SEOUL - Hyundai Motor Co.'s all-new Trajet compact minivan claims not only a French name but European development roots.
The seven-seater's concept and design are attributed to the Hyundai Design Studio, in Mainz-Kastel, Germany, and final development work was entrusted to the company's central research and development operation at Namyang, Korea.
Hyundai Motor America rejected the Trajet as too small for the North American market, so the vehicle will not be exported to the United States and Canada. It will be available in all other markets where Hyundai vehicles are marketed, though. The Trajet will be offered in standard GL and deluxe GLS trim and will begin arriving in overseas showrooms in early 2000.
Developed in 30 months under the FO project name, the Trajet was supported by a $300 million investment. Hyundai is tooled up to build 76,000 Trajets annually at the company's Ulsan plant.
In Korea, Hyundai touts the Trajet as a luxury vehicle. It is positioned alongside Hyundai's XG luxury car, and is badged as the Trajet XG to further reinforce the high-end image.
With a domestic retail price of around 20 million won (U.S. $17,000), the Trajet comes loaded with extras. They include leather upholstery, a tire pressure warning system, a satellite-based global positioning system and rain-sensing wipers.
Low-end versions also are available, including nine-seaters.
Overseas, the Trajet is designed to compete on a more ordinary footing against the likes of the Volkswagen Sharan, Renault Espace and Toyota Picnic. As a result, the export version is dropping the more exotic leading-edge electronics.
The base model comes with a 2.0-liter, single overhead cam inline four, extensively re-engineered for reduced noise, vibration and harshness. An all-aluminum, twin-cam 2.7-liter V-6 rated at 185 hp is available as an option except in Australia, where it is standard on the GLS model.
The 2.7-liter is a rebored variant of the 2.5-liter V-6 Delta engine offered on the Sonata and XG.
A 2.0-liter diesel option will be offered in late 2000. It will be the first of a new line of proprietary diesel engines for Hyundai passenger cars and will come with intercooling and turbocharging.