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2021 Hyundai Sonata gets minor modifications for new model year

The 2021 Hyundai Sonata has some key safety and security improvements.

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

One year after a complete redesign, most models stay relatively the same for another year. The Hyundai Sonata isn't bucking the trend.

The 2021 Hyundai Sonata will now be available with 19-inch alloy wheels, Safe Exit Warning and a six-way power-adjustable passenger seat. The wheels come wrapped in 245/40 R19 Pirelli P Zero tires, which deliver all-season traction control. The tires are designed with a variable size tread pattern to minimize noise inside the cabin of the Sonata SEL Plus. Several features have been implemented in the tires to compact aquaplaning including circumferential grooves and lateral sipping.

2021 Hyundai Sonata Hyundai will now offer the model with Pirelli tire.Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

Safe Exit Assist has been added to Sonata SEL, SEL Plus, and LImited trim levels. It uses existing blind spot monitoring technology to warn the driver and passengers if oncoming traffic is detected while the car is parallel parked. The audible and pop up messaging (in the instrument cluster “Watch for Traffic" is displayed) in an effort to prevent back-seat passengers from stepping out into traffic, and possibly harm's way.

"The 19-inch wheels and tires make a beautiful looking car look and perform even better," said Scott Margason, director of product planning, Hyundai Motor North America. "After listening to our early 2020 Sonata buyers, we were quickly able to add power height adjustment to the passenger seat on the Limited trim. In addition, across the lineup we've added Safe Exit Warning that gives drivers a second set of eyes to let them know if it's safe to open the doors on the driver's side of the vehicle when parallel parked on a busy city street."

Hyundai will continue to offer the same engine, powertrain, and features options for buyers. Each model will be backed by the company's extended warranty and come with the Hyundai Complimentary Maintenance program, which includes oil and filter changes plus tire rotation at normal factory-scheduled intervals for 3 years or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first.

Hyundai will begin selling the 2021 Sonata at dealerships this August.

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All-electric MINIs account for 10 percent of all MINI sales.

Photo courtesy of MINI

MINI is a tiny car company with big plans. The automaker is planning to realign their model range focusing on improving drivetrain technology, vehicle segments, and services of the future. Committing to the crossover and premium compact segments and strengthening the company's market position in China are also on the roster. The heart of those plans is a shift toward electromobility.

"MINI was always the answer to very special challenges relating to individual mobility. And the willingness to reinvent the status quo continues to shape the brand to this day," commented Bernd Körber, Head of MINI. "Alongside electromobility, harnessing new target groups and sales markets will be crucially important for the future of MINI."

1959 Morris Mini-Minor MINI's history goes back a long time. Here, the 1959 Morris Mini-Minor.Photo courtesy of MINI

In the 20 years since the brand was relaunched, around four million vehicles have been produced at MINI's plan in Oxford, England. and delivered to more than 100 countries across the world.

The MINI lineup is now broader than ever before. The roster has expanded include the MINI Countryman in a very competitive vehicle class. About 40 percent of all the brand's vehicles sold across the world, are in this class. John Cooper Works versions of the cars account for approximately five percent of the total sales of the MINI brand. Electrified models are steadily gaining in popularity, traditionally amounting to five percent of the brand's total sales. That number jumped to 10 percent following the launch of the MINI Electric.

MINI has hinted that more efficient combustion engines (diesel and petrol) and additional electric vehicles are in the future. A completely electrified model family is on the horizon.

"We are pursuing the Power of Choice approach followed by the BMW Group through our broad range of advanced petrol and diesel engines, the plug-in hybrid system and all-electric drive, in order to meet the needs and aspirations of our customers throughout the world," said Körber. "This enables us to create the conditions for further growth in global automobile markets."

The future core portfolio of all-electric vehicles will include the MINI 3-Door Hatch, a new crossover model in the small-car segment, and a compact crossover model. The brand's small-car models and a crossover model in the compact segment will be available with internal combustion engines.

The new crossover model will only be offered with an all-electric drivetrain. The next-generation Mini Countryman will be available with both combustion engines and an electrified drivetrain.

In light of the upcoming changes, MINI is promising that MINI models will not lose their identity.

"It is part of our responsibility to the brand and the community to preserve the unique character of MINI," says Bernd Körber. "That is why every new model from our brand in future will be unmistakably a MINI."

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Kia has begun research and development into a new round of military vehicles.

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Kia is looking to strengthen its position to win military contracts. The company has revealed plans to develop a new standard platform for next-generation military vehicles. The project is a joint effort between Kia and the South Korean government and part of Kia's larger Plan S mid- to long-term strategy.

The development program will replace the Korean military's current 2.5- and 5.0-ton vehicles. It will also develop new bullet resistant vehicles. Each of the standard vehicles will be equipped with the latest commercial technologies, including a 7.0-liter Diesel engine and transmission system, anti-lock brakes, an anti-spin regulator, rear parking assist, around view monitor, satellite navigation, and hot wire seats.

The platform approach will allow Kia to develop additional vehicles for derivations in the future. This includes models with a range of weapons systems and those with more specialized technologies. The vehicles, which use the bare chassis of the Kia Mohave SUV, are also able to be used in a variety of fields outside the military including industrial and leisure.

Kia has developed a conceptual brief of the All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs). The company is actively carrying out advanced research and development into several areas of vehicle tech including autonomous driving technology, which Kia says could help deliver supplies.

Additionally, efforts are being made to understand how hydrogen fuel cell vehicles can have a place in future vehicle endeavors. Kia's parent company, Hyundai continues to strengthen their position in regard to the future of hydrogen in the place of gasoline as a fuel for vehicles. Fuel cells can also supply electricity in combat environments.

Kia will begin manufacturing prototypes of mid-size standard vehicles this year and have them undergo evaluations by the Korean Government in 2021.

The technology and knowledge gained from this testing is expected to be employed in future road-going SUVs.

Kia has already produced a range of vehicles for the Korean military, among others. This includes 0.25-, 1.25-, 2.5- and 5-ton models. To-date, Kia has supplied nine model types and 100 derivatives, and produced a total of 140,000 military vehicles.

Kia created Korea's first multipurpose tactical vehicle, a light tactical vehicle that replaces the existing 0.25- and 1.25-ton vehicles. The model was equipped with the engine, automatic transmission, and brake system from the Mohave, and added commercial technologies and military specifications, including electronic four-wheel drive.

The automaker intends to have their vehicles ready for military deployment from 2024, following standardization and initial production tests.

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