“IS that a limousine dad?’’ my eight-year-old inquired about the sleek black road test sedan in our driveway.
My bumbling response of “well yes, no, sort of’’ was right up there with my usual answers to his barrage of daily questions.
At least I was better equipped to field this one than “who would win a fight between Ben 10’s Wildmutt alien and The Abominable Snowman’’?
And if his teacher is reading this, I must confess it was me who suggested Noah’s wife’s name was Shirley and I’m sorry for any disruption this caused to the class’s biblical play.
The car my eldest boy was besotted with was Hyundai’s stylish 2009 Grandeur.
In South Korea, where it is made, the sedan is indeed a VIP conveyance.
Technically, it is not a limo here, but it sure does have the looks and comfort features you would expect from a five-star ride.
The newest Grandeur is a variant that comes with a 2.2 litre CRDi turbo-diesel engine, just like the one fitted to the Santa Fe SUV.
Economy is the big winner with the frugal newcomer averaging an excellent 7.9 litres for every 100km travelled. We did better than this with more open-road driving.
Grandeur, which is also available with a 3.8 litre V6 petrol engine, comes with a range of improvements.
Exterior enhancements include a new radiator grille, chrome inserts in the front and rear bumpers, indicators in the door mirrors and new style 17” alloy wheels.
Inside, there’s added luxury and sophistication with blue interior illumination and an upgraded 8 speaker (including subwoofer) ‘JBL’ audio system that incorporates USB audio input with iPod compatibility and USB memory stick.
You also get cruise control, dual-zone climate control air conditioning, and speed sensing central locking that automatically locks all doors when the vehicle reaches 45 km/h.
Standard safety equipment includes eight airbags, including dual front, dual side (thorax) and curtain, Stability Control with Traction Control System (TCS), ABS brakes with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), active head restraints for driver and front passenger, and child seat anchor points with ISO Fix points.
Other goodies include power tilt and telescopic steering wheel, a memory system for the power driver’s seat, rain-sensing wipers, auto dusk-sensing headlights, powered folding outside mirrors with 3 mode auto-dipping in reverse, and heated seats that come in black or beige leather.
The CRDi’s 2.2-litre, 4-cylinder turbo-diesel engine, which produces 114kW of power at 4000rpm and 343Nm of torque from 1800 to 2500 revs, is a capable performer without being a star.
It is a little slow out of the gates, but once you can tap into the plentiful supply of mid-range torque, the 1770kg sedan moves along with purpose.
The engine is nicely matched to 5-speed automatic transmission with Selectronic, a semi manual mode.
The diesel does get a little noisy when stirred.
Grandeur CRDi is most at home on the highway speed limit where it glides effortlessly.
With cruise control flicked on and quality sound system turned up, it is a commuter’s dream.
When it rains, the wipers come on by themselves and at night, so do the headlights.
There is an abundance of room for the up-front occupants as well as three passengers in the rear. There is also loads of space in the boot for groceries or luggage.
Grandeur does most things with the minimum of fuss, but is not the sharpest car as far as handling goes.
The steering is vague and needs to deliver more feedback to the driver. The super-soft suspension adds to the almost “hovercraft’’ feeling.
A huge bonus is that while the Hyundai may have a fancy name and come packed with features, the price is just right for those not hit too hard by the global economic meltdown.
The 3.8 V6 petrol 5 speed auto is priced from $39,990 and the Grandeur 2.2 CRDi turbo-diesel 5 speed auto from $41,990, as tested.
The 2009 Grandeur comes with Australia's first 5-year warranty with unlimited kilometres and introduces a comprehensive 12-month Hyundai Premium Roadside Assist program.
If you are in the market for a spacious, generously-equipped and well-priced family limo, the 2009 Hyundai Grandeur must be considered.
2009 Grandeur 3.8 V6 petrol:
194 kW of peak power @ 6,000 rpm
348 Nm peak torque @ 4,500 rpm
5 speed automatic with Selectronic
Fuel consumption* 10.8 litres / 100 km
2009 Grandeur 2.2 CRDi turbo:
114 kW of peak power @ 4,000 rpm
343 Nm peak torque @ 1,800 to 2,500 rpm
5 speed automatic with Selectronic
Fuel consumption* 7.9 litres / 100 km
Recommended retail prices:
Grandeur 3.8 V6 petrol 5 speed auto $39,990 RRP
Grandeur 2.2 CRDi turbo Diesel 5 speed auto $41,990 RRP
Optional metallic / mica paint $375 RRP
A range of Genuine Hyundai Accessories is available for customers to ensure their 2009 Grandeur is tailored to their needs. The range includes Front Park Assist Sensors, Cargo Liner and Roof Racks (2 bar set).