The highlight of our program is the sixth generation Elantra test. Hyundai elantra
When testing a German or, say, a French car, you only think about it. Testing Korean, especially in South Korea itself, one involuntarily asks the question: how did this small and in the recent past, a poor country manage to become industrial and confidently enter the twenty leaders of the world economy?
Until fifty years ago, South Korea was poorer than Nigeria and Somalia. There were no multi-storey buildings in the country, and sewage was considered a luxury even in Seoul. Only one in ten could afford to eat rice regularly. Peasants, fleeing hunger, boiled grass and tree bark.
In 1961, the military took over, led by General Park Chung Hee, a former teacher. He used the power of the dictator not to create a cult of his personality, but to boost the economy, and this was the beginning of the "Korean economic miracle."
There were no minerals in the country, but it was a very hardworking and disciplined - though poorly educated people. Therefore, the first five-year plan provided for the development of light industry, where technologies are relatively simple and cheap. With American loans, they built factories, bought raw materials, and products - clothes, fabrics, toys - were sold abroad. A considerable part of the loan money was invested in the development of education. The economy revived and began to grow before our eyes.
From India to America.
The East is a delicate matter: journalists are welcomed here, but they themselves decide what information they need. China was especially successful in this: I remember that at the Cheri press conference in Shanghai, the hosts themselves formulated questions for themselves - three on each topic - and invited the journalists in the hall to choose by electronic voting … Our dear friends from Hyundai Motor were simpler: instead of the car factory, where we were rushing, they took us to that very SIC - they say, it is more important to you. There was a certain sense in this: a modern car plant is a car plant in Africa, all of them are more or less similar for eminent manufacturers. But nevertheless, we were upset - we wanted to see how the new Elantra is being made (in Korea it is known as Avantte).
By the way, Hyundai Motor does not have a car plant in Africa yet. But there are in India, Turkey and China with a total capacity of about one and a half million cars a year, in the state of Alabama (where, in particular, Elantra is made for the North American market), as well as in Russian St. Petersburg (this plant has recently been commissioned and can produce up to 150 thousand cars annually). And, naturally, Hyundai Motor has enterprises in its homeland: in Asan (cars for export), in Chezhou (trucks, buses, special equipment) and in Ulsan. Koreans call Ulsan Automobile Plant the largest in the world: it employs 34 thousand people, it covers an area of 5 square meters. km and is capable of producing 5600 cars daily (up to two million a year!)
Walk with "Elantra"
The highlight of our program is the sixth generation Elantra test. We drove about 200 km, but - in a column, behind the leader: probably, the owners feared that in the absence of navigators the language would not reach Seoul …
The new Elantra is much more like the fifth generation Sonata than its predecessor. The modest appearance was replaced by a bright and stylish one - this happens in TV shows, where a cute "gray mouse" from a province turns into a victorious metropolitan beauty. The design, like that of the new Sonata, is based on the concept of Fluidic sculpture - “liquid (fluid) sculpture”. The body has almost no straight lines familiar to Europeans - it looks flowing, as if it belongs not to the earth, but to the water element. In length, the car added only 5 mm (now 4530), but in width - 50 mm. And the wheelbase has increased by 90 mm. The last two figures speak for themselves: the interior has become very spacious. It is comfortable to sit behind and three of us - however, provided that your height is not more than 180 cm: the falling roofline looks, of course, beautiful, but you are unlikely to like to rest your head against the ceiling. The convenience of the tall rear passengers was sacrificed for the sake of the now fashionable mixture of styles: the new "Elantra" can be considered both a sedan and a four-door coupe. It is interesting that the rear seat was equipped with heating: is this not a kind of compensation for tall ones?..
But even in the more powerful version, the Elantra is not intended for racing: it is a solid and comfortable family car. He has a roomy (450 l) trunk and many different places in the cabin for improvised things. And, what is very important, in the new generation Elantra has become safer: it has six airbags and curtains, and the rigidity of the load-bearing structure of the body is increased by almost 40%.
We will conduct a full-fledged test of the new Elantra in different modes and on different roads in Ukraine: this Korean beauty is already at the official dealerships. A choice of two engines (1, 6 and 1, 8 liters), two transmissions (6-speed "mechanics" and automatic) and three configurations (Classic, Comfort and Premium). Price - from 152 100 to 204 100 UAH.
Alignment with the goddess
Where can you see Venus de Milo in most other countries? In museums, but certainly not on the streets. But in South Korea, I met her every day in offices and shop windows. At first it seemed to me very strange: where is Korea, and where is ancient Greece! But then I realized: Venus is a symbol of perfection, and Koreans strive for it, at least in their work. Otherwise they cannot. This became the basis of their "economic miracle" - a miracle without miracles.