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|Spied: 2012/13 Hyundai Accent/Verna, 2012 Hyundai Genesis, and Ram 1500 2-Mode Hybrid|
|Written by Rich Truesdell|
|Wednesday, 25 August 2010 17:50|
A good day's shooting in Death Valley with the mercury touching 125 degrees
In the past, if a spy shooter caught a disguised Hyundai prototype, no one got too excited. But with Hyundai on a roll, every new introduction is important. Arriving at my favorite hunting grounds, I encountered a trio of 2012/13 Hyundai prototypes. The one seen here is obviously a five-door, B-segment entry, possibly the replacement for the current Accent and which might be called the Verna (shown in Beijing earlier this year as a four-door sedan). What's interesting from these shots is the blanket covering the hood. Might Hyundai be extending its Blue Sport hybrid technology two segments down from its über-popular mid-sized Sonata? Time will tell, but with their bold claim to meet a fleet average of 50 m.p.g. in 15 years, nothing can be discounted from the South Koreans. They are now a contender in every mainstream category in which they compete.
About the same time I caught sight of the compact Hyundais, I encountered three of the mid-cycle refresh Genesis luxury sedans. Hyundai's current top U.S. model will get a nose job and a tummy tuck at the rear. The first two, which I spotted at a shaded rest stop, sported different wheels and rear fascia than the third car, which I saw on the road. That vehicle was equipped with different wheels and what appeared to be larger exhaust outlets at the rear. Is Hyundai readying a HiPo Genesis to go head-to-head with the BMW M5? I wouldn't be surprised.
And finally, I came across several completely undisguised Ram 1500 pickups. Upon closer examination, I figured out why: They are near-production-ready versions of the rumored 2-Mode Hybrid version. Judging by the complete lack of cloaking, I'd assume they are undergoing final validation, possibly to establish their published tow ratings. Don't be surprised if the Ram is an early-introduction 2012 model to reach showrooms in the spring. In the meantime, I've heard that the 2012 Dodge Daytona SRT8 and 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee are also testing in the vicinity. I'm keeping my eyes open.