Monthly Archives: January 2007

In The Autoblog Garage: 2007 Hyundai Azera Limited

In the Autoblog Garage: 2007 Hyundai Azera Limited

Much has been said about Hyundai's rise from being a pusher of Point-A-to-Point-B transportation to the purveyor of high value, safe and stylish vehicles. Nearly its entire lineup is full of ready for primetime hardware, save the Tiburon that idles into 2007 with merely a refresh of its aging design. The Azera debuted as a 2006 model to replace the XG350, a Korean import that filled a hole in the company's lineup but whose claws weren’t sharp enough to play in the tiger pit that is the large car market in North America.

Like all the new models Hyundai has marched out in the past few years, the Azera looks great on paper and stacks up extremely well against other large cars in its class, like the Toyota Avalon, Ford Five-Hundred, Buick Lucerne and Chrysler 300. It starts with a low base price and piles on a big V6, lots of standard safety equipment and a sheetmetal suit that fits just right. But does the Azera have that something special that makes a contender into a champion, or do the sum of its parts equal no more than just the sum of its parts?

Our 2006 Hyundai Azera Limited tester wore its Venetian Blue paint like an Armani three-button suit fitted to perfection. Hyundai design has come such a long way, and where the new Sonata is sharp and crisp, the Azera is fluid and organic with swollen fenders that add nice curves above each wheel. While the front fascia doesn’t break any new design ground, the Azera's face is perfectly proportioned with a grille sporting traditional horizontal lines and topped by a chrome accent bar. The headlights project a neutral stare and look expensive sporting halogen projection-like lamps.

The Azera's designers paid particular attention to the car's proportions, which makes the large sedan look smaller than it really is. The C-pillar, for instance, extends deep into the rear deck lid, thereby giving the rear window a steep rake. The shorter rear decklid, in turn, belies the large 16.6 cubic foot capacity of the trunk. The overall effect is a tush that's tidier than other competitors like the Ford Five-Hundred, which seems to revel in its ample rear. The dual exhausts out back also hint that the Azera won’t lie down like a luxurious lap dog when called upon to scoot.

Finally, the 17-inch. 10&#45spoke wheels are attractive and fill their wells nicely. While other large sedans in this segment offer bigger 18-inch wheels, the Azera has a proportioned wheel-to-car ratio that doesn’t make the rolling stock appear overwhelmed by the visual bulk of the car. Behind those wheels are four-wheel anti-lock brakes (11.9-inch discs up front, 11.2-inch in the rear) that are backed by Electronic Brake Distribution to keep panic stops under control. The Azera also comes standard with Electronic Stability Control and a Traction Control System, which illustrates nicely the brand's winning strategy of offering more safety content standard than its competitors.

If one never enters the Azera, the platitudes could go on interrupted. Once the door is opened, however, we face one of Hyundai's biggest obstacles to becoming a major player in the U.S. auto industry: interiors. If this auto show season has proven anything to the Autoblog crew, is that the battle for sales success is largely being fought by interiors, and this is one area where the "new" Hyundai hasn't particularly excelled.

Upon entering the Azera, one comes to rest in an overpadded front seat that’s as comfortable as your La-Z-Boy, but ill-suited as the captain's chair for an automobile. The Azera obviously doesn't corner flat, so when the roll sets in it's up to the driver's seat to keep the pilot in place. The Azera's front seats let go at the slightest sign of inertia, which means they’re best suited to long road trips in a straight line. While most will find these seats very comfortable and suited to the tasks of everyday driving, many competitors of the Azera manage to offer front seats that are just as comfortable but also offer adequate support for spirited driving (the front seats in the Ford Five-Hundred come to mind).

Once buckled up in the Azera (always buckle up), we're greeted with a dash that's organized but lacks personality. It seems the interior was less designed than assembled from pieces provided by various suppliers. How else would you explain the three different digital displays and their various colors? We like the rich-looking light blue of the electroluminescent gauges, but our aesthetic sensibilities are offended by the orange information display and the HVAC and radio displays inspired by a Timex Indiglo.

Our main complaint with the Azera's interior is that it's bland, like Camry-level bland. Who knows how many beige plastic cows were sacrificed to cover that wide expanse of dash, but the plastic PETA people would not be pleased. The wood trim, on the other hand, looks real and rich, but it’s just not enough to offset the general sense of ennui the Azera's interior inspires.

Functionally speaking, the Azera's dash also gets dinged for being placed too far back. In order to reach the stereo, we needed our right arm completely stretched out. Unfortunately, the seat cannot be moved far enough forward to correct this while maintaining a comfortable driving position. Furthermore, Hyundai has to be one of the few automakers left that doesn't offer a satellite navigation system for any of its vehicles. If the Azera is truly meant to be a competitor in the near-luxury segment, it needs a screen staring back at the driver.

We'll cut the Azera some slack though for coddling its passengers, specifically those riding in the back who enjoy a deep footwell and a bench that’s just as cushy as the bucket seats up front. Our tester was also equipped with a power rear sunshade that goes up and down on command, a feature we last saw in the Bentley Continential Flying Spur we reviewed.

