Hey, I would never mistake the XG for being an "upscale European or Japanese car". It's designed after the principle of most-flash-for-your-cash, but most car buyers easily looks through this. The quality feel of the XG is only skin deep. It's all about chrome parts and other shiny parts as well as fake wood so fake that your grandmas Grand Caravan "Woodie" edition looks nature-like in comparison.
It took me ten seconds to dislike this car and a ten minute test drive to hate it. Do a test drive of this car against a 530 and you'll see if I mean. Even if the 530 engine is half a litre smaller than the XG 3.5L, it's still a good two seconds faster 0-60. The difference is even more in mid range tests like overtaking tests. That's because it's stone age technology in the XG. And try to run the XG in a sharp bend or use the brakes that are a joke, it's like stepping one a sponge and not a brake pedal, no brake feel what so ever. The same Grand Caravan before mentioned will do better. A serious test drive cannot camouflage that this car has been put together of a series of sub-standard parts. The XG only does well straight ahead at a steady 60. Don't try to accelerate or brake or take it round a bend, it will be too scary. This is meant litterally. The steering pump will go empty after a couple of bends the brakes start to fade after a couple of hard deaccelerations. With no steering and almost no brakes I almost crashed during my short test drive. I took it right back to the dealer.
I would not compare this car to a 5-series or even a Buick. It's simply not a luxury car nor is it a sports sedan. It's just a very basic car with a large inefficient engine hooked up with an even more inefficient (but smooth) transmission. And to make it "elegant" they added tons of shiny parts so the luxury-wannabees think they are doing a bargain. Best suited for a 75-year old lady short of cash for a proper car.
I don't see what the issue is here. What you have just described is exactly what American car manufacturers have done since the early 1900's, and obviously what American buyers want. Only difference is Hyundai has injected a dose of quality as proven by the JD Power surveys.
Reading the original review I got the impression that the reviewer compared this car with some serious hardware from Porsche and BMW as well as other upscale cars (like Lexus?) And by the way Buick and Mercury have some of the highest quality ratings in the business so why not buying American luxury? Ten years ago people were running away of American cars because they were not that well put together but this is not the case anymore.
I have a 2005 XG 350 with 72,000 KM (45,000 miles) on it.
Very comfortable and very reliable so far.
The gas mileage is not the best, but is acceptable for the level of comfort and power it provides.
The 100,000 KM warranty (62,500 miles) was one of the reasons I bought it. Some minor problems have been fixed without question from the dealer under the warranty.
The only problem I have found is the excess depreciation of the vehicle. The original $34,000 Canadian purchase price yields only $12,000 as a trade in now.
There are not too many 2005 models for sale so I believe most people are keeping them as they don't put on as many miles per month as I do.
Hyundai did discontinue the XG350 after the 2005 model year so that may be part of the depreciation issue.
Let me know what your experience has been with this car.