Hyundai unveils quartet of contenders

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New Models
Manila International Auto Show

Text and photos by Kap Maceda Aguila

A HOT hatch, a crossover, an SUV and a hybrid comprised the summer salvo of launches by Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc. (HARI), the country’s official distributor of Hyundai passenger and commercial vehicles, at the recent Manila International Auto Show (MIAS).

During the opening day of the annual car show, HARI President and CEO Ma. Fe Perez-Agudo led the introduction of the all-new Hyundai Veloster, Kona, Santa Fe and the Ioniq Hybrid. Dubbed the “Greatest Show From Hyundai,” the unveilings were done amid a number of entertainment productions from Korean Buganda drumbeaters, Douglas Nierras’ Powerdance, and Jett Pangan of the The Dawn.

The first-generation Veloster debuted in 2011, and overtly targets a younger segment of drivers. Sleek and low, the coupé is staunchly quirky and funky in design execution — most notably with its 2+1 door concept. With its MIAS launch, Filipinos got to quickly see the second iteration of the Veloster, which was first presented globally early this year at the North American International Auto Show.

The Veloster is powered by a turbocharged, 201-hp, 265-Nm, 1.6-liter engine mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Priced at P1.798 million, the hot hatch is poised to be a contender in the “pocket rocket” niche with its aggressive looks and expected sprightly performance.

The South Korea-headquartered automaker has apparently had enough of sitting around in the new high-rewards battleground that is the crossover class as its Japanese counterparts make bale upon bale of hay while the auto gods shine on the niche. Following on the heels of an apparently scuttled entry of the Creta (also a crossover), the more aggressively styled Kona will be Hyundai’s more worthy contender.

The subcompact SUV is equipped with a 2.0-liter NU engine promising 149 hp and 179 Nm, whose performance is accessed via a six-speed automatic transmission. The final sticker price of the Kona is yet to be determined, but is expected to slot below the P1.5-million mark.

The fourth generation of the Santa Fe sees more contemporary, dynamic styling for Hyundai’s beloved mid-size sport ute. First unveiled at the last Geneva Auto Show, the all-new seven-seat SUV packs a 2.2-liter CRDi engine mated to an eight-speed automatic. A maximum of 197 horses and a robust 441Nm should enable the vehicle to shove its way around for any conceivable duty.

Coming with a price tag of P1.498 million, the Ioniq now firmly takes its place as the country’s most affordable hybrid vehicle — partly made possible by the government’s new taxation scheme. The Ioniq is principally powered by 1.6-liter engine (good for 104 hp and 147 Nm) mated to a six-speed dual clutch transmission. Its lithium-ion polymer battery has a capacity of 1.56 kWh — supplying 42 kW and 240 volts to its electric motor which, in turn, delivers 43 hp and 170 Nm. The Ioniq shares bones with the Kia Niro, a compact crossover hybrid. There’s still some time to mull about getting an Ioniq, as units are expected to actually get here in the latter part of the year.