Why Hyundai should let U.S. take redesigned wagon for a spin

Next week Hyundai will debut the redesigned i30, a stunning wagon adopting Hyundai's fluidic sculpture design.
Rick Kranz is product editor for Automotive News.

Lost opportunity or smart decision?

Hyundai's i30 wagon is sold around the globe. Here's it's called the Elantra Touring.

This is a rare car in an industry that has gone crossover crazy. The solid, low-priced, very functional compact wagon has received a long list of accolades from journalists worldwide.

So the next model should be even better, right?

Well, drivers here won't know.

Next week the redesigned i30 will debut, a stunning wagon adopting Hyundai's fluidic sculpture design. The car's world debut is slated at the Geneva auto show.

Surprisingly, the wagon isn't headed to U.S. showrooms. Hyundai believes a five-door hatchback has more appeal.

"We liked it better," said John Krafcik, Hyundai Motor America CEO. "We thought it fit our image better -- sport plus function. In many ways the Elantra GT is like a Veloster [with its] youthful appeal."

Additionally, Krafcik said, the Elantra GT's suspension is tuned for driving, "very much in the European vein." The electric power steering has three driving modes -- comfort, normal and sport -- that can be changed to varying road conditions at any time.

"I think that approach better suits the five-door hatch as opposed to the larger wagon," he said during an interview this month at the Chicago Auto Show.

The 2013 Elantra GT "is like a Veloster [with its] youthful appeal," says John Krafcik, CEO of Hyundai Motor America.

I respectfully disagree.

I think a beautifully styled, nice-handling wagon priced under $20,000 with the same engineering attributes mentioned above would draw more buyers than the GT hatchback. Simply, the GT lacks the head-turning styling that we've become accustomed to expecting from Hyundai.

I'd put my money on the next-gen i30 wagon.

ATTENTION COMMENTERS: Automotive News has monitored a significant increase in the number of personal attacks and abusive comments on our site. We encourage our readers to voice their opinions and argue their points. We expect disagreement. We do not expect our readers to turn on each other. We will be aggressively deleting all comments that personally attack another poster, or an article author, even if the comment is otherwise a well-argued observation. If we see repeated behavior, we will ban the commenter. Please help us maintain a civil level of discourse.

Email Newsletters
  • General newsletters
  • (Weekdays)
  • (Mondays)
  • (As needed)
  • Video newscasts
  • (Weekdays)
  • (Weekdays)
  • (Saturdays)
  • Special interest newsletters
  • (Thursdays)
  • (Tuesdays)
  • (Monthly)
  • (Monthly)
  • (Wednesdays)
  • (Bimonthly)
  • Special reports
  • (As needed)
  • (As needed)
  • Communication preferences
  • You can unsubscribe at any time through links in these emails. For more information, see our Privacy Policy.