Hyundai approves HED-5 i-Mode for production

Hyundai HED-5 i-Mode

We first saw Hyundai's rolling CUV shapeship, the HED-5 i-Mode, back in Geneva, but today at the LA Auto Show is the first time the Korean automaker has shown the car in the States. New to the crossover is a 2.0L gasoline direct injection (GDI) engine that Hyundai plans to roll out in production machines shortly. The new Theta Turbo GDI engine puts out 286 horsepower, which is very impressive for such a small powerplant. Hyundai puts its direct injection and turbo technology to good effect and combines these new features with its Continuously Variable Valve Timing (CVVT) to allow for a 15-20 percent fuel economy increase compared with a standard 2.0L four-banger. Expect to see this new engine make its way into a production car sometime in 2010.

According to Hyundai, the HED-5 has been approved for production and a new six-seat production CUV will hit the market in 2010 that's inspired by its design. Of course, don't expect to see its far-out future-spec interior make it to production, but the GDI engine and general look of the concept is a lock.

Gallery: Hyundai HED-5 i-Mode


Hyundai Blue Drive


Everybody's getting in on the act, I guess. Or at least that's what I thought when Hyundai's latest PR piece landed on my (virtual) desk.

Seems that the Korean car giant isn't taking environmental concerns sitting down, and is pushing ahead with Blue Drive, an environmental initiative intending to bring to market a family of eco-friendly products and establish Hyundai as an environmental leader.

Essentially, Blue Drive is Hyundai's plan to lead all automotive brands in the U.S. in fuel economy by achieving a fleet average of 35 miles per gallon by 2015. That's five years ahead of the NHTSA deadline. They're going to do this by building a gas-electric full hybrid edition of the next-generation Sonata in 2010. The new Sonata will use a parallel hybrid drive system and lithium polymer battery technology, most other hybrids (I'm looking at you Prius) use nickel-metal hydride and planned lithium-ion applications. In short, Hyundai is going to use better batteries and smarter control over the drive train.

Bully for them, if it works. The more efficient we can make cars, the better.

But can they make the thing look a little more normal. I'm not that big a fan of sedans, but I'd take one over the funky French spaceship direction Hyundai is going with in the shot above.

There's the full press release & more photos of how this thing works after the jump.

Hyundai's First U.S. Hybrid System Uses Breakthrough Lithium Polymer Batteries and Leapfrogs Existing Nickel-Metal Hydride and Lithium-Ion Technology

11/19/2008 Hyundai Motor America announced today the launch of Blue Drive an environmental initiative which will bring to market a family of eco-friendly Blue Drive products and establish Hyundai as an environmental leader. With Blue Drive products and technologies, Hyundai will be able to achieve a fleet average of 35 miles per gallon by 2015, five years ahead of government requirements. During a news conference at the Los Angeles Auto Show, the company revealed plans for its first U.S.-market gas-electric full hybrid (to be offered in the next-generation Sonata), introduced a sleek crossover concept powered by a turbocharged gasoline direct injection (GDI) engine, and announced future high-mileage editions of the Accent and Elantra, underscoring its global commitment to sustainable transportation.

Blue Drive At-a-Glance
· Hyundai plans to lead all automotive brands in the U.S. in fuel economy by achieving a fleet average of 35 miles per gallon by 2015, five years ahead of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) deadline, powered by the Hyundai Blue Drive global product strategy.
· Hyundai will begin building a gas-electric full hybrid edition of the next-generation Sonata for the North American market in 2010. This Sonata will use a parallel hybrid drive system and lithium polymer battery technology – leapfrogging competitive in-market nickel-metal hydride and planned lithium-ion applications.
· Near-term, high mileage "Blue" editions of Accent and Elantra will join the Hyundai Blue Drive family in 2009.
· An all-new crossover, shown in concept form with a 2.0-liter Theta turbocharged GDI four-cylinder engine, is green lighted for the U.S. market. The engine will appear in various Hyundai models in the future.
· Long-term, the Hyundai Blue Drive family will be expanded to include Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) and Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEV).

