we were preparing our WRC project all the time. It just took so long to make such a big team.

People were skeptical about this. Even inside the company many people didn't even know what is WRC, let alone understanding why we had to do this. Hyundai could have spent all this money into marketing and sell cars. Nobody understood why we had to spend a lot of money into this, a project that does not bring money to the company. It was a process of convincing, arguing, frustration, and then arguing, and repeat.

People have changed their mind. Motorsport is not an ultimate goal of Hyundai, but at least everyone in this company now knows that motorsports is a great basis for the ultimate goal. Not only it is great for marketing, but also Hyundai can get fans. Engineers can also apply the knowledge from motorsport into production vehicles.

 

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
8/18/21 4:25 p.m.

That's the gamma. gamma injection pump sits on top like that and the engine lays back farther than the Theta. They share a lot of similarities (timing chain, some have DI, intake on the front etc). 

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/18/21 4:42 p.m.

In reply to karussell :

I meant, what engine/layout did the Accent have, not the modern stuff.

The FIA now allows manufacturers to make a WRC specific engine as long as it meets certain specifications (bore/stroke/bore spacing/etc) if they do not feel they have a production engine that they can compete with.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/18/21 4:45 p.m.

In reply to bobzilla :

Engine has to have the crank centerline within a certain tolerance from production, but the engine can be rotated about that axis by, IIRC, up to fifteen degrees.  So, I would not judge based on engine angle alone.

The Zetecs in the original Focus WRC looked like they were half in the firewall! smiley

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
8/18/21 4:52 p.m.

In reply to Pete. (l33t FS) :

this video at the 2:53 mark shows they were using a turbo Beta 2.0L. I figured they were still messing with Mitsu 4G's still and am more than a little shocked. 

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
10/4/22 11:55 a.m.

Bumping for big news: Hyundai won its third consecutive manufacturers' championship.

The press release:

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif., Oct. 3, 2022 – For the third consecutive year, Hyundai clinched the drivers’, teams’ and manufacturers’ IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge (IMPC) overall championships at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. After a successful 2022 season, Taylor Hagler and Michael Lewis of Bryan Herta Autosport (BHA) entered the final weekend with a 100-point championship lead and drove their No. 1 Hyundai Elantra N to the back-to-back championship title.

“Today was actually a little crazy,” said two-time IMPC champion, Taylor Hagler. “I was hoping that it was going to be an easy race and all that we had to do was finish fifth and that is not how it happened. We dropped all the way to last, had an incident with another competitor and a mistake in pitlane. It all looked down, but the racing gods were with us, and we were able to have some fun with it.”

“It feels great,” said Michael Lewis. “To be an IMSA champion in any category is awesome. It’s a big series with a lot of hard competitors out there, so to come out on top after ten long races, it’s special. I must thank Taylor Hagler for driving so well all year. It’s a two-person effort. Taylor did an amazing job after getting hit off the track today, and she stayed calm. That’s a championship drive right there. It’s so good to be a part of Bryan Herta Autosport. They give you everything you need. Being a three-time IMSA drivers’ champion means a lot.”

As Hyundai captured a third-consecutive manufacturers’ title, the result also marked the fourth drivers’ and teams’ championships with BHA.

“In the immediate aftermath, I’m elated for Michael, Taylor, the team and Hyundai,” said team owner Bryan Herta. “Three championships, again, is amazing. It seems to get harder every year. At the same time, I’m gutted for a few of our cars that had potential to win this race, but we didn’t always have the races we deserved this year. It’s hard with six cars, and as much as I’m happy for our best-finishing car, I feel for the worst-finishing car. It’s a range of emotions and has been a balance all year.”

In the action-packed final minutes of the Fox Factory 120, BHA teammates Stephen Simpson and Michael Johnson battled it out for an exciting second-place finish alongside newly-crowned champions Lewis and Hagler in third place.

APEowner
APEowner GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
10/4/22 1:14 p.m.

When when Hyundai become a major motorsports player?  I have no idea.  I'm still trying to come to terms with the fact that their cars aren't total crap anymore! Seriously.  They're actually good.  When did that happen?

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
10/4/22 3:24 p.m.