For those considering the Azera who might be turned off by its interior, a pleasant surprise awaits them with a turn of the key. The Azera's 3.8L V6 is a good motor with a meaty torque curve and power to spare. Rated at 263 hp and 257 ft-lbs. of torque, the 3.8L also has variable valve timing to eek the most out of its six cylinders. Its power delivery is smooth and throttle tip-in is equally damped to ensure there’s no herk and jerk when accelerating from a standstill. The EPA lists the Azera's fuel economy at 19 MPG city/28 MPG highway, and our real world observations were about 2 MPG shy of those figures, which is understandable considering how heavy our right foot is.

Whether you're choosing the base Azera SE or the Azera Limited like our tester, the 3.8L V6 is your only engine choice, and it's mated to a 5-speed automatic with "SHIFTRONIC", Hyundai's generic buzz-speak for the ability to manually shift its auto. Hyundai's 5-speed is well suited to this engine, as its operation is largely transparent. There were times we wished for faster shifts, but in all but the most sudden bursts of acceleration, the engine's pool of torque is deep enough to adequately accelerate without dropping a cog.

As we said earlier, the Azera doesn't corner flat and demands you scrub off some speed before taking tight turns. We expect as much from a large sedan, and the trade-off is comfortable cruising on the highway. While the four-wheel independent suspension doesn't carve corners, the Azera's handling is at least controlled. On public roads the car never feels like it's wallowing or unable to handle its weight transferring from side to side. Only when speeds reach extra-legal limits will the Azera suspension begin to really protest.

Despite our criticisms of the Azera, Hyundai's ace in the hole is its price. The Azera SE starts at just $24,535, while our Azera Limited begins at only $26,835. Our tester included the Ultimate Package, a $2,500 option that includes a sunroof, the high-end Infinity audio system, a power tilt and telescoping steering wheel, adjustable foot pedals, a memory system for personal settings, rain sensing wipers and power folding mirrors. All told, the final tally came to $29,415. In the eyes of car shoppers, a loaded large sedan for under $30,000 is a rare sight and likely earns the Azera a spot on many comparison lists. If Hyundai ever decides to offer a navigation system, however, the upper limit for the will surely crest $30k by at least a thousand dollars, maybe two.

Hyundai's maturing process has produced another above-average vehicle in the Azera, but it lacks a few key components that keep universal praise at bay. And while Hyundai has succeeded at selling many more Azeras than it did XG350s, only 2,479 were sold in December of last year, its best sales month for the year. Meanwhile, Ford sold 6,689 Five-Hundred sedans last month, while Toyota sold 7,955 Avalons. Clearly Hyundai still has some catching up to do.

Posted Jan 31st 2007 10:07AM by John Neff

Another Hit For Hyundai With Its New Santa Fe?

Another Hit For Hyundai With Its New Santa Fe?

By Jim Bray
Jan 31, 2007

SUVs may be evil incarnate to some, but that isn’t stopping the automotive industry from continuing to create interesting and, in many if not most cases, increasingly efficient new versions of the species.

Enter the 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe. This isn't just an upgrade of the previous model, it’s a whole new beast, bigger and more upmarket than before and with a third row of seats that was previously unavailable in a Hyundai SUV. It’s quite the looker, too.

I’ve driven several Santa Fes is over the years, and liked them quite a bit, especially the one that was powered by the 3.5 L V-6 shared by the now-dead XG 350. It was a nice vehicle that evolved steadily over the years, from one afflicted with a cheap plastic interior to a much more competitive vehicle that held its own well in the marketplace.

The new version takes everything they’ve learned over the years and puts it into an SUV that's capable of going head-to-head with just about anything in its class.

The new exterior is a big improvement over the old model, which looked kind of like a first generation Toyota RAV4 that someone had worked over with a rubber mallet. The new one continues the recent tradition of Hyundai's, offering a very clean and attractive exteriors such as personified by other Hyundais such as the Sonata, Elantra and Azera.

Hyundai says the new Santa Fe's exterior "Exudes confidence and inspires adventure." Well, I'm confident it didn’t make me want to run out and buy tickets for an African safari, but I was quite taken with the vehicle's handsome exterior nonetheless. The front end excludes projector headlights, which do a nice job; other exterior touches include a roof rack, heated outside rear-view mirrors, dual chrome-tipped exhausts and a real handle to open the hatch with.

The latter looks a little clunky compared with some SUVs but, on the other hand, it gives you a nice place to grab rather than having to fiddle around above the license plate as with so many other vehicles. If memory serves, this is actually a holdover from the last model, and I appreciated them not following the herd on this.

The tailgate also swings up nice and high, but not so high that you can't reach up to bring it back down again.

Inside, the bigger interior is comfortable and efficient. The front seats, which in my tester were leather and heated, are comfortable and supportive. The center row seat backs recline a bit and the right-hand seat folds down and flips forward to allow access to the third row of seats (a.k.a. "the nosebleed section"). I sat back there for a short trip, and it wasn't bad. I think I'd be an unhappy camper if I had to spend a couple hours back there, but for kids or hobbits or for short jaunts it's more than adequate.

Incidentally, that third row is optional. And of course you don't have to use it; it folds down into the floor to create more storage space. The second row also folds, of course for even more hauling space.

There's also a rear mounted rear air-conditioning control for the people riding in back, and vents in the B pillar for the comfort of people riding in the middle/rear.

The driver's seat of my tester featured power adjustments, though the passenger seat was manual. The steering wheel of all but the base model tilts and telescopes manually.

Controls are easy to read, well placed and backlit with a pretty blue color. The driver's side window features the auto down feature that's so popular, though I was surprised to see it didn't auto back up again ' especially since the lovely big sunroof opens and closes with one touch.

