Here comes another Genesis… The Hyundai one!

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How many Genesis can there be? Not the biblical tale, or the rock group but the car. Six months after launching the Genesis luxury saloon in the UK, Hyundai this week announced the new ‘Genesis’ brand.

A line-up of six models, all aimed at the luxurious end of the market. Just like Infiniti is linked to Nissan, Lexus to Toyota, Genesis will take on key German brands like Audi, Mercedes and BMW.

A new beginning? Well, we’ll have to wait and see.

For now, Car Couture has just taken delivery of the executive Genesis saloon. It’s packed with a 3.8 petrol engine, tons of executive kit and enough styling cues to worry Mercedes.

But is it all style and no substance? Join us for a week of reviews to find out. A day with Yorkshire County Cricket Team tomorrow, let’s see how it goes.

‘It’s no looker but it’s not ugly either’ – the general consensus about the latest Volvo XC90

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‘It’s no looker but it’s not ugly too’ Such is the general reaction to the new XC90. Car Couture appreciates the gorgeousness of the interior, the ground-breaking technology and the super safe gizmos that will wow many family buyers.

But which ever way you look at it, the XC90 just isn’t a car to set the pulses racing. Sexy SUVs are few and far between. You could argue that there aren’t any.

I think the the Range Rover Evoque, BMW x5 and Porsche Macan are among the best – but none of those have the all-round ability and practicality of the Volvo.

I rather think Hyundai now make some of the more stylish SUVs and they’re considerably cheaper than the Volvo. Still, it hasn’t stopped the XC90 being a sell-out success, so what do we know?

The Hyundai Santa Fe has a few ‘alarming’ issues but remains an excellent SUV

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Most of my niggles with the Santa Fe have revolved around the warning systems that trigger bells and chimes with annoying frequency. It is, without doubt, one of the ‘nanny state’ cars.

But I suppose even I would get used to its funny little ways with time – maybe there’s even a way to disengage that ‘boot closing’ double chime.

Regardless, there is a lot to like about the Santa Fe. It looks well enough, comes loaded with standard equipment and is reasonably economical too (just a shame there is only one engine choice).

There’s also a lot of space and you can spec it up with an extra two seats in the boot too. And while the steering can be vague, the big Hyundai is sprightly enough and returns decent mpg.

This is all backed up by Hyundai’s excellent, five-year, unlimited mileage warranty – definitely not to be sniffed at. It’s a little on the pricey side but overall, this has to be one of the best large SUVs out there.

 

Stylish Italians don’t drive SUVs – I wonder why….?

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Just back from a Maserati event in Italy – and just about the only SUV I saw in two days was the company’s forthcoming Levante, due out at the end of this year.

Admittedly, that was on a top secret test track near Turin. Photography was banned and I was too slow to snap anything on my iPhone anyway. Profile looks like a BMX X6 though!

And I certainly didn’t see one Santa Fe. The Italians only seem to own Italian cars – they would buy a broomstick if it had FIAT written on the side.

So, it’s home from Heathrow in the  Hyundai. I’ve been averaging 41mpg in the big SUV. It’s not as pretty as a Maserati but the Santa Fe is great value for money…

When less is more for driving enthusiasts… those gadgets and gizmos you don’t need

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So I spent some of this afternoon looking at a Porsche 993 Targa. The last of the air cooled 911s have shot up in value and I like the idea of driving one again – 19 years after the launch in Austria.

What amazed me was how basic the 911 was back then. And equally, how delightful. No alarms, no warning lights, no stress – just get in, shut the door with a hefty clunk and off you go.

Of course, you can’t say that about the Santa Fe – or many other modern cars. You only have to fart and the dashboard lights up with warning signs. Depressing.

I know safety is our prime concern these days but I think I actually drive better without all the modern gizmos and driving aids we have come to rely on. And the Santa Fe has more than its fair share…

More beeping nonsense from the Hyundai’s self-closing boot lid

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When was the last time you opened the boot, forgot to move out of the way and got whacked in the face? Erm, probably never, right?

So why do I need a two beep warning that the boot is opening on my Hyundai Santa Fe? I mean, is it just me or do other people out there despair that we’ve got to a point in this over protective society where we need to be reminded that two seconds ago, we opened a slow moving boot lid?

And it’s the same when I stop the car – why do I need to be warned that the sunroof is still open – what’s the worst that could happen?

We had none of this type of nonsense in 1990s cars, who decided we need I now. Perhaps it’s time we all drove a stripped out Caterham 7 again and reminded ourselves what we actually need in a car – and what we don’t…

How to avoid being decapitated by that ‘killer’ Hyundai tailgate…

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I can’t find much wrong with the Santa Fe – it does everything pretty well and only the power tailgate is proving a pain. There are two annoying beeps before it slowly starts to open or close on its own.

The beep is, of course, for people who can’t see and may not realise the boot is about to randomly swallow them whole, or push them over backwards! It moves so slowly you long for a manual over-ride. And what are blind people doing driving cars anyway?

Otherwise, the Hyundai does everything it says on the tin. Three rows of seats, acres of space and a lot of luxury kit – except the leather feels more Aldi than Waitrose.

I’m loving the panoramic roof and the fact the front section opens makes it even better for some early summer sunshine. Just be warned, the summer could be over by June 6…

Motorists might like you more driving a Hyundai Santa Fe than a Porsche Cayenne

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The first decision you have to make when buying a 2015 Santa Fe is whether to go for the seven-seat version, or the five. The bigger model is nine inches longer and extra huge inside.

Our first car of the month is the larger model and, quite frankly, I’ve no idea what to do with all that space! Even Malin the Vizsla looks tiny in the luggage compartment. He’s so far back we need an intercom to communicate.

And what about the styling of this new 2015 model? Well, it’s pretty good. Not quite a Range Rover Sport but sleek, stylish and inoffensive. Unlike a Porsche Cayenne, people will actually let you out of a junction in this car.

It’s the same inside. This Premium model is packed with equipment – equally as good as SUVs costing £30,000 more. In fact, it probably has more.

So, if you can live with the badge – and why not? – the Santa Fe could be the bargain of the century for those looking for the ultimate all-rounder. Join us over the next seven days to find out if that’s true….

Hyundai i40 Tourer – The Lidl of The Automotive World…

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Let’s be honest, there was a time when people only bought an Hyundai because it was value for money. It was the Lidl supermarket of the automotive world – alongside Kia and Proton.

Now, just like Lidl, the Korean company is thriving and we are buying loads of them, instead of stalwart favourites from Ford and Vauxhall.

The i40 goes today and we think it’s one of the best offerings from the Hyundai stable. Great to look at inside and out, practical, reliable and still relatively good value for money.

With a five-year, unlimited mileage warranty, anyone looking for medium-sized family estate would be crazy not to take one for a test drive.

We have a SEAT Leon ST FR coming today – perhaps a good comparison for the Hyundai but with a more sporty edge…

 

Hyundai i40 – Beeping Cars, Do We Need Them?

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Beeping cars – do we need them? Sounds like a good Tweet. It’s often American motors that have been designed for people who live their life surrounded by safety nets.

You know, cars that have phrases like ‘objects in the mirror may be closer than they appear’ stickers on them, or people who consciously note that a McDonald’s apple pie may have ‘contents that are hot’.

It seems the world is slipping towards a giant safety net to ensure corporations aren’t sued for building cars that ‘might run you over’ if you step out in front of them.

The i40 has it’s fair share of beep warnings. Most are linked to the keyless ignition and can be infuriating. I don’t need a car that tells me I have left the key inside, or in gear, or that I’m reversing too close to the car behind. I know, I can see it over my shoulder.

Where will we be in 50 years time I wonder? It could all be a beeping nightmare…