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2004 new car guide, model guide, new car reviews, by brand


HyundaiGive credit to Hyundai, the largest automaker out of South Korea, for some curvy design concepts, an alluring pricing strategy for all models plus the most extensive warranty coverage in the automotive market. All of these points are apparent in the 2004 array of Hyundai products, which consist of hatchbacks, sedans and wagons plus a racy sports coupe.

Hyundai's flagship XG sedans show sedate styling in generous scale for the midsize class with power supplied by a V6 engine. Sonata, the value-packed midsize sedan in Hyundai's fleet, carves out room for five in a spacious compartment. Accent and Elantra are two different subcompacts that deliver economical power in spacious packages. Santa Fe, a compact sport-utility wagon with either four-cylinder or V6 engine aboard, uses the front-wheel-drive (FWD) platform of a sedan on a monocoque platform that cultivates a smooth ride quality.

And Hyundai's low-slung sports coupe goes by the name of Tiburon, as marked by muscular fender bulges flanking an extended hoodline and a hatchback roofline tapering to a stubby tail capped by a flying spoiler wing.

For 2004, best-selling Elantra shows fresh styling on the body and revamped cockpit colors and fabrics. Face and tail of XG350 and XG350L sedans also get a redo with enhancements in the five-seat cabin. Tiburon's entry-issue engine earns a CVVT (continuously variable valve timing) upgrade and the GT V6 edition rolls on new 17-inch wheels and tires.

Hyundai XG350
2004 Hyundai XG350

The passenger compartment for Hyundia's four-door flagship features leather-lined seats and automatic everything in a cushy environment that mimics the finest luxury models in class. Exterior styling seems subtle but elegant with a series of flat horizontal and vertical surfaces united by crisp angled surfaces that form etched character lines across the hood and along each side as shoulders.

A revised grille and headlamp cluster, reformed air dam and new projector-style foglamps mark the 2004 models. Power for XG350 stems from Hyundai's dual-cam 3.5-liter V6 engine that delivers 194 hp.

There are two versions, XG350 and the luxury-laced XG350L. XG350 continues to offer an extensive list of standards including leather seating, five-speed Shiftronic automatic shifter and 16-inch alloy wheels.

Read our Review: Hyundai XG350

Hyundai Sonata
2004 Hyundai Sonata

The midsize Sonata sedan shows bold and contemporary exterior styling with unusually smooth shapes contrasted against definitive creases and crisp edges. It looks elegant and dressy but also active and even aggressive -- and clearly different from typical sedans from other Asian automakers.

Sonata also puts more headroom in a cabin dressed with favored features for comfort and luxury, along with safety systems reaching to frontal and side-impact air bags. The series repeats in the 2004 class with three trims starting with a base Sonata and climbing to GLS and deluxe LX models, the latter two rolling on 16-inch alloy wheels and Michelin tires.

Sonata's optional 2.7-liter V6 engine hits 170 hp, while the base dual-cam 2.4-liter in-line-four musters 138 hp.                                                                                                            

Hyundai Accent
2004 Hyundai Accent

Hyundai's itsy-bitsy sedan in the price-conscious economy club forges a spacious passenger compartment. A new platform appeared several years ago with a longer wheelbase. The expansion created modest spatial improvements within the redesigned passenger cabin, which resulted in more headroom for front seats and more legroom in the rear.

Last year brought edgy exterior style revisions with a new front grille and headlamps, restyled front fenders and rear quarter panels. This year, all models carry side-impact air bags as standard safety gear.

Variations include a three-door hatchback and four-door sedan. The hatch trims out as the base Accent, up-level GL and sporty GT, with the sedan strictly in GL trim. Accent GT gets a sport suspension, front fog lamps, rear spoiler and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with white-face gauge package.

All Accents use Hyundai's 1.6-liter dual-cam four-cylinder engine, which achieves 105 hp plus fuel economy numbers as high as 33 mpg.

Hyundai Tiburon
2004 Hyundai Tiburon

Hyundai's 2+2 sports coupe looks exotic and expensive, although it supports affordable price points. The price-leader entry edition, labeled simply as Tiburon, packs Hyundai's four-cylinder Beta engine that displaces 2.0 liters and reaches 138 hp.

A five-speed manual is standard but Hyundai's four-speed electronic automatic with Shiftronic manual controller is optional. The sport-tuned version - Tiburon GT V6 - contains an aluminum dual-cam V6 sized at 2.7 liters. It's racked to 172 hp and offers the five-speed manual or optional Shiftronic four-speed automatic, with Hyundai's pliable six-speed manual as the ultimate sport option.

Tiburon GT V6 adds leather seats, an Infinity 360-watt sound kit with seven speakers and the spoiler wing on the tail.

Hyundai Santa Fe
2004 Hyundai Santa Fe

The sport-utility vehicle from Hyundai fits in the compact class with four doors and two rows of seats for five riders. It packs a four-cylinder or V6 engine and has FWD or optional all-wheel-drive (AWD) traction with the V6. The full-time AWD system employs a unique Dual Drive front differential with planetary gears plus viscous coupling and sends as much as 60 percent of the engine's muscle to front wheels and 40 percent to the rear.

Despite a car-like attitude, Hyundai's SUV looks tough like a sturdy wagon rigged for work yet it's also stylish with a bold face and shapely contours on the sides. The cabin layout consists of bucket seats and center console in front of a bench seat for three and a bay in back measuring to 30 cubic feet for cargo and sports equipment.

Four trim levels apply to 2004 editions with a base Santa Fe, the base unit with utility package added, or GLS and LX models. The 3.5-liter V6 engine is standard on LX for 2004 and optional for GLS. The six-pack nets 173 hp and links to Hyundai's five-speed Shiftronic automatic transmission.