My tester featured automatic, dual zone (triple, if you count the rear area) climate control, and a six speaker, AM/FM single disc CD audio system that offers pretty good sound quality. It also has steering wheel-mounted controls.

Cup holders abound. So does power stuff, including steering, brakes (discs with ABS), windows, door locks and the like. My tester even had an auto dimming rear view mirror inside.

There's a good assortment of storage areas and cubby holes all over the place.

Two V-6 engines are available: a 2.7 L, 185 hp version and a 3.3 L, 242 hp V-6. My tester had the latter engine and it was plenty powerful, with good grunt, nice acceleration and very smooth output.

A 5-speed manual transmission is standard on the base 2.7 GL. My more upscale tester had a the dual mode, five speed electronically-controlled automatic with manual setting. Shifts were smooth; I-d have loved to see paddle shifters, but such was not the case. Maybe next year.

Santa Fe is slung with four-wheel independent suspension, and it's nicely tuned for comfort: we manage to cross over some potholes without leaving our kidneys on the floor of the vehicle.

All but the basic Santa Fe are available with all-wheel-drive (the other choice is FWD). My tester had the AWD, and it includes a locking switch on the dashboard (placed a little awkwardly, alas) that came in really handy during the blizzard we got during my time with the Santa Fe: when the driving got dicey that extra stability came in really handy, and the system worked very well, going through snowy conditions like a hot knife through butter.

Safety equipment includes dual front airbags, front seat-mounted side impact airbags and roof-mounted side curtain airbags. That's more bags and they have at my local grocery store! And of course, you get the usual bevy of belts, and to help keep you on the road so you won’t need any of that stuff, there is electronic stability control and traction control.

Hyundai has really been knocking them out of the park of late, and this new Santa Fe is no exception. It's a fine vehicle, especially when you consider its price.

The entry-level 2.7 GL, front wheel drive five passenger version with manual transmission starts at just over $21,000 U.S. The top line model starts at just under $26,000 U.S.

Jim Bray is an independent columnist and writer for TechnoFile Magazine

Hyundai’s Fuel Cell Progress

Hyundai’s Fuel Cell Progress

Publication Date:28-January-2007
09:30 AM US Eastern Timezone
Source:Korean Herald

Below is an excerpt from Korean Herald Report-Technology gives Hyundai Motor the edge-Carmaker shows off advanced engine, chassis module and alternative transmissions

Development of alternative powertrains such as fuel-efficient diesels, gasoline-electric hybrids and hydrogen fuel cells is a shared task for all global automakers.

Although Japan's Toyota Motors and Honda Motor successfully marketed hybrids, many European carmakers such as Volkswagen chose to focus on developing better internal combustion engines. General Motors, DaimlerChrysler and BMW plan to unveil a hybrid in the near-term while concentrating on fuel-cells which are anticipated to be the ultimate future of automobiles.

"There are three main objectives in the research & development of fuel-cell systems - reduce cost, enhance durability and make it possible to start the car at freezing temperatures," said Kim Se-hoon, Hyundai's senior research engineer of fuel cells.

Water produced from a fuel-cell auto which runs on electricity generated by a chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen freezes at below-zero temperatures, making it hard to start the car.

Hyundai's progress in hydrogen fuel-cell technology was shown in its self-developed fuel cell stacks used in buses and cars currently under test operation. The carmaker and the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy began the three-year monitoring project of the nation's first hydrogen fuel-cell bus in late November last year to test the environment-friendliness, reliability and durability of the fuel cell system. Results of the test will be reflected in product development and establishment of infrastructure required for commercialization.

When charged with 40 kilograms of hydrogen, the new bus with a 160-kilowatt fuel-cell stack can run 300 kilometers and is twice as fuel efficient as diesel versions currently on the roads, Hyundai Motor said. It still needs to be improved so it can start at temperatures below minus 20 degrees Celsius. The production cost, which is more than 20 times higher than that for ordinary buses, should also be gradually lowered, the ministry said.

The project is aimed at raising the fuel-cell system output to 200 kilowatts, the share of Korean-made components to 70 percent and durability range to 5,000 hours by 2008. According to GM, hydrogen fuel cell cars will cost the same as their gasoline counterparts once they reach a production volume of 1 million units.

"Lack of scale is the primary reason for the high costs of fuel cell vehicles," said Larry Burns, GM vice president of R&D and strategic planning.

Hyundai Veracruz Earns Accolades At North American International Auto Show Debut

Hyundai Veracruz Earns Accolades At North American International Auto Show Debut

Veracruz Stands Out Among 22 Production Vehicle Introductions At North America's Largest Auto Show

01/15/2007 The all-new Hyundai Veracruz crossover debuted at the North American International Auto Show this week, earning praise and recognition as a stand-out new model at the 2007 show. Car & Driver Online listed Veracruz among the “Most Significant Vehicle Introductions” at the 2007 show. The editors praised the Veracruz for being spacious and wrote, "Hyundai duped many a focus group into thinking its seven-passenger Veracruz is a Lexus." more>>

U.S. News & World Report Online ranked "Hits and Misses" for the 2007 Show. Crossover vehicles scored a "Hit" because of fast-growing sales in the U.S. market, and "cool" new products. Veracruz joined the Nissan Rogue as one of the "Hit" crossovers of the show. more>>

