Minivans have gotten a bad rap.They make so much sense yet are perpetually out of fashion.Granted, they aren't pretty, and certainly aren't macho.But they pack more people in comfort and safety into a shorter, handier length than any other kind of vehicle.That's why so many people buy them.But even more people should buy them.They are a common-sense kind of choice.
And the Hyundai Entourage is a common-sense kind of minivan.Even its name suggests its function: Entourage is French for 'all the people and things that seem to follow me around.' That's a concept American parents can understand.
The Entourage has just enough room for six in pleasant yet functional surroundings.(Seven is a squeeze.) It has a five-speed automatic transmission to help get the best fuel economy and performance out of its V6 engine.Its ride is comfortable, and yet the Entourage has no barge-like tendencies when it comes to handling.
Most sensible of all, the Entourage offers the same kind of safety equipment you'll find on the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna.Established life-savers that come standard on the Entourage 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.
In fact, with a five-star crash test rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and a Top Safety Pick rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the Entourage has the best crash-safety ratings any minivan has yet earned.And yet Hyundai says the Entourage is the lowest priced minivan you can buy with power sliding doors and a backup warning sensor.
Changes are few for 2008.Last year's mid-level SE has been dropped in favor of more generous option packages for the base-level GLS; while this year's Limited comes with more standard features and fewer options.When we added up the numbers ourselves, we found that a Limited with all the goodies lists for $200 less this year than last year.
One more common-sense feature is Hyundai's long warranty.The bumper-to-bumper coverage is five years or 60,000 miles, while the powertrain is covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles.That's more than either Honda or Toyota; although those Japanese automakers have a superior track record when it comes to reliability.But attractive features, performance and pricing make the Entourage worth a serious look.