The car-buying public here in SA is a fickle bunch, a vast majority being brand-blind and usually quite unaccepting of new things. A lot of this can oddly be attributed to politics, because when the world’s most popular automakers were on the rise only a handful of brands were sold in SA due to a combination of sanctions and the political climate. The brands that managed to stay were all the public really had access to and so your dad’s dad will swear blind that one of these brands is the best ever and nothing can compare. While that still carries water for the most part, newer and unfamiliar brands can offer up really good products. The families that have handed down the brand bias are the ones that control the market though, which means the rest of us willing to buy left-field cars are left with smaller choices because these automakers can’t take chances on spending bazillions to release a new model that directly competes with an old favourite because the sales will suck and money will be lost. Even though Hyundai isn’t really a new kid on the SA block when it comes to the more premium choices for the brand there’s a hard battle that needs to be fought. There are no problems in segments like compact hatchbacks because the cars on offer are really good with a high spec list that makes them very competitive in the market and so there are thousands of these around with refreshed models appearing often. It’s the premium/performance segments where the struggle remains. Take the i30 N, it’s a powerful turbocharged hatchback with an electronic non-slip differential and all the right numbers and features to make it a healthy competitor. It’s priced damn well, but buyers in this segment continue to pay more for similar-spec cars, or they’d rather spend the same money on a demo version of the usual suspects.
Take a look at the YouTube video from the folk at Hyundai who put this little presentation together to show off the latest refresh on the Elantra N model, a turbocharged mid-size sedan with brilliant performance, a host of race-inspired features and great dynamic handling all wrapped up in one very tasty package. This is one of those cars that would do well here in SA if only the buying public could see past the usual brand choices. Maybe one day, until now we only get to drool over official media releases of the Hyundai Elantra N: Hyundai N | The New Elantra N - Performance Film | Hyundai N Worldwide
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