Our cover this issue is something that has changed people’s mind. The Hyundai Santa Fe was first looked upon as a lesser choice in the market of similarly-sized SUVs. It had a few different things going against it, not the least of which was nationality. It was also not truck-based and therefore perceived as less rugged. It was compared to some pretty stellar-looking industry stalwarts and some default-choice contenders. To be honest, it almost didn’t make the final cut for one of our C! Corporate purchases.
That corporate choice is still with us five years down the line. The C! Group at one point had three of them, in all forms, either as corporate or personal vehicles. The Santa Fe itself has become firmly planted in its segment, and has been pushing further up the price ladder as well. It has been said that the new Santa Fe’s worst enemy is the old Santa Fe. A good percentage of buyers don’t want to change, or don’t want to pay so much more for something that was a great bargain back then. Still, the vehicle continues to push onward and upward. As we all should.
Now we have the Grand Santa Fe, as broken down for us by Steven Yu. It will face the same questions as the previous one, the same wonder about quality and price and comparison to names that are, or were, considered more upscale. We are pretty sure we will see those questions and the answers for them will go the same way the previous set went. It should be fun to watch.
Other fun things this month include a seat in the new Toyota Wigo, a little car setting out to grab a large share of the entry level market. Angel gives us that one. Kevin puts in two big boy drives, a Jeep Grand Cherokee Diesel and a Lexus RX 350 F-Sport.
Nics gets back into a Honda CR-Z and tells us why it may well be the standard bearer for the passion for Hondas past. We also present Part 1 of the nominees for this year’s Annual C! Awards.
This issue has everything from Americans using Diesel to motorcycles evoking monuments, from big burners to tiny tots of both the two and four wheeled kind. We have several different looks into what companies see as the future of what we love.
Along with this is the future of what we love ourselves. Our magazine has been around for over thirteen years now, and we are looking at making some changes. I could tell you it is all about looking at the future, about seeing things forward, about balance, about mix. Or I could say I just got tired of not getting to do more of the fun stuff that was the reason I have been around since before the first drive.
It is nice to be reminded how many people base their most serious decisions and purchases on what we and those in this industry think and say and do. It is flattering and it is daunting. It is a challenge that we shall lean into once again.
We have the amazing, modest, humbling ability to sit with people and chat about what we love, about what classic Toyotas would be best to start working on now as a project car. About how to learn to really drive off road. About how it feels to try and brake later while going three hundred into a corner, and how it feels to survive that. About seeing someone’s face the first time they get out of a Ferrari, and about the first time they get behind the wheel of anything.
I was sitting at a dinner recently, and our automotive company host said they were surprised that I was there, that I didn’t send someone else given the other title I hold in our corporate structure. I looked at him and said, you know, we just really love this stuff. We love being around it, learning it, and sharing it. So how could we not be here to soak up everything we can get our hands on (family time permitting, of course!) Our job, as we sometimes don’t remember as much as we should, is to take all that and give it to you guys. We are, as always, a work in progress. May we leave you with a laugh, a smile, a chuckle here and there, and a little more wisdom and knowledge than the day before. All the stuff you have given us, every day.
Carl S. Cunanan