Editors at MSN Autos named Veracruz to its "Editors' Choice" list at 2007 show. MSN Autos characterized the vehicle as "luxuriously appointed" and "upscale," in distinguishing it from the crowd. Other models receiving the "Editors' Choice" honor included BMW 3-series Convertible, Cadillac CTS, Chevrolet Malibu, Ford Focus, Lexus IS-F, Nissan Rogue, Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe, smart fortwo and Toyota Tundra. more>>

Auto industry insiders, Joe Wiesenfelder, Mike Hanley and David Thomas ranked winners and losers at this year's show on the blog, "Kicking Tires." Veracruz was unanimously voted a &34;winner&34; and received compliments for fit and finish, standard safety features and seven-passenger seating. Other unanimous winners included the 2008 Cadillac CTS, 2008 Nissan Rogue, 2008 Dodge Avenger, 2008 Chevrolet Malibu, 2008 Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Caravan. more>>

"Veracruz is the right vehicle at the right time for this emerging segment," said Steve Wilhite, chief operating officer of Hyundai Motor America. "The vehicle's designers recognized that needs of traditional SUV buyers weren’t being met and focused on delivering them in an elegant and unique way. The result is a spacious crossover that delivers both high-class style and first-rate performance."

Hyundai Motor America, headquartered in Fountain Valley, Calif., is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Co. of Korea. Hyundai vehicles are distributed throughout the United States by Hyundai Motor America and are sold and serviced through 740 dealerships nationwide.

Long-Term Intro: 2006 Hyundai Tucson AWD Limited

Long-Term Intro: 2006 Hyundai Tucson AWD Limited

Before last year's Sport/Utility of the Year, we would never have expected to welcome a compact Hyundai to the Truck Trend long-term fleet. But two key things happened: The Tucson proved itself one of the best performers in the competition, and gas prices spiked at over $3.50 a gallon in Southern California. We had a hunch the Tucson could be a versatile alternative to bigger, thirstier (even more capable) SUVs, but it would take time behind the wheel to know for sure.

To be specific, we added a 2006 Hyundai Tucson AWD Limited to our fleet. The Tucson was introduced in 2005, and Hyundai created the Limited trim level one year later, which replaced the previous LX version; GL and GLS remain the same. Our Desert Sage model came with only one option: carpeted floormats ($125). Everything else was standard. And the list of standard features reads like the options available on most cars, electronic stability control with traction control, ABS with electronic brake distribution, four-wheel disc brakes, tire-pressure monitoring system (not available on the GL), six airbags, leather seats, seat heaters, an in-dash six-disc CD changer with AM/FM and cassette, auto climate control with outside temperature display, power windows and locks, cruise control, and a host of other goodies. There are also plenty of compartments, storage bins, cupholders, and three 12-volt power points to store, hold, or power anything you need.

The Tucson's 2.7-liter V-6 (a significant step up from the base four-cylinder) also is standard on the Limited, mated to a four-speed automatic transmission with Shiftronic manual shift control. For those looking under the hood, you’ll think it odd that a transverse-mounted engine has a cover designed to look like there’s a longitudinally mounted engine underneath. We’ll deduct points from Hyundai for that. Front drive is standard on the entire line with electronic AWD a no-cost option on the Limited. This system normally routes up to 99 percent of the power to the front wheels, but can run 50 percent of the power to the rear as conditions change. The Tucson's center differential can be manually locked for an even 50/50 power split at speeds below 25 mph at the push of a button.

During the first few thousand miles of driving highways, freeways, city streets, dirt roads, and canyons, initial feedback has been mostly positive, but there are complaints. Several editors note the four-speed transmission hunts for the right gear going up hills and at freeway speed. Another issue is with the texture of the steering wheel. It feels too slick and slips through the drivers’ hands too easily, we suspect this could turn into a safety issue in the wrong circumstance. But most feel the Tucson delivers a good amount of value for the money and applaud the manufacturer for designing a second row that actually folds flat.

The Hyundai also went in for its first service, which was supposed to be at 3500 miles. We took it in a little late (4973 miles), when it received a lube, oil, and filter change. One driver noted a coolant smell, but the dealer couldn’t detect it or any leaks. The Tucson left the dealer receiving a clean bill of health. Overall, the first impression is that this small vehicle does everything well, but falls just a point short of being spectacular. We’ll keep taking this SUV through the paces, and fill you in on how the Korean soft-roader fares.

By Scott Mortara
Photography by Julia LaPalme
Truck Trend, December 2006

Hyundai Takes On Cancer, One Mile At A Time

Hyundai Takes On Cancer, One Mile At A Time

On Sept. 17, thousands of people took steps to make a major impact in the fight against cancer and a difference in the lives of families facing this disease. They showed their commitment by participating in the 18th annual Boston Marathon® Jimmy Fund Walk, in which Hyundai Motor America served as presenting sponsor for the fourth year in a row.

Hyundai's presence was felt everywhere on Walk day. In addition to having the corporate logo displayed prominently on event signs and booths and Hyundai vehicles at the start in Wellesley, Mass., and the finish line in Boston, Mass., the company's own group of walkers—Team Hyundai—turned out once again to hit the pavement in support of this great cause. They joined the other 7,000 participants who together raised an estimated $5 million for research and patient care at Dana-Farber.

