Road Test: 2018 Hyundai Sonata Eco

Road Test: 2018 Hyundai Sonata Eco

Hyundai’s Value Midsize Sedan

With consumers attracted to SUVs and crossovers in growing numbers, the family sedan is slowly being surpassed as America’s favorite car of choice. Hyundai is having none of it. It offers the midsize Sonata sedan in seven trim levels (that’s gas only, not counting the more expensive, but also more efficient hybrid and plug-in hybrid models). The 2018 Hyundai Sonata Eco is the smart value choice; it makes a compelling case for why the sedan’s obituary is premature. Clean Fleet Report took a look at the 2018 Hyundai Sonata Eco, with an eye out for if the word “eco” meant dollar savings or fuel savings. Turns out it is a bit of both.

Drivetrain and Performance

The Sonata Eco is powered by a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, producing 178 horsepower and 195 pounds-feet of torque. For the “eco,” as in “economical” tag to be realized, Hyundai chose to drive the front wheels with a seven-speed EcoShift DCT (dual-clutch) automatic transmission. The engine was smooth and the transmission seamless, both in-town and in freeway driving. There are three driver-selectable drive modes of Eco, Comfort and Sport. These are fairly self-explanatory with Eco producing the best fuel economy, Sport altering the transmission shifts, throttle programming and steering response, and Comfort falling somewhere in between the two.

2018 Hyundai Sonata Eco

An argument to keep the family sedan

EPA fuel economy estimates are 28 city/37 highway/31 combined miles per gallon. In 357 miles of freeway and city driving, we averaged 33.3 mpg, but on a 200-mile open freeway run, using cruise control set to 65 mph, we averaged an impressive 34.6 mpg. This shows that Hyundai had it about right slapping the “eco” badge on this Sonata.

It is important to note that fuel economy reported by Clean Fleet Report is non-scientific and represents the reviewer’s driving experience. If you live in cold weather, high in the mountains or spend time in the city or stuck in rush hour traffic, then your numbers may differ.

In a few unscientific acceleration runs, the Sonata Eco traveled zero–to 60 in about 8.67 seconds. The time did not vary much leaving the car in automatic or opting for Shiftronic, where you can manually select gears by pushing forward to upshift and backward to downshift. During lane passes at highway speeds and climbing hills, the seven-speed automatic shifted up-and-down seamlessly and precisely.

Driving Experience: On the Road

2018 Hyundai Sonata Eco

Smooth lines; smooth ride

Weighing in at 3,247 lbs., the 2018 Hyundai Sonata Eco performed well in all driving situations, which isn’t always the case when a car is shod with 16-inch tires. The suspension was stiff enough to produce good handling while not sacrificing ride comfort. Handling was aided by stability and traction control systems, resulting in little body roll until pushed past its limits when cornering. Stopping was consistent from the four-wheel disc, ABS system with brake assist.

Driving Experience: Exterior

Redesigned for 2018, Hyundai says the Sonata is “all about making an impact…and to deliver an exciting expressive car.” Coming from Hyundai’s California Design Studio, the Sonata, aiming for an “American aesthetic,” features a clean design that will hold-up well over the years. Beginning with what Hyundai calls their front cascading grille, the projector headlights wrap far back onto the fenders. Except for the shark fin antenna set just above the rear solar control glass window, the line from the front fascia to the rear built-in deck spoiler is unobstructed. There are tasteful chrome accents around the tail lights and the logo badge, and on the single chrome exhaust tip.

Driving Experience: Interior

2018 Hyundai Sonata Eco

A dash that works

Also redesigned for 2018, the Sonata’s interior is an easy place to spend your time. Easy, as in the high mounted touchscreen is easy to read and the wide-spread radio and climate knobs are easy to reach and control. The Eco model has cloth seats with manual adjustments and comes nicely equipped with tilt and telescoping steering wheel, power windows, A/C and a 60/40 split folding rear seat back.

