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Hyundai has been on a mission to turn their fortunes around with hard work, smart engineering and a dogged determination to improve. The 2007 Santa Fe has just gone from the dubious rating of "poor" to a trifecta of "good" in front, side, and rear collisions by the IIHS. The '07 Santa Fe owes its dramatic and positive swing in the IIHS ratings to standard Stability Control and several improvements to the seats and head rest. The IIHS "good" trophy will look terrific on Hyundai's mantel alongside the Santa Fe's five-star NHTSA rating for front and side impact.

This is more good news for Hyundai that's on a bit of a roll. The Veracruz just beat out the Lexus RX350 in a Motor Trend comparison, RWD luxury vehicles with V8 engines will soon be in the lineup, and quality scores have improved dramatically. If we were Toyota, we'd be sweating the sleeper company from South Korea right about now. Check out the full press release after the jump.

[Source: IIHS]
Hyundai Santa Fe earns 2007 TOP SAFETY PICK award

ARLINGTON, VA - The 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe, a midsize SUV, meets the criteria to earn the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's TOP SAFETY PICK designation. The Santa Fe earned the top rating of good for front, side, and rear crash protection and is equipped with electronic stability control. Now 21 cars, SUVs, and minivans earn TOP SAFETY PICK status.

"The performance of the Santa Fe makes good on Hyundai's promise to provide the highest level of safety to its customers," says Institute president Adrian Lund. The Hyundai Entourage and twin Kia Sedona also earned TOP SAFETY PICK for minivans. The Institute recognizes vehicles with this award to help consumers distinguish the best overall choices without having to sort through multiple crash test results.

"Criteria to win are tough because they're intended to drive continued safety improvements such as high crash test ratings and rapid addition of electronic stability control, which is standard equipment on the Santa Fe," Lund says. The Santa Fe also is equipped with side airbags as standard equipment to protect the heads of people in all three rows of seats.

Redesign improves rear crash performance: Hyundai engineers redesigned the Santa Fe's seat/head restraints to improve performance in rear impacts. The seats and head restraints in this vehicle's predecessor model were rated poor overall. The new seats include head restraints designed to automatically move up and toward the heads of people in the front seats during a rear impact. These new seat/head restraints are rated good overall.

How vehicles are evaluated: The Institute's frontal crashworthiness evaluations are based on results of 40 mph frontal offset crash tests. Each vehicle's overall evaluation is based on measurements of intrusion into the occupant compartment, injury measures recorded on a Hybrid III dummy in the driver seat, and analysis of slow-motion film to assess how well the restraint system controlled dummy movement during the test.

Side evaluations are based on performance in a crash test in which the side of a vehicle is struck by a barrier moving at 31 mph. The barrier represents the front end of a pickup or SUV. Ratings reflect injury measures recorded on two instrumented SID-IIs dummies, assessment of head protection countermeasures, and the vehicle's structural performance during the impact. Injury measures obtained from the two dummies, one in the driver seat and the other in the back seat behind the driver, are used to determine the likelihood that a driver and/or passenger in a similar real-world crash would sustain serious injury to various parts of the body. The movements and contacts of the dummies' heads during the test also are evaluated. Structural performance is based on measurements indicating the amount of B-pillar intrusion into the occupant compartment.

Rear crash protection is rated according to a two-step procedure. Starting points for the ratings are measurements of head restraint geometry - the height of a restraint and its horizontal distance behind the back of the head of an average-size man. Seat/head restraints with good or acceptable geometry are tested dynamically using a dummy that measures forces on the neck.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      about 40% of SasngYoung is owned by the Chinese and SsangYoung has a new Cheif Designer he designed the 2007 SsangYoung Wz which will compete with Mercedes-Benz in Korea
      SsangYoung share some engines with Mercedes-Benz

      Pictures of SsangYoung Wz
        • 8 Years Ago
        Hyundai in Korea mentioned Lexus RX and BMW X5 as competitors when they launched the new Veracruz. Does it make Hyundai a premium brand? Their Equus has been considered as Korean MB S-Class. Does it make Hyundai a premium brand?
        They don't have any premium brand in Korea and that's why all automakers make and sell large sedans with a lot of features and powerful engines which usually competes (PRICE) with lower trims of European premium mid-size sedans such as BMW 528.
        Whatever Ssangyong plans to build, it may compete with premium brand like MB, but that doesn't mean their large sedan competes with MB S-Class. It might compete with the lowest trim of E-Class, or even C-Class.
        Ask anyone(including Korean) who knows Ssangyong if they consider it as a luxury premium brand..and don't be mad when they laugh.
      • 8 Years Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      Hyundai wants to a leader in Style, Performance, crash test ratings, etc...

