Hyundai cars through the years
Founded in 1967 by engineer and craftsman Chung Ju-Yung, the South Korea-based Hyundai Motor Co. was originally an offshoot of Ju-Yung's Hyundai Engineering and Construction Co. In 1975, Hyundai unveiled its first car in Korea, and by 1986 it had introduced the Excel to the U.S. market. The company formed the Hyundai Motor Group in 1998 after it acquired a majority stake in Kia, Korea's second-largest car maker. Today, Hyundai operates in 193 countries and owns the world's largest car manufacturing facility, which is located in Ulsan, Korea, and is able to produce 1.6 million cars each year.
The Hyundai Sonata was originally released in Korea and Canada in 1985, but the vehicle was held back from a U.S. release until 1989 model since it didn't meet U.S. emissions standards. The 1989 Sonata was equipped with Mitsubishi’s 2.4-liter, 110 hp “Sirius” inline engine and became the preferred choice of Hyundai owners with large families.
Hyundai created the "sporty coupe" in 1991 and it was based on the Hyundai Excel's front-engine, front-wheel-drive design. The Scoupe (pronounced "scoop") had a 1.5-liter, 92 or 115 hp inline-4 engine and was available in 4-speed automatic and 5-speed manual transmissions.
The first generation Hyundai Elantra, also known as the Lantra in some European countries, was produced from 1990 to 1995. The Elantra’s 1.6-liter, 113-hp petrol engine enabled the car to reach 60 mph in 9.5 seconds and boasted a maximum speed of 116 mph.
The Hyundai Accent was a rebadged vehicle and goes by different names: it’s known as the Dodge Attitude in Mexico, the Dodge Brisa in Venezuela, the Hyundai Brio in Puerto Rico and the Hyundai Solaris in Russia. By any name, the Accent was well-received as it became the third best-selling vehicle in the U.S. in 1996 and 1998, and was named the most dependable subcompact car by J.D. Power and Associates in 2008.
The Hyundai Tiburon first went into production in 1996 and was marketed to foreign countries with 1.6- or 1.8-liter engine options. One year later, the Tiburon saw a U.S. release with the base model offering the 1.8-liter, 130-hp engine option. Hyundai manufactured two generations of the Tiburon before discontinuing the car in 2008.
Debuting in 2001 as Hyundai's first SUV, the Santa Fe was successful among American consumers due to its fuel efficient 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine and front-wheel or four-wheel drive train systems. In fact, when the Santa Fe was released, Hyundai had difficulty keeping up with huge demand in the U.S. The Santa Fe remains one of the company's best-selling vehicles.
The 2002 XG350 is a part of Hyundai’s third generation of Grandeur line vehicles that have been produced since 1986. The XG350 came equipped with a 3.5-liter, 194-hp V-6 engine and a five-speed automatic transmission.
The 2007 Veracruz was Hyundai’s first venture into the realm of crossover SUVs. The Veracruz featured a variable valve timing V-6, 260-hp engine, power-assisted steering and an electronically controlled all-wheel-drive system. This vehicle directly competed with the Toyota Highlander and Honda Pilot, popular cars of 2007.
The Hyundai Azera was the winner of the J.D. Power and Associates award for large sedans in 2007 and 2008. The 2008 model improved upon its predecessor by including standard features such as a power sunroof, the Infinity audio system and enhanced suspension. Consumers could choose from a 3.3- or 3.8-liter V-6 engine option.
In 2008, Hyundai’s Entourage minivan received a five-star crash test rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and a Top Safety Pick rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The Entourage featured an all-aluminum 3.8-liter, 250-hp, V-6 engine — the timing chains of the Entourage didn't need maintenance, unlike typical V-6 engines.
Among About.com’s Best New Cars of 2013, the 3-door, sport compact Veloster was also praised for its 1.6-liter Gamma GDI engine—named one of Ward’s 10 Best Engines in 2012. The Veloster also offered 4-wheel brake assist and sensor-assisted steering systems.
A Top Safety Pick of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the 2014 Hyundai Equus is the brand's luxury model and comes equipped with a 5-liter, 429-hp V-8 engine, blind spot detection (BSD) and high-intensity discharge (HID) headlights. The Equus Ultimate model includes a heads-up display for the driver’s navigation system and a rear-seat entertainment system with dual 9.2-inch monitors.