Attention! Attention! You know how everything kinda sucks, and sometimes you wish that maybe everything sucked, perhaps, a little bit less? Of course you do. Well, I’m here with some good news, because Meh Car Monday is back! Sort of! It may not be weekly or even on Mondays, but when the meh rears its bland, featureless, taupe-colored head, I’ll be there to capture it. And this time a meh-ness erupted in a geyser of indifference I, paradoxically, couldn’t help but not-ignore. That meh-ness was the Hyundai Entourage.
Before I get to the Entourage, I just want to remind you what Meh Car Monday is: A celebration of the most boring, forgettable, un-noteworthy cars that we can think of. All of the background vehicles you can’t imagine anyone giving a pair of matching shits about, we’ll try and feature here, if we can somehow remember them.
Meh Car Monday has also proven to be an incredible learning tool to teach the lesson that every single car in the world has at least one dedicated, insufferable fan. So, when I roll my eyes at the army of Tesla-stans livid at me for not liking something on one of their cars, I just need to remind myself that I was once called an “arrogant, self-important lump of excrement” because I had the audacity to call a Chevy Captiva boring.
A Chevy Fucking Captiva.
Back to today’s Meh Car. Do you remember the Hyundai Entourage? Here, let me help you with that: no, you don’t. Even if you’re driving one right now, you don’t remember it, because you can’t, it’s not possible with the particular chemistry of a human brain.
Somehow, Hyundai’s crack team of neurological researchers managed to distill down the fundamental properties of oblivescence and encode them into a formula that Hyundai’s designers and marketers and product planners would use when crafting the vehicle that would be the Hyundai Entourage.
The Entourage isn’t even from all that long ago, even if it was ephemeral. The Entourage only existed between 2007 and 2008, and was the badge-engineered twin of the hardly-exciting but still far more memorable Kia Sedona minivan.
I can’t recall ever having seen one of these, but it must have happened.
Let’s take a good look at the Entourage, because I know for a fact you can’t call up an image of one in your mind:
Wow. I’m not sure I’ve ever encountered anything that’s so intensely adequate in my life. It’s fine, said in the same tone of voice someone would use when focusing intently on anything and someone asks them if the particular towel they’ve set on the table is going to work.
I imagine the Hyundai designers vision board when designing this car had a glass of room-temperature water, a bunch of those standard band-aid beige electrical wall outlet and switchplate covers, maybe a folding chair, and the word “TEPID,” written in beige latex eggshell interior wall landlord-grade paint.
Actually, a standard wall outlet is kind of a perfect analogy to the Entourage: functional, