2008 Hyundai Entourage Review

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High Gear Media Staff High Gear Media Staff  
July 9, 2009

You'll find the 2008 Hyundai Entourage at the intersection of Practical St. and Value Ave.

The resident moms and dads at TheCarConnection.com researched a wide range of road tests to put together this review of the 2008 Hyundai Entourage. TheCarConnection.com's team also drove the 2008 Hyundai Entourage, and has included observations and insights on the 2008 Hyundai Entourage to help you find the right minivan for you.

The 2008 Hyundai Entourage is a new player in the minivan market. Just as General Motors and Ford were abandoning the market, Hyundai introduced the Entourage as a 2007 model. For those keeping track of today's automotive teams, the Entourage is essentially the twin of the Kia Sedona, as both companies are owned by a parent company in South Korea. Differences between the models are minor, with the important exception that the Sedona is offered in an even less-expensive short-wheelbase version.

Following the pattern of all new Hyundai vehicles, the Entourage is a well-equipped vehicle loaded with safety equipment while being priced toward the low end of its competitive set. For the Entourage, 2008 models reinforce this positioning. Hyundai offers the Entourage in two trim levels: the GLS and the decked-out Limited.

Review continues below

In terms of style, the 2008 Hyundai Entourage is your basic one-box design. But unlike the Mercedes-Benz R-Class, there's nothing wrong with the Entourage's style. It's just a plain minivan that is simply styled and features little detailing.

Inside, the story is the same. The gauge and control layout is simple and straightforward. The quality of the materials is more than acceptable, but don't go comparing panel gaps or the quality of the plastics to the Honda Odyssey and expect the Hyundai to be better.

On the road, the 2008 Hyundai Entourage is powered by a 3.8-liter V-6 that also sees duty in the Azera, Hyundai's luxury sedan. The engine produces 250 horsepower, which makes it competitive with every major minivan on the market. The transmission is a five-speed automatic. Economy ratings are similar to those of other minivans at 16 mpg city/23 mpg highway. Acceleration is brisk, and the engine maintains a good demeanor the way most people will drive it. Just remember, this is not a Porsche. Handling is what you would expect from a box on wheels, but the standard electronic stability controls work well in emergency handling situations. Competitors such as the Mazda5 and Honda Odyssey feature flatter cornering and have more feel through the steering wheel.

In terms of safety, the 2008 Hyundai Entourage includes anti-lock brakes, stability and traction control, as well as front, side, and side curtain airbags that cover all three rows of seats. Performance in government and IIHS crash tests has been excellent. Ace drivers from TheCarConnection.com have never crashed one, but we trust these tests to be accurate.

Regarding features, the leader of the minivan world is Chrysler, and compared to the Town and Country or Dodge Grand Caravan, the 2008 Hyundai Entourage feels like it's a generation behind. You won't find Chrysler-style Stow 'n Go seats or other whiz-bang features, but the standard seating seven works just fine as is. If you need maximum cargo room, the second row of seats is removable, but they're heavy.

The 2008 Hyundai Entourage GLS offers two option packages that include features such as power sliding side doors and a power driver seat, as well as backup warning sensors and steering wheel audio controls. A new Premium package gets a rear-seat DVD entertainment system and an eight-inch monitor. The Limited version adds an Infinity surround-sound audio system to go with its leather seating. Bluetooth is a new option for 2008.

For those responsible for keeping kids happy while on the road, the vast number of features on the all-new Chrysler Town & Country make this minivan a standout achiever. The Chrysler also offers in-floor storage and seating options not available on the Hyundai. In keeping with each brand's positioning, the Dodge Grand Caravan matches the Chrysler feature for feature but is priced slightly lower.

If you're shopping around but know you really want a refined, high-quality driving experience, then the Honda Odyssey is the minivan for you. As with the Chrysler and Toyota (below), editors from TheCarConnection.com heartily recommend the recently updated Odyssey. Specification junkies will note that the 2008 Hyundai Entourage offers more room that the Honda, but the Odyssey with the advanced V-6 engine gets better fuel economy.

The Toyota Sienna matches the Honda Odyssey in terms of refinement and polish. However, the Sienna doesn't drive with the same enthusiastic personality exhibited by the Honda or the aforementioned Mazda 5.

The 2009 Ford Flex is a different take on the traditional minivan. With its MINI-esque styling and seven-passenger interior, this might be a Ford worth considering for your future.