The steering wheel has controls for the cruise control, audio, Bluetooth streaming and hands-free telephone. The 7.0-inch full-color display is home for the AM/FM with MP3, iPod and USB ports, plus Aux-in jacks.

Rear seat head, shoulder and leg room was ample for six-foot passengers, with two being the optimum number of adults for a road trip of any length.

Pricing, Safety and Warranties

The 2018 Hyundai Sonata comes in seven models with three gasoline-only engines. It also comes as a hybrid or a hybrid plug-in. Base prices range from $19,300 to $33,100. Clean Fleet Report’s Sonata Eco, with the optional carpeted floor mats at $125, had a MSRP of $22,775. All prices do not include the $885 freight and handling charge.

Hyundai has equipped the Sonata Eco with active and passive safety features, including nine air bags, driver’s blind spot detection with rear cross traffic alert and a rear-view camera. Other features are an energy absorbing steering column, automatic headlights, remote keyless entry, tire pressure monitoring system and a theft-deterrent alarm.

The 2018 Hyundai Sonata Eco has an overall 5-Star rating by the National Highway Transportation Safety Association (NHTSA), and a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), both of which are their highest rankings for safety.

The Eco comes with these warranties:

  • Powertrain                    10 years/100,000 miles
  • New vehicle                  Five years/60,000 miles
  • Roadside Assistance    Five years/Unlimited miles
  • Anti-Perforation            Seven years/Unlimited miles

Observations: 2018 Hyundai Sonata Eco

2018 Hyundai Sonata Eco

Eco-nomical Hyundai

Hyundai has a lot riding on the success of the Sonata. With so many trim levels and engine options, the company is making a statement in the midsize sedan market. Even with the shift to SUVs, it remains one of the biggest segments. The Sonata should be taken seriously; Clean Fleet Report takes the Sonata seriously, and you should too.

Starting with the price point, the Sonata line-up has a compelling story to tell. When you consider the design, interior roominess, standard equipment and fuel economy, the most you will pay for a 2018 Sonata is somewhere around $33,000, and this is only if you opt for the plug-in hybrid. But for the top of the line gasoline-powered Sonata 2.0T Limited, the price is about $29,700. With the average sales price of a car hovering right around $35,000, driving home in a fully optioned midsize sedan for less than the average is saying something.

How a sedan fits your lifestyle will be the key question. If your driving pattern is around town or freeway commuting, and then the occasional vacation, then the Sonata would work just fine. For a family of four, your needs would easily be met.

Whatever you buy, Happy Driving!

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Disclosure:

Clean Fleet Report is loaned free test vehicles from automakers to evaluate, typically for a week at a time. Our road tests are based on this one-week drive of a new vehicle. Because of this we don’t address issues such as long-term reliability or total cost of ownership. In addition, we are often invited to manufacturer events highlighting new vehicles or technology. As part of these events we may be offered free transportation, lodging or meals. We do our best to present our unvarnished evaluations of vehicles and news irrespective of these inducements.

Our focus is on vehicles that offer the best fuel economy in their class, which leads us to emphasize electric cars, plug-in hybrids, hybrids and diesels. We also feature those efficient gas-powered vehicles that are among the top mpg vehicles in their class. In addition, we aim to offer reviews and news on advanced technology and the alternative fuel vehicle market. We welcome any feedback from vehicle owners and are dedicated to providing a forum for alternative viewpoints. Please let us know your views at publisher@cleanfleetreport.com.

News: 2019 Hyundai Kona Electric Coming with BIG Battery

News: 2019 Hyundai Kona Electric Coming with BIG Battery

Driving Range Edges Out the Chevrolet Bolt, Tesla Model 3

When Hyundai took the cover off the Kona Electric at the Geneva Motor Show three weeks ago, it was questionable when, or even if, the electric hatchback would show up in the U.S.  The questions were answered at this week’s New York Auto Show when the Korean automaker presented the U.S. production model of the 2019 Kona Electric with an estimated 250-mile driving range on EPA test cycle.

