2005 XG350 New Car Test Drive
Five years ago, when Hyundai launched the XG as the flagship of its fleet, luxury was not a word associated with the brand. After all, this South Korean car maker had made its reputation with bargain-basement compact cars, some seriously lacking in quality. Recently, Hyundai has done more than just keep up.
Quality has improved dramatically in its bread-and-butter economy models, and it now offers a range of models that provide serious competition to mainstream brands.
With continuing improvement in power, convenience, and styling since its launch, the spacious and elegantly styled four-door, five passenger Hyundai XG350 offers the trappings of cars in the so-called near-luxury class. There is still one difference, however: price. The two XG350 models still have sticker prices closer to those of plain midsize sedans in the mid-20s.
Add in Hyundai's five-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty coupled with its standard-setting 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, and the Hyundai XG350 represents real value.
A full range of luxury features is standard on the base model, and the only slightly more expensive upgraded model adds a few more nice conveniences. Equally pleasing is the competent 194-horsepower engine, which delivers good acceleration performance. Anti-lock brakes, electronic brake-force distribution, and traction control come standard, active safety features that can help the driver maintain control in an emergency maneuver.
Hyundai's flagship sedan comes in two trim levels: XG350 ($24,399) and XG350L ($25,999). XG350 is powered by a 3.5-liter V6, which drives the front wheels through a five-speed automatic transmission with the company's dual-gate, Shiftronic manual override system.
Befitting its near-luxury status, the XG350 comes standard with leather-faced seating surfaces, automatic climate control, power everything, a six-speaker CD stereo, heated outside mirrors, and carpeted floor mats. Wheels are 10-spoke 16-inch alloy with 205/60 Michelin tires. The 2005 XG350 also comes standard with an electrochromic rearview mirror, automatic headlights, the HomeLink integrated transceiver system, and rear-seat reading lights.
Safety is enhanced by four-wheel disc brakes with four-channel ABS, Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and traction control. Also standard: dual front airbags, front-seat side-impact air bags.
The XG350L adds a power tilt-and-slide sunroof, upgraded audio with premium speakers, a 210-watt external amplifier and a trunk-mounted eight-disc CD changer, heated seats, memory for the driver's seat, a leather-and-woodgrain steering wheel, memory outside mirrors that tilt down when reverse gear is selected, and 12-spoke 16-inch alloy wheels.
Options are limited to the eight-disc trunk-mounted CD changer for the base model ($495). Options available for installation at port of entry are rear mudguards ($35), a cargo tray ($65), wheel locks ($40) and, for the XG350L, a sunroof wind deflector ($65).