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2008 Hyundai Entourage

Styling

The 2009 Hyundai Entourage is acceptable on the outside and surprisingly chic on the inside.

Experts at TheCarConnection.com find that the 2009 Hyundai Entourage offers functional styling with a better-than-average interior.

Cars.com acknowledges that the Hyundai Entourage 2009 is a "nice-looking minivan—not as homely (GM) or polarizing (Nissan Quest) as some," but suggests that "if you're looking for high fashion, you're shopping in the wrong vehicle class." Automotive.com describes the Hyundai Entourage 2009 as "crisp and contemporary, perhaps a little more interesting than the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna, but certainly not as unusual as the Nissan Quest." In any event, this 2009 Hyundai strikes most reviewers as being very generic in appearance; Kelley Blue Book observes that "except for details of the grille, headlamps and lower air intake up front, not much differentiates the Entourage from Kia's Sedona...both look a lot like most minivans on the road."

The Entourage's interior elicits few raves or complaints from reviewers. Cars.com is not sold on the "stripped-down [2009 Hyundai] GLS model's velour-style upholstery, which appears on the door panels in addition to the seats," suggesting that while it "gives the cabin a warmer feel than some of the new woven-cloth fabrics that are spreading throughout the market," the cloth fabrics are of a higher quality. MyRide.com reports that the 2009 Hyundai Entourage interior offers "pleasant yet functional surroundings." Kelley Blue Book states that the "fuzzy suede-like fabric in the handsome two-tone interior" gives the Hyundai Entourage 2009 "an upscale look and promises easy care," but notes that its "durability compared to other materials is uncertain."

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2008 Hyundai Entourage

Performance

The 2009 Hyundai Entourage is acceptably powerful and acceptably fun to drive, but it's still a minivan.

Reviewers almost unanimously agree that the 2009 Hyundai Entourage offers good performance for a minivan.

Automotive.com reports that "like its competitors, the Hyundai Entourage 2009 has a V6 engine, in this case a 3.8-liter all-aluminum unit with state-of-the-art continuously variable valve timing...rated at 250 horsepower." ConsumerGuide tests show that the "Entourage and Sedona accelerate strongly from a stop—a brisk 8.4 sec 0-60 mph," and Edmunds assures potential buyers, "The 2009 Hyundai's capable V6 accelerates this minivan smartly and provides ample power around town and on the highway." Cars.com comments that the Hyundai Entourage 2009 "is certainly quick enough, though it won't be setting any records, despite having a large engine," adding this fact "underscores that engine ratings aren't the last word in how a model performs." The EPA estimates fuel mileage at 16 mpg in city driving and 23 mpg on the open road.

The transmission draws some mixed reactions. ConsumerGuide reports "rolling acceleration can seem sluggish because the automatic transmission is sometimes slow to downshift for extra power, [and] the transmission isn't always quick to follow manual gear changes." Cars.com notes that it "does its job admirably, and it includes a clutchless-manual feature standard in case you want to pretend you're in something other than a minivan." According to Edmunds, "the transmission operates smoothly in most situations, but its response can be a bit lazy at times."

Most sources are pleased by the Entourage's handling and road feel. Cars.com finds "ride quality to be comfortable but not too mushy," adding that the vehicle "handles well enough, with notable push, or understeer, when taking corners too fast." According to ConsumerGuide, "the ride is comfortable for a minivan, but is not quite carlike. The suspension is generally composed and smoothes out small bumps well, but it bounces some over larger humps." Edmunds contends that "handling dynamics aren't...eager or precise, as it exhibits a somewhat slow steering response and more understeer and body roll than you'll find among its segment-leading rivals." On the other hand, Kelley Blue Book declares, "Steering is confident and positive, with satisfying feel and feedback to maneuver neatly around town."

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2008 Hyundai Entourage

Comfort & Quality

The 2009 Hyundai Entourage has space, versatility, and comfort, but it falls apart a bit in the details.

The 2009 Hyundai Entourage offers pretty good seating and comfort, but it hasn't quite caught up with competitors that have been in the minivan business for a long time.

