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Best of 2018

Hyundai: TG mag's Manufacturer of the Year

An underdog that wins best in show? Humble Hyundai has come a long way

Published: 23 Dec 2018

After decades of us telling you Hyundais have less personality than call-centre hold music, the South Koreans have pulled it off. Hyundai now boasts an arsenal of cars to make established conglomerates jealous.

The mega-hyped i30N, launchpad of the entire ‘N’ operation, is rightly the poster child, thanks to the ex-BMW M Division brains who’ve morphed the worthy i30 into a more polished hot hatch than dab hands Renault managed with the new RS Megane, while keeping it as liveable as the evergreen Golf GTI. But the rise of Hyundai isn’t merely due to seducing petrol-headed folk with rorty hatchbacks.

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We tasted Hyundai’s audacious ambitions when it launched the Ioniq, a teardrop eco-hatch that’s smoother to drive than the iconic Prius, on account of having a proper mechanical gearbox, not a mooing CVT, yet zero economy penalty. And if you didn’t want a mild hybrid, try the more flexible plug-in hybrid. Or an engineless electric version. Diversity rules.

And now Hyundai’s taken those electric lessons and applied them to the Kona to create a quirky looking but chilled-driving family EV that, thanks to a huge 64kWh battery, is free of range anxiety. Ironic term, really. Hyundai should have no such worries. Its diverse, ambitious range is no cause for anxiety. Unless you’re a rival marque.

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