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During the Great Recession, Hyundai set sales records while other automakers struggled for survival. But what’s next now that the competition has regained its footing?

In 1988, the Hyundai Excel set the first-year U.S. sales record for an import car when approximately 126,000 found homes within the car’s first 12 months on sale. The bargain-basement economy car had a rock-bottom price of $4,995, which was hugely appealing, until the bottom dropped out of Hyundai’s image. The car buying public soon realized the Excel was woefully unrefined and unreliable. Fast forward almost a quarter of a century, and the South Korean automaker is totally unrecognizable from its former self. With some of the best warranties in the business, not to mention the recent infusion of dramatic design onto models like the Sonata sedan and Veloster 3-door coupe, Hyundai not only weathered the global economic downturn, it went about setting innumerable sales records. With the economy limping to recovery, and other automakers racing to roll out new models, can Hyundai continue its run of success for another model year?

Reasons to Check Out a Hyundai in 2013:

  1. Hyundai has long touted its 10-year powertrain warranty, which is applicable to the original owner and covers “normal use and maintenance.” Sorry, you probably won’t win an argument with the dealer if the supercharger you attached to an Azera goes pop. Now Hyundai is offering customers a guaranteed trade-in value when they return to buy a new vehicle with 2-4 years of ownership. We’ll leave it to you to read all the fine print, but there’s no doubt it’s another bold move – and another step towards exorcising any lingering worries about the brand’s dependability and quality.
  2. Like its corporate sibling, Kia Motors, Hyundai has injected tons of style into its lineup. The sedan-meets-coupe lines of the midsize Sonata have often been compared to German luxury sedans -- and in some cases, the Hyundai (arguably) comes out the winner in terms of its exterior. No, we’re not kidding. And yes, we’re prepared for some testy Teutonic-themed emails.
  3. Hyundai is having some fun too. Just check out the layout of the Veloster, which has a single door on the driver’s side, and two points of entry on the passenger’s. Okay, it’s not for everyone – from some angles it kind of looks lik....
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