Watch Out Tesla: Hyundai and Kia is coming soon, like today

Image result for niro ev

The 2019 Kia Niro EV

The Hyundai Group (Hyundai-Kia-Genesis) is serious.    Hyundai’s popular Sonata and Elantra models as well has Kia’s Optima’s and Forte has seen huge declines in sales.  Like the most of auto industry, consumers are choosing SUV’s over passenger cars.  With one exception Tesla.  If you in any major city you have seen a Tesla.

There are more 2018 Model 3’s on the road than the Ford Fusion, Chevy Malibu, and Nissan Altima.

Elon Musk now has the worlds attention.  Within the next 16 months, nearly every automaker will have an electric vehicle with a range of at least 200 miles in their lineup. The problem is, most of the planned vehicles are out of the price range of the average car buyer.  Jaguar I pace starts at 69K , Audi’s E-tron with 240 mile range will hit the streets in April starting at 74K.

The Tesla Model 3 was supposed to be at 35K the affordable electric car.  However, few has seen one. The average Tesla is selling for a pinch over 50k.   Tesla says, they will begin offering the base model this spring.  If you buy the base model as advertised, it will have a range of 264 miles and if your sticking to that price you must like the color black. Any other color is a fifteen hundred dollar option.

General Motors electric offering is the Chevy Bolt.  For 35,000 you can get a nicely equipped Bolt with a range of 240 miles.   The designers at GM went the Prius direction when it came to styling.   A car that said, I’m driving  I’m driving an environmental friendly non polluting car. Unfortunately the Prius isn’t selling and the Chevy Bolt are accumulating dust at Chevy Dealerships.

Its a sound car and a good alternative to Tesla. Unlike Tesla, no one would call the Chevy Bolt sexy.

Enter Hyundai

Hyundai, developed its first all electric car in 1991.  In 2011, the Company introduced the Hybrid Sonata Hybrid to the US Market. Currently, the automaker has seven variations of Hybrid, Plug In Hybrid models including two all electric models the Kia Soul EV and the Hyundai Ioniq models.  Those two electric models have a range of less than 115 miles.

Last November, Hyundai announced they would sell an all electric version of the Hyundai Kona.  This car,while smaller than the Tesla has an all important range of  258 miles.  Only seven fewer miles than the standard Tesla model 3 and a well equipped model will begin at $37,000 excluding the $7500 Federal Tax Credit, no longer available on the Tesla***

The  Hyundai Kona, recently received the Prestigious “North American Utility Vehicle of the Year” a first for any Hyundai.   The Kona. should go on sale any moment in California. That’s the good news for California Residents.  The bad news, is there is a long waiting list.

However, the Kia is plans to release an all electric version of its Niro next month. The NiroEV is larger than the KonaEV. The two vehicles share the same  64-kWh battery  however the range on the NiroEV is 239 miles.    Unlike the KonaEV, the NiroEV will offer faster charging,  a CCS DC fast-charging setup, which can refill the battery to 80 percent in 75 minutes.  30 minute will add approximately 100 miles of range.

  Kia says the NiroEV will go on sale mid-to-late February and will be available in 12 states.  California, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas and Washington.

Pricing for the Niro EV will began around 38,000 before the $7500 Federal Tax Credit.

What is the Federal Tax Credit and why is it no longer available on Tesla’s? 

The Federal EV Tax Credit is not a rebate on the price of the car that you get instantly when making the purchase. You have to apply to receive it when you file your annual tax return. You or your tax professional will fill out an IRS Form 8936, which is submitted with your return. Since it is a tax credit, you have to wait until you file your next year’s return before you will receive the tax incentive.

You cannot claim the tax credit until you take delivery of the new vehicle. Deposits and prepayments do not count. It is not available on leased vehicles.

Each vehicle manufacturer is allowed to sell up to 200,000 qualifying plug-in electric vehicles (battery-electric cars and plug-in hybrids) before the EV tax credit on their products begins to phase out.  This isn’t for one model, its applies to all EV models sold by a single Auto maker.

