- The Washington Times - Friday, January 26, 2001

MODEL: Hyundai XG300
VEHICLE TYPE: Four-door sedan
BASE PRICE: $23,499
MILEAGE: 19 city, 27 highway

Hyundai is thinking outside of the box outside of the econobox. The maker of small economy cars strives for the near-luxury segment with the XG300.
Hyundai modeled its all-new flagship sedan after the Nissan Maxima. And the automaker mimics Nissan's sedan fairly well. Stepping into the XG300 and settling into the driver's seat, I felt like I was in the Maxima.
Priced at $23,499, XG300 comes handsomely equipped with features found in the upper-middle to near-luxury sedan market. The 2001 XG300 has leather seating, remote keyless entry, power windows, doors and locks, cruise control, a six-way power driver's seat and three-way power front passenger's seat, air conditioning, side and front air bags, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, electronic traction control and 15-inch alloy wheels with Michelin tires.
The XG300 is an image builder for Hyundai. The all-new sedan is certainly not going to be Hyundai's volume leader, but that's not why the XG300 is being built. (Only 15,000 units will be built for 2001.) The new sedan is a brand statement for Hyundai. The XG300, as well as the all-new Santa Fe sport utility vehicle, broadens Hyundai's model lineup. The XG300 sedan, in particular, gives Sonata owners a chance to move up to a larger sedan and stay in the Hyundai family.
In improving its image, Hyundai aggressively prices and loads up its 2001 vehicles and backs up each model with an extensive warranty. In becoming a company people can trust, Hyundai offers a warranty that includes a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain, five-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper and unlimited five-year roadside assistance coverage promise. The goal is to build vehicles people will trust for a long time not build throwaway cars.
The XG300 is a traditionally styled sedan with solid, smooth, clean lines. The new vehicle should appeal to the "practical stylists" those buyers who like the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Nissan Maxima and Oldsmobile Intrigue.
During my test drive, I was pleasantly surprised by the XG300's level of interior comfort, craftsmanship and the smooth, quiet ride. Comfort and convenience items included a six-speaker AM-FM CD stereo system, a trip computer, dual-level storage compartments, variable intermittent windshield wipers and side-view mirrors with a heated mirror feature. The XG300 has an adjustable tilt steering wheel, a 60-40 split reclining and folding rear seat, and plenty of head, leg and shoulder room. Designers say the XG300 is much bigger than the Accord and Camry. The Camry, for example, has a wheelbase of 105 inches, while the XG300 has a wheelbase of 108 inches.
The power plant behind the XG300 is a three-liter, 24-valve, dual-overhead-cam V-6 engine. The all-aluminum engine generates a power output of 192 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 178 foot-pounds of torque at 4,000 rpm. The fully adaptive automatic transmission is a five-speed, featuring Shiftronic. The dual-gate transmission allows the driver to shift manually with a "+" sign for up and a "-" sign for downshifting. Fuel economy ratings for this 3,604-pound vehicle are 19 miles per gallon in the city and 27 mpg on the highway.
The front-wheel-drive XG300's smooth performing ride and handling come from a well-developed suspension system. The front suspension features independent double wishbones with an anti-roll bar. In the rear, a multilink suspension features dynamic toe control and an anti-roll bar.
The XG300 is worth a test drive. The sedan has a lot of content for the money.

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