2003 Hyundai XG 350; photo by Grant Yoxon
2003 Hyundai XG 350; photo by Grant Yoxon. Click image to enlarge

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2001 Hyundai XG 300, by Grant Yoxon
2002 Hyundai XG350, by Greg Wilson
2003 Hyundai XG350, by Grant Yoxon

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Hyundai XG 300/350, 2001-2005

By today’s standards, the Hyundai XG luxury sedan doesn’t look like anything special. But when it was introduced in 2001, it was a big deal for Hyundai, a company that looked set to play underdog forever, despite the consistent quality improvements it had made in the few years before the XG arrived.

The XG, of course, is long gone, replaced in 2006 by the Azera, a car that was later trumped as the brand’s flagship by the 2009 Genesis. While the XG was far from perfect even in its day, it’s still a sign that the company had a clear vision for its future.

The 2001 XG 300 was new to North America, but was far from a new design, having been available elsewhere as early as 1998. That first model used a 3.0-litre V6 engine (190 hp; 192 lb-ft of torque) and a five-speed automatic transmission. The 2002 model got a new motor – a 3.5-litre V6 making 194 hp and 216 lb-ft of torque – and a new name – XG 350 – to reflect the new engine’s larger displacement.

2003 Hyundai XG 350; photo by Grant Yoxon
2003 Hyundai XG 350; photo by Grant Yoxon
2003 Hyundai XG 350; photo by Grant Yoxon. Click image to enlarge

Neither engine was particularly advanced. If their horsepower ratings didn’t give that away, the fuel consumption numbers did: cars with the 3.0-litre engine were rated at 12.6/8.0 L/100 km (city/highway), according to Natural Resources Canada’s EnerGuide publication. With the larger engine, those figures increased to 13.3/8.3 L/100 km in 2002 and rose again slightly for 2003 and 2004 before settling down to 13.1/8.3 L/100 km for 2005.

The XG’s reliability wasn’t great. Though it’s hard to find specifics on line due the car’s relatively low sales volume, Consumer Reports names the fuel and electrical systems as main trouble spots, as well as some engine troubles.

A few specific items I came across in the XG forum at Edmunds.com were hard-shifting transmissions and engine mass air flow (MAF) sensors prone to failure (this is easy enough to fix, but will prevent the car from starting).

My advice, based on what CR has to offer, is that 2001 and 2002 models are best avoided. A 2004 or 2005 model looks like the best bet here, and if you’re lucky, you’ll find a low-mileage example that has a bit of factory warranty left.

2002 Hyundai XG 350
2003 Hyundai XG 350; photo by Grant Yoxon
2002 Hyundai XG 350. Click image to enlarge

The XG fared well in Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) frontal offset crash tests, earning a “good” rating. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) crash tested 2004 and 2005 models and gave the car five stars for frontal impact protection, and four stars for side impact protection. All XGs had standard, seat-mounted side airbags, anti-lock brakes and traction control.

The XG’s best attribute as a used car (as is the case with many older Hyundais) is its resale value. According to Canadian Red Book, a 2001 model is worth just $4,700 (a mid-range Honda Civic from 1999 is worth about the same amount); a 2005 XG 350 carries a suggested value of $12,725. You might want to spend a little more and spring for an older Lexus ES or Infiniti I30/I35.

The XG’s luxurious trappings might have hinted at what the company had in store for its future, but sadly, it brought back too many memories of the brand’s spotty past for this car to be a solid used vehicle purchase.


Red Book Pricing (avg. retail) November 2008:

Price today
Price new
XG 350
XG 350
XG 350
XG 350
XG 300

Online resources

There are a number of Hyundai sites on the web, but not many of them are terribly comprehensive, at least not as far as the XG is concerned. In any event, I’d recommend HyundaiPerformance.com and HyundaiExchange.com as decent places to start, if you’re on the lookout for XG info.

Related stories on Autos
Test Drives
  • 2001 Hyundai XG 300, by Grant Yoxon
  • 2002 Hyundai XG350, by Greg Wilson
  • 2003 Hyundai XG350, by Grant Yoxon

    Manufacturer’s Website
  • Hyundai Canada


    Transport Canada Recall Number: 2002082; Units affected: 1,324

    2001: On certain vehicles an intermittent condition that leads to the supplemental restraint system (srs) air bag warning light illumination could result from motion of the side impact air bag wiring harness and side impact air bag wiring harness connector which mount to the adjustable seat cushion assembly. This condition only relates to the driver and passenger seat mounted side impact air bags and could prevent seat mounted side impact air bag deployment during a crash where such deployment should occur. Non-deployment of the SRS side impact air bag could increase the risk of injury during a crash where side impact air bag deployment is intended. Correction: Dealers will service the front seat side impact airbag wiring harness.

    Transport Canada Recall Number: 2001296; Units affected: 197

    2001: Certain passenger vehicles. Improperly manufactured power train control modules (PCM) were installed in some vehicles. The improperly manufactured PCMS contained a condenser that was not correctly installed onto the PCM printed circuit board. The incorrect installation of the condenser could result in damage to the ignition failure sensor resulting, in engine stalling, increasing the risk of a crash. Correction: dealers will inspect the PCM to determine if it was manufactured during the affected production period. If necessary, the PCM will be replaced at no cost to the vehicle owner.

    Transport Canada Recall Number: 2004130; Units affected: 37,126

    2002-2003: On certain vehicles, the fuel tank assembly valve may not close properly. If a vehicle with a fuel tank assembly valve that is not properly closed were to roll over, fuel spillage could occur. Fuel spillage in the presence of an ignition source may result in a fire. Correction: Dealer will install an additional fuel tank assembly valve.

    Crash test results
  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
  • Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)

    Used vehicle prices vary depending on factors such as general condition, odometer reading, usage history and options fitted. Always have a used vehicle checked by an experienced auto technician before you buy.

    For information on recalls, see Transport Canada’s web-site, www.tc.gc.ca, or the U.S. National Highway Transportation Administration (NHTSA)web-site, www.nhtsa.dot.gov.

    For information on vehicle service bulletins issued by the manufacturer, visit www.nhtsa.dot.gov.

    For information on consumer complaints about specific models, see www.lemonaidcars.com.

  • For more Used Vehicle Reviews by Chris Chase, click here.

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