Car Review: 2004 Hyundai XG350

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By Andrew Frankl, European Bureau Chief

I had a very pleasant surprise the other day - the Hyundai XG350.

After Jaguars and BMWs you might think that I am a hypocrite but let us look at value for money. The Jag I drove last month had a sticker in excess of 60 big ones whereas the similarly sized Hyundai is yours for a mere 25 or so thousand dollars. It has a torquey 3.5 liter V6 engine and while it certainly does not sound or pull like a BMW or a Jaguar it was no embarrassment on the highway.

The XG350 is huge and very, very comfortable indeed. Yes, it does wallow over undulations and the steering is a far cry from say Nissan but if your idea of transportation is essentially to go from A to B and not how the car handles on the limit then there is nothing wrong with the Hyundai at all.

I am sure pushed hard over twisty roads it could make passengers pretty sea-sick but honestly, how many XG350 buyers will want to do that? The trunk is massive, the seats are comfortable, the stereo system is fine and if I had to drive it from Darien, Connecticut to Redondo Beach California in a re-enactment of the 1979 Cannonball Run, AI could do it and Bwith a good co-driver do it in two and a half days. That is how long it took us in 1979 and I am pretty sure the XG350 would be up for the job. Fuel consumption worked out at over 20 miles per gallon of regular, another plus in the cars favor.

Model lineup: XG350 ($23,999); XG350 L ($25,999)
Engines: 194-hp 3.5-liter dohc 24-valve V6
Transmissions: 5-speed automatic with Shiftronic
Safety equipment (standard): ABS, EBD, electronic traction control, dual frontal and front seat side airbags, three-point seatbelts at all five seating positions, front seatbelt pretensioners
Safety equipment (optional): none
Basic warranty: 5 years/60,000 miles
Assembled in: Asan, South Korea
Specifications As Tested
Model tested (MSRP): XG350 ($23,999)
Standard equipment: power-assisted, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS and EBD; engine speed-sensitive variable-assist power steering; tachometer; 5-speed Shiftronic automatic transmission; cruise control; traction control; 5-mph, body color bumpers, foglamps; P205/60HR 16 all-season, steel-belted Michelin radial tires; automatic air conditioning; 6-speaker, AM/FM/cassette/CD stereo; power door locks, windows and outside mirrors; digital clock; leather seating surfaces; power front seats with heat and memory; remote keyless entry with alarm; 60/40 split folding rear seatback with folding center armrest;power tilt-and-slide moonroof; electrochromic inside rearview mirror with Homelink Integrated Transceiver
Options as tested (MSRP): none
Destination charge: ($590)
Gas guzzler tax: N/A
Price as tested (MSRP): $24,589
Layout: front-wheel drive
Engine: 3.5-liter dohc 24-valve V6
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 194 @ 5500
Torque (lb.-ft. @ rpm): 216 @ 3500
Transmission: 5-speed, Shiftronic automatic
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy: 17/26 mpg
Wheelbase: 108.3 in.
Length/width/height: 191.9/71.9/55.9
Track, f/r: 60.6/60.2 in.
Turning circle: 36.1 ft.
Seating capacity: 5
Head/hip/leg room, f: 39.7/54.8/43.3 in.
Head/hip/leg room, m: N/A
Head/hip/leg room, r: 38.0/55.4/37.2 in.
Max Trunk volume: 14.5 cu. ft.
Payload: N/A
Towing capacity: 1,000 (2,000 with trailer brakes)Lbs.
Suspension, f: independent, coil spring, anti-roll bar and
gas-pressurized shocks
Suspension, r: independent, coil spring, anti-roll bar,
gas-pressurized shocks with multi-link,
dynamic toe-in
Ground clearance: 6.3
Curb weight: 3651 lbs.
Tires: P205/65HR16 Michelin
Brakes, f/r: vented disc/disc with ABS and EBD
Fuel capacity: 18.5 gal.

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