Twenty-one hundred marathon enthusiasts joined new Hyundai COO Steve Wilhite and Peter DiPersia, eastern region general manager for the Hopkinton 26.2-Mile Walk, which followed the famous Boston Marathon® course. Three thousand more people, including Mark Barnes, vice president of marketing, joined the festivities from Wellesley for the 13-mile course. In addition, many patients, their families, and several Boston-area Hyundai dealers chose to follow the third Walk route, starting at the Harvard Medical School Quad and finishing at Copley Square in Boston.

Participants were met along the course by hundreds of volunteers who passed out water, energy snacks, and enthusiastic motivation. The sea of walkers moving through the streets of Boston and its suburbs was an incredible show of support for the Jimmy Fund's fight against cancer at Dana-Farber.

Members of Team Hyundai gather at the finish line in Boston's Copley Square following their efforts in the 2006 Boston Marathon® Jimmy Fund Walk

A Team Approach
On the eve of the Walk, participants gathered together for a night of energizing food and celebration at the event's annual Pasta Party. Hyundai's very own "Hope on Wheels" Santa Fe, decorated with the colorful handprints of Jimmy Fund Clinic patients, was on hand to serve as a unique vehicular symbol of hope to all in attendance.

The highlight of the evening came when Team Hyundai capped of its fundraising efforts by presenting a check for $397,139 to Jimmy Fund Chairman Mike Andrews. This total represented all money raised by the team, funds raised by Hyundai's Strike Out Cancer campaign, and contributions from Hyundai dealers throughout the Northeast, Joining Andrews and the Hyundai group were several Walk Heroes—the young cancer patients who provide inspiration for walkers year after year.

"This event provides an opportunity for the whole community to come together and make a public stand against cancer," said DiPersia. "The Hyundai family is proud to be a member of that community and to help in the effort to rid the world of this terrible disease."

About the Jimmy Fund
Since 1948, the Jimmy Fund has supported the fight against cancer at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, helping to raise the chances of survival for children and adults with cancer around the world. Millions of peope have joined forces, through thousands of events and other fundraising activities, with one goal in mind: to help the Jimmy Fund save countless lives by furthering cancer research and care at Dana-Farber. Today, the Jimmy Fund has become one of America's favorite charities.

Spy Shots: ’08 Hyundai Equus

Spy Shots: '08 Hyundai Equus

Hyundai builds a luxury car for the world.
by Hans Lehmann/Hidden Image

The 2006 Hyundai Sonata showed that Hyundai has what it takes to compete with highly regarded vehicles like the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. Now Hyundai will try to make the same waves with a new luxury car that will take on vehicles above its own full-size Azera sedan.

These photos, taken in the U.S. southwest, capture the next-generation Equus under testing. Hyundai is planning on bringing this rear-drive, V-8 sedan to the U.S. market as a 2008 model.

Hyundai will show the "BH" sedan, as it’s known internally, at the 2007 New York auto show in April.

The Equus is a large car, and has a spacious interior with lots of wood trim, leather seats, and a handsome dash that would look at home in a big Mercedes or Lexus. Hyundai will outfit the Equus with all manner of airbags and electronic vehicle-stability controls.

We expect the Equus (under a different name, perhaps) to go on sale in late 2007 in the U.S. wearing a pricetag around $30,000.

A Win-Win Situation

A Win-Win Situation

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Holyoke Hyundai dealer Gary Rome is putting his money where his heart is when it comes to the New England P atriots.

Rome is telling his customers that anyone buying either a new or used truck in stock, this past Thursday and up until today, will have a chance at getting their first monthly payment paid by rome.

The catch: the Pats have to beat the Indianapolis Colts tonight for the AFC championship and the right to play in the Super Bowl.

Taken from the Sunday, January 21, 2007 issue of The Sunday Republican.

Gary Rome Hyundai Now Offers Nitrogen Tire Filling Service

Gary Rome Hyundai Now Offers Nitrogen Tire Filling Service

Gary Rome Hyundai Now Offers Nitrogen Tire Filling Service

Fill Your Tires With Nitrogen!

  • Fuel $avings
  • Increased Safety
  • Longer Tire Life
  • Superior Handling
  • Decreased Wheel Corrosion
  • Maintains Proper Inflation 3-4 Times Longer

Our Exclusive Three-Step Nitrogen Tire Filling Service

  1. Tire Deflation - Deflators quickly and simultaneously deflate your tires to atmospheric pressure
  2. Tire Vacuum - Vacuum System removes more detrimental air and moisture than traditional systems
  3. Nitrogen Fill - Nitrogen Generating Machine Fills your tires with high purity nitrogen, providing you with the many benefits listed above

Bring your car in today and get the same high-tech advantages that airliners, race cars, and NASA Space Shuttles use. Putting nitrogen in your tires can give you a better, safer, longer-lasting and more consistent performance from your tires. Gary Rome Hyundai uses a state-of-the-art system that inflates tires with nitrogen rather than compressed air. Nitrogen filled tires maintain pressure up to three times longer because nitrogen diffuses through tire walls more slowly than air. This gives you several important safety and performance advantages:

  • Problems associated with under-inflation are reduced. Under-inflated tires run hotter and wear faster due to increased rolling resistance. A tire that is 10 percent under-inflated will lose approximately seven percent of its service life.
  • Tires maintain their strength longer. Nitrogen filled tires show twice the life to failure in both field and laboratory tests due to absence of interior oxidation cause by the oxygen in compressed air.
  • Tires perform better. Nitrogen can help increase tire mileage by as much as 25 percent. Tires that are properly inflated respond better to steering input and handle better.
  • Tire pressure is more consistent. Compressed air expands at varying rates depending on the amount of water vapor it contains; nitrogen is "dry" and expands at a consistent, predictable rate.