***Last year, Tesla sold nearly 150,000 Model 3’s,  When you include Tesla’s Model S and the Model X its has sold more than 200,000 cars.   To stay competitive, Tesla has reduced prices on all of their models.  

General Motors is projected to reach its maximum by late spring early summer**

In addition to the Federal Tax Credit,  some states are offering credits and rebates. Colorado is currently the most generous of the states, offering a credit of up to $5,000 that can be used in conjunction with the federal tax credit to save you up to $12,500 off the price of the car. In some cases, the incentives come in the form of an instant vehicle rebate.

California offers rebates up to $7000*  for residents on purchased and leased Electric Vehicles, plug in’s and fuel cell vehicle.  The state offers higher rebates for lower income car buyer.  *Unlike Colorado, California’s rebates are based on specific models and the is less you earn, the greater the rebate.

Sometime, Somewhere in 2019  “The 2020 Kia Soul EV “

The Kia Soul is Kia’s best selling model by a wide margin.  It is known for its generous interior space and urban dimensions.   It will also be powered by the same battery as the Kona EV, and the Niro EV.   The Kona and Niro storage is larger the the Soul’s but the Soul upright interior is larger.   The 2020 Soul’s are all new, and with an estimated range of 239 miles the 2020 SoulEV has more than double the driving range of the 2018 SoulEV . The release date of the SoulEv is unknown.  Some sources say next month, others say mid summer.

Currently on sale in California, is the first SUV fuel cell vehicle the Hyundai Nexo

with a base price of 59,000 and a range of 380 miles. Last month Hyundai sold 35 models.   The challenge for fuel cells vehicles, is refueling  stations.

If your keeping count, the Hyundai group has four electric vehicles, four plug in vehicles and one fuel cell SUV.

The demand is high for electric vehicles, with prices under 40K Hyundai will be Tesla’s largest competitor this year in the US.

While Tesla has an apple like following, Hyundai will put a sizable dent into Tesla’s sales by the third quarter of this year.    Tesla’s Model 3 was to be the peoples car, and its technology is superior to anything on Hyundai’s drawing board.   However, what separates these companies is price and service.

 Tesla, has a much smaller dealer network than the Hyundai Group and a shorter warranty.  However, many of Tesla’s fixes can be done electronically without the customer stepping into a service department.  Hyundai has more experience building cars.

If I wanted to buy an electric car today, are there any deals?  

With the exception of the European makes and the Chrysler Pacific plug in hybrid models, deep discounts are available.  There are also deep discounts for the lower range (less than 150 miles) all electric vehicles.

However, the best buy is on the all electric Chevy Bolt.  The Bolt has a range of nearly 240 miles.  When it was released, they sold quickly at full price.  Today, they are sitting on dealers lots.  Deep discounts and are available (check Chevy’s website for rebates) and as of this writing The Chevy Bolt still qualify for the full ($7500 Tax Credit-today**)  

How does the Niro Drive?



The Buzz : 2018 Kia Stinger is on Fiyah!

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Kia sports car?  A legitimate sports sedan by Kia?  Kia, say what?   Kia? 

Car and Driver says: Back in 1964, the great Muhammad Ali famously taunted heavyweight-title opponent Sonny Liston, saying he’d “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” in their upcoming match.  Our track testing revealed that the hottest Kia does indeed sting like a bee: 60 mph comes up in 4.6 seconds, it circulates the skidpad at 0.91 g, and it stops from 70 mph in 164 feet. Kia claims that the car’s top speed is governed at 167 mph. Those numbers match up well with larger, much more expensive performance sedans like some that competed in a recent comparison test , including the Audi A6 3.0T Competition and the Cadillac CTS V-Sport.

Road and Track (Sept 2017)  If you’re in the market for a 4-series Gran Coupe, you should check your brand prejudice and take this car seriously. BMW and Audi will, if they have any sense.

