Text and photos by Aries B. Espinosa

HYUNDAI Asia Resources, Inc.’s (HARI) “Christmas gift” to the Filipino motoring public was a glimpse of what could likely be their immediate future, and the official distributor of Hyundai vehicles in the Philippines couldn’t have done it in a grander way — through a combined launch held on December 6 at a convention center in Pasay City.
With the center of the spacious hall occupied by an elevated walkway leading from the main stage to the launch program’s highlight vehicle, the new Accent, the stage was literally set for HARI president and CEO Ma. Fe Perez-Agudo to step up to the podium and declare the “Runway to the Future” open.
She said; “2018 brought extraordinary challenges in the marketplace, resulting from the tough economic environment that tested our capabilities. As such, we have remained focused by laying down the groundwork to ensure an unhampered and successful takeoff of our business for the brand in 2019. ‘Runway to the Future’ is our way of expressing our appreciation of the gallant men and women in the Hyundai dealership network, our esteemed friends from the media and partners in the banking industry who inspired us in braving this year’s headwinds and turbulence in our industry. Given this backdrop, we look forward to take off and fly high towards more notable achievements, and set new records through innovative mobility.”
HARI has already propelled itself for takeoff this 2018, as it has become the Philippines’ third top-selling automotive firm. And to finally take off and fly high this 2019, Ms. Agudo was directly referring to the four new vehicles laid out before her — the Grand Starex Urban, the face-lifted Tucson, the Ioniq Hybrid, and the new Accent.
Considered as HARI’s flagship vehicle, the Grand Starex’s 17-year evolution as the family vehicle has leveled up to become the Grand Starex Urban, a nine-seat luxury van powered by a Euro6-rated 2.5-liter CRDI VGT engine mated to the H-Matic five-speed automatic transmission. Its interior luxury amenities are highlighted by the flexible ergonomic seating and exclusive brown leather seats.
The price of the Grand Starex Urban is yet to be finalized.
The refreshed Tucson crossover SUV features upgrades inside and out. Sporting either the 2.0-liter Nu MPI gasoline engine or the 2.0-liter R CRDI e-VGT diesel mill with a six-speed manual or automatic (for the gasoline-powered variant) transmission and eight-speed automatic gearbox (for the diesel variant), the Tucson complements its power under the hood by a bold new physique, as defined by Hyundai’s Fluidic Sculpture 2.0 design philosophy.
Prices for the Tucson are between P1.308 million for the 2.0 GL 6M/T 2WD variant and P1.835 million for the top-spec 2.0 GLS CRDI 8A/T 2WD.
The Ioniq Hybrid is faithful to its purpose both in form and substance. The interplay between its efficient 1.6-liter CVVT gasoline engine mated to a six-speed dual clutch transmission and the electric Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor that provides up to an additional 43hp of power and 170Nm of torque makes for a spirited yet environment-friendly driving experience. This experience can also be seen in its futuristic look, a product of Hyundai’s exterior design philosophy called Visual Aero, inspired by the movement of flowing air.
The Ioniq Hybrid retails for P1.498 million.
HARI’S bestselling compact sedan, the star of the launch program and Hyundai’s champion in fuel efficiency, now comes sleeker in style and stronger in body. The new Accent is more spacious, looks more sophisticated and dynamic, but, more important, its use of 50% advanced high-strength steel to reinforce critical areas of the body structure offers much better crash protection. Beneath the hood lies the renowned U-II 1.6-liter CRDi VGT diesel or the Kappa 1.4-liter MPI dual CVVT gasoline engines, both matched to six-speed manual or automatic transmissions, which provide outstanding fuel-saving performance in city and long drives.
The Accent costs between P725,000 and P1 million.