Just as we were all soaking up the success of the Hyundai Sonata, in comes its big brother, the Hyundai Grandeur Limited.
When the car was backed out of the garage at the Melbourne based Hyundai press depot, I couldn’t believe just how good it looked. My ride was featured in Ebony Black and looked very sleek and easy on the eyes. As I said with the Hyundai Sonata I drove late last year, if you were to throw me into the car and remove all the badges, I would be left guessing as to who manufactured the vehicle.
The Grandeur comes in two variants, the V6 and the Limited. Our test vehicle (the Limited) is valued at $46,990, making it the most expensive vehicle in the Hyundai range. You may be wondering who would be crazy enough to pay just over 45,000 hard ones for a Hyundai. I was thinking much the same at first but, when you have a peek on the inside and under the bonnet, it becomes quite clear that this Hyundai is actually good value for money.
The standard feature list includes: dual zone climate control, cruise control, heated door mirrors, heated seats, automatic day/night rear vision mirror, electronic rear sunshade, high intensity Xenon headlamps with washers, 10-way power driver seat and an 8 speaker sound system with sub woofer.
The interior felt very well built and didn’t exhibit any visible flaws. The door panels feature leather and wood grain highlights, enriching the feeling of luxury.
Safety features are also a big selling point of the Grandeur, you can expect to see: ESP (Electronic Stability Program), driver and passenger airbags, front and rear side airbags, front and rear curtain airbags, active hear restraints for driver and passenger and ABS brakes with EBD (Electronic Brake-force Distribution).
During the test route I had a chance to test Hyundai’s ESP (Electronic Stability Program) system. Once it was active it did a fantastic job of keeping the car straight but, it kicked in far too late for my liking, meaning that it could potentially interrupt a drivers correction of error and cause more mayhem than good.
Under the bonnet is a 3.8ltr, V6 Lambda engine that produces 194kW at 6000RPM and 348Nm of torque at 4500RPM. This thing has some serious grunt, making it the most powerful V6 in its class. It’s almost a little too much grunt though, the tyres grapple for grip and if you ever have the ESP off and nail the accelerator, you will get an instant smoke show like no other. Coupled with a 5-speed automatic transmission, the Grandeur feels very capable on road, making overtaking an absolute breeze. A quick dash from 0 to 100km/h takes just under 8 seconds. When manually overriding the transmission, the car doesn’t hold the gear and automatically changes up when close to redline, somewhat defeating the purpose of the manual override.
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. This cliché is also true with the Grandeur. Once you hit unsealed roads – or any road with imperfections for that matter – you will know about it. The car is far too floaty and feels like a barge when you throw it around bends. It has a heap of body roll and hesitates to keep its line without deviation when you push it past its comfort zone around bends. But, weighing in at around 1750Kg with driver, this is to be expected.
The rear passengers get a heap of leg room and can easily fit comfortably in the back seat. The boot is also huge; it has a 523L capacity and a flat floor, making it capable of loading in plenty of things.
A few things I didn’t like about the interior included the rather dopey looking steering wheel, it looked droopy and somewhat lifeless. The radio fascia could also look a bit more attractive. Although the colours are nice; the radio fascia just blends in with the dashboard too much and doesn’t look like it belongs there.
I was subtly surprised to see a set of self levelling Xenon HID headlights. They emit a blue-ish tinge and soak the surface of the road with light, they do a fantastic job. The high beam lights were very disappointing though, in fact, I would go as far as saying that they were useless. They simply threw more white light into the spectrum that the Xenon headlights already covered.
The fuel efficiency figure returned was circa 14L/100KM, higher than the 10.8L/100KM quoted by Hyundai. Hyundai also offer a 5 year/130,000KM warranty.
At the end of the day, the Hyundai Grandeur is a luxury car on a budget. So, I could forgive the very average handling, I could also forgive the lack lustre design elements of the interior. But, the price may be pushing it just a bit. That price range also offers vehicles such as the Nissan Maxima, Mitsubishi 380LX and Chrysler 300C.
As much as I enjoyed driving the Grandeur, I would hold off with regards to buying one. Hyundai have only just entered into this budget luxury market, it would be worth waiting to see how it pans out before rushing in to buy the Grandeur.
CarAdvice rating (out of 5):
- by Paul Maric