Junkyard Find: 2001 Hyundai XG300

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 2001 hyundai xg300

I admit I’ve got a sick fascination with luxury cars sold by companies not (at the time, in this market) known for luxury. There’s the Mitsubishi Diamante, of course, and the Mazda 929, and even the Volvo 262C Bertone (I’m still looking for a junked Daewoo Leganza, but either they don’t exist or— more likely— they fade into the junkyard background so perfectly that I never notice them). The Hyundai XG, well, that’s a perfect example of the “who’s laughing now?” phenomenon; just a decade ago, we all chortled at the idea of a Korean luxury sedan selling in the United States. Today, German and Japanese car-industry execs wake up screaming from Hyundai-themed nightmares. So, that makes today’s Junkyard Find of great historical significance (to me and maybe a dozen others).

The XG was a Hyundai Grandeur, which started life as a rebadged Mitsubishi Debonair but had become an all-Hyundai machine by the time of the XG. Not a bad-looking car at all, but American car shoppers didn’t have a good reason to buy it.

Perhaps some Korean-style TV ads might have boosted sales on this side of the Pacific.

It would have been hard to replicate the macho-yet-restrained voiceovers that make Korean car ads so great, though.

Plus, there was the fact that you could buy an Infiniti or Lexus with a V8 and rear-wheel-drive, or even a Cadillac with a front-drive V8. The 189-horse Sigma V6 failed to impress American car shoppers.

I’ve never been inside a moving XG, but Hyundai was building pretty good cars by the dawn of the current century (in amazingly stark contrast to the car that made the Yugo GV seem reliable barely a decade earlier) and I’ll bet these cars were very comfortable and held together well for the price.

How much? The MSRP on the base XG300 was $23,499 (about 31 grand in 2013 bucks), which was less than half that of the $48,895 Infiniti Q45. Sure, a fairer comparison would be with the Camry-based, front-wheel-drive/V6-powered Lexus ES300… which had a $31,505 price tag in 2001.

You’ll find one in every car, kid. You’ll see.

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3 of 71 comments
  • Guy922 Guy922 on Feb 13, 2014

    I really appreciate this post MM. I have a strange obsession with Luxury cars from non-luxe brands myself. I always found this model to be somewhat intriguing with its basic lines and understated looks. Good find! I never find as many interesting imports at the Salt Lake Yards.....although, I'm starting to see a rather high number of Gen 3 Camry wagons lately......which leaves me slightly unsettled.....

    • Guy922 Guy922 on Feb 14, 2014

      Wow. Look at the exposed screws that bind the cruise control buttons to the steering wheel. How did this NOT compete with Lexus? LMFAO.

  • Allan850glt Allan850glt on Feb 24, 2014

    These ill-fated pseudo-luxo boxes weren't all that bad. Most sadly find their way to ghetto-fab buy-here-pay-here places in the East Side of town. LOL. My friend's dad has one, which we took on a road trip from Buffalo to Calhoun, Louisiana. Better on gas than my bud's two-door Cherokee and roomier than the '93 945 Turbo I was rocking at the time. It was actually the Kia variant, an '05 Amanti. The 3.5 provided more than adequate power, the AC cranked, interior roomy, comfortable and truly well put together. Nineteen hours one-way with three adults, one toddler and all our luggage and I can't complain. I drove it probably total sixteen hours and actually liked it compared to say my Mom's '06 Impala (gag) she had at the time. Amazing fuel economy considering the conditions of driving. Great looking, ehhhh well ya know. The front clip looked like a pygmy-shrunken Edsel. It did the job and blew away the 23 mpg we'd have gotten outta my turbo Volvo wagon.

  • MaintenanceCosts Despite my hostile comments above I really can't wait to see a video of one of these at the strip. A production car running mid-eights is just bats. I just hope that at least one owner lets it happen, rather than offloading the car from the trailer straight into a helium-filled bag that goes into a dark secured warehouse until Barrett-Jackson 2056.
  • Schurkey Decades later, I'm still peeved that Honda failed to recall and repair the seat belts in my '80 Civic. Well-known issue with the retractors failing to retract.Honda cut a deal with the NHTSA at that time, to put a "lifetime warranty" on FUTURE seat belts, in return for not having to deal with the existing problems.Dirtbags all around. Customers screwed, corporation and Government moves on.
  • Bullnuke An acquaintance of mine 50+ years ago who was attending MIT (until General Hershey's folks sent him his "Greetings" letter) converted an Austin Mini from its staid 4 cylinder to an electric motored fuel cell vehicle. It was done as a project during his progression toward a Master Degree in Electrical Engineering. He told me it worked pretty well but wasn't something to use as a daily driver given the technology and availability of suitable components of the time. Fueling LH2 and LOX was somewhat problematic. Upon completion he removed his fuel cell and equipment and, for another project, reinstalled the 4 banger but reassembled it without mechanical fasteners using an experimental epoxy adhesive instead which, he said, worked much better and was a daily driver...for awhile. He went on to be an enlisted Reactor Operator on a submarine for a few years.
  • Ajla $100k is walking around money but this is almost certainly the last Dodge V8 vehicle and it's likely to be the most powerful factory-installed and warrantied pushrod engine ever. So there is some historical applicability to things even if you have an otherwise low opinion of the Challenger.And, like I said up thread, if you still hate it will be gone soon anyway.
  • Carlson Fan GM completely blew the marketing of the Volt. The commercials were terrible. You'd swear they told the advertising company to come up with an ad that would make sure no one went out and shopped a Volt after seeing it!...........LOL My buddy asked why I bought a car that only goes 40 miles on a charge? That pretty much sums up how confusing and uninformative the advertising was.