"Hyundai aims to be the most fuel-efficient automaker on the planet," said John Krafcik, vice president, Product Development and Strategic Planning, Hyundai Motor America. "We're aligning our global R&D resources in Michigan, California, Nam Yang, and Frankfurt to develop the Blue Drive technologies we need to achieve our goal – a 35 mpg U.S. fleet average by 2015."


An all-new, homegrown hybrid architecture is at the heart of the Hyundai Blue Drive strategy. Hyundai's proprietary parallel hybrid drive system mates the already fuel efficient 2.4-liter Theta II engine to a 6-speed automatic transmission and a 30kW (205 N-m) electric motor for maximum fuel economy. Hybrid Blue Drive has an all-electric mode and a parallel drive mode. This means the wheels are turned by power coming directly from the gasoline engine, or the electric motor, or both together, as conditions demand. This parallel hybrid drive architecture will serve as the foundation for future hybrid drive vehicles to be developed by Hyundai, starting with the next-generation Sonata in the United States.

To maximize fuel economy, all of the Theta II major driveline and cooling system components have been optimized to reduce friction, while the crankcase has been filled with low friction oil. Engine management software automatically shuts off the engine when the vehicle comes to a halt, cutting emissions to zero. When pressure is reapplied to the accelerator pedal, the Integrated Starter Generator (ISG) automatically restarts the engine. The Theta II's engine management software governing injection pressure, engine cycle timing and exhaust retreatment rates has been revised to further reduce fuel consumption. This control strategy assures that maximum efficiency is achieved during gentle acceleration and greater power is immediately available during full acceleration. During deceleration, braking regeneration comes into play.

In addition, the top three gear ratios in the transmission have been extended to ensure the engine runs at lower RPMs, the latest electric motor-assisted steering system reduces power drain and low resistance tires further optimize fuel economy.


Hybrid Blue Drive is made up of nine major components:
1. An efficient 30kW electric motor delivering 205 N-m of torque
2. A regenerative braking system
3. An integrated starter generator that enables the engine to turn off at stops and restart automatically under acceleration
4. A breakthrough lithium polymer battery package, with 5.3 Ah of capacity at 270 volts
5. Optimized Theta II 2.4-liter engine
6. 6-speed automatic transmission with an improved efficiency electric oil pump
7. Weight-efficient architecture coupled with a low drag coefficient
8. Electric air conditioning compressor
9. Hybrid power control unit


Hyundai's hybrid system stores its electrical charge in a 270V lithium polymer rechargeable battery (5.3Ah/270V) that surpasses existing nickel-metal hydride and pending lithium-ion applications. Lithium polymer batteries are more durable and space-efficient than other hybrid batteries.

Lithium Polymer Batteries vs. Nickel-Metal Hydride Batteries

Compared with nickel-metal hydride batteries, lithium polymer batteries deliver the same power with 30 percent less weight, 50 percent less volume and 10 percent greater efficiency over the nickel-metal hydride batteries found in all of today's hybrids. Lithium polymer batteries offer more than twice the energy density of nickel-metal hydride batteries, and 175 percent greater volumetric energy density, meaning Hyundai engineers can devote less space and weight to the battery pack. Lithium polymer batteries also hold their charge 20 times longer. Lithium polymer batteries also are more resistant to changes in temperature, which improves cycle life. And lithium polymer's self-discharge rate is less than a third of a nickel-metal hydride battery.

Lithium Polymer Batteries vs. Lithium-ion Batteries

Lithium-polymer has significant advantages over lithium-ion batteries, including higher energy density and lower manufacturing costs. Lithium polymer is more resistant to physical damage and can handle more charge-discharge cycles before storage capacity begins to degrade. Lithium polymer technology also offers significant advantages in thermal robustness and safety compared with typical lithium-ion batteries.

A key difference between traditional lithium ion batteries and Hyundai's lithium polymer battery solution is the overall packaging of the cell – the anode, the cathode, the electrolyte, and the encasement material. Traditional lithium-ion batteries, like those found in laptops, use what's known as the 18650 cell format. In this format each mass-produced cell is 18 mm. in diameter and 65 mm. tall, which is a bit larger than a AA battery. Each of these small metal cylinders is filled with a liquid electrolyte which facilitates the movement of lithium ions across anode and cathode, creating the battery current.

Traditional lithium-ion batteries are easy to handle, can withstand mild internal pressures, and have been around in various forms since 1991. That means a manufacturing infrastructure is in place, and scale economies are reasonably high. However, they do have several disadvantages. For example, their cylindrical shape reduces packaging efficiency and they are surprisingly complicated to manufacture since they have so many small parts. These small parts make them robust to thermal fluctuations and add significant cost and weight to the overall battery system. Cell-to-cell consistency also is extremely critical in a vehicle battery package, since the pack is only as robust as its weakest cell. Traditional lithium-ion batteries have considerable cell-to-cell variation, while Hyundai's lithium polymer batteries deliver outstanding cell-to-cell consistency.

Lithium polymer technology uses a completely different approach. Rather than using a liquid electrolyte, which requires a robust metal casing, lithium polymer batteries use a polymer gel as the electrolyte, which allows the use of a thinner and lighter aluminum-walled encasement, or pouch. Inside each lithium polymer cell the cathode, separator, and anode are laminated together, enabling much simpler and more reliable manufacturing. This allows the battery pack to be about 20 percent smaller than a lithium-ion battery pack, making it much easier to change the cell footprint to fit the nooks and crannies of available vehicle space.

Hyundai has spent hundreds of hours testing Hybrid Blue Drive's lithium polymer battery system with its battery supplier, LG Chem. This testing has proven that Hyundai's lithium polymer technology has greater thermal and mechanical stability than existing systems, meaning better safety.

Another key engineering challenge for Hybrid Blue Drive has been assuring maintenance-free battery operation over the vehicle's life – at least 10 years, and 150,000 miles – in all weather conditions. Heat is the enemy of battery cycle life. Hyundai's thermal imaging testing shows how much cooler a lithium polymer battery is compared to today's nickel-metal hydride battery or a conventional lithium-ion battery. Consumers will notice these advantages in improved useful life and lower maintenance costs.



HED-5 i-Mode Concept Vehicle

At the Geneva International Motor Show, Hyundai introduced the revolutionary HED-5 "i-Mode" concept car. Today, Hyundai Motor America is announcing that a production version of this compact, spacious, weight-efficient four-cylinder crossover has been green lighted for the U.S., with timing to be announced at a later date.

Turbocharged Gasoline Direct Injection Technology

The HED-5 concept was shown with an advanced 2.0-liter Theta turbocharged gasoline direct injection (GDI) four-cylinder engine capable of developing as much as 286 horsepower, and delivering more than 30 highway miles per gallon. This engine will appear in various Hyundai models in the future.

By injecting the fuel directly inside the cylinder in a small, precise amount, combustion is improved resulting in higher fuel efficiency and lower exhaust emissions. The performance and response of the engine also improves thanks to intake charge cooling. When direct injection is combined with turbo charging, customers enjoy even better performance and fewer trips to the gas station. Four-cylinder turbocharged gasoline direction injection engines can be 15 – 20 percent more fuel efficient than V6 engines without compromising performance.

Blue Editions

Next year, Hyundai will introduce high mileage "Blue" editions of its Accent and Elantra models. These models will deliver outstanding fuel economy without adding thousands of dollars to the price. In fact, "Blue" models will be priced lower than other models, assuring they will be both efficient and economical.