      Just like how Samsung is a leader in electronics, soon LG will be in second place for electronics Sony is in second place right now
      • 8 Years Ago
      One more point.
      Ssangyong shares engines with MB, it might be an appeal to many people as MB's engines are known to be bulletproof.
      But how about this?
      Chrysler shares A LOT of parts with MB,
      Toyota builds cars using a number of Lexus parts,
      VW shares with Audi, Porsche and Bentley.

      Sharing with MB doesn't really make Ssangyong special.
      • 8 Years Ago
      While picking up my coffee this morning, I noticed a Santa Fe at the Hyundai dealership draped with a banner advertising 'Lifetime Warranty'. I checked the website and its true, the dealership is offering a lifetime warranty on the powertrain of any new Hyundai. They are also upping the bumper-to-bumper to 10 years 100,000 miles. Wow.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Being at the top's tough. Toyota faces a multi-pronged attack from everybody grinding to do what Toyota does as well or better than Toyota. I'm pleased that Hyundai has become so successful and its product has improved so greatly since its U.S. arrival. Now all they need is a big truck.
      ...then again, maybe not.
      • 8 Years Ago
      i never said SsangYound was special
      and the SsangYoung Wz competes with the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 7-Series, and Lexus LS in Korea
      Hyundai isn't a Premium Luxury Brand in Korea they just have Ads that compare the Veracruz with the Lexus RX and etc...
      Hyundai has the same Ads here
        • 8 Years Ago
        Sorry if there was any confusion, but it seems to me you were saying "Ssangyong is a premium brand because it competes with MB and it shares engines with MB". Am I not correct?
        That's why I said Ssangyong might compete with MB but in a different league and that's the same to all other automakers in Korea.
        And that's why I said Chrysler, Toyota, VW all share with premium brands.
        If you say Hyundai is not a premium brand and Ssangyong is, then please tell me what makes Ssangyong considered a premium brand when Hyundai is not.
        No intention to offend anyone, I know they make pretty decent SUVs (although I don't like the style at all), but saying it is a premium brand doesn't make sense at all.
      • 8 Years Ago

      Hyundai is all set to become the next Toyota.
      • 8 Years Ago
      It looks like Hyundai is winning their share of new fans but if push came to shove, would you buy a Hyundai vehicle? I know they are loaded with safety features, creature comforts, inoffensive styling, ect...but can Hyundai break away from their poor reliability reputation? I know their quality has been improving but anyone here know what the long-term quality and reliability of recent Hyundai models? I am genuinely curious because I currently drive an Accord and the lease expires in a month. I am thinking about buying the Sonata after I drove a rental version and was impressed with the quality of the vehicle.

      Please do not mention Camry because I don't care how well the car is made, I simply refuse to side with Goliath.
        • 8 Years Ago
        No one cared about their poor rating then, why should they care now? People buy them because of price and lots of advertising. The writer is wrong about their quality, it has been going down lately along with sales, how about the facts.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I have to partially agree with ChanHo,
        because Hyundai has been growing so fast
        that even the company itself can't handle the growth.

        but...maybe every Koreans drive Hyundai because it's
        their brand. Just like I see buch of Citrogen, Peugeot
        and Renault in france.
        • 8 Years Ago
        Test Drive em all. Don't listen to crybabies like Bryan W. Hyundai has the rep, so they give their customers so much more to compete with Toyota. Why wouldn't you take advantage of this? The whole Korean nation drives Hyundai, so I don't think you need to be concerned with reliability.
      • 8 Years Ago
      From memory, Hyundai started out as a deep-sea engineering company before branching out in auto production.


      David McMahon
      • 8 Years Ago
      And, the fact you claim Wz to be competing with S, 7, A8, LS is nothing better than Hyundai's ad to me. If you want to compare Wz with them, that's fine. Actually it's a pretty good marketing strategy.
      But, would it compete with them in the same price range? Even in its homeland?
      I know a S-Class is at least US$120 - 130K in Korea.
      Would YOU buy a US$130,000 car with Ssangyong emblem? Do you really think the car called Wz competes with the flagship sedans from MB, BMW, Audi, Lexus?
      It's a dream that has never come to Infiniti(Nissan), Acura(Honda), VW, and any American big giants.
      • 8 Years Ago
      See GM & Ford .Someone can beat Toyota!It can be done.
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