The version launched for the European market in Geneva includes a model with a smaller battery pack and lower rated range, but the U.S. will get only the model with a higher-capacity battery.

 Range-Topping Electric Powertrain

2019 Hyundai Kona Electric

The Kona may offer the most range range for the price

The Kona Electric swaps out the internal combustion engine and all the associated plumbing from the standard Kona and replaces it with a liquid-cooled 64-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack and a 201 horsepower permanent-magnet electric motor producing 291 pounds-feet of torque that drive the front wheels.

The powertrain will enable the Kona EV to get an estimated driving range of 250 miles and an estimate of 117 miles-per-gallon equivalent (MPGe), greater than the Nissan Leaf, Tesla Model S and Model X. The 250-mile range is greater than that of the 238-mile Chevrolet Bolt as well as the 220-mile rated range of the base Tesla Model 3.

Kona EV can be fully charged at Level 2, 240-volt in a little less than 10 hours, and can be fully charged in just 54 minutes using a Level 3 charger. To make things easy, the Kona EV will come with standard DC fast-charging capability.

Looks Like Gas-Powered Kona

Hyundai didn’t make sweeping changes to the look of the standard Kona in its conversion into an electric vehicle. From the front, the closed grille is what most distinguishes the Electric from the rest of the small hatchback’s lineup. The helmet-shaped grille of the standard car gives way to a more aerodynamically efficient design with a light cross-hatch design. The door covering the charging port is also housed in the grille.

2019 Hyundai Kona Electric

The interior mimics the gas Kona

The front view is flanked by aero-tuned flared fenders that enhance its road presence. It’s further differentiated by a separated-headlight design signature, with LED daytime running lights above and high-efficiency LED headlights below. Taillights are also unique.

Just as with other Konas, the Electric is being offered in a palette of extroverted colors, and a contrasting black, gray, or white roof is available for models without the sunroof. It doesn’t scream “electric vehicle” like the Toyota Prius, but differs sufficiently from the gas-powered Kona to make it easy to spot on the road.

Like All Hyundais, Lots of Features

The interior hasn’t changed in any discernable way from the gas-powered Kona. That means the Kona Electric’s 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and offers HD and satellite radio as well as BlueLink data connectivity. A step-up system with an 8.0-inch screen adds navigation, traffic data, an eight-speaker Infinity audio system, and the next-generation BlueLink suite of features, which in this case includes some EV-exclusive helpers such as app-based remote charge management and charge scheduling. Other available features include a flip-up head-up display and wireless inductive charging for personal electronics.

2019 Hyundai Kona Electric

The Kona will have fast-charging capability standard

A full suite of active and passive safety systems come standard as part of the Hyundai Smart Sense package, including forward collision avoidance with pedestrian detection, rear cross-traffic collision avoidance, blind-spot warning, and lane-keeping assist.

The Kona Electric will start reaching dealerships in California by the end of the year. Hyundai plans to make it available somewhat later in the other states that adopt California’s ZEV mandate. No word from Hyundai yet on pricing, but we’d expect it to be competitive with other budget-EVs, starting in the mid-30,000-dollar range, before any tax incentives.  

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Big Battery, But When Is the Kona EV Coming to the United States?

Subcompact SUVs have become global big sellers, so a big nod to Hyundai for being the first to introduce a version with a battery-electric powertrain. As the name suggests, the Hyundai Kona Electric is the all-electric version of the automaker’s new gasoline-powered Kona subcompact crossover-utility vehicle. Sized between a Kia Soul and a Honda HR-V, gas models are offered with all-wheel drive, the Electric is front-wheel drive only.

A Whopper-Sized Battery

When it arrtives in Europe later this year, the 2019 Kona Electric will offer two versions. The more expensive variant will carry around a 64-kilowatt-hour (kWh) lithium-polymer battery pack, Hyundai says that it earns a driving range of 292 miles. That estimate is based on the Worldwide Harmonized Light-duty Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP), which closely matches the EPA’s test cycle. That outdoes the 236-mile figure that the same procedure cites for the Chevrolet Bolt EV.

