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2007 Hyundai Entourage Road Test
Everything but the kitchen sink in Hyundai Entourage GLS Premium

By Kevin `Crash' Corrigan

The 2007 Entourage is Hyundai's first venture into the popular Canadian minivan sector and it certainly came in all guns blazing. Who can blame them? Minivan sales account for 11% of the total Canadian automotive market; over 171,000 were sold in 2005 alone. Hyundai wanted a piece of the pie and to do that, they had to come in strong with a good product.

2007 Hyundai EntourageThe Entourage is a significantly larger vehicle than many of its competitors. It is longer than the Honda Odyssey, the Toyota Sienna and the Dodge Grand Caravan. It appears more up-market than some competitive brands and carries a very high level of standard equipment. It is available in four trim levels: base GL, GL Comfort, GLS, and the one that I tested, the GLS Premium.

Hyundai has gone to great lengths to improve the quality of their vehicles in recent years, and the Entourage is no exception. I was impressed with the fit and finish of the exterior body panels and the paintwork was bright and well applied.

The vehicle that I tested, being the top of the range, was fitted with a chrome grille, matching chrome door handles, jewel-like projector beam headlamps and 17” aluminum wheels. It was quite striking in appearance, which is something that you rarely hear when talking about the traditionally conservative minivan. It also had dual power sliding doors with power windows and a power-operated tailgate, all of which had child safety features built in.

2007 Hyundai Entourage - interiorWhen you step inside the Entourage you certainly get a feeling of spaciousness, and you start to understand what that extra length and width is all about. Hyundai has taken great care in designing the interior layout; it has carefully positioned the seating to give maximum versatility whilst maintaining passenger legroom and comfort levels. The second row captain's chairs flip and fold to give easier access to the third row seating and have some clever little wheels incorporated in them for rolling around your garage floor when not in use. The rear 60/40 split third-row seats are easy to operate and fold neatly into the floor, which then allows for 2,268 litres of cargo space, even with the second row seats still in place.

2007 Hyundai EntourageThe equipment list on the Entourage is quite long but I will list a few of the goodies for you: four-wheel ABS with EBD (Electronic Brake-force Distribution), seven-passenger seating, AM/FM/CD stereo with six speakers, six airbags (dual front, front side, ceiling-mounted side curtain), engine immobilizer, active head restraints, heated windshield, keyless remote entry with alarm, heated mirrors, tilt, cruise, rear heating and A/C controls, and progressive power steering. Do you really want me to go on?

I know what you're thinking; the vehicle tested was top of the range, and these types of features aren't that unusual. Well, what I have just listed were “some” of the features on the base model. Believe me, if I list everything on the GLS Premium, we could be here all day. That is the great thing about the Entourage, it is designed to exceed the expectations of Canadian minivan shoppers by offering an unprecedented combination of standard safety features, comfort and convenience amenities.

This surprise continues through to the power train; the all new 3.8-litre, all-aluminum, DOHC V6 produces 242 hp and develops 251 lb-ft of torque, which in terms of power, sets it aside from most of its competitors. The five-speed automatic transmission equipped with Hyundai's Shiftronic manumatic feature is standard equipment on all 2007 Entourage models. The underside has not been forgotten either; a MacPherson strut front suspension and multi link rear comes complete with specially tuned twin-tube gas-charged shocks and the vehicle carries front and rear stabilizer bars.

The braking system features large diameter four-wheel ventilated discs with four-sensor, four-channel ABS complete with the aforementioned EBD (Electronic Brake Force Distribution). Again, all of this is standard. If however, you move up to the GLS model, you also get ESC (Electronic Stability Control) and Hyundai's TCS (Traction Control System).

Driving the Entourage, you get a feeling of complete control. The vehicle is very responsive and the rack and pinion power steering has engine RPM-sensing assistance, which makes it light and easy to manoeuvre around town, yet stable and secure at highway speeds. The suspension easily soaks up the bumps and gives a firm yet comfortable ride, it also handles twists and turns with very little body roll. Braking is exactly what you would expect from a vehicle with four large vented discs; it pulls the vehicle to a stop with ease.

2007 Hyundai Entourage - interiorI liked the dashboard layout and all the controls fell readily to hand, including the centre-dash-mounted gear shift lever.

All in all, I was impressed with the Hyundai Entourage and to be honest, I'm not really a minivan type of guy. I can, however, see the usefulness of these vehicles and when you start to add in all of the features on the Entourage, this starts to become a nice ride. I think that Hyundai will do well with this vehicle if they promote it as well as they have designed it. Hyundai might be the new kid in , so to speak, and may not be the top of the list for places to go when considering purchasing a minivan, but I think that if it can get the people to walk into the dealership, then they will buy, as this is a VAP, a “Value Added Product.”

- Kevin's rating: 8/10
- Hyundai Entourage GLS Premium as tested $37,195
- The Hyundai Entourage range starts with the GL, priced at $29,995.

'Crash' Corrigan is a regular contributor to CarTest!

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