Hyundai and Kia have come so, so far in the last 10 or 15 years. And then add in the warranty. 

From J.D. Power for 2022:

Feedyurhed
Feedyurhed UltraDork
10/4/22 4:30 p.m.
David S. Wallens said:

Hyundai and Kia have come so, so far in the last 10 or 15 years. And then add in the warranty. 

From J.D. Power for 2022:

Wow. What happened to Honda/Acura?

P5Racer (formerly BMWGeoff)
P5Racer (formerly BMWGeoff) GRM+ Memberand Reader
10/4/22 4:46 p.m.

Does anyone else find it funny that Dodge is near the top, but Ram and Chrysler are near the bottom?

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
10/5/22 8:08 a.m.

In reply to Feedyurhed :

You don't want to know. 

kevinatfms
kevinatfms GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
10/5/22 8:37 a.m.

Ours works pretty well so far!

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
10/5/22 9:16 a.m.

In reply to APEowner :

Started with the reorg in 2000 and the aquisition of Kia. Since then theyhave been developing their product line in an odd but obviously functional way.

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
10/5/22 9:38 a.m.

In reply to kevinatfms :

We posting Hy/Kia racecars? 

No photo description available.

No photo description available.

No photo description available.

May be an image of car and road

There's a couple more that photos have disappeared on.

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
10/5/22 12:59 p.m.

In reply to bobzilla :

I'll accept photos of Hyundai and Kia race cars in this thread.

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
10/5/22 1:42 p.m.

Been doing this Korean thing a while now. It was fun to be the local "benchmark" for decently quick. The "Dude, you got raw timed by a Kia!:" comments were always my favorite.

ChrisHosford
ChrisHosford
10/5/22 6:08 p.m.

Hand in hands?  Who, me?  Ahhh, that would be a yes.

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
10/6/22 8:16 a.m.

Found another. That time the tib was broken/not ready so I took the wife's automatic Forte Koup to autox with 245's. 

No photo description available.

Peabody
Peabody MegaDork
10/6/22 9:18 a.m.
David S. Wallens said:

Hyundai and Kia have come so, so far in the last 10 or 15 years. And then add in the warranty

From J.D. Power for 2022:

They must have taken those surveys before they caught fire, or started knocking.

The warranty is useless if they won't honour it, and it continues to be a problem getting them to.

I'm still on a FB group from when I had my Kia and it's still almost daily that somebody's asking about the recalls and extended warranty program that they were basically fined ($210 mil) into providing. I liked my car while I had it, and considered replacing it with another, but between all the engine problems, corporate doing everything in their power to deny warranty, and the horrible dealer experience, there was no way I could trust the cars, and no way I would reward them with my business again.

Sorry to rain on your parade

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
10/6/22 9:43 a.m.

In reply to Peabody :

FWIW, my brother got 10 trouble-free years out of his Soul. He had a problem towards the end, and they covered it under warranty. He replaced it with a Kona. 

dannyp84
dannyp84 Reader
10/6/22 10:26 a.m.

In reply to bobzilla :

Was the Tiburon competitive? Those cars were EVERYWHERE when I was in high school but I never see them anymore. 

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
10/6/22 10:35 a.m.
David S. Wallens said:

In reply to Peabody :

FWIW, my brother got 10 trouble-free years out of his Soul. He had a problem towards the end, and they covered it under warranty. He replaced it with a Kona. 

I added the miles and years and number of cars in my stable and friends and it matches this experience. People with problems are always more vocal than those happy. The rule of thumb was one happy customer might tell 10 friends. One unhappy customer will tell everyone. 

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
10/6/22 10:38 a.m.
dannyp84 said:

In reply to bobzilla :

Was the Tiburon competitive? Those cars were EVERYWHERE when I was in high school but I never see them anymore. 

Sadly no. But it was fun. 245's, stiff coilovers and big brakes were a hoot. 

ProDarwin
ProDarwin MegaDork
10/6/22 10:43 a.m.
David S. Wallens said:

In reply to Peabody :

FWIW, my brother got 10 trouble-free years out of his Soul. He had a problem towards the end, and they covered it under warranty. He replaced it with a Kona. 

