Looking to be released from a lease with Hyundai USA as I feel I am driving an unsafe vehicle. Hyundai does not appear to be responsive to the concern

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Nov 7, 2019
I am in a lease on a 2018 Hyundai Tucson SEL. I leased it in May 2018 for 36 months, 36,000 miles. My lease will be up May 2021. A few weeks into leasing the vehicle, I noticed an odd hesitation while accelerating - either from a quick stop and go (rolling) AND from a complete stop. I had read online that the quick stop and go was normal operation of the vehicle, but I was suspect of the lack of acceleration from a complete stop. The problem is that this issue is intermittent and appears to happen more during the warmer times (May - September) of the year. When at a complete stop, I press down on the gas pedal, and the car idles forward. The RPMs will get up to 5000 and then the vehicle will kick and take off. However, this is after 3-5 seconds of the car sitting in idle. This is intermittent.

I contacted my dealership and spoke with the owner. He had not heard of an issues with the Tucsons, but told me to try Sport mode. I tried Sport mode. While I noticed a slightly marked improvement in acceleration, this intermittent hesitation would happen (1-2x a month). I couldn't find a consistent way to reproduce it.

In June 2019, I was almost struck while making a left hand turn across an on-going vehicle that I felt was stopped. During the turn, my car didn't go, but idled into the turn. Again, after 3-5 seconds, the car took off and I cleared. It wasn't necessarily a near miss, but it was enough to make me reconsider my driving habits. I contacted the dealership at this point. They said that not much could be done unless Hyundai sends a software update, but they would do a transmission relearn. I let them do this with the oil change. I felt good for the next week, when nothing happened, but then the issue showed up again.

I filed a case number with Hyundai Consumer Affairs, just to have their attention, and they walked me through securing another appointment. This time - the dealership held onto my car for 2.5 days and provided me with a loaner. They stated they couldn't reproduce the issue, but they reset the programming on the transmission again. I felt good for a short time again, but then the issue reared it's head again.

I re-opened my case with Hyundai Consumer Affairs to let them know that the issue is unresolved. I had another appointment schedule for October, this time wanting to have a technician in the car with me. When I drove the technician around, I wasn't able to produce the issue until the very end. However, it was a 3 second hesitation while the car just climbed in RPMs, but the vehicle didn't move. The technician asked me what kind of car I had previous. I let him know it was a 2009 Hyundai Sonata. He didn't seemed phased at this time. When I arrived back at the dealership, the supervisor at the front desk checked in with the mechanic and told me "Well, that's it." I had asked if they would provide me with documentation that I visited that day, but they said there was nothing to document. I had asked again - stating that I came into their shop with a concern and that I slightly re-produced it. However, they did not agree. I again told them, if you feel that I am overdriving the car, please state that and document it. I informed the supervisor that I can appreciate that being their process, although I disagree with it. In my line of work, even if I felt an issue was not reproducible OR if I felt it was customer error, I would state that and put my name on it. The supervisor informed me that there was nothing that can be done and that they had my issue on file from my last incident.

I notified my Case Manager from Hyundai - letting her know that I wasn't necessarily disappointed with the results, but disappointed with how it was handled. Now, there is nothing in their system from me being there that day. I feel like I demonstrated the issue to that person (70% of the issue, it wasn't the full 5 second delay). I told them that when the lease was up, I would bring the vehicle back and I feel that this vehicle is unsafe. She referred the claim to the Lemon Law group at Hyundai. The Lemon Law team contacted me within 2 days, I explained my case, and within two weeks - the claim was denied, stating it didn't warrant a lemon law claim.

I reached out to a few of their C - Level executives to explain my case and asking for someone to review this case. Again, I've been level headed and just wanting someone to resolve the problem. While this was a long shot, I thought that maybe someone would read it and care enough to push it down the chain to look into.

I responded back to the Lemon Law email about 2 weeks ago contesting their results and explaining my case. No one has responded at this time.

I have spoken with a sales agent at the dealership who could describe my problem without me telling them about it. I came across 3-5 people online who have 2018 Hyundai Tucson (most confirmed as a SEL), who can describe this same issue. It is difficult to reproduce. I find it frustrating that I feel like I partially reproduced and the dealership didn't acknowledge it. I feel like the dealership (or another dealership) should have taken my car for a longer length of time and provided me with a loaner, while they investigate the issue.

Here's the rub:
I have had a 2009 Hyundai Sonata. It still runs great today with over 160,000 miles on it. My wife has a 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT, 56,000 miles which runs great. My parents have a 2013 Hyundai Sonata which runs great. I love mostly everything about this Tucson, except this intermittent acceleration problem. However, I am in a lease and again, I feel the car is unsafe. I approached the dealership about buying it back, but I am in a negative equity position and will take a $6,000 loss just to have it bought out and put into another car.

What I'd like to happen:
I'd like to talk to Hyundai and be let out of my lease. I am not asking for any backed monetary compensation or a replacement vehicle. I would like to be let out of my lease and worked with to put myself into a 2019 Hyundai Sonata or a 2020 Hyundai Sonata, when they come out at a fair, market price. I am willing to give Hyundai another shot at this.

