From “Cars for the People”
to Luxury SUVs and Small Trucks…

The name Hyundai means “modern times.” Formed in 1967, the Hyundai Motor Company indeed helped modernize and mobilize South Korea by mass producing “cars for the people.” In the 1990s, Hyundai make considerable investments in low-emission gasoline engines as well as hydrogen-powered fuel cell and electrified vehicles and began to expand across Europe.  It purchased Kia in 1998 to keep it afloat and though the two South Korean brands operate independently, Hyundai remains Kia’s parent company and the two share some common platforms.

Hyundai entered the 21st century seeking to bring higher value products to the U.S. market, launching the Santa Fe as its first SUV in 2000, followed by the Tucson in 2004.  Increasingly putting its focus on environmentally friendly vehicles and technology, Hyundai launched the hybrid electric Sonata, featuring a lithium polymer battery.  In 2013, its ix35 Fuel Cell became the first commercially mass-produced hydrogen fuel cell vehicle in the world.  Hyundai next expanded into motor racing, launching its N sub-brand in 2015 which led to subsequent development of the award-winning i30 N and i3- Fastback N.  Hyundai’s Genesis also spun off into its own luxury brand in 2015.

The Palisade was introduced at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show as Hyundai’s most luxurious SUV, sharing a platform with Kia Telluride. Our recent test drive of the midsize three row 2022 Palisade was a pleasant experience offering plenty of room for passengers and luggage, along with value and comfort.  Easy to drive and very well-appointed for the price, our tester was the loaded-up top-of-the line AWD Calligraphy trim level.  Every option you could think of was included in the $48,390 MSRP; its only added option was $215 for carpeted floor mats.

Just this year, Hyundai entered the compact truck market with its first generation Santa Cruz.  The four-door unibody truck shares the same basic platform as the Tucson, providing a more comfortable ride and more maneuverability.  Though being more car-like makes it less capable for towing, hauling and off-roading than traditional trucks, max towing between, 3,500 and 5,000 still allows you to tow a small boat or two-wheel trailer and enjoy the benefits of a cargo bed.   The tailgate can be adjusted to match the height of the wheelwells allowing 4-by-8 sheets of plywood to fit. The bed also has a drain that makes it easy to store wet or muddy gear or load it up with ice for tailgating.  Our Limited AWD tester had the turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine (281 hp, 311 lb-ft of torque).  A bevy of options were included for its MSRP of $39,720, and it comes with one of the best warranties in the segment.

Read this article appearing in Building Savvy’s Savvy Trucks & Toys Column
Read this article as appeared in N2 Publishing’s What Drives Us? column