Let's start this by simply saying how awesome yet hard this trip was. Yeah it was an awesome experience and one of the best automotive events I've had the chance to attend but I was going away from my family during a difficult time. Nevertheless, I learned a lot of valuable information not only about Hyundai and their new vehicles, but the automotive journalism industry. Hyundai has come a long way and is dedicated to making their driver's lives better. In fact all of their Sonata trim models come standard with Blind Spot Detection (BSD) and Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA). Safety and value are defintely a priority for  Let's get into how Hyundai allowed me to give back to the community and drive through the amazing roads of Southern California!

I arrived in San Diego for the second time after a brief flight from Houston, found the chauffeur waiting for me at baggage claim ( I thought I was going to be riding in a shuttle with other attendees lol ), and got dropped off at the Lodge at Torrey Pines. In case you don't recall or haven't read it, I was in San Diego earlier this year and I was excited to be back in one of our favorite places! I had plenty of time to settle in and explore the area, have some lunch, and catch up with friends. The place was beautiful, overlooking the golf course and the sunset over the Pacific horizon. I had my first look at the new 2018 Hyundai Sonata and was impressed by the redesigned front fascia and rear bumber. The Sonata gives off a more sporty look and most definitely feels sporty too. The cascading front grill has more presence along with the LED DRL's ( Daytime Running Lights) and looks awesome coming up in the rear view mirror! 

I was looking forward to this media launch because my first experience with a Hyundai vehicle was great for our family and I wanted to learn more about the brand and their vehicles. I partnered up with our friend Lizza from XOXO Lizza and sat through a presentation that showed the pre-release of the newest commercial ad, "Duet",  airing on TV starting this week, along with specs, design, and technology. Th higher trim model Sonata's offer Clari-fi, which restores the natural sound of recording that is lost to compression. Good example of compression can be heard on XM Radio. The Harman Kardon speakers offered a quality sound experience! We both connected to Bluelink, which allows your smartphone to connect to the vehicle, turn on the car, flash the lights, turn on the climate control and other commands. This was my first chance to get a feel for the interior of the Sonata and I will admit that I was pleased with the aesthetics and space. Soon we were off on our way on what an amazing race type scavenger hunt! This was exciting as we took off towards our first destination with the 245HP and 260 Lb.Ft. of torque delivered from the 2.0L Turbocharged direct injection engine. The drive was comfortable, smooth and yet sporty. The Sonata has a sport tuned suspension and an 8 speed automatic transmission with SHIFTRONIC. The Dual Clutch Transmission was pretty quick and smooth. Paired with the paddle shifters, only a fun and sporty drive awaits.

We were the first ones to arrive at Helen Woodward Animal Center and deliver some goods for the shelter. It felt so good to do something nice for someone through #randomactsofbetter ! We hanged out there for a while while others caught up and had the chance to play with the puppies and take some pics. Soon after we took off toward our lunch location which was held at the historic Julian's Grille, in Julian California. There was about an hours worth of driving between locations and I really got a feel for the car both on open road, canyon roads and normal city traffic. 

I didn't get pics of the awesome food there but if you ever find yourself in the town of Julian, make sure you stop by and have some of their famous pie! The town has a huge American flag over its local corner store and we made sure to get a photo of this for you all to see! There was also a cool direction post with many signs on it so I made sure to get a picture of that too. The road to our next location, the Rady Children's Hospital, was one was excited for and couldn't wait to donate all the toys and books we had for them in the spacious 16.5 cu. ft. of trunk space! Due to security and safety reasons, we were not allowed to go in and greet the kids but my heart goes out to them and I'm glad that I delivered some happiness to those in need.

 The good deeds were not over and neither was the drive with the Sonata. I took some time to take a real close look at all the changes of the exterior. The biggest takeaway is the front fascia, the rearbrake lightss are slimmer and there is a black diffuser panel in the rear. You can also tell that the license plates have been moved down and the there is no trunk latch from the outside. Hyundai placed the new button within the Hyundai badge. Looks great!

We had one more stop to make and it was another #randomactsofbetter ! We were going to pay it forward at a nearby Starbucks. We had to wait a bit for the next person to come through the drive through but a nice woman with her kid drove up and seeing their reaction to a good deed was priceless! I got it on my Instagram Stories so  make sure you follow me there so you don't miss out on all the behind the scenes and all the random happenings! The drive was nearing to an end but there were some more awesome activities left for day 1. I rested up a bit, facetimed my wife and Camila, took in some views from the room balcony, finished up some editing, and made my way down to the lawn for some painting and cocktails. I'm not that good at painting but the compliments made me think I was awesome at that kind of stuff lol. Needless to say, I had a great time and I had a great impression of the new Sonata. 

Between the painting and the dinner, I took the opportunity to take a quick walk to the cliffs and get some pictures of the sunset. It was breathtaking! I was looking for a way to get down to the shore but it was getting dark and I wasn't willing to take a fall over 150 feet lol. No way. I made my way back and chatted with some awesome content creators, influencers, and PR representatives. I called it a night a bit early since I needed to catch up on the video editing and so I could talk to Camila before going to sleep.

My painting along the new 2018 Sonata

Sunset At Torrey Pines Cliffs

I was excited for the following day! We were going to have the first look and drive of the new Elantra GT and GT sport! The day started with breakfast, the briefing of the new Elantra and then we got to drive the vehicles to where our activities were taking place. I opted for the kayaking cave tour in La Jolla. The Elantra GT is a compact hatchback with enough cargo space to beat some of the vehicles in the crossover SUV sector. 55 cu. ft. of cargo space is spacious! The exterior looks sporty, edgy, and just like any hatchback should be, fun!  The road down to La Jolla shores is really nice and I got to feel the suspension, the seats, the infotainment system and the overall experience that Hyundai brings to the market. I'm a young dad that loves to drive and I really enjoyed driving the Elantra GT. The Elantra GT Sport's interior is one you should definitely check out for yourself in person! It looks GOOD! I can't wait to see more of these in the street! 

The kayak tour was awesome! I'm still new to kayaking but Lizza and I did a pretty decent job of not hitting other kayaks or scuba divers near the caves. I got to see the California Sea Lions up close but the highlight of the tour was going inside the cave and taking some quick pictures since the swells going in were starting to get rough. This was an experience I want to go back and share with my family! Check out the vlog to see the whole experience. 

The GT has 162HP and 150 lb. ft. of torque coming from a 4 cylinder 2.0 Liter engine. You get the 6 speed automatic transmission with SHIFTRONIC and a drive mode select. The sport mode was fun and responsive. After the kayak tour, I suggested we drive up Mount Soledad for some panoramic 360 degree views of San Diego. I found this place by accident back in March haha. This was the last drive of my trip to San Diego and I'm excited to see what else Hyundai can bring to the automotive market! See the vlog and the rest of the cool pictures down below!

See The Whole Experience In The Vlog Below

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Looking at the sunset on the cliffs at Torrey Pines

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