Hyundai Kona Electric

Big battery, but will we see it here?

Without going into specifics, the Korean automaker says drivetrain output is 201 horsepower (hp) and 291 pounds-feet (lb.ft.)of torque. That’s enough to quietly whoosh the Kona Electric from a standing stop to 62 mph in 7.6 seconds.

The base Kona Electric model, packing 133 hp and 291 lb.ft, of torque in its electric motor, wrings out 185 miles of range from a 39.2-kilowatt battery. It’ll hit 62 mph in an okay 9.3 seconds.

A strength for the Hyundai Kona Electric is battery charging. As with Hyundai Ioniq Electric, the Kona EV will be able to take advantage of speedier 100-kilowatt Combined Charging System (CCS) DC hardware. With such a connection, the larger pack can get to an 80 percent state of charge just as quickly as the smaller battery. But with a Level 2, 240-volt connection charging and the 7.2-kilowatt onboard charger, the Kona Electric with the smaller pack reaches full in about six hours, versus nearly 10 hours with the larger pack.

Mostly Same-o, Same-o Styling

The Kona Electric looks pretty much like its gas-powered siblings, with the biggest visual difference up front. It now features a closed-off grill with the charge port next to the Hyundai logo

Hyndai Kona Electric

Nothing wrong with hitting a hot segment with an EV

. Other changes include LED daytime running lights above its LED headlights and a distinct front bumper with lateral air curtains that enhance the aerodynamics by reducing turbulence in the wheel arch area. The design theme of the front is picked up at the rear.

For the hip crowd that wants the latest in styling, the Electric can be ordered with a two-tone roof.

Inside the electric Kona is a near repeat of the gas models with a softly styled dash and a 7.0-inch central infotainment display. A new high-resolution 7.0-inch cluster displays the different gauges, such as the speedometer, battery charge level, energy flow and driving mode to the driver. The Kona Electric also packs an adjustable regenerative braking system hidden in the shift paddles, which can generate a few extra electrons for the battery when slowing down.

For comfort, front seat passengers will have heated and cooled eight-way powered seats. A heated steering wheel is optional.

Tech and Safety Features

The base audio system is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. High-end audio know-how comes from Krell, including eight channels at 45 watts per channel. The Kona Electric comes standard with a USB port and an AUX jack. There’s also connection for every smartphone you can name, and you can pop your device onto a wireless charger if it’s new enough.

Hyndai Kona Electric

Inside, everything you liked from the gas Kona

Standard is Hyundai’s SmartSense suite of active and passive safety systems. It includes forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring and lane-keep assist. Optional are forward-collision monitoring, blind-spot and cross-traffic warning systems and a driver-attention warning system.

Hyundai plans to launch the Kona Electric later this year in Europe and South Korea before “hopefully” bringing it to the United States. While no U.S. pricing was revealed, expect the base model to have a sticker price of at least $30,000 before incentives.

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News: 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe Gets Diesel Engine, Edgy Styling

Diesel Move Is Big Surprise

Hyundai pulled the covers off the all-new fourth generation 2019 Santa Fe SUV this week in South Korea. Heavy with car models and light on crossover SUVs, the new Santa Fe is a big deal for the automaker; it’s the company’s second best-selling model with more than 133,000 sold in the U.S. last year.

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe

For 2019, Hyundai moves the Santa Fe down a new path

The midsize crossover will offer the usual naturally aspirated and turbocharged four-cylinder gas engines, but the biggest news is that the U.S. will be getting a diesel option. But before getting into specifics about what is known about the drivetrains and other details, there are changes for model identification.

The outgoing generation lineup had two distinct models: the two-row Santa Fe Sport and the Santa Fe, a longer-wheelbase three-row model. The new 2019 short-wheelbase, five-seat vehicle will be called simply Santa Fe, with the longer-wheelbase version called Santa Fe XL for now. The company also confirmed that an even bigger eight-seat crossover was on the way with an all-new name.

Drivetrains

For those who want torque and the best fuel economy, there’s an optional 2.2-liter CRDi turbodiesel, which arrives in early 2019. Hyundai says the diesel will crank out “around 200 horsepower at 3,000 rpm and an estimated 320 pounds-feet of torque at 1,750 rpm.” Fuel economy numbers weren’t released, but expect the highway number to be in the 30s. Strangely, the diesel version of the Santa Fe is the only model that has what is described as an “occasional use” third-row seat.

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe

The diesel and AWD logoa

Most buyers will likely opt for one of the gasoline engines. The base Santa Fe will offer a naturally aspirated 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine making an estimated 185 horsepower. The upgrade engine will be a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder making an estimated 232 horsepower. All engines come mated to a new in-house-designed eight-speed automatic transmission and will have the option of Hyundai’s Htrac all-wheel drive.

Other changes beneath the sheetmetal are a revised suspension, particularly in the rear, to provide a smoother and more comfortable ride. Hyundai will also offer an optional load-leveling suspension to maintain a consistent ride height, even when loaded with cargo or towing.

New From the Ground Up

The 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe has a new look that is less crossover and more SUV than before. The styling is revolutionary next to today’s comparatively staid version. The new model incorporates the automaker’s latest design cues, including a new take on the company’s “Cascading” grille, along with LED daytime running lights at the top corners of the front end with LED headlights that are clustered below that. With more upright body panels, larger rear quarter glass, and a 2.8-inch growth spurt in overall length, the Santa Fe stands out next to more conservatively styled competitors.

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe

The Santa Fe interior gets an upgrade, too

Along with additional interior space, there’s an all-new dashboard design that incorporates a 7.0-inch tablet-style infotainment system and an available digital gauge cluster. All trim levels receive Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability, while a navigation system and a head-up display that projects an 8.5-inch image on the windshield giving driving and navigation information is optional. Upper trim levels include a larger eight-inch screen with Hyundai’s latest AVN 5.0 navigation system and a 630-watt, 12-speaker surround-sound Infinity audio system. Thankfully, there are knobs and buttons to control climate and audio controls.

Fittingly for a family vehicle, the 2019 Santa Fe incorporates some interesting safety features. Smart Sense, which will be standard on trim levels SE and higher, will come with forward collision warning and avoidance, blind-spot warning, lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go functionality, a 360-degree camera system, rear cross-traffic warning and collision avoidance, and automatic high beams.

Safe Exit Assist, a system that monitors vehicles approaching from the rear and prevents passengers from throwing open the doors and potentially stepping in front of a passing car, motor cycle or bicycle is folded into Smart Sense. So too is rear seat occupant alert. It uses ultrasonic sensors to detect motion of kids or pets in the back so they are not locked inside the vehicle.

On sale this (2018) summer, the 2019 Santa Fe will be joined by at least two other new Hyundai SUV models this year, including the entry-level Kona subcompact and the Nexo fuel cell. Pricing for the new Santa Fe will be available closer to the release date.

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Road Test: 2017 Hyundai Tucson Hydrogen Fuel Cell

Road Test: 2017 Hyundai Tucson Hydrogen Fuel Cell

Three Million Miles and 1,140 Tons

Miles to where and tons of what?

Hyundai announced recently that its 2017 Tucson FCEV (Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle) reached some pretty lofty numbers. Since being introduced in 2014, 150+ Tucson FCEV have been delivered to customers and have driven in excess of three million miles. In the process, they have only emitted clean water from the tailpipe, which has replaced more than 1,140 tons of CO2 emissions compared to the same number of miles driven in a conventional gasoline-powered vehicle.

2017 Tucson Fuel Cell

The only crossover that emits water

Sounds great, and it is, but with a few caveats. First off, you need to live in California to be part of Hyundai’s hydrogen program. You then need to prove you live near one of the state’s 33 hydrogen fueling stations. Then you have the opportunity to lease (not buy) a Hyundai Tucson FCEV. Why all the restrictions, because heck, isn’t hydrogen the most abundant element on Earth? Yes, it is, but with a few more caveats.

Converting hydrogen from its natural state into a fuel is an expensive process. Oil companies have not jumped onboard with any semblance of enthusiasm to produce hydrogen as a transportation fuel in mass quantity, nor investing in building retail hydrogen fuel stations, which cost about $1.2 million dollars each. From the oil company’s standpoint, why should they go to the expense when there are so few hydrogen-powered cars on the road (only 2,298 were sold/leased in 2017)? Hyundai, Honda and Toyota (the three auto manufacturers that currently build and market consumer hydrogen vehicles) respond that, how can we get more cars on the road with so few stations? And sales in 2017 did double from the previous year. A true conundrum for our times.

So while these companies are trying to figure which came first – the chicken or the egg, let’s take a look at the merits of the Hyundai Tucson FCEV, one of the three fuel cell vehicles on the market, and see if having more stations will get you into one.

Hydrogen Power: On the Road

The 2017 Hyundai Tucson FCEV Clean Fleet Report tested for a few days had a 95 kW AC synchronous motor producing 134 horsepower and 221 pounds-feet of torque. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates the fuel economy to be 50 mi/kg (miles per kilogram of hydrogen) for combined city and highway, with an estimated 265-mile driving range. About that driving range–don’t test it unless you know for a FACT you will be near a hydrogen fueling station when the tank is getting low. Because, if you run out of fuel, your next call will be for emergency roadside assistance and a ride home on a flatbed. Something else about when it is time to refuel: make sure to do it before the tank is empty as there is a detailed process to get the hydrogen system operating again, which can only be performed by a factory-trained technician.

2017 Tucson Fuel Cell

The cockpit of the Tucson FCEV is as comfortable as the gas version

Out on the road, the Tucson was stable and unaffected by Southern California’s grooved concrete freeways. The grooving is for rain dispersion so tire noise in any car is common, and the seams between the concrete sections can, if hit at the right sped, produce a rhythmic thumpity-thumpity-thump. The Tucson, with 17-inch alloy wheels, 215/60R tires and electronic stability control, delivered handling that was direct with little body roll, even though it’s an upright crossover design. There is nothing sporty about the Tucson but, then again, Hyundai does not market it as a sporty car. Excessive wind noise was not an issue, making the silent electric motor even that more enjoyable.

The Tucson’s battery is replenished through the regenerative braking charging system. This technology converts kinetic energy into electric energy and stores it in the battery when applying the brakes or coasting. This process can be viewed on a dash gauge where you can watch the power flow into and out of the battery and electric motor. The regenerative brakes made solid stops with a system consisting of power assisted discs, anti-lock brakes (ABS), brake assist and electronic brake-force distribution.

Hydrogen Fueling

After your first visit to a hydrogen fuel station, you will be a pro. Start by going to The California Fuel Cell Partnership website to find stations that are on your driving route. Since there are so few, you will come to memorize their locations quickly. Stations are open 24/7 and unattended, but there is a toll-free number to call for assistance. A drawback is that the stations are not always operational, so it is imperative to check the website often.

2017 Tucson Fuel Cell

Fueling is simple, once you’ve done it more than once

Once at the station, the fueling process is explained through a video that plays on the pump and a sign with step-by-step instructions. Quick lesson: The nozzle notches into the car, followed by the twisting of a handle to lock it in place. It can be a bit tricky. Be patient, it will eventually fit. If there are two pressure options on your pump, you always want to select 70 Bar, which is 10,000 psi. The filling will start and stop for a few seconds at a time, but a complete fill is under five minutes. When removing the nozzle, you will notice it is cold. This is because the hydrogen gas is cooled to right around zero degrees Fahrenheit to increase the hydrogen’s density, which results in more gas filling the tank. That’s it! Take your receipt for your free fill-up (more on that free gas later) and off you go.

Free? Yes, free! Since Hyundai will only lease the Tucson FCEV, they include the hydrogen fuel in the lease.

Crossover Interior Benefits

The 2017 Tucson can seat five full-size adults, with the rear passengers getting good head and leg room, a 60/40 split rear seat and a center armrest with cup holders. The front and rear leather covered seats are heated. The driver’s front seat is power adjustable, with lumbar support. Comfort-wise, the seats are firm and, for the driver, finding a good driving position is helped by the power tilt and telescopic steering column.

Gauges are large and well-placed for viewing. The largest element of the dash is an seven-inch high-resolution touch-screen color display, housing the  navigation and rear view camera. The 360-watt, with subwoofer, infotainment system was AM/FM/SiriusXM/HD Radio equipped, along with CD and MP3 capability. There is also Bluetooth streaming, iPod and auxiliary audio jacks and an USB port, all controlled hands-free by the controls on the leather-wrapped steering wheel. The audio system has knobs for volume and channel selection, something Clean Fleet Report requires for a sound system to get an A+ grade from our discerning staff.

Pricing

The 2017 Tucson FCEV comes in one model, with no options other than exterior color. All Tucson FCEVs are leased, which is what you want to do with any battery electric or fuel cell car as the technology is changing so rapidly that ownership is not the way to go. The current lease offer is $2,999 at signing and $499 per month, for 36 months. Remember that all your fuel is included and, in California, fuel cell cars qualify for the coveted HOV lane sticker that allows a single driver to use the carpool lane.

2017 Tucson Fuel Cell

The hydrogen tank is packed away in the crossover’s rear

Safety, Convenience and Warranties

The 2017 Hyundai FCEV has not been rated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. However, it is well equipped for safety with front and side-impact airbags with rollover sensors and the carbon-fiber hydrogen fuel tank is virtually bulletproof. The gasoline version of the Tucson received a 5 Star (top) rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Convenience features include remote keyless entry, push button start/stop, power door locks and windows, dual automatic climate control with clean air ionizer, auto-dimming inside rearview mirror with Homelink and compass, heated and power outside mirrors and a tire pressure monitoring system.

The 2017 Tucson FCEV comes with these warranties:

  • Powertrain 10 years/100,000-miles
  • New Vehicle Five years/60,000 miles
  • Roadside Assistance Five years/Unlimited miles
  • Anti-perforation Seven years/Unlimited miles

Observations: 2017 Hyundai Hydrogen Fuel Cell

Hydrogen is listed first on the periodic table. Good being first, but there is a reason as hydrogen has a near unlimited abundance. Capturing it and separating it into hydrogen gas is an expensive proposition.

2017 Tucson Fuel Cell

The Tucson is about to be replaced by the Nexo

Hydrogen currently sells for around $10 per equivalent to a gallon of gasoline. To run a FCEV versus a plug-in electric will cost about four times as much, varying based on your cost of electricity. To sweeten the deal, Hyundai includes all the fuel over a three-year lease, so you do not need to be concerned with the price of hydrogen gas. Just fill ‘er up and go!

Is the Tucson FCEV right for your lifestyle and driving pattern? If you are looking for a car with the most useable interior space among all fuel cell vehicles, the Tucson is it. The crossover has an excellent reliability record and will cost nothing to operate, so it may be a good option. Of course, the real deciding factor is where you live. If you are reading this outside of California, you will have to wait awhile before hydrogen fuel cell technology comes to your state.

What’s Next from Hyundai

Late in 2018, as a 2019 model, Hyundai is releasing an all-new hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. Announced at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the Hyundai Nexo is a striking, small SUV that continues Hyundai’s exclusivity of offering a fuel cell vehicle in the most popular vehicle category. Since the Honda Clarity and Toyota Mirai are sedans, Hyundai has placed themselves in a strong position to gain buyers, especially as the hydrogen fuel stations increase in number.

Whatever you end up buying, enjoy your new car and as always, Happy Driving!

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