The (Dec 2017): Human Drivers, Lend Me Your Votes: The Kia Stinger Should Be the 2018 North American Car of the Year.    As an automotive writer who’s blessed (or cursed) with strong opinions on cars , my vote for the North American Car of the Year award is usually a slam dunk. Not this year.  The 2018 Kia Stinger and equally-new Honda Accord have had me straddling the fence and engaging in Socratic arguments with myself. But decision time is at hand, so here goes: The Kia Stinger is my 2018 North American Car of the Year. And my esteemed fellow jurors, if they’re not idiots, should agree with me.   LAWRENCE ULRICH

Just 11 minutes of your time 

“For Krazy Car Nuts Only”



 the GT

Engine: 3.3-liter twin-turbocharged V-6
Horsepower: 365 hp
Torque: 376 lb-ft

0–60 mph Acceleration: 4.4 s
Top Speed: 167 mph
70–0 mph Braking Distance: 158 ft
Roadholding on 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.93 g

(Stats from Road and Track)

Designed by Peter Schreyer (Former Designer at Audi) and  Gregory Guillaume (Former  Chief Designer for Volkswagen Group

Engineered by Albert Biermann (Former Vice President engineering of BMW’s famed “M” division).

2018 Stinger GT $39K

Random Stuff

In 2016 Hyundai Motor Group (Hyundai, Kia, Genesis) became the third largest automaker in the world behind Toyota and Volkswagen.

The Hyundai Motor Group isn’t just interested in making good basic cars, they are making a statement.  They are assembling some of the best names in the industry. I  Luc Donckerwolke who once was the Design Director for Vw’s  Bentley, Lamborghini and Audi is now heading the new Genesis brand.

The challenge for Kia is to convince someone who is in the market for a sports sedan, to drop 39K for a Kia.  .

The automotive writers say, in the last few years Cadillac has been building some of the best cars on the market.  American cars,,that will out handle and in many cases out run the best from Europe.   But the public isn’t buying.   So it may be a tough sell for Kia.

For some its the pedigree,  if it isn’t a Lexus or from Europe, it wont do ?

But I’m that guy in the Charger Hellcat, in outrageous Red . I’d be sipping on my Slurpee at some traffic light in the Napa Valley.   Smoking the best from Germany and even keeping up with a few $400k Supercars.

Grey Poupon? No Frenches Dammit! 

If the pedigree isn’t important to you. Test drive the Stinger GT .  It does have one thing the other don’t.  A 10 year 100,000 mile warranty.






BIG MAN RIDES: 2012 Ford Fusion,2012 Nissan Altima, 2012 Toyota Camry

Not too big, not too small best describes the largest and most  competitive segment in the US car market.  Mid Size cars.  Once upon a time, General Motors owned the segment with it’s A bodied cars the Chevrolet Celebrity, Buick CenturyOldsmobile Ciera and the Pontiac 6000.    By the mid nineties Toyota’s Camry took the sales crown from GM and has held it tightly every since.

Toyota changed the rules by building a roomy, competent and reliable car.   If your an automaker, and you want to play in the big leagues you’ll need to take a page from Toyota.

This year Volkswagen wanted in.  The Volkswagen Passat has been around since the eighties.  The   Passat was well received by the press, however its US sales barely registered.   It was larger than a compact and smaller and more expensive  than most of the midsize cars on the market.    This has changed, Volkswagen has designed a car specially for the American market and the cars are manufactured at a new plant in Chattanooga ,Tennessee.    The 2012 Passat is Motor Trends car of the year.  The 2012 Passat sales are up 40%.

The “H” Factor  A new sales leader?

The best selling car this year and probably next year is the  Toyota Camry.    Beyond 2014 is anyone’s guess.  Volkswagen is aggressively perusing the American  market, the American manufacturers led by Ford are building better cars.

But one company, Hyundai has the entire auto industry shaking.   In 2008, the company was the eight largest car maker in the world , today they are  the fourth,  Below, Toyota, GM and Volkswagen. and above Ford and Nissan.   The Company is taking sales from  all segments from Mercedes Benz and BMW to Toyota and Ford.  The midsize Sonata is the company’s best selling car.  The midsize  Kia Optima Sales are ahead of last years.   The average age of a person shopping for a Toyota Camry is 55, compared to 46 for the Sonata.

