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Aaron's Cars Blog
By Aaron Gold, About.com Guide to Cars since 2004

I was going to post my Euro-spec Honda Civic Diesel test drive today, except when I proofread it, I realized that what I'd written wasn't so much a review as a form of general anesthetic. So you'll forgive me if I take a couple more days to get it right.

Meanwhile, let me tell you about my visit to Hyundai. I arrived on the same day as the sales numbers for January 2009. While the industry as a whole was down 37% over last year, Hyundai sales rose by over 14%, driven largely by the Sonata and Santa Fe. So, needless to say, everyone was in a pretty good mood. I'm working on transcribing my interview with John Krafcik, Acting Pres and CEO of Hyundai America, and once again I want to thank everyone who suggested questions. Turns out a lot of us were thinking along the same lines, and my interview touched on topics such as Hyundai's performance-car strategy, future models and technologies, and what exactly is up with the whole Genesis name thing.

Speaking of Genesis, in what appeared to be a thinly-disguised attempt to kiss my butt -- which, I might add, totally worked -- John brought along a set of keys to a Genesis Coupe, which he let me take for a quick spin. (In his defense, he waited until after the interview to let me drive it. Which was a great incentive to finish on time.) Driving impressions are embargoed, which means I'm under a gentleman's agreement not to tell you what it was like... but I will say that if you're thinking about buying a Nissan 370Z or a Volkswagen GTI, you might want to wait until later this month, when the Genesis Coupe arrives in dealerships.

John also brought to my attention something I missed -- when Nissan announced that the Versa 1.6 was going to be the cheapest car in America, Hyundai responded by cutting the price of the base-model Accent. There's a bit more to the story, though, and I've laid it out in my newly-updated list of the least-expensive cars of 2009. I have test drives of the cheap Versa and the cheap Accent booked for late February and early March respectively, so we'll really find out what's what. -- Aaron Gold



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