Attention H-badge shoppers

I think we can retire that “Hyundai = bargain brand” business once and for all.

Consumer Reports has reports on four small SUVs in the May issue. The biggest news is that Hyundai’s Santa Fe in Limited trim is now considered the second most desirable vehicle in this class: it outpoints Toyota’s four-cylinder RAV4, but trails the V6 version (which apparently has never been called “RAV6”). This is a very creditable showing for the Korean marque, but here’s the kicker: of the twenty small SUVs which CR has tested recently, the Hyundai had the highest price as tested: $30,745, one of only three vehicles breaking the $30k barrier. (The 16th-place Jeep Compass Sport is the cheapest, at $21,660.) Admittedly, equipment levels inevitably vary somewhat, but it wasn’t that long ago that Hyundai was competing almost solely on price. Not anymore.

And if they can play alongside Toyota and Nissan, what’s to stop them from playing alongside Lexus and Infiniti? Not a thing. Besides, they still have the best TV spot around.

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