The Hyundai XG300, introduced in the fall of 2000 as a 2001 model, was expected to compete as the value leader against entry-level luxury vehicles like the Acura 3.2 TL, Lexus ES 300 and Infinity I30. With a full complement of standard luxury features like power driver and passenger seat, leather and wood grain interior trim, power sunroof and automatic climate control, the XG300 ? which took its name from its 3.0 litre, 190 horsepower V6 ? offered consumers good value in a luxury sedan for less than $32,000.
But the real competition turned out not to be the lower priced sedans of the Japanese luxury car divisions, but well-equipped versions of the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima and even Hyundai's own Sonata.
2001 was a good year for Hyundai, which sold 59,166 vehicles in Canada, it's best year since the days of the Pony. But XG300 sales ? 1,108 units ? accounted for less than 2 per cent of sales. In contrast Hyundai sold over 7,400 Sonatas in 2001.
For 2002, Hyundai introduced a larger 3.5 litre V6 for the XG and renamed the model the XG350. It was a prescient move, as 2002 saw the introduction of the new Nissan Altima with its 3.5 litre, 245 horsepower V6 and the 210 horsepower, 3.0 litre V6 Camry, and later in the year, the 240 horsepower, 3.0 litre V6 2003 Accord.
Producing 194 horsepower at 5,500 r.p.m., the Hyundai V6 came up short on horsepower and with 216 ft.-lbs. of torque at 3,500 r.p.m., topped only Honda (211 ft.-lbs. of torque).