Come in today and cut your fuel costs and extend the life of your tires by filling your tires with nitrogen.

How Nitrogen Works and What it Does

Nitrogen (N2) makes up the majority of the air that we breathe and is contained in the protein of all life on earth. It is colorless, tasteless and non-toxic. The next most common component in air is oxygen (O2). Together N2 and O2 make up approximately 99% of the air we breathe and traditionally fill tires with.

N2 is a larger molecule than O2.
Therefore, it cannot escape as easily as oxygen through porous material such as a rubber tire wall (carcass). Leaking at a much slower rate than oxygen, a tire filled with a higher percentage of N2 maintains its proper pressure roughly three to four times longer than air-filled tires. Proper inflation provides better fuel economy, superior handling, longer tire life, and increased safety by reducing the likelihood of low pressure related loss of control, blowouts and other tire failures.

N2 is a dry, inert gas.
O2 in a tire provides unwanted oxidation. Over time, this reaction destroys the tire carcass and corrodes wheels. A tire is prematurely aged by O2 from the inside-out as the pressurized air in the tire makes the O2 try to escape through the tire carcass, speeding up the damaging oxidation process. N2 on the other hand, is a harmless inert gas that does not react negatively with tires and wheels. N2 filled tires also reduce tire heat, thereby decreasing rolling resistance and increasing fuel economy.

N2 is non&#45flammable.
O2 is a flammable gas while N2 is an extinguishing gas. Thus, a large number of mass transportation companies around the world fill their tires with N2 for added fire and explosion safety. In a vehicular fire, ruptured air-filled tires fuel the fire. N2 filled tires slow the fire.

N2 has been used in tires for many years on aircraft, military vehicles, off road trucks, racecars, and even Tour de France bicycles.

Nitrogen inflated tires are safer and longer lasting than tires inflated with air.

  • Nitrogen inflated tires do not age as quickly as air inflated tires
  • Nitrogen inflated tires minimize blowouts
  • Nitrogen inflated tires improve vehicle handling through proper inflation and consistently maintained pressure
  • Nitrogen is an inert, non-combustible and non-flammable gas
  • Nitrogen is a stable gas providing more constant pressure
  • Nitrogen is a dry gas with no corrosive properties as found in compressed air

Correct inflation versus under-inflation

Correct inflation is highly significant when considering tire life and performance. It is not always possible to look at a tire and detect under&#45inflation. However, under&#45inflation can cause many tire-related problems. As inflation pressure largely determines a tire's load capacity, under-inflation results in an overloaded tire. An under&#45inflated tire operates at high deflection resulting in decreased fuel economy, sluggish handling and may result in excessive mechanical flexing and heat build up, leading to catastrophic tire failure.

We are serious about offering the highest quality nitrogen tire filling service. Our professional nitrogen filling equipment is built in the USA by RTI Technologies, Inc., part of a global company that builds automated equipment that fills new vehicles with fluids in vehicle assembly plants around the world.

Nitrogen-Filled Tires Facts & Testimonials

"One thing government and tire-industry officials agree on is the importance of keeping tires properly inflated. The risks of underinflation, which stresses tires by causing their sidewalls to flex more and the air temperature inside to rise, were highlighted during congressional hearings two years ago into the Firestone tire problems. Underinflation was identified as a factor in the failure of Firestone tires."
-Wall Street Journal, September 25, 2002

Using nitrogen instead of compressed air has distinct advantages, which lead to immediate benefits for the vehicle owner.

  1. It has more mass, so it migrates through the tire three to four times slower. The result: Tires hold their psi longer.
  2. It runs about 20% cooler. Less heat results in less tire degradation.
  3. It drastically reduces oxidation on the rim and inner-liner (nitrogen systems almost totally eliminate oxygen - the cause of oxidation - from the mix).
  4. It is environmentally safe.

-Bob Ulrich, Modern Tire Dealer, July, 2004

TMC (Technology & Maintenance Council of American Trucking Association) says that about 90% of tire failures causing tire road debris is caused by underinflation.
-TMC Tire Air Pressure Study, May, 2002

Bridgestone says air inflated tires lost an average of 2.7 psi per month and nitrogen inflated tires lost an average of 0.7 psi per month.
-Guy Walenga, Clemson Tire Conference, March, 2004

Michelin Supports the use of nitrogen based on its ability to better retain pressure over a period of time.
-Michelin Technical Bulletin, November, 2003

"Goodyear says 15% under-inflation equals 8% less tread mileage and 2.5% decrease in fuel economy."
-Goodyear Radial Truck Tire and Retread Service Manual, Page 40

"Having tires inflated to the maximum recommended pressure can improve gas mileage by as much as 6 percent."
-Ann Job, "Fuel Saving Tips," MSN Autos, September 19, 2005

Pirelli says 20% under&#45inflation equals 15% shorter tire life.

United States Department of Energy says the United States loses over 2 million gallons of fuel each day due to under#45;inflation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is nitrogen inflation new?
It’s been used on giant off-highway tires, on aircraft tires, and on racing tires for many years. Off-highway tires, aircraft tires and racecar tires have used nitrogen inflation for quite some time.

