Bill Thomas02 March 2010

Geneva show: Korean hot cakes

Hyundai and Kia have the Japanese in their sights. With high-quality, desirable cars at knockdown prices

iFlow

The note in my job list for the Geneva show reads ‘Koreans. (The)'. Dismissing such a powerful car-building nation as this with such flippery isn't wise, though. The Koreans are a force to be reckoned with, targeting the established Japanese brands in the same kind of way Samsung is going after Sony: aggressively, in other words, with high-quality, desirable products at fairly reasonable prices.

Hyundai's iFlow concept (pictured) gives you an idea of how the next Sonata, called i40, will look. It was designed at the company's styling HQ in Germany and is one of the most impressive-looking four-doors at the show.

Also on the Hyundai stand are a bunch of ‘blue' eco versions of its i10, i20, i30 and ix35 cars. The usual rules apply, with lower rolling resistance tyres and aero mods. Emissions will drop to below 100g/km for the smaller cars.

Kia previews the new Sportage at Geneva. Again, it's a neat-looking machine inside and out and the interior seems to have made a step forward in quality. Two-wheel-drive models get stop-start and the new model is both lighter (by 91kg) and more aerodynamic (.37CD - which is low for a car in this class) than the previous model. It'll sell like - like hot cakes. Cheap high-quality hot cakes from The Koreans.

Bill Thomas, Associate Editor of Top Gear magazine

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