Owner Review

2001 Hyundai Grandeur review

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I purchased my 2001 Hyundai Grandeur from an online auction site in December 2019 for $909. It had 182000km. Upon collection, it had a big oil leak, which the description didn't mention or show.

The check engine light was always on (likewise not mentioned) and it needed new tyres - which I could tell from the photos. However it drove fine on the way to the garage for the roadworthy certificate stuff.

I have always liked the shape of these, since they came dead last in a Wheels comparison test in 2001 (which I read as a 13 year old). Their tested model was fitted with leather seats and full wood grain; mine is a base model which means lovely browny grey velour - my favourite seat material - and wood grain only on the centre stack.

I bought it because my 3 month old 2005 Mercedes C180 timing gear stripped its teeth, resulting in the need for a new engine (at only 153000km, with full service history). Having spent $7k on that car, plus another couple on a service and some shocks, I was feeling a bit poor, so seeing something super cheap that I had always been curious about seemed more fun than getting a new engine for a car I no longer trusted.

So far I am pretty happy.

Once I got the items for RWC, a new battery and an annual service done, I was out of pocket for a total of $4700. It needed new tyres, new front shocks, new power steering pump hose, headlights polished and the rocker cover gaskets replaced. It also had a sticky rear window regulator, which was sorted at the time.

It cost probably a little more than it was worth, but it has been good. The only thing that has gone wrong was an oil pressure switch, which was only 45 bucks online. The fitment was done by me, it took an hour to do, and four months later it is still fine.

It's been more reliable than the Mercedes, it rides just as well, is about as comfortable, and to be honest is about as nice to drive. Despite being Magna-sized and front-wheel drive, the cabin is sort of cosy - I am 183cm (6-foot) and the seat is all the way back. For me, I think my favourite thing is the looks, but I like weird stuff like this so it's subjective. The stereo has an AM-FM radio and a single CD player, with some extra stuff like fader function. It is generally pretty good quality.

There have been lots of little surprise and delight features - a rear passenger fold down armrest with all the trimmings, and even a CD that takes you through where everything is and what it does as you sit in the driver's seat. My only issue is that I snagged the aerial (a metal, extending type) on my suit jacket and it bent, so I need to replace that.

To drive, it's a bit ponderous around town but certainly not annoyingly so - there are long overhangs, though. The ride quality is quite good, and the 5-speed auto - once you know where it likes to be, speed wise - works well when shifting manually.

I tend to shift manually often, as autos bore me. It's okay when left to its own devices, but if you are climbing a steep hill at town speeds, it's better to hit back to second as the car will stay in fourth gear, huffing fuel for no gain until you are at the top, where it then will make a decision on which gear should be selected.

My driving is usually around the somewhat-hilly Banyule area, so fuel economy is horrendous; usually just under 15 litres per 100 kilometres, although today I got a nice surprise at 14.1L/100km. Whoot. A country drive out to Warburton and Healesville helped me get my best of 13.1L/100km.

Think of a heavy car with a V6 that isn't very torquey, trying to climb lots of hills. It does a lot better on country roads handling wise, so basically it's better at higher speeds.

7 months in, and I think it's serving pretty well for $4700. It's a 19 year old car, so there are things on the body that need a touch up - the 'chrome' highlights on the door sills are starting to peel and the passenger front door hinge needs adjusting, but aside from that and the fuel economy, I really like it.

I think the only reason I would sell it is to get something a bit smaller as my new motorbike doesn't fit as well next to the Grandeur in the garage as well as my old one did, so it's getting to be a pain to get in and out.