Hyundai rolls out revamped Avante model

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Hyundai rolls out revamped Avante model

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Hyundai Motor’s Executive Vice President Kwak Jin, left, and Vice Chairman Yang Woong-chul, right, stand with the new Avante AD during its launch at the Namyang R&D center in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi on Wednesday. Provided by the company

HWASEONG, Gyeonggi - Hyundai Motor rolled out its new Avante AD on Wednesday, with hopes of boosting the company’s recently sluggish domestic and international sales.

The compact sedan is the sixth-generation of the model and took five years to develop. Avante has been one of Hyundai’s best-selling cars in the global market since it debuted in 1990, with cumulative sales of 10.74 million units. The model was the first Korean car to sell over 10 million units.

Avante, which is being exported as the Elantra, was the third-most popular car in the world last year after Toyota’s Corolla and Ford’s Focus, with sales of 930,000.

“The Avante is a new paradigm of compact sedan for both Korea and the world,” said Yang Woong-chul, a vice chairman of Hyundai Motor.

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“We can proudly say that the new Avante was made with the goal of developing the world’s best car in the segment. We expect this brand new car to provide a new growth engine for the company that is surrounded by many difficult situations in terms of management.”

The company has traditionally showcased new models in an exhibition hall at a hotel, but this time, it used its Namyang R&D center in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi. The venue allowed the company to show the Avante’s performance on the road.

The center’s tracks provide road conditions like bumpy, patched-up asphalt; a North American-style concrete highway; and a Belgian-style gravel track.

The different conditions allowed reporters to get a sense of how the Avante will handle itself around the world.

A researcher from the R&D center took the wheel and reporters sat in the passengers’ seat. At speeds of 70 to 80 kilometer per hour, the Avante smoothly navigated the track’s winding S-shaped curves and showed off its ability to grip the road. The new model also offered a comfortable ride on bumpy sections without being noisy.

The new Avante is 20 millimeters longer than its predecessor, at 4,570 millimeters, and got 25 millimeters wider, to 1,800 millimeters with a wheelbase of 2,700 millimeters, to provide a segment-leading interior space.

The car will be offered in four different power trains: diesel U2 1.6 VGT, gasoline Gamma 1.6 GDi, gasoline Nu 2.0 MPi and LPG Gamma 1.6 LPi.

The company said sales of Avante have been traditionally led by its 1.6 gasoline trim, but the new 1.6 diesel is attracting consumers’ attention with its segment-leading power and fuel efficiency at 18.4 kilometers per liter (43.2 miles per gallon).

“We can proudly say that the new Avante includes Hyundai Motor’s most advanced car technologies in terms of safety features and driving performance,” said Jung Rag, the company’s executive vice president.

“Compared to global rivals like Toyota’s Corolla and Honda’s Civic, Avante will offer much safer driving conditions with options that consumers weren’t able to have before.”

The company said 53 percent of the Avante’s body is made up of advanced high-strength steel that is 10 percent lighter but twice as strong as normal steels, which helped the model receive the highest evaluation rating in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s small overlap front crash test.

Other options including seven airbags and an emergency stop signal system, which automatically flashes the rear lights to warn surrounding traffic if a driver slams on the breaks.

The model also sports some features appearing in a Korean compact sedan for the first time, such as the “smart trunk” system, which automatically opens the trunk when the car senses a driver’s smartkey for more than three seconds at the rear side.

Hyundai said it aims to sell 700,000 Avantes next year, with 110,000 in the domestic market and 590,000 in key markets like the United States.

The 1.6 gasoline model is offered between 15.31 million won and 21.25 million won and the 1.6 diesel is offered between 17.82 million won and 23.71 million won.


BY KWON SANG-SOO [kwon.sangsoo@joongang.co.kr]

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