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Hyundai’s first minivan delivers

<p>I am pretty convinced that whoever is shopping for a minivan isn’t doing it for the fun of it. This choice is nothing but rational, solely motivated by the need for interior space.</p>

But Entourage may be too pricey for some



I am pretty convinced that whoever is shopping for a minivan isn’t doing it for the fun of it. This choice is nothing but rational, solely motivated by the need for interior space. The big question is: will the new Hyundai Entourage be able to stand up to the tempting low prices of American products or the reliable and highly equipped Japanese models?


Hyundai’s very first minivan, the Entourage, unfortunately doesn’t have a distinctive look. The few exterior touches of chrome are not enough to enhance its lacklustre design.


The Entourage makes up for it by offering comfort and security features that make it one of the best equipped on the market, along with the Toyota Sienna and Honda Odyssey.


Despite being a new model, the Hyundai minivan shows surprising stability on the road. Its 242 horsepower 3.8L V6 engine and 5-speed automatic gearbox only help to enhance its steady behaviour. It is also offered with Shiftronic, one of the few minivans on the market to have such a feature. You should still expect a 0-100 km/h in 8.5 seconds.


The interior shows a nice finishing touch and offers comfortable seats, especially the second row reclining seats, a real temptation for a sleepy passenger. The space on the backseat is also very convenient and when unused can easily be hidden away within the floor. About 2,268 litres of cargo area then become available for storage.


The GLS version offers you all that might be needed: 17-inch wheels, tri-zone climate control, stability system, audio controls on the steering wheel, heated front seats, dual power sliding doors, overhead DVD system and back up warning sensors (in my opinion, this security feature should be a standard on all minivans and the fact that it is offered with this model is appreciated).


The GLS model nevertheless goes for no less than $35,995, far beyond the discount-driven offers given by domestic brands. That is the main reason why GM, Ford and Dodge fans probably won’t make the jump to the Korean brand.


On the other hand, those who are contemplating buying a Japanese minivan might consider getting this model instead. They will notice two missing features though: an eighth seat and a sunroof.


All things considered, maybe the Entourage’s fiercest competition won’t be from the Americans or the Japanese, but rather from its Korean cousin, the Kia Sedona which goes for $2,000 less.

















closer look


FOR:




  • Well equipped — GLS version



  • Spacious interior



  • Powerful V6 engine



AGAINST:




  • Exterior design lacking luster



  • Eighth seat not available



  • No sunroof, not even optional
















specifications




  • 7-passenger minivan



  • Motor: 3.8L V6 Engine



  • Performance: 242 horsepower, 251 lbs-ft



  • Gearbox: 5-speed automatic with Shiftronic



  • Length: 5,130 mm



  • Wheelbase: 3,020 mm



  • Cargo: 2,268L (backseat hidden away)



  • Fuel Consumption (city — highway): 13.2L — 8.8L/100km



  • Starting at: $29,995 ($35,995 GLS version)



 
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