CHICAGO – Think back, say ten years ago. And imagine, back then, pulling up to your little one’s schoolyard in a Hyundai minivan.
Oooh, how the mothers would talk.
No amount of cookie dough donations would rid you – and your family – of the nasty poor family reputation in suburbia. Pretty soon there would be care packages, hand-me-downs, and job offers at “my husband’s” plant…
Things sure have changed since then. Today, pull up in a Hyundai minivan and the mothers’ tongues will still wag – this time, however, it would be how smart you are, despite your public school education. Hyundai’s come a long way, indeed, and the debut of their new 2007 Entourage minivan at the 2006 Chicago Auto Show will serve to cement their reputation as a major, reputable automaker in the US. The Entourage is a pretty minivan rolling out right when Ford and GM are pulling back in the minivan segment, leaving this small yet important group of buyers to imports and Dodge Caravans. Hyundai’s family conveyance stands an excellent chance of being considered an excellent choice for those too smart to wait in line for a Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna, and don’t like the features and/or styling of the Kia Sedona.
Available in GLS, SE and Limited trims, the Entourage seems pretty well-equipped no matter which one you buy. For example, a 2007 Entourage, with standard Electronic Stability Control (ESC), six airbags, anti-whiplash active front head restraints, a 3.8-liter V6 engine and more will be priced at $23,795. Highlights of the GLS model include that 3.8-liter V6 engine, a five-speed automatic transmission, ESC with traction control system, an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), 16-inch wheels, power windows, power door locks and remote keyless entry. Roof rack side rails are also standard. Inside are active front head restraints, dual front airbags, front seat side-impact airbags plus side curtain airbags. Other features include premium cloth seats, tilt steering wheel, cruise control, dual vanity mirrors, front armrest and a fold flat third row seat. Hyundai SE and Limited models add more luxury, 17-inch wheels and heated seats and a rear seat entertainment system, among other features. All Entourage minivans get a 3.8-liter V6 engine that produces 242 horsepower and 251 lb.-ft. of torque, and is mated to a five-speed automatic transmission with Shiftronic manual control. Perhaps most notable about the Entourage, however, is the long list of standard safety features, and the third row fold-away, called the Hyundai Hideaway. All Entourages get a bevy of passive and active safety systems, including side and side curtain airbags, traction control and more. Just these two safety devices – traction control and side curtain airbags – will make any car significantly safer to drive. The Hideaway is a 60/40 split seat that folds flat in the floor of the car, opening up cargo room when junior’s not back there.
About Brian Chee
Prior to joining Autobytel in the Spring of 2000, Brian Chee spent 15 years as a writer and editor in his native southern California, his work appearing in a wide variety of regional newspapers and online publications. As an editor at Autobytel, Brian has been quoted in numerous regional and national publications, including the Wall St. Journal and InStyle Magazine. He is responsible for writing, editing and planning content for three of the company’s consumer websites: autobytel.com, autoweb.com and carsmart.com. His “beat” includes vehicle reviews, features, news and Auto Show coverage. Brian considers himself a “SoCal” car enthusiast: the kind who grades a car on how it handles today’s urban and suburban reality of daily traffic gridlock, rising fuel prices and fast-paced lifestyles. Brian is an Eagle Scout, a member of the Automotive Press Association, the Motor Press Guild, and the California State University Advisory Board for Internet Writing. Brian holds a bachelor's degree in Journalism.