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Korean buffet

Korean buffet

Botchi Santos

Consider these K-Drama stars from Hyundai when you’re in the market for a new ride



Over 20 years ago, Hyundais were the alternative to the Japanese brands. They were the sensible alternative because of low cost, if you were willing to look past the quirky styling, questionable ergonomics, and sketchy driving dynamics.

Today, you buy a Hyundai not just because it’s sophisticated and sexy. And credit goes to the K-Drama phenomenon sweeping over the world.

Don’t let the sharp, stylish exteriors fool you: There is true depth of character, a weighty substance that goes beyond skin deep. From the feature packed interior crammed with the latest in-car infotainment and convenience features to the advanced driver assistance systems that make daily commute safer and more secure, to the oodles of space, the comfort and refinement you associate with luxury cars, the versatility of a Swiss army knife and lastly, well-honed driving dynamics, today’s Hyundais are accomplished, smart and sexy!

The Custin is a surprise. I had borrowed it because my cousins from the US of A were visiting and I needed a comfy roundabout vehicle. Coming from the land of minivans, massive pickups and SUVs, they (along with myself of course) were impressed with the Custin’s space, pace, features and especially the power sliding doors. It drove very well, its 1.5 liter turbocharged engine acquitting itself well with its 168hp and 253 Newton-Meters of torque capable of hauling five adults and matching cargo. The light but accurate steering makes it wieldy and maneuverable through traffic and in tight spaces, with the short nose and narrow width helping it squeeze through tight gaps.

Later, my wife who does content for social media posted it on her channels and many of her followers reached out and commented how they love their Custin, being well worth the price despite being a tad pricey at p2,080,000. But it’s a far more stylish, progressive and sexy option to the default people-mover, the ubiquitous Innova. The one request I would have are paddle shifters or a low-gear mode. At low speeds, the Custon’s 8-speed automatic tends to get confused and on a slippery ramp or inclined road, the last thing you want is the Custin suddenly downshifting and spinning its wheels, losing traction, sliding and you momentarily lose control. Otherwise, it’s a great family car that’s easy to drive.

Next up is the Ioniq 6. The Ioniq 6 is the World Car of the Year 2023 winner, as well as taking World Electric Car of the Year and World Car Design of the Year. The streamliner shape is polarizing: It strikes a very powerful chord that one feels very strongly about. Love it or hate it, the silhouette is unique, one of a kind and very bold and progressive.
The GLS 2WD Long Range variant we get in the country has a 77.4kwh capacity that, together with its 226hp and 350 Newton-Meters of torque propels the Ioniq 6 to a 545-km range which seems believable as it is only consumed ~60 percent worth of charge covering 270 km of driving the week I had it. The rears are roomy, thanks to the flat floor, and the suspension is firm like a sport sedan’s, making it highly enjoyable through winding roads.

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The large LCD display for the instrument cluster and in-car infotainment isn’t as ‘in-your-face’ like BMW’s equally huge curved LCD screen, and the advanced driver’s assistance systems like lane-guidance are reassuring but not intrusive. This is the EV for keen drivers looking to make a style statement.

Lastly is the Santa Fe. It’s one of the cars in the latest K-Drama Police Action / Comedy ‘Crash’ which is about police traffic investigators solving crimes. I can see why Hyundai would give the production team the Sante Fe: It looks tough and rugged, but is surprisingly very spacious and very comfortable inside. Cynics will see that the exterior is ‘inspired’ by the striking Land Rover Defender scaled down to about 90 percent in size (it is lower and feels narrower), but it makes for a very painless and hassle-free in the metro. The road biased tires and suspension make it exceptional on long out of town drives, and the driving aids give a sense of reassurance. Driving position is excellent and gives a commanding and confident view ahead, and the steering is light and easy. It’s a striking crossover SUV that makes better sense than the usual pick up based contenders as the Santa Fe feels more agile and less bulky. It’s also got more interior space, better comfort and refinement. The 2.5 liter turbo 4-cylinder engine in the Calligraphy top variant makes a whooping 277hp and 425 Newton-Meters of torque through an 8-speed dual-clutch transmission. That’s plenty exciting and with the 177-mm ground clearance should be adequate for the trip to the farm in the province to visit your Eomeoni and Haelmioni. (Mother and grandmother)

Thinking of what your next car will be? Keep these Korean K-Drama stars in mind, check them out and enjoy a date, or rather a test drive with these excellent cars before deciding!