I am an automotive journalist that has experienced hundreds of cars, both new and used from virtually every manufacturer. Being in and out of so many vehicles causes you to become jaded over time, and you look at cars in a completely different light than regular consumers.
No car is "the best," but each car company has its unique feel and advantage that another manufacturer might not have. For a lot of people shopping for a "normal" commuter car to take them and their family to work, school, shopping, etc. is a daunting task. There are so much competition and so many choices, but I believe there is one obvious factor many buyers take into consideration the most; price.
Hyundai excels at providing a quality product at a phenomenal price. They offer a quality product while undercutting the main competition in almost every segment. In all the road tests that I have done, Hyundai has typically been the quieter and more comfortable option. Hyundai didn't always make cars like this.
The Beginnings of Hyundai
Hyundai started serving the United States market back in 1986. Reminiscing on these times makes buyers of today develop a sour taste in their mouth when they hear Hyundai. Hyundai's initial attempts at selling vehicles included low-quality cars for people with bad credit to purchase. Back in the day, Hyundai was the butt of the joke and as low as you could get in the totem pole. That is why, despite how good their cars have become, people can't shake the past.
Hyundai continued to invest in the United States market and began to develop cars to rival those of Japan. Most importantly, they listened to what consumers today want, and you can see even in their base models, you get features like Apple Car Play/Android Auto with some form of a touchscreen.
Hyundai Reliability and the Million Mile Elantra
Hyundai's cars became significantly more reliable as well. One woman managed to get her 2013 Elantra up to one million miles. That is an impressive accomplishment and one where Hyundai got some much-needed positive press. That same woman was later gifted with a brand new Elantra directly from Hyundai.
Their newer model base four-cylinder is a 2.0l naturally aspirated unit producing a modest 147 horsepower. Their engine utilizes just port injection, which is excellent for a consumer looking to keep their cars for the long haul. You don't have the extra maintenance headache of dealing with the industry bandwagon tech called direct injection. Direct injection motors can lead to carbon build up over time, whereas port injected engines run much cleaner.
Now I certainly don't want to sound biased in any way; I'm not some Hyundai fanboy. These are objective qualities that I have noticed driving newer Hyundai products. Recently I did a post regarding Hyundai windshields cracking, and owners filed a lawsuit. Specific models like the new Santa Fe doesn't handle as well compared to a Mazda CX-5 or equivalent Honda. They still do the two most important things an everyday car needs to do: quiet and comfy.
Aside from the turbo front-wheel-drive Santa Fe I tested, the rest of the lineup handles excellent and offers plenty of confidence. You have plenty of confidence out on the highway doing legitimate speeds, and real-world fuel economy is always high. They even reassure the quality of their cars with a warranty spanning a decade.
Hyundai Moving Forward
It is clear Hyundai has refocused its brand to be nothing like they used to be. Their only problem is the public perception, which is probably why they continuously need to undercut the competition despite offering a superior car in specific segments. It took time for the Japanese nameplates to catch on, but in a few years, I am sure Hyundai will begin to get the proper recognition they deserve.
Kevin Meyn is an automotive journalist for Torque News concentrating on Hyundai content. Kevin is the founder of Exhaust Sports Auto Youtube channel, where he does professional car reviews on new and used vehicles. Through the use of various resources and extended Automotive expertise, Kevin documents the latest in automotive news revolving around Hyundai. Kevin graduated from NC State University studying Supply Chain Management but has had a passion for cars since he was a child. Follow Kevin on Twitter and Instagram @exhaustsports.