Hyundai's First Hybrid Stand-out Looks Will Attract Buyers Hesitant to Get a Hybrid

Njuguna Kabugi Special to The Informer | 6/28/2012, 4:03 p.m.

My main nit-picks with this car are with the Blue mode which Hyundai says increases efficiency 5 percent. In this mode, transitions between gas, electric and combined drive are not always seamless. In hard acceleration on higher elevations up in Virginia and Maryland mountains, I often got the feeling the car was trying to sort out how to respond to the driver's commands, but never quite did. The engine whined unsettlingly, but didn't seem sure what to do, even when I eased up on the gas.

I suspect that the Hybrid's buyers will find Hyundai's long warranty quite enticing - the basic coverage is 5-years/60,000-miles bumper-to-bumper and 10-years/100,000-miles powertrain. Owners also receive 24-hour roadside assistance at no extra charge for 5-years/unlimited mileage. Then there's the Lifetime Hybrid Battery Guarantee. If the lithium polymer battery fails, Hyundai will replace the battery and cover recycling costs of the old battery pack free of charge to the original owner.

Add on top of that six airbags - including dual front, front seat-mounted side-impact, and front and rear side curtain airbags - along with active front-seat head restraints. Other passive safety features include shingle-style rear-seat head restraints for improved visibility, three-point seatbelts for all seating positions, front-seat seatbelt pretensioners and force limiters, and a rear-seat Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) system for child seats.