Automotive.com reports that the Hyundai Entourage 2009 "has just enough room for six," but "seven is a squeeze." ConsumerGuide says the Entourage offers "comfortable chair-height seats and ample headroom" but suggests "lanky drivers may want more rearward seat travel." Because the "second row uses individual captain's chairs," states Automotive.com, this 2009 Hyundai loses room for one; this source also comments that "flexibility is a good thing for anybody planning to sit in the third row, [which] is designed for small to mid-size children." Cars.com notes that the "standard driver's seat had a manual jack-style height adjustment, which is a breeze to use when seated," with "a generous range to accommodate tall and short alike."

According to Cars.com, "there are decent door pockets with integral bottle holders, a total of four cupholders including a drawer and the flip-up tray between the seats, two overhead sunglass holders and two glove compartments." Edmunds reports "141 cubic feet of total cargo room available, just a bit less than other mainstream minivans." ConsumerGuide reveals that the "well behind the 3rd-row seat is a useful cargo hold, and the seat sections fold into it easily for even more space," while "second-row seats tumble and fold for generous load volume."

Looking inside at the details, the reports aren't nearly as positive. ConsumerGuide comments that "the 2009 Hyundai cabin is short on soft-touch surfaces and long on nondescript plastics, but the materials are mostly in line with pricing" and points out that "some test examples of both Entourage and Sedona annoyed with creaking interior panels and rattling 2nd- and 3rd-row seats." Cars.com observes that the interior is "full of blank buttons—those placeholders that show where you would control a feature that you don't have," which made him feel like "a cheapskate and a loser."

ConsumerGuide also notes "the engine emits a full-throttle growl but is reasonably quiet otherwise," although "tire thrum and some body rumble is noticed even in town driving [and] wind rush joins in at highway speeds."

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2008 Hyundai Entourage

Safety

The 2009 Hyundai Entourage is designed with safety in mind, and it's a top performer.

This 2009 Hyundai "has the best crash-safety ratings any minivan has yet earned," according to MyRide.com—although TheCarConnection.com's editors can't find the basis of this claim. The Entourage earns top scores and ratings from both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), as have a few other minivan models, including the Honda Odyssey.

ConsumerGuide notes that the 2009 Hyundai does have a few visibility issues: "The thick windshield pillars can impede visibility to the front corners, but there are clear sightlines elsewhere."

Automotive.com has nothing but accolades: "established life-savers that come standard on the Hyundai Entourage 2009 include electronic stability control (to control skids), and anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist. Side-impact air bags inflate from the front seats for torso protection, and air curtains cover the side windows for vital head protection in a rollover or side-impact crash. Front-seat active head restraints move forward in a rear-end crash to minimize whiplash injuries." The source also notes that the Entourage offers "the same kind of safety equipment you'll find on the Odyssey and Sienna."

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2008 Hyundai Entourage

Features

The 2009 Hyundai Entourage has all (or at least most) of the features you're likely to need or want.

The 2009 Hyundai Entourage offers a nice selection of standard equipment. And though you won't find the breadth of options to compare with the Chrysler minivans, the standard-equipment list is just as extensive, if not longer.

Cars.com reveals that the base Hyundai Entourage "comes with many of the most important features, including high-value equipment like six airbags and an electronic stability system," and that "more standard features come on the 2009 Hyundai SE and Limited versions, which are competitive with similarly priced competitors." Standard equipment includes three-zone manual air conditioning; power windows, door locks, and remote keyless entry; cloth seats; tilt steering; cruise control; 172-watt AM/FM/CD audio with six speakers; front wiper deicer; dual vanity mirrors; roof-rack side rails; hideaway third-row seat; and 16-inch steel wheels with full covers. Edmunds reports that "the 2009 Hyundai Entourage minivan comes in two well-equipped trim levels."

Edmunds says that the Hyundai Entourage "trim options include an Ultimate Package, which gets you a sunroof, a rear-seat entertainment system, a power front passenger seat, power-adjustable foot pedals, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a driver seat memory system." Automotive.com reports that "the Hyundai Entourage 2009 Limited model adds the rear-seat entertainment system; plus tilt/slide glass sunroof; power front passenger seat; power adjustable foot pedals; integrated memory system for the driver's seat, outside mirrors, and foot pedals; and an auto-dimming rearview mirror with HomeLink." For 2009, the Limited model gets a few new features (for good measure). Also new on the 2009 Hyundai Entourage is an upgrade to the audio system to include XM Satellite Radio and iPod integration.

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7.6
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 7.0
Performance 7.0
Comfort & Quality 7.0
Safety 9.0
Features 8.0
Fuel Economy N/A
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