Hyundai is focused on achieving an excellent MPG-per-dollar ratio with these models. Fuel-efficient modifications include low-rolling-resistance tires, enhanced aerodynamics, revised engine calibrations and reduced final drive ratios to deliver even higher mileage and lower emissions than today's models. These new high mileage editions will be identified with unique "Blue" badging.

Blue Drive Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle

Hyundai is at the forefront of advanced technology research. In September 2005, Hyundai Motor Company celebrated the grand opening of its Eco-Technology Research Institute in Mabuk, Korea, which houses all R&D on environmentally friendly technologies, concentrating Hyundai's efforts to develop alternative powertrains in one state-of-the-art facility.

The ultimate expression of Hyundai Blue Drive TM is the hydrogen-powered Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle, the most promising technology for future transportation. Hyundai is participating in fuel cell verification programs around the world. In the United States, Hyundai has been a member of the California Fuel Cell Partnership (CaFCP) since 2000. The CaFCP is a collaboration of 33 member organizations, including auto manufacturers, energy providers, government agencies and fuel cell technology companies, that work together to promote the commercialization of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

In 2004, Hyundai began a partnership with Chevron Corp. and UTC Power to initiate a 32-vehicle fleet testing program. This five-year cost-sharing program is sponsored by the United States Department of Energy.

Hyundai recently celebrated the successful completion of a 13-day, cross-country road trip that served as the first significant U.S. test for the company's proprietary fuel cell technology. The Tucson Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) on display in the Hyundai booth completed a 4,300 mile journey as part of the Hydrogen Road Tour 2008. Nine auto manufacturers, the U.S. Department of Energy, the California Fuel Cell Partnership, National Hydrogen Association and U.S. Department of Transportation sponsored and participated in the event.

Hyundai is making good progress toward meeting its goal of putting a Hyundai Blue Drive TM Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle in series production as early as 2012.


Hyundai Motor America, headquartered in Fountain Valley, Calif., is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Co. of Korea. Hyundai vehicles are distributed throughout the United States by Hyundai Motor America and are sold and serviced through almost 800 dealerships nationwide.


2009 Toyota Yaris Review

2009 Toyota Yaris 3-door Liftback
2009 Toyota Yaris

New for 2009

For 2009, Toyota introduces a third body style to the Yaris lineup - a five-door hatchback. This will give a greater range of choices to those who need a sub-compact car, without giving up too much interior room. Also added in 2009 are standard anti-lock brakes, front seat-mounted side airbags and front and rear curtain side airbags for all Yaris models. Cruise Control is also now available for the liftback models (why it wasn't available before is beyond me.) A few new color choices are also available for 2009.

Options and Trims

The 2009 Toyota Yaris comes in any of three body styles: a 3-door liftback, 4-door sedan, or 5-door liftback, and two trim levels - base, and S. Base models offer the very basic - A/C, 14 steel wheels, tilt steering wheel, and 4-way adjustable front seats. Stepping up into the S trim gets you a variety of extras, depending on if you go with the hatchback or sedan model, but both give you 15 steel wheels, a CD/MP3 player, and a sport body kit. Other options for all trim levels include alloy wheels, cruise control, upgraded interior, keyless entry, foglights, power accessories, and a rear spoiler.

2009 Toyota Yaris 3-door Liftback rear

Engines and Drivetrain

Every Yaris comes with a 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine producing 106 horsepower and 103 lb/ft of torque. That's not a lot, but keep in mind the Yaris only weighs in slightly over a ton, and is concerned with one thing: economy. The power gets to the front wheels via a standard 5-speed manual transmission or an optional 4-speed automatic (except for the 5-door Liftback, which only gets an automatic.)


2009 Toyota Yaris 5-door Liftback S center consoleEither you love it for the cute-factor, or think it's hideous. The 3-door hatchback design is controversial, but it certainly gets the job done. The Sedan is more conventional in design; you could almost mistake it for a 2009 Toyota Corolla at first glance. The new 5-door hatchback, on the other hand looks more like a stretched version of the 3-door. It's longer, so it doesn't look like a bug, but ends up looking like a mini-mini-van in the process. None of the styles are ugly in my opinion, and are certainly unmistakable as a Toyota Yaris.