Why did they switch?
Air is about one-fifth oxygen, and oxygen, especially at high temperatures and pressures, is a very reactive element. When oxygen reacts with things, the process is called oxidation. When oxidation is extremely rapid, the process is called "burning." That's one reason nitrogen is used in off-highway and aircraft tires. These tires run so hot they can actually catch on fire. Nitrogen doesn’t support combustion, so nitrogen-filled tires don't add fuel to the flames. And, nitrogen helps prevent slower forms of oxidation too.

What are those?
Oxygen corrodes aluminum and steel wheels. And, oxygen reacts with rubber, in a sense, "corroding" it too. Rust and dust from wheels can clog valve stems, causing them to leak. And, rough surfaces on wheel flanges and tire beads may not seal properly, causing additional leaks. Oxygen also ages the innerliner, that tine layer of rubber inside the tire whose function is keeping air away from the carcass. As the innerliner ages, more and more air molecules can pass through it, causing more pressure losses.

How does that happen?
Air migrates through rubber. Truck tires can lose 2 psi per month as a result of air passing through their sidewalls - like a balloon that shrivels up, but much slower. That's why regular inflation pressure checks are a must. Even if there's nothing "wrong," you can still be losing pressure. And, when oxygen passes through rubber, it can come into contact with steel cords, causing them to rust too. Between aging rubber and corroding steel cords, oxygen reduces retreadability.

How does nitrogen help?
While both nitrogen and oxygen can permeate rubber, nitrogen does it much more slowly. It might take six months to lose 2 psi with nitrogen, compared to just a month with air. And, nitrogen is far less reactive. It doesn't cause rust and corrosion on steel or aluminum, and it doesn't degrade rubber. Wheel surfaces stay smooth and clean, rubber remains supple and resilient. Inflation losses are minimized - and retreadability is enhanced.

Are there other benefits to nitrogen inflation?
The air around us is full of water vapor. It&#39s called "humidity." Compressing air concentrates the water in it. Draining water from your air lines every day helps, but unless you have a really efficient air dryer, chances are there's lots of water in your compressed air.

What’s the harm in that?
Water vapor in compressed air acts as a catalyst, accelerating rust and corrosion. Water vapor also absorbs and holds heat. And, when it changes from liquid to vapor, water expands tremendously in volume. So, tires inflated with wet air tend to run hotter and fluctuate in pressure more. That's why racing tires, where fractions of psi can radically change handling, are inflated with dry nitrogen.

Where do we get nitrogen?
Some people use high pressure cylinders or big containers of liquid nitrogen as their source, but several companies now offer machines that separate nitrogen from air. These machines can produce nitrogen that's 95 percent or more pure, taking it from the inexhaustible supply in the air around us.

Do we have to do something special to fill our tires?
Not really. If you take a truck tire that's just been mounted, and inflate it with 95 percent nitrogen, you'll end up with a concentration of about 93 percent nitrogen in the tire. That's good enough to do the job.

Why wouldn't it be 95 percent?
Because the tire was full of air. So there was some oxygen in it before you added the nitrogen.

What do we do when we're out on the road?
Chances are, as it becomes more popular, you'll find nitrogen inflation equipment at truckstops. But in the meantime, consider this: With nitrogen inflation, you won't need to "top off" your tires nearly as often - or as much. And, if you need to add pressure, the little bit of air that you might put in will have little effect. If you have nitrogen inflation at "home" when trucks come in, you can let the air out of their tires and re-inflate them with near-pure nitrogen. That will bring the concentration of nitrogen inside your tires back to optimum levels.

Is nitrogen inflation cost-effective?
That's going to depend on your situation. If your trailers go out and don't come back for six months or more, being able to keep consistent inflation pressures may greatly lengthen tread life. Some tests have shown increases of up to 26 percent. Less rubber aging and tire cord rust could also yield a higher proportion of retreadable casings - and casings that can survive more retread cycles. That cuts cost per mile too. There's nothing you can do that is better for your tires than maintaining the right inflation pressure - all the time. Nitrogen could help you do that.

Hyundai Goes Upscale With Crossover

Hyundai Goes Upscale With Crossover

Make way for the all-new Hyundai Veracruz, a premium crossover utility vehicle from South Korea's largest automaker.

With upscale amenities and impressive power, the seven-passenger Veracruz represents the best of Hyundai, an automaker that a decade ago was struggling to stay afloat in the highly competitive U.S. market.

The South Korean company's reputation for poor - quality vehicles - cheap econoboxes that had little resale value - almost led the company to abandon this market or at least change its name.

But Hyundai has completed one of the most remarkable turnarounds in the history of the auto industry. The company's vehicles now lead the non-luxury brands for quality in J.D. Power surveys, outranking even the Japanese giants Toyota and Honda.

And while the quality of its vehicles has climbed to the top, Hyundai has been able to retain its longtime policy of pricing its products below the competition, making these vehicles among the best values on the market.

Buoyed by its recent successes and high scores for quality, the company is moving upscale.

First came the fall 2005 introduction of the premium Azera full-size sedan, a $25,000-plus car that has the feel of a $30,000-plus Lexus or Acura sedan.

Then last week the Detroit auto show, Hyundai rolled out the Veracruz, a crossover with an "aspirational target" of the Lexus RX 350, according to Miles Johnson, manager of product public relations for Hyundai Motor America, the company's U.S. sales and marketing arm.