My unfortunately still hasnt died or miracululously turned into a better car.  It still does all the appliance things pretty well without complaining (unlike me lol).

Its pretty young though, its a 2013 with <130k on it.  If it is in this kind of condition in another 10 years/100k miles I would be very impressed.

Kreb (Forum Supporter)
Kreb (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
10/6/22 11:06 a.m.
Peabody said:
 

They must have taken those surveys before they caught fire, or started knocking.

The warranty is useless if they won't honour it, and it continues to be a problem getting them to.

I'm still on a FB group from when I had my Kia and it's still almost daily that somebody's asking about the recalls and extended warranty program that they were basically fined ($210 mil) into providing. I liked my car while I had it, and considered replacing it with another, but between all the engine problems, corporate doing everything in their power to deny warranty, and the horrible dealer experience, there was no way I could trust the cars, and no way I would reward them with my business again.

Sorry to rain on your parade

The problem is that we get our information through the media which has an innate negativity bias. So when one hears about battery fires, bearing failures, or whatever the problem du jour is it's very hard to put it in perspective. Is this a little issue or a big one? Is the local dealer helpful or a douche? My son loves his Sonata and its been problem free. I've also hit the backroads very hard in a group that included a Stinger and a Sonata N line and can attest that they are fast and capable cars.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
10/6/22 11:23 a.m.
bobzilla said:
David S. Wallens said:

In reply to Peabody :

FWIW, my brother got 10 trouble-free years out of his Soul. He had a problem towards the end, and they covered it under warranty. He replaced it with a Kona. 

I added the miles and years and number of cars in my stable and friends and it matches this experience. People with problems are always more vocal than those happy. The rule of thumb was one happy customer might tell 10 friends. One unhappy customer will tell everyone. 

I can see that. I forget the problem that my brother's Soul had. Oddly, it was covered by a recall on the years before and after his. So he said something. And they covered it. 

The Soul was a good car for him–manual transmission, too. He seems very happy with the Kona. 

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
10/6/22 11:23 a.m.

In reply to ProDarwin :

Yeah they don't usually get better. The good news is after about 10 years you've hit peak deterioration. The early 2000's cars was about 3 years. Lol. Still cockroaches with basic maintenance 

Peabody
Peabody MegaDork
10/6/22 12:37 p.m.

In reply to Kreb (Forum Supporter) :

I think a bigger problem is when people use anecdotal evidence to downplay what have been very serious and well documented  problems with a manufacturer

MiniDave
MiniDave Reader
10/6/22 1:13 p.m.

I see Land Rover/Range Rover is still on the bottom!

But it's nice to see MINI has improved significantly.....

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
10/6/22 1:21 p.m.

In reply to Peabody :

In my 14 years slinging parts I saw a ton of issues with Honda/Acura. Worse than whatever Hyundai has going right now. But they are still regarded as the chosen ones in the automotive world. 

I'm at 8 Hyundai/Kia cars in our possession since 2002, never a year where we didn't have at least 1. Those 8 cars had/have a combined 1.1 million miles on them. 1 engine replaced (bought with snapped timing belt because neglect) and one transmission replaced (wife thought a 12" curb was a good option to take a 13" wheel over at 20mph). One car had to be towed home leaving the wife stranded because at 220k miles the crank sensor died. $19 later it was back on the road.

I know that's anecdotal and all. Inlaws have been converted from Honda/Toyota to Kia people. 2 cars, 8 years of ownership 250k miles. No issues. Multiple friends with 150k mile daily driver cars without issue and one that had a free engine at 140k miles.

You're right. they are nothing but trash and everyone should ditch them at once! (I miss the days when used they were cheap)

ProDarwin
ProDarwin MegaDork
10/6/22 1:47 p.m.
Peabody said:

In reply to Kreb (Forum Supporter) :

I think a bigger problem is when people use anecdotal evidence to downplay what have been very serious and well documented  problems with a manufacturer

To be fair your original post "raining on the parade" uses anecdotal evidence to up-play the problem with the manufacturer.

I would be interested in seeing hard data on the engine failures.  What specific engine did you have?  Everything I have read is specific to the 2.4 or earlier 2.0T (i.e. not Veloster/N cars).  It seems E36 M3ty and they made some bad motors, but they are certainly not the first big name manufacturer to do that.  I wonder how they handled it compares to the others.

