Every Hyundai automobile goes through a series of rigorous tests before driving off the World Car Hyundai lot and into an American driveway. But have you ever wondered about the specifics of this testing? If so, this post is for you.
For Hyundai, the secret to quality autos and high safety ratings lies in the California Proving Grounds, a facility located in the Mojave Desert town of California City.
The California Proving Grounds was designed to test vehicles for every situation and to help develop safe, quality products for North American drivers. The facility, which opened in 2005, tests every next-generation vehicle to its absolute limit on a variety of road types and in the most extreme weather conditions.
"The United States offers many appealing opportunities for Hyundai Motor Company, and we continue to invest to ensure our future here," said Dr. Young Woo Kim, Senior Executive Vice President of the Hyundai America Technical Center in a press release announcing plans for the facility. "The proving ground is an example of our commitment to developing vehicles that meet the unique demands of the American driver."
With 72 miles of testing track, the facility includes a 6.4-mile oval, a 3.3-mile hill, and a three-lane high speed track which allows for a top speed of 155 mph. A 30,000-square-foot complex creates space for indoor testing and offices. Test drivers whip around winding tracks with sharp curves to simulate mountain roads.
If the cars can handle that, they move on to a straight road track, which also happens to be one of the hottest roads in the Mojave Desert, to see how they handle in extreme heat.
Thankfully, all of Hyundai's vehicles go through special engine and air conditioning system reliability tests in controlled hot chambers before they even arrive at the California Proving Grounds, where average temperatures mirror those of south Texas. These systems are tested multiple times for handling, performance, and vehicle stability to see just how much heat the models can endure.
Hyundai also takes its cars and components and exposes them to intense sunlight and scorching temperatures. If the integrity doesn't hold up, the models are sent back for improvement.
Want to see the testing for yourself? Check out this 2008 video for more about the California Proving Grounds.
And this 2010 video, which shows the Genesis Coupe in action at the Proving Grounds.
What do you think about the quality of Hyundai models? Share your thoughts in the comments section.