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AUTO INDUSTRY : Hyundai's Redesigned Cars, Including 1995 Sonata, Win Praise From Critics

August 10, 1994|John O'Dell, Times staff writer

Hyundai, whose dismal reviews by auto writers in past years had threatened to make it the Rodney Dangerfield of the auto world, has been winning some respect of late with its redesigned cars.

Most recently, Car and Driver magazine ranked the Korean auto maker's 1995 Sonata third in its September edition comparison of six family sedans with price tags under $20,000.

The Sonata outscored the Chevrolet Lumina, which placed sixth, Subaru's Legacy and the fourth-place Toyota Camry, which placed first in the magazine's four-door comparison last year.

Honda's Accord placed first on this year's list, with the Dodge Intrepid in second place. Hyundai, with 86 points, wasn't far behind: the Dodge scored 89 points, and the Honda got 90 on a scale of 100.

Car and Driver ranked the Sonata at the top of the pack with a perfect 10 for convenience features and amenities--including driver's seat height adjusters, seat comfort that "is well above average" and a Mitsubishi-designed V-6 engine "that throws dust at all the others" from 0 to 60 m.p.h. and also posted the highest top speed of the pack at 118.

"We're very pleased. This will make our American employees and Korean partners at the factory work even harder," said H. Doug Mazza, chief operating officer at Hyundai Motor America Inc., the car maker's Fountain Valley-based importer and distributor.

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