The 2007 Veracruz, which Hyundai has already begun shipping to dealers, is the best-equipped, most-luxurious vehicle the company has offered.

With prices beginning at about $27,500 for the base GLS model and ranging as high as $33,000 for the leather-equipped Limited model, the Veracruz is a giant step above the company's midsize Santa Fe crossover, whose prices range from $21,045 to $28,025.

"This is definitely a notch up for us," Johnson said. "The Santa Fe has a 3.3-liter V-6 and optional seven-passenger seating, but the Veracruz comes with a 3.8-liter V-6 and a standard third row."

The Veracruz also comes with Hyundai's first six-speed automatic transmission, which also has manual-shift capability.

The vehicle is quieter at highway speeds than the RX 350, Johnson said, and although it’s nine inches shorter than the full-size Mercedes-Benz GL500 sport utility, the Veracruz has more cargo space.

With 260 horsepower, the Veracruz has more power than the competing Honda Pilot (240) and Toyota Highlander (215).

"The Veracruz has a lot of outstanding features, but still has a reasonable price," Johnson said.

"In the past, we weren't known for this level of quality. But people no longer have to justify buying a Hyundai. I think we’re going to do quite well with it."

Safety also is strongly emphasized in the Veracruz, which includes such standard features as electronic stability control, driver and front-passenger seat-mounted side air bags, roof-mounted side-curtain air bags for all three rows of seats, four-wheel antilock brakes, active front head restraints, and a tire-pressure monitoring system.

"We have electronic stability control on 70 percent of our line, including some of our lower-end models," Johnson said. "This is one of the most-important new safety features in the industry, and we're making it standard because we don't want our customers to have to choose between buying a sunroof or a safety system."

The Veracruz rides on a lengthened Santa Fe chassis, which itself was derived from the current-generation Sonata midsize sedan chassis. This is the chassis also used for the Azera.

"Veracruz is an exceptional vehicle at the right time for this developing segment," Steve Wilhite, Hyundai Motor America's chief operating officer, said during the Detroit introduction.

"The vehicle's designers recognized that the needs and desires of traditional SUV buyers weren't being met, and focused on meeting those needs in an elegant and ingenious way. The result is a spacious crossover that delivers both refined style and first-rate performance."

Hyundai says the vehicle's sculpted front bumper was designed to create the appearance of additional height. The design also includes three-tiered headlights.

Chrome trim was "strategically applied" to highlight some of the vehicle's design features, the company said, "while giving Veracruz an elegant, luxurious presence."

Base models come with 17-inch alloy wheels, while uplevel versions have 18-inch alloy wheels.

The interior was designed to "coddle" passengers in a "rich, sophisticated environment that was inspired by boutique hotels," Hyundai said. The result "is an interior that could be found in the finest luxury sedans."

As for the quietness, "every major component has been designed to reduce cabin noise below the whisper-quiet Lexus RX350," the company said.

The seats include two front buckets, a three-person middle bench, and a two-person rear bench. But even the rear seat was designed to accommodate adults, unlike the third seat in most of the Veracruz's competitors, which are barely comfortable for children.

The third seat has a hideaway function that opens the cargo area up when the seat isn't needed for passengers. The middle row can be folded, as can the front passenger seat, to further increase cargo capacity.

The vehicle comes with front-wheel drive, but for about $1,000, all-wheel drive is available on any model, Johnson said.

Three trim levels are offered. Besides the base GLS and top Limited model, there is the sporty SE between the two.

All GLS models come with a rear spoiler, the 17-inch wheels, an AM/FM/XM/CD/MP3 audio system, air conditioning with cabin filter, steering wheel audio/cruise controls, heated power side mirrors with puddle lights and side turn signals, front solar glass and rear privacy glass, remote keyless entry, and power windows and door locks.

An optional premium package adds a sunroof, power driver’s seat, heated front seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, and a backup warning system.

The midlevel SE adds to the GLS features such extras as the 18-inch wheels, power driver's seat, auto-dimming rearview mirror with compass, universal garage/gate opener, front fog lights, a roof luggage rack, center storage console with Cool Box, auto-dimming outside mirrors and automatic headlights.

Adding the premium and leather package brings the sunroof, leather seats, heated front seats, a 315-watt Infinity audio system with CD changer, and a backup warning system.

Also available is an entertainment package (which also requires the premium and leather package), which features a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, 605-watt Infinity AM/FM/XM/CD-changer/MP3 audio system with Logic 7 surround sound, a 115-volt power outlet, and a conversation mirror.

The Limited comes with the features of the SE, plus the leather seats, heated front seats, power front passenger seat, automatic climate control, 315-watt Infinity audio system, sunroof, power tailgate, chrome door handles, brushed metal door sill plates, conversation mirror, windshield wiper de-icer and backup warning system.

And the ultimate package adds power-adjustable pedals, integrated memory system, power tilt and telescopic steering wheel, the 605-watt Infinity audio system, the entertainment system, the 115-volt power outlet, a proximity key system, and rain-sensing wipers. The proximity-key system is like that offered on many luxury vehicles, allowing for keyless unlocking and starting of the vehicle.

EPA fuel-economy ratings are 18 miles per gallon in the city and 25 on the highway for the front drive models, and 17 city/24 highway with all-wheel drive.

San Antonio Express-News
Hyundai Goes Upscale With Crossover
G. Chambers Williams
Publication Date: January 19, 2007