 

 

Anecdotally, would I recommend one to another person?  Depends.  There are a lot of design annoyances with the couple models I have had that would drive a performance oriented driver bonkers.  Would I recommend for an appliance?  Sure, but no more/less than a Honda or Toyota.

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
10/6/22 2:12 p.m.

In reply to ProDarwin :

From a performance oriented perspective (on older, no idea what the new N cars are like) there are things you have to drive around or find ways of fixing. The good thing is they are a lot like Honda/GM where they parts bin the E36 M3 out of these cars. On certain years of Elantras you could have brake bits from 3 different cars of that era (Sonata, XG and Tiburon). But no they didn't have an ITR type out of the box car that just worked. The First gen forte had great torque curves and a really good suspension and brakes when tweaked but the gearing of the trans was terrible.... something the 12-17 Rio has as well. The older cars were either floppy chassis and good suspension bits or good chassis and E36 M3 suspension. Brakes were always undersized (until 2010). Ergonomically they were fine IMO but they were never top tier quality materials.

Would I recomend a new one? Absolutely. An old one? Maybe. 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
10/6/22 2:36 p.m.

Well, some of you are going to love the car arriving later today.

And some of you might not....

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
10/6/22 2:37 p.m.

In reply to David S. Wallens :

PLEASE tell me!

 

ProDarwin
ProDarwin MegaDork
10/6/22 2:46 p.m.

I hope its magically a Veloster with 4 doors

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
10/6/22 2:51 p.m.
ProDarwin said:

I hope its magically a Veloster with 4 doors

Don't they all come that way? laugh

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
10/6/22 3:27 p.m.

In reply to David S. Wallens :

If it's an i20N I am driving down tonight.

EDIT: not joking. not even a little bit.

 

Peabody
Peabody MegaDork
10/6/22 3:47 p.m.
ProDarwin said:

To be fair your original post "raining on the parade" uses anecdotal evidence to up-play the problem with the manufacturer.

I would be interested in seeing hard data on the engine failures.  What specific engine did you have?  Everything I have read is specific to the 2.4 or earlier 2.0T (i.e. not Veloster/N cars).  It seems E36 M3ty and they made some bad motors, but they are certainly not the first big name manufacturer to do that.  I wonder how they handled it compares to the others.

What I meant by that is I see almost daily reminders of why I don't trust them. The data speaks for itself, and it's very easy to find. As far as the dealer experience, it's generally rated as one of the worst by the same JD Power, and recently they showed their hand again getting caught illegally mis-reporting credit info about their customers damaging their credit scores. Something they continued to do, even when they knew what they were doing. I believe that one was a $20m fine.

I raced them and was actually sponsored at one point, and I liked my Forte, but I don't trust them as a company. And when people have asked, I've told them that, and said I could not recommend buying one.

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
10/6/22 4:33 p.m.

In reply to Peabody :

You have to remember that 22 years ago Hyundai and Kia dealers were selling cars that were right above the level of a BHPH used car lot. They were focusing on a clientele that couldn't afford one of the "name brands" and many did their own onsite financing with some terrible rates and conditions. Places run like that don't change quickly and the manufacturer is in a sticky place to not run the individual stores but they want and need to move their product. There are a lot of shady dealers out there for ALL brands. 

As for the warranty work, it sucks. The manufacturers require that things are done to a specific "T" at the dealership or they won't reimburse them. I had Honda ask for the paper t-stat gasket for an RL head gasket job. The one that is literally scraped off the head. That was the part they had us return to pay a $2200 repair. Customer was already gone with their car but we weren't paid yet. I found a way around that and we never had a warranty claim denied while I was there because of it. But many don't have people with my experience or willingness to do it right that they can count on so they just won't bother doing it to start with. 

GCrites80s
GCrites80s Dork
10/6/22 8:53 p.m.
Feedyurhed said:
David S. Wallens said:

Hyundai and Kia have come so, so far in the last 10 or 15 years. And then add in the warranty. 

From J.D. Power for 2022:

Wow. What happened to Honda/Acura?

