The Hyundai Fun Day

This event, now in its fourth year, had an activity involving just about every vehicle in Hyundai‘s catalogue, and first up on the agenda was a drive from the Westin Prince hotel in Toronto to the Canadian Tire Motorsports Park (CTMP) in Bowmanville, Ontario.

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This distance was covered in the 2015 Hyundai Genesis sedan, which is the second-generation model of this luxury car. For 2015, the Genesis sedan now comes packed with even more features than before, and in Canada, this model is exclusively offered only with an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. However, like before, buyers can choose between a 311-hp 3.8L V6 or a 420-hp 5.0L V8.

For my drive, I was in the 3.8 Technology version, which as the name suggests, offers all the tech that Hyundai currently can squeeze in this car. That means it has goodies such as a head-up display system, high beam assist, a heated and cooled 16-way power adjustable driver’s seat trimmed in premium Napa leather, open-pore natural wood accents, a 900-watt Lexicon surround sound system that features 14 speakers, an 8.0-inch touchscreen navigation system, plus a lot more. This car is loaded in the truest sense.

It didn’t take long for the 2015 Genesis sedan to impress me. I always thought that the previous-generation car was pretending to be a luxury car, but the new Genesis is a real contender. It really is good enough to be compared to the best midsize luxury cars from Japan, Europe and America. Pricing for the 2015 Hyundai Genesis sedan starts at $43,000.

Once I got to the track, it was another Genesis model I was lined up to drive, the one with fewer doors and rear drive only. I’m referring to the 2015 Hyundai Genesis coupe. This model has remained largely the same as before, but has now lost the turbocharged 2.0L I4 engine. For 2015, the only one powering this sleek coupe is the 3.8L V6, which in this application produces 348 hp, and can be had with either a six-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic gearbox. Hyundai Canada has helped develop a new R-Spec trim, which will be the base Genesis coupe, and with a starting price of $29,500, it becomes the most powerful new car you can buy in Canada for under $30k.

I got to sample the 2015 Hyundai Genesis coupe around the new Driver Development Track at CTMP, which is now longer and a bit friendlier to full-sized vehicles. On this twisting tarmac, the Genesis R-Spec coupe is sensational. Its V6 engine just loves to rev, and makes the kind of noises that would please any car enthusiast.

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While a lot of fun, the Genesis coupe did suffer some brake fade after five laps, suggesting that it either needs to go on a weight diet, or get better brakes – I bet Hyundai is looking at both these criteria for the next-generation model. For a sports car that will spend all its life on public roads with most of its owners, the current Genesis coupe is a very satisfying drive.

The day of driving was not over yet, Hyundai Fun day had more challenges planned for the attendees. There was a parallel parking challenge that involved a base 2014 Hyundai Accent hatchback, which has no rearview camera. The task was to not only quickly parallel park and get out, but also do a J-turn, all while trying not to hit any of the cones. My time was not the quickest, but at least I didn’t kill any cones either.

Next, I was off on a scavenger hunt, using the 2014 Hyundai Elantra sedan. The goal was to find clues and return back to base with the right answer. Me and my driving partner got the right answer, but were sadly not the fastest of the day, thanks to me.

I then went off-roading in the 2014 Hyundai Tucson and Santa Fe crossovers. Neither of these vehicles will receive any changes for the 2015 model year, but both vehicles still offer plenty of features in their respective class. In fact, both the Tucson and Santa Fe are actually quite a bit more capable off paved tarmac than you might imagine.

The off-road route Hyundai had us use looked a lot more challenging than I thought these vehicles could manage, but manage they did, thanks mainly to a lockable centre differential on the all-wheel-drive models. The Tucson especially proved to be a ton of fun in the rough stuff, where its short wheelbase came in handy over rocky terrain.

Final activity for me was to tackle the autocross in a 2015 Hyundai Veloster, equipped with a six-speed manual gearbox. Why was the Veloster Turbo not being used for this challenge? Because that model is no longer available on the Canadian market, so if you want a 2015 Veloster, you’ll have to settle for the normally-aspirated 1.6L I4 engine that produces 138 hp. That’s still decent grunt for a 1,172-kg vehicle, and all the invited media were given ample opportunities to test this funky coupe on a timed handling course.

I finished third fastest among all the journalists, and considering the two guys who finished ahead of me have competed in professional racing, I am quite pleased with my result.

In the end, I got some seat time in the 2015 Hyundai Sonata, which took me back to the hotel where I started out in the morning. I won’t get into much detail about this model here, since a detailed review of the car was published on AutoGO.ca two months ago. I will just say that the interior and exterior styling of the 2015 Sonata is a step in the right direction; I quite enjoyed being in this car.

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