Size does matter. That's something Hyundai is stressing with its all-new, full-size Entourage minivan. Large enough for seven in comfort, the emphasis on size shows in the numbers—202 inches long and 78.1 inches wide and a voluminous 172 cubic inches of interior volume with seats folded out of the way.
Hyundai is staking a claim for the die-hard minivan buyer at a time some other, older minivan contenders are fading from the scene. Both Ford and GM are backing away from pure minivan entries and putting an emphasis more on crossovers just as Hyundai is knocking on the door.
Hyundai's had plenty of time to pick the bones of the minivan's 20-some-year history before developing the Entourage. Its foundation is minivan-only with a unibody base, so the result blends driving dynamics with flexibility of purpose. Starting from ground up, it also was an opportunity to include the latest in safety systems as well as high tech amenities.
A four channel anti-lock braking system with disc brakes is paired with electronic brake force distribution to balance brake performance with different vehicle loads. Electronic stability helps keep the vehicle on course on the road. Active front headrests usually found on higher end vehicles respond automatically to prevent whiplash in an accident. And the Entourage, with full airbag systems, took top crash test honors.
Power comes from a 3.8L, 250-HP V6 engine mated to a five-speed SHIFTRONIC auto trans, for on-demand manual-style operation. Estimated fuel economy is 18 city/25 highway MPG.
Entourage comes in three trim levels, GLS, SE and Limited. Among amenities, depending on model, are leather steering wheel and shifter, fog lights, steering wheel audio controls, dual zone comfort system, front wiper de-icer and DVD entertainment.
Defined body lines and roof rack add punch appearance-wise. The disappearing third row seat that folds into the floor is dubbed a "Hideaway," while second row buckets slide forward or back.
Priced at just under $25,000 for the entry level base model GLS, options can raise that significantly, But Entourage gains the same 10-year, 100,000-mile warranty as other Hyundai vehicles.