Key to the Highway

Observations about cars and the auto industry

2012 L.A. Auto Show: Hyundai

The Korean automaker brings the seven-passenger version of the Santa Fe crossover, following up on the well-received five-passenger Santa Fe Sport. Simply called Santa Fe, the larger version receives the 3.3-liter, gasoline direct-injection V-6 engine and a six-speed automatic transmission. Santa Fe will tow 5,000 pounds and offers all-wheel drive with what the automaker calls Active Cornering. To provide room for the additional row, the Santa Fe gains 8.5 inches over the Sport model and provides 5.5 cubic feet of storage behind the second-row, sliding/reclining bench. A six-passenger version swaps the bench for captain’s chairs in Row 2. Other highlights include a power liftgate, panoramic sunroof, premium audio, heated rear seats, and a heated steering wheel.

Veloster concepts were all over the SEMA show in Las Vegas a month ago and Hyundai brought one here. Dubbed the Veloster C3 Roll Top, the California-themed crossover features a sliding cloth top that retracts to the front or rear of the vehicle. When open, the gaping hole makes room for a bicycle or surfboards. The cargo deck and back of the rear seat are covered in tiles made from re-purposed skateboards. The designers say they were influenced by the “emerging fixed-gear bike culture.” Under the hood is the Veloster Turbo’s 1.6-liter engine. The soft top is made from re-purposed truck tarps. LED accent lights surround the headlamps and 18-inch wheels round out the exterior.

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