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Three reasons why Hyundai cars fail enthusiasts, even though they sell extremely well.

Hyundai cars are often the butt of jokes in the West and in India, anyone who professes to be a car enthusiast hates the brand. Yet, it’s one of the largest-selling car brands in the markets it is present in, including India, where it is the No. 2 car brand in passenger cars.

But ask any enthusiast about buying, driving or owning a Hyundai and they’ll vigorously discourage you from the brand. Alright! Why do they hate Hyundai cars so much? CarToq takes a look at the underlying reasons why enthusiasts avoid Hyundai cars.

2015 Hyundai i20 Active 33

Lack steering feel

Being a car enthusiast is all about feeling a connection with the car, loving every moment in it and driving it like you are about to win a World Championship. Enthusiasts love “feedback” from the steering – they want to know about every little thing that passes under the wheels – so that they can precisely gauge what to do with the car. They like steerings that “weigh up with speed”, which means they need to dial in a bit of effort to get the car to change lanes, like the steering systems in Fords, Fiats and BMWs. Most Hyundais unfortunately have “super light” steering systems that “lack feel” and behave like “video game controllers”, which make lane changing at speed quite tricky.

Why non-enthusiasts love it: The plus side, those who want a commuter car that’s super easy to drive often pick Hyundai models.

Soft suspension and uncertain handling

2015 Hyundai i20 3 Door Hatchback Sketch

Enthusiasts like “sporty suspensions” that are stiff enough to knock your teeth out. A stiff suspension helps in eliminating body roll and bobbing, giving the driver a sense of control. They also like cars that handle “like they are driving on rails”, meaning they have to be really precise in where they go, with next to no body roll present. However, Hyundai cars unfortunately just don’t cut it – as they are meant for the common man who wants cushion like comfort at all times. The suspension on most Hyundai cars is on the softer side – so while this provides really good low speed ride comfort, at high speed it tends to bob up and down. Also if the car is driven hard, there is a fair amount of body roll that is felt – definitely something enthusiasts hate.

Why non-enthusiasts love it: The plus side, Hyundai cars are pretty comfortable for city commuting.

Quirky looks and styling

Hyundai knows where the bulk of the money is and hence goes after styling that will please the common man, making the cars seem great value for money in the way they look and the features they offer. But to the enthusiast, these cars just aren’t sporty enough – at least not with the looks. There are exceptions though of late, with the newer Hyundai fluidic styling appealing at least in terms of looks to some enthusiasts. However, most Hyundai have an overdose of chrome, a proliferation of cuts and curves that don’t look like they mean business. Enthusiasts prefer cars that look purposeful – like how many of the European cars are styled. Hyundai even goes to the extent of putting convenience features ahead of safety features – how else do you explain why mid-variant cars have Bluetooth music systems and reverse cameras, but no ABS or airbags?

Why non-enthusiasts love it: The plus side, the extensive feature list overshadows styling quirks and is a big draw with buyers.

Posted in Buyer GuidesFeaturedPerformance