Much of the J.D. Power complaints today revolve around infotainment so if you have janky, hard-to-use or malfunctiony infotainment you're going to take a big hit in their ratings. So not necessarily things we think about as heavy secondary market users since by the time the cars get to us it's been fixed with an update or upgrade component. I mean, I've only had one car with infotainment and it's super basic like an XM Radio receiver from 2006 -- no touchscreen even.

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
10/7/22 8:45 a.m.

In reply to GCrites80s :

Honda's had problems with their infotainment crap for 20 years now. None of it was ever "fixed" because thats not how honda works. Remember their transmission and TC problems in the mid 2000's? Honda engineer told us when out diagnosing an odd ball issue that Honda knew what the problem was, but they weren't going to change the tooling and design because they were invested in it. It would be corrected on the next major redesign. When the 07 MDX came out the trans problems were mostly resolved. Then it was TC problems....

dannyp84
dannyp84 Reader
10/7/22 10:08 a.m.
bobzilla said:

In reply to GCrites80s :

Honda's had problems with their infotainment crap for 20 years now. None of it was ever "fixed" because thats not how honda works. Remember their transmission and TC problems in the mid 2000's? Honda engineer told us when out diagnosing an odd ball issue that Honda knew what the problem was, but they weren't going to change the tooling and design because they were invested in it. It would be corrected on the next major redesign. When the 07 MDX came out the trans problems were mostly resolved. Then it was TC problems....

The lesson here is to always buy your Hondas with 3 pedals for best results. I briefly considered a 1st gen Ridgeline for towing duties, but I had doubts about the transmission being up to the task and bought a Frontier instead.

pinchvalve (Forum Supporter)
pinchvalve (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/7/22 1:51 p.m.

Here's more proof that Hyundai is serious about motorsport. Check out the code map for the Elantra N, plenty of attention given to cooling the front brakes for example. A lot of other companies slap a Brembo kit on the car and call it a day. Hyundai engineered a comprehensive braking system using their own parts bin, with attention to pad material, cooling, rotor size and more. The car works right out of the box, showing no fade on track, even after repeated sessions. For comparison, the BRz/GR86 twins last about 2 laps before their brakes are shot, and they weigh like 1/2 as much.

 

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/7/22 6:58 p.m.
dannyp84 said:
bobzilla said:

In reply to GCrites80s :

Honda's had problems with their infotainment crap for 20 years now. None of it was ever "fixed" because thats not how honda works. Remember their transmission and TC problems in the mid 2000's? Honda engineer told us when out diagnosing an odd ball issue that Honda knew what the problem was, but they weren't going to change the tooling and design because they were invested in it. It would be corrected on the next major redesign. When the 07 MDX came out the trans problems were mostly resolved. Then it was TC problems....

The lesson here is to always buy your Hondas with 3 pedals for best results. I briefly considered a 1st gen Ridgeline for towing duties, but I had doubts about the transmission being up to the task and bought a Frontier instead.

The later autos in the large SUVs are stout.  The earlier ones are the ones with issues, apparently Honda used a thrust washer where a bearing would have been more prudent and it would chew up the transmission case.  They fixed that error.

I see them all the time with 200-300k and no issues aside from the semi rare oil pressure switch failure.  Honda uses pressure switches to verify that a solenoid engaged, the switches fail.  Did two in the last three years.

 

BlueInGreen - Jon
BlueInGreen - Jon UltraDork
10/7/22 7:07 p.m.

This thread needs more TCR pics

Kreb (Forum Supporter)
Kreb (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
10/7/22 7:24 p.m.

In reply to dannyp84 :

Didn't do your research. All Ridgelines had the upgraded transmission. Where Honda screwed up was in not bolting it to their other offerings. 

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
10/7/22 9:40 p.m.

In reply to Kreb (Forum Supporter) :

That was one of their screw ups. 

BlueInGreen - Jon
BlueInGreen - Jon UltraDork
10/8/22 3:43 a.m.


 

I want a street version with those flares devil

Our Preferred Partners
pCc0ogFdYIsAEryMjqkzfIgQum4s2DV5XhNgEno9Zz8meEtyvfXivwCNlU8HuqK0