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.

20 COMMENTS

  1. The so called enthusiasts Hates anything that put the sales chart of fire. They hate Maruti aswell. They should understand, not all cars are for race tracks. BTW, I own a i20 2nd gen and the steering part is where I am totally accostumed to, now. Look is subjective. I prefer the proportionate design.

  2. Nice article. Elite i20 has managed to change the equation a little. Compared to the earlier cars they have improved the steering a lot in the Elite i20 and some enthusiasts don’t mind it.
    Also with Hyundai now recruiting people from BMW who were responsible for the M series cars, I am sure their latest focus is for sporty suspension and better drive.
    The sporty suspensions are not for all and we enthusiasts should refrain from referring sporty cars to all. I had made the same mistake by referring a BMW 3 series convertible to a person and they keep on complaining about the ride quality being stiff and the steering being hard. They find the Mercs much better.
    Its very important to find the need and cater to it and Hyundai is doing that very well in India

  3. What to say… I own a fluidic verna have done 1lac kms and till today the car runs the same way it did the very first day… Nominal service charges, cheapest spare parts in its class … Gem of an engine… Awsum average and beautiful styling…. Feature rich what else a car owner can ask for… As far as car enthusiastics are concerned they can find a fault even in a ferrari….

    For daily usage hyundai cars are the best bet….

  4. I really don’t know what kind of car enthusiast are you’ll referring too ? I own a Hyundai Elantra 2013 1.8 L Petrol Manual Transmition do about 50-75 Kms a day on an average and I love the car , it drives well and is powerful and has decent road grip , I agree the steering is a little on the lighter side but overall performance , fit, finish , comfort and ownership experience is fantastic . I think its an excellent buy at that price point . As far as looks are concerned that is subjective to individual taste and liking .

  5. WTF! It was like i am reading what i was saying to my friends, that too in the same order!!! I thought it was just me, happy to know there are other people who feels like me.

  6. The article is perfect to the point. Hyundai owners though are bickering about their experience. Bottom line is, Hyundai cars are just meant for people who don’t like driving. And it’s absolutely fine for most of the people considering “daily needs”. But to fewer of us, to whom owning and driving a car is an experience, not just a need, Hyundai just falls short by a huge margin. Fiat does the job perfectly.

  7. Stereotyping brands like this is really not the best idea. Every manufacturer has made good cars and bad cars.

    Atleast for the article, the picture used is a Elite i20, which by all means is the best handling car in their offering today. Having driven my father’s old gen i20 I can say that the handling was not so good, but now they have become much much better with the new offering. The person writing this article should definitely be driving one before streotyping in such a manner. I think because of such articles, the feeling grows more and more, even if the reality has changed.

    Remember, the newer offering are from the same guys who made the cars you worship today. The head of the i20 project was from the VAG group. Peace out :)

  8. Hyundai cars are just like show piece. You buy one keep it in parking , show it off during weekend trips and washing. Less you drive the car more you remain comfortable.

  9. Hyundai cars suspensions are worst. In highway when you hit pot holes. Suspensions will blast. Steering is like xbox 360. Hyundai owners no offense it’s just my opinion. Already owned a hyundai too. But. When i compare with my fiat and skoda. It feels just worst handling. But hyundai has great engine. Verry silent engine and pickup. Am upgraded my verna fluidic suspensions to bliesten. Now it feels good.

  10. After years of use, my SANTRO Xing has become one enthusiastic car !! It is perfect for single use, compared to the 3-cyl small cars out there..
    :-D :-D

  11. These all are silly reasons soft handling suspension and designs all bullshit reasons….i guess the enthusiasts have failed to find any drawback in engine working thats why these silly reasons are mentioned…as per the fluidic designs are concerned i guess the enthusiasts must go for regular classes on aerodynamics…although the hyundai engineers arent fools that why they are giving every hyundai model a fluidic look….i guess enthusiasts must go once again for the hyndai cars test drive….

  12. Worst technology n worst driving experience. Thanks DWD first time u posted the best article.

  13. I declare myself to be a total petrol head
    and a car enthusiast .Used to own A maruti
    Suzuki Zen ,Ford ,Then a Hyundai i20 ,.

    Hyundai is power without control in one line
    other list of dislikes about the Hyundai experience
    Is reliability ,cost of repair and spares ,
    Pathetic service ,poor road handling and
    Steering feel and control into and out of
    the corners makes u feel like you will be
    Thrown out of the cars cabin had it not been
    For the seat belts .Even the gearing in the
    i20 makes u feel all the torque from the
    1.4turbo diesel with loads of 220nm torque
    Is fitted with a lack lustre power train
    The gear ratios and torque band is least
    Enthusiastic and never feels sporty enough
    The car rolls and pitches ,dips and bows
    All the time like a boat and I kinda get like
    “sick ”

    Never would vouch for a Hyundai without
    Any partiality but it’s a refined cruiser for the
    Highway and economical as well

    Godspeed
    DG

  14. The enthusiasts are fools…they don’t know to drive cars..i guess…i own a santro…and 15 years gone…and still awesome…and ready to go anytime.

  15. Control & Safety are great in Fiat & BMW. Hyundai verna bounces for bumps on highways like its flying. I will never buy Hyundai. But good enough for city because of its features. Hyundai fluidic styling is good.

  16. Happy to see reality being put out bluntly! Sick and tired of biased articles on popular forums like teambhp written by people with limited to zero experience of other brands / cars than the ones (read as Honda, Maruti & Hyundai) promoted by teambhp. Their content writers to moderators just seem to refer bhp figures, 0 – 100 figures & information straight from press kits or marketing material provided by OEMs.

  17. VW GT TSI. Ford Fiesta Classic. Skoda Octavia. Mitsubishi Pajero Sport MT 4×4. All I’m saying.

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