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If you'd like to break away from the mainstream and save a couple of bucks doing it, the XG300 is worth a look. However, the mainstream is the mainstream for a reason...
Lots of standard equipment, decent power, roomy cabin.
Funky home-market styling, skinny 15-inch wheels, lousy expected resale value.
Available XG300 Models
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Hyundai goes after the Honda Accord V6 and Toyota Camry V6 by offering more for less. Fully loaded with equipment, the new XG300 undercuts both competitors on price. But, as we all know, there's more to the value equation than an attractive MSRP, especially in the meat of the sedan marketplace.
We're as surprised as anybody. We didn't give Hyundai much of a chance in North America after the atrocious Excel of the 1980s. But the Korean marque has dutifully soldiered on, getting better and better every year.
Now, the manufacturer is aiming high. Following this year's release of its surprisingly good and sharp-looking sport-ute, the Santa Fe, Hyundai has launched the XG300, an all-new six-cylinder sedan aimed at taking on the V6 versions of the Nissan Maxima, Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.
The XG300 was created as Hyundai's flagship model and is meant to lead the automaker's fleet proudly into the new millennium. Hyundai's goal is to use the XG300 to garner serious consideration from consumers. It sure beats Hyundai's previous status as the Oh-man-I-want-a-new-car-but-don't-have-enough-money-for-anything-but-a-Hyundai alternative.
Powered by a 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine, the XG300 manages a smooth 192 horsepower (at 6,000 rpm) that allows for comfortable highway cruising and merging and passing with elan. A five-speed automatic with a manual shifting provision, called H-matic, is standard. In the next year or so, Hyundai plans to make available a 3.5-liter V6 powerplant that should rocket the flagship past its competitors in terms of power.
Bigger than the four-door Sonata and about the same size as the Nissan Maxima, the XG300 purportedly seats five comfortably. In an attempt to attract attention, Hyundai loaded the XG300 with many standard features, including four-wheel disc brakes with ABS; 15-inch alloy wheels with Michelin V-rated tires; leather upholstery; power driver and passenger seats; power windows, locks and mirrors; six-speaker stereo with CD player; air conditioning; cruise control; keyless remote entry; trip computer; projector beam headlights; and driver and passenger front- and side-impact airbags.
For a sedan priced in the mid-$20,000 range, XG300 offers a whole lot of content and makes for a compelling alternative to the competition. Hyundai's generous 10-year/100,000-mile warranty and substantial roadside assistance program sweeten the deal.
In every month of 2000, Hyundai set sales records. But this success hasn't made Hyundai think it can knock Nissan, Toyota and Honda off their pedestals; the company plans to hawk only 15,000 XGs per year. We, learning from our past mistakes, won't discount Hyundai's ability to meet, or exceed, that goal. And, if you're in the market for a new mid-range sedan, maybe you shouldn't either.