Inside, all of the Yaris models scream economy. A very basic and symmetrical layout reminds you that you're in a sub-$15K car, but not necessarily in a bad way. All of the extra space left over from the lack of gadgets leaves tons of little storage compartments at your disposal. The vertical layout of the climate control knobs look as if they've been designed to take up space that would otherwise be unused. The whole instrument panel is in the middle, making you look to the right to check your speed and other info. This was done to cut the costs of converting from right-hand-drive layouts (for countries like Japan,) to left-hand-drive layouts (for most of the rest of the world.) The seats are basically flat sofa cushions attached to each other - very little ergonomics are involved here.


When Toyota dropped off the 3-door hatchback version of the Yaris for us to review, I became concerned for my life. In fact, I didn't even drive it until the next day, due mostly to my fear of either being so cramped inside the tiny car that I'd develop a blood clot, or become so bored driving it that I'd fall asleep at the wheel and crash into something larger than the Yaris…like a squirrel. Boy was I wrong.









2009 Toyota Yaris 5-door Liftback S

What we liked

Despite its incredibly small size, you'd be surprised how much interior room Toyota was able to preserve. While you may not have boatloads of room for cargo, front passengers will have plenty of room (although tall drivers might be slightly cramped,) and you can fit 2 adults and a small child in the back seats of the 4- and 5-door models with reasonable comfort.

One of my main concerns was that the Yaris would be about as fun as watching paint dry. I was wrong. To my surprise, it was actually a fun little car with plenty of personality. It handled nimbly around turns, and responded quickly to your inputs. Both of our test models had the automatic transmission, but I'm sure the 5-speed manual would be better.

We also liked that you can fold the rear seats down (60/40) for much more cargo room in the liftback models if needed. Lastly, we loved the exceptional fuel economy that's possible with the Yaris. Rated at 29 mpg city, 35 highway for the automatic transmission (29/36 for the manual,) it's one of the best in its segment. Drive conservatively, and you'll squeeze out closer to 40 mpg.

What we didn't like

The 1.5-liter engine could use a little bit more pep, but I have a feeling that the automatic transmission had something to do with that. Although I haven't driven it, I think the 5-speed manual would be the better choice for this car if you don't mind driving a stick.

We really didn't like the center-mounted instrument panel, which we didn't get used to even after a week of driving. That alone would make me think about buying a competing model.


Pricing and Warranty

Prices for the Yaris three-door Liftback models range from $12,205 for the Base grade with four cylinder engine and manual five-speed transmission to $14,825 for the S grade with four cylinder engine and four-speed automatic transmission.

The all-new five-door Liftback model prices range from $13,305 for the Base grade with four cylinder engine and four-speed automatic transmission to $15,125 for the S grade with four cylinder engine and four-speed automatic transmission.

Yaris Sedan model pricing ranges from $12,965 for the Base grade with four cylinder engine and manual five-speed transmission to $15,880 for the S grade with four cylinder engine and four-speed automatic transmission.


· 3-year/36,000-mile Comprehensive
· 5-year/60,000-mile Powertrain
· 5-year/unlimited-mileage Corrosion Perforation

2009 Toyota Yaris 5-door Liftback S rear

Before You Buy

Drive both the automatic and manual transmission versions of the car before you make a decision. Unless you commute in heavy traffic frequently or are otherwise against manual transmissions for some reason, go with the stick.

Main Competitors

Honda Fit
Nissan Versa
Hyundai Accent
Scion xD
Chevy Aveo

The Honda Fit and Nissan Versa are the Yaris' most likely competitors. They both offer something unique to the segment, offer different handling characteristics, and can be had at different price points.

2009 Toyota Yaris 3-door Liftback rear seats

2009 Toyota Yaris Family
2009 Toyota Yaris Models