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Car reviews - Hyundai - Grandeur - sedan range

Our Opinion

We like
Styling, space, equipment levels, stability control, warranty and aftersales care
Room for improvement
Reputation, uncertain resale value, intrusive road noise, no driver's car

7 Feb 2006

ARGUABLY one of the most derided new cars of recent years was Hyundai’s XG Grandeur.

While it didn’t look too bad, was well equipped and performed strongly on a smooth straight road, the first corner encountered would have the Grandeur (and ultimately its driver) heaving.

The haute Hyundai really did handle and ride like an aeroplane… Aeroplane Jelly, that is. The airbags should have been replaced with airsick bags. And Endure would have been a more appropriate name.

Hyundai, it seemed, benchmarked the dynamics of a 1975 Toyota Crown Super Saloon.

Now there’s a new Grandeur, with err… big claims of special suspension tuning.

This time the quite-impressive NF Sonata donated its front-wheel drive platform, and they share many other bits and bobs besides, so the ingredients are there for a palatable luxury car offering.

Better still, Hyundai took the opportunity to add some distinction to this TG series Grandeur, creating a surprising amount of road presence in the process.

The outrageous exaggerated wheelarch haunches, multi-LED tail-lights and lashings of chrome trim somehow work when – looked at in isolation – they shouldn’t.

There’s fun in store here too, by playing ‘spot as many other cars as possible’. But even though this is truly an amalgam of many other motor cars, it somehow all gels to give the Grandeur an individual elegance.

The cabin is the same – it could be any car but, really, the agreeable dashboard design, nice-to-the-touch plastics, super-clear instrumentation and faultless control placement can only be a modern Hyundai.

The seats are sumptuously fine too, along with legroom aplenty, and lots of toys to play with.

But a foot-operated park brake is an American throwback too far. How about an electronic button Hyundai?

Satellite navigation availability would up the ambience ante a little too. And there’s too much road/tyre noise rumbling through to rear passengers on some surfaces.

The Grandeur isn’t too bad to drive either.

However it does feel a little languid for a 194kW V6 – maybe that’s the 1645kg heft talking. Give it a few more revs though and the mid-range acceleration is as strong as it is smooth.

At speed the Hyundai is commendably quiet, fairly stable – if a little floaty and susceptible to some minor side-to-side pitching – and long legged in the gearing.

The steering is a little too light and low-geared for some, but it is direct enough and perfect for the Toyota Avalon Grande set that will undoubtedly be drawn to a car like this.

It will lean a bit through tight turns, with a nose-heavy feel, leaving you wishing that there should be a bit more body control. But that’s probably a welcome trade-off if a cushy ride is the result.

It’s also too bad about the annoying rack-rattle in one of the car’s tested, causing the helm to jiggle in your hands, while uneven road surfaces would upset the car’s composure – and driver’s confidence – through a fast turn.

Yet such shortcomings aren’t really terminal, and they’d probably never materialise for most of the gentle folk who would fork out just under $50K for the Grandeur Limited sampled here. Plus it possesses a five-year warranty and impressive customer care program.

Obviously the Grandeur is no BMW 5 Series. It isn’t even an Audi A6.

But the steering is beefier than a Honda Accord V6s while the cabin feels classier than that of a Mitsubishi 380s’. And these are two of Hyundai’s main targets.

So that’s the Grandeur – a modern, comfortable and truly fresh alternative to the above plus Nissan’s Maxima, the Holden Berlina and Toyota Avalon.

It’s no driver’s car, but it has the style, specification, safety and salubriousness to be taken a lot more seriously than the last.

Welcome Hyundai’s luxury for the people.

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