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[Test Drive] All-new Hyundai Grandeur a mix of heritage and future elements

Hyundai's 7th generation flagship sedan is equipped with futuristic features, revives its 1986 moniker 'square Grandeur'

Dec. 11, 2022 - 19:14 By Kan Hyeong-woo
Newly launched seventh Grandeur (Hyundai Motor Group)

The “square Grandeur” is back. Hyundai Motor’s latest and seventh edition of its flagship sedan combines cutting-edge technology with a heritage design inspired by the first-generation Grandeur.

When the Grandeur -- Hyundai Motor’s classic high-end sedan -- made its debut in 1986, the luxury car became an instant hit among CEOs at leading companies across South Korea and became a symbol for successful businessmen. Due to the sedan's front side design, it received the moniker of “square Grandeur” from the public.

Over the past three decades, the Grandeur went through six facelifts. In the process, its front bumper became rounder, while the shape of its headlamps and radiator grill became like trapezoids with round corners.

Just as the Grandeur’s original nickname seemed to be fading into the past, Hyundai Motor brought back the “square Grandeur” with its recently launched model.

The front side of the all-new Grandeur at media test drive (Kan Hyeong-woo/The Korea Herald)

Dubbed the all-new Grandeur, the first impression that stood out at a media test drive last week was the noticeable return of the square front. Featuring a thin, linear headlamp and almost rectangular radiator grill, it looked as if the car was saying, “Look at me. The square Grandeur is back.”

The front exterior’s smoothness continues through the clean body on each side with frameless doors and auto-flush handles, highlighting the new model’s future-oriented design. The car’s interior features a premium structure and design reminiscent of those from Genesis, Hyundai Motor’s top-tier luxury brand.

The steering wheel of the all-new Grandeur (Kan Hyeong-woo/The Korea Herald)

The gear knob has been moved to the right side of the steering wheel, offering more space in the console box area between the driver and the passenger seats. As the length of the latest Grandeur stretches 5,035 millimeters to exceed over 5 meters for the first time in the sedan’s series, it boasts more legroom for the backseat.

A test drive was conducted with the sedan’s 3.5-liter gasoline direct injection option that provides a maximum of 300 horsepower and 36.6 kilogram-force meters. A test drive of about 50 km was enough to check out three of the five driving modes -- eco, normal, sport, my drive and snow.

A view from the backseat of the all-new Grandeur (Kan Hyeong-woo/The Korea Herald)

In the eco mode, the sedan's driving power was adequate to stay on par with other cars on the road. The sport mode allowed the driver to experience its maximum engine output of 300 horsepower with its quick and robust acceleration. Even in the sport mode, the new Grandeur provided a smooth driving experience.

The linear LED lighting lamp wrapping the driver and passenger seats changed colors depending on each driving mode, offering different moods for each riding style.

The autonomous handling function of the steering wheel worked well both on smaller, curvy roads and highways. As the all-new Grandeur was equipped with features such as road noise canceling, noise-absorbing tires and noise-reducing doors and windows, the overall driving experience was almost as quiet as riding an electric vehicle.

The trunk of the gasoline engine model appeared spacious enough to accomodate up to four golf bags.

The trunk of the all-new Grandeur (Kan Hyeong-woo/The Korea Herald)

A minor inconvenience was that the The Korea Herald reporter, whose height is 184 centimeters, could not sit up completely straight as his head would brush against the ceiling. However, this has been the case for almost all sedans he has driven.

Two hours into the test drive, the gas mileage indicator showed 10.2 kilometers per liter, on par with Hyundai Motor’s figure of 10.4 kilometers per liter for the 3.5-liter GDI engine.

The seventh generation Grandeur is priced starting from 37 million won ($28,000) for buyers in South Korea. According to Hyundai Motor, the company is not considering manufacturing an EV version at the moment.

Declaring the return of the square Grandeur, the flagship model has already logged presale orders of about 109,000, according to the carmaker.