- Powerful enough
- Excellent practicality
- Lots of safety gear standard
- Handling not class leading
- Not as refined as leading minivans
- Lags behind Chrysler regarding features
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.
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.