However... if I ride this lease out and sit in this vehicle, there are multiple scenarios that can happen.
1 - If I complete the lease and Hyundai did not attempt to do their diligence with this vehicle, we will not purchase another Hyundai vehicle again.
2 - If I continue the lease and I am in an accident because of this issue (and walk away from it), I will definitely be letting whoever needs to know that I have been complaining about this issue and Hyundai has been negligent in resolving it.

At this time, I have filed a complaint on the vehicle with the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) as I feel Hyundai has not resolved the issue or taken it seriously. This issue is safety related and I feel Hyundai should be responsible and own up to it.
Jan 6, 2015
the United States
This is my understanding of your experience

You visited the dealership twice, and then . . .​
You filed a case with Hyundai Consumer Affairs, and then . . .​
You re-opened the case with Hyundai Consumer Affairs and then . . .​
You visited the dealer again and reproduced the problem, and then . . .​
You notified your Case Manager from Hyundai, and then . . .​
She referred the claim to the Lemon Law group at Hyundai, and then . . .​
The claim was denied, stating it didn't warrant a lemon law claim, and then . . .​
You reached out to a few of their C - Level executives to request a review this case, and then . . .​
You responded to the Lemon Law email ( 2 weeks ago) contesting their results, but no one has responded, so then . . .​
You filed a complaint with the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)​

That said, it is unclear what advice you are seeking at this point. You have already worked with the dealer, the Lemon Law group at Hyundai, and certain Hyundai executives. And once you file with the NHTSA, negotiation with Hyundai becomes more difficult.

However, if you have not yet contacted the executives listed on our site, you can escalate this via email.

* IMPORTANT: when you reach out to the corporate level *
Do not use inflammatory language - be polite and professional
Do not attach files - their email system may discard your email before anyone reads it
Do not start with the CEO - begin at the lowest level in our company contacts shown here: https://www.elliott.org/company-contacts/hyundai/
Present a brief summary (list) and give each contact one (1) week to respond before escalating to the next level
Nov 7, 2019
At this time, I've just re-engaged the dealership's owner this morning to open up a discussion to that. Previously, I've talked to them about getting into another vehicle, but I'm negative equity at this point and the sales agent hasn't moved on the position. So technically, yes I can get out of it, but it'll cost me about $6k.
Nov 8, 2019
this sounds like the nanny system of if the brake pedal is being touched, the car will not advance when pressing the gas pedal. always make sure your foot is off the brake when attempting to move forward. this is common on most if not all newer vehicles.
Nov 7, 2019
this sounds like the nanny system of if the brake pedal is being touched, the car will not advance when pressing the gas pedal. always make sure your foot is off the brake when attempting to move forward. this is common on most if not all newer vehicles.
That's an interesting and good point. I didn't think about that. I was trying to recreate it once and was trying to be diligent to let off of the brake fully, pause, then put my foot on the gas pedal. As I drive with one foot (unlike my dad, who uses one foot on brake and one foot on gas), I wouldn't think I'm touching the brake at the same time as I usually have more separation - but I'll see if I can recreate it by doing that.
Likes: VoR61
Aug 9, 2017
This could also be a case of the Hyundai ISG system. ISG stands for Idle Stop and Go and it essentially turns off the engine when the vehicle is stopped, or shortly thereafter. Different manufacturers call it by different names. Having rented a few cars with the system, I can tell you that at 1st encounter with the system, it seems very strange. When you hit the gas pedal (after a stop) the engine restarts, but not using the normal starter. The restart is accomplished by a manner that is much queiter. You may not even be aware except for the time delay. I have also encountered some rental cars where the behavior may seem erratic when the air conditioning is on. The engine off mode may not occur or be delayed.

The OP should search out in the manual how to disable the ISG feature. The bad news is when you shut the engine off, the feature resets itself to ON. At least that was the case when I rented a 2018 Hyundai sedan in California. The feature was very annoying and of course the rental didn't have the manual in the glove-box. I finally stopped at a Hyundai dealer to learn how to disable the feature.
Jul 7, 2018
I was thinking this same thing as I have rented cars that you hardly notice the restart and others where you really feel the lurch and delay when it restarts. It's annoying. We also have it on our 2015 MB and we disable it every time we get in to drive. It's a habit now. I hope it is something as simple as this for you bkadar.
Likes: VoR61
Sep 12, 2018
What you’re describing (revs climbing, no acceleration) is not a product of the auto stop/start or the brake/accelerator interrupt. Neither of those things will allow the engine to rev. And if the engine is revving and the car isn’t accelerating accordingly, that’s almost always a transmission issue. The torque converter may be slipping, but I suspect the transmission is in the wrong gear - i.e., it’s not downshifting to first or second gear when you slow and stop. An automatic transmission stuck in a high gear from a stop or low speed will behave as you describe. It’ll rev the engine and creep forward. Then, when the computer works out what’s happening, it’ll drop to a low gear and slam forward. The car should have some sort of way to manually select the gear you want, and if you can try manually selecting first gear every time you stop for a while to see if it stops the behavior or gives you some kind of error message, that might help you narrow it down and give you some more info to give the dealer. At the very least, ask the dealer to reprogram/reset the transmission controller and see what happens.