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The award for TG mag’s Manufacturer of the Year 2018 goes to…

Everyday EVs, family SUVs and performance cars: Hyundai has something for everyone

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  • “Diversity rules.” That’s how Top Gear magazine described the Hyundai range when awarding it the Manufacturer of the Year 2018 trophy. And it’s true. With 18 distinct models in the showroom line- up, there’s something for everyone, from the lively little i10 city car right up to larger SUVs like the new Tucson. Boldly designed and smartly engineered, the Tucson is an essential addition to the family, whichever way you put it to work. Commuting, road tripping, school running, weekly shopping, even towing – it has it covered. Best of all, it’s made of tough stuff...

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  • There are several ways to have your Tucson. Choose from petrol engines, diesel engines or a mild hybrid with a 48-volt lithium battery and small electric motor. Gearbox options include a six-speed manual, an eight-speed automatic or a seven-speed dual-clutch auto. There’s four-wheel drive for those who need it, and two-wheel drive for those who don’t. Every Tucson is fitted with an Autonomous Emergency Braking system, as well as Lane Keeping Assist. As for entertainment, the crisp, eight speaker-strong Krell sound system and Apple Car Play allow you to soundtrack your journey perfectly.

  • When it comes to testing, there’s not a single part of a Tucson that hasn’t been frozen, fried, shaken or soaked to make sure it’s up to scratch. Take the heat cycle and humidity test: first, cars are heated to 120°C before being frozen to minus 40°C in a chamber that can also make up to 7cm of snow per hour. Then it’s back up to 50°C as the humidity is turned up to 95 per cent to simulate the tropics. The process is repeated three times, just to make sure. On top of that, when a car emerges from the factory it’s given a hands-on test before it heads off to its new owner. Each car is driven around a 3.3km track by one of 12 specialist drivers working in shifts around the clock. And if all of that’s not enough, there’s always the five-year, unlimited mileage warranty and best-in-class luggage capacity...

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  • The i30 N is Hyundai’s first-ever hot hatch. It’s also the first in a line of innovative, proper performance cars to emerge from the company’s burgeoning N Division. It was the brainchild of engineer Albert Biermann, who joined Hyundai a few years ago after decades in charge of BMW’s M cars, so it’s safe to say he knows a thing or two about making a decent driver’s car. It’s why the i30 N feels like an experienced pro, and why even the purest of petrolheads has it at the top of their hot hatch wishlist.

  • There are two models to choose from: N and N Performance, both of which are powered by a specially developed 2.0T-GDi turbocharged petrol engine. The N version makes 247bhp while the N Performance is turned up to 271bhp. Both versions have five selectable driving modes along with adaptive, electronically-controlled suspension and a rev-matching system. The N Performance model also has a supremely effective electronic limited- slip differential, and makes a fantastic noise when N mode is selected, thanks to the active variable exhaust system which crackles and pops like Hyundai’s very own World Rally car.

  • The ‘N’ is inspired by Namyang, Hyundai’s R&D centre in Korea, where the car was conjured up, as well as the Nürburgring in Germany where it was developed and where the test cars did over 111,000 miles of hard driving – the equivalent of around 10 years of a normal car’s life – in just four weeks. Even the car’s wavy ‘N’ logo symbolises a chicane, acting as a little reminder of what it’s like to drive on winding roads or flat-out on a track day, which of course is where the N Performance’s e-diff comes in. It’s easy to see why the N loves corners. Using e-diff allows the car to selectively apportion torque between the two wheels, enabling them to spin at different speeds for enhanced cornering traction. The different drive modes enable N to cope with a variety of driving climates and styles, while accounting for elation at every turn.

  • Kicking off Hyundai’s range of SUVs, the compact Kona combines street style with rugged usability – as well as a little luxury. You can even have it with four-wheel-drive, for life’s adventures or for dealing with winter’s worst weather. On top of the efficient petrol and diesel models, there’s also an all- electric version with a real-world range of up to 279 miles. So it’s an everyday EV capable of proper road trips, too. And because electric motors give you all of their torque from the instant you put your foot down, it doesn’t hang around: 0-62mph takes only 7.6secs.

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  • The Kona is full of life-improving tech, from the 8-inch touchscreen to the optional head-up-display so you can keep your eyes on the road. Stay connected with Apple Car Play and Android Auto, and stay safe thanks to various driver assistance gizmos, including one that spots when you’re tired and suggests when to take a break. Take your pick from a spectrum of vibrant colours, from Pulse Red to Acid Yellow, and mix things up with a colour-contrast roof. Hyundai then matches your exterior colour choice in the interior.

  • The Kona’s paintwork doesn’t just turn heads. Across the entire brand, Hyundai’s engineers are developing a special elastic chemical compound that enables paint to literally heal itself, making small scratches disappear and protecting against blemishes and corrosion. Every Kona spends nine hours in the paint shop – that’s nearly half of the 20 hours it takes to build a car, and the most time-consuming part. Each one – like every Hyundai – is dunked in a bath of anti-corrosive liquid before layers of primer, colour, and a top coat of varnish are applied. It’s all done by just some of the 400 robots (also manufactured by Hyundai) hard at work in Korea. Between them they do all sorts, from welding parts to shaping panels and fitting spare tyres. Two of them even perform a millimetre-precise, laser-controlled ‘dance’ to install the cars’ windows.

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  • The Ioniq is the first car with the choice of three different electrified powertrains in one, family-friendly body shape. A hybrid, a plug-in hybrid and a battery electric version gives you a trio of ways to future-proof your drive. The right one for you depends on how often you drive, how far you go, and how you drive on the way. No matter which you choose, you’ll be travelling in one of the most aerodynamic cars on sale today, with a streamlined silhouette, forward- thinking design and a cabin packed with tech.

  • The Ioniq Hybrid combines a 1.6 GDi petrol engine with a generator, which quietly engages once the car reaches the optimum speed and recharges on the move. The Ioniq plug-in hybrid uses a similar petrol-electric pairing, but can be driven in electric-only mode for 26 miles, thanks to a 44.5kW electric motor and 8.9 kWh battery pack, which you recharge by plugging in. The Ioniq electric is powered solely by a 88.3 kW electric motor and 28 kWh battery, meaning up to 174 miles of zero- emissions driving. Using a 50kW rapid charger, an 80 per cent charge takes just 30 minutes.

  • Whichever version of the Ioniq you choose, the weight of the interior plastics has been reduced by approximately 20 per cent through the use of a material made of recycled plastic combined with powdered wood and volcanic stone. The Ioniq electric’s cabin is enhanced by copper décor elements, while the hybrid and plug-in hybrid interiors reflect the exterior with sleek blue accents. There’s more: the battery in the Ioniq electric is kept warm and cosy by its own heating system, protecting it from icy, energy-sapping temperatures, and helping it to charge faster. And here’s another fact: believe it or not, Hyundai doesn’t just build eco-friendly cars. Sustainability is at its very core, so you’ll also find Hyundai-manufactured wind turbines, heat recycling systems and even large-scale solar power plants.

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