Big man Rides

If your an auto enthusiast, the mid size segment is not your first stop, your not likely to hear the word, fun tossable, a blast to drive associated with  a mid size car.  It’s not uncommon to hear a auto journalist call the cars in this segment appliances .    The mission of a midsize car is to comfortably and reliably transport a family.

Last month, four of the top ten cars sold were midsize cars.  Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Chevrolet Malibu and the Ford Fusion.

In the last few months  my friend and I spent considerable time in these cars.    I’m 6.4  well over three hundred pounds and he is 6.2 and 220 pounds.

A four cylinder engine is the base engine, with available six cylinder and a full hybrid as an option on all three cars.

2012 Ford Fusion SEL

This is the last few months for the second generation Ford Fusion an all new Fusion will debut the fall.   The 2.5 liter 170 horsepower 4 was good off the line, the six speed automatic is very smooth and well mated with the engine.     This car was equipped with Ford Sync.   Linking  Bluetooth on Ford’s Sync  required several try’s  Fit and finish was excellent.  The Fusion was very nice to drive.  It is the best handler of the bunch, its steering was excellent, and to our ears only the Camry was quieter.

Getting in and out of the Fusion was difficult for this big man, The door opening  are  a bit narrow.  Entering required a duck, twist and turn.   Once inside, the Fusion was a nice place to be .  The ride was firm and well controlled.  The room in back seat was just okay, the smallest of the three. The trunk was large  and nicely finished.   As  for reliability Consumer Reports, says the Ford is better than average.   After 700 miles we averaged 30 miles per gallon.

If it weren’t for getting in and out of the car, the Ford Fusion this would be our first choice of the three cars.   Its number two.

Note: With the third generation waiting in the wings, the 2012 Ford Fusion may be one of the better buys this summer.  

2012 Nissan Altima  2.5

Like the Ford Fusion, this is the last year for the fourth Generation Nissan Altima.  The Altima is the best selling Nissan.   Last year the Altima was the second best selling car in the country behind the Toyota Camry.       The 2.5 liter four with 175 horsepower gets the job done its the continually variable transmission (CVT) is was well mated to the engine.   Like the Fusion steering was excellent.  While the controls are functional, they are  dated compared to the Ford and Toyota.   My car didnt have Bluetooth.   Handling was sound, but not as crisp as the Fusion.  After 630  miles we averaged 33 miles to the gallon.

This big man found getting in and out the Altima easier than the Fusion and the Camry.  While the Altima had more rear seat room than the Fusion  and  less than the Camry.  Like the Fusion the trunk was large and well finished.  Consumers Reports  say’s reliability of  the Altima is better than average. Of the trio this is the highest rated car .

With the new  2013 Altima’s slowly making their way into showrooms, Discounts up to$7000* on the 2012’s are not uncommon.

2012 Toyota Camry LE

This seventh generation Camry represents a new direction, but not in good way.  It seems decontenting  is  now making its way into Japanese cars we’ve seen this in the Subaru’s.  If you traded your 2011 Camry for the new 2012 you might be initially impressed.   The dash is padded with stitching, the radio controls are mounter higher.   As you look around, the headliner and the materials around the door you’ll notice a cheapness not normally associated with Toyota.   The finish of the trunk wasn’t Toyota like.  One would think with Hyundai breathing down everyone neck,  more detail and polish would have gone into this car.

After seeing this car, I’m very curious about the 2013 Altima.

The 2.5 four cylinder with 178 horsepower and 6 speed automatic transmission was  flawless.  The car was very quiet on the road.   The ride was good and less floaty than previous Camry’s . The electric power steering had little on center feel and took a while to get used to.  (my partner in crime refused to drive the car on twisted roads)  The handling was okay.    The radio, bluetooth controls was a mess, it was difficult to go from the radio to the CD  connecting the Bluetooth took  while and then the system lost its memory.

Getting in and out of the Camry required a bit of a twist for this big man, and once inside it was tight.  However, rear seat was the largest of the three cars.   After 670 miles with this car, it rewarded us with an impressive 36 miles to the gallon.   We ranked the Camry last.  Consumer Reports says, the Camry’s is very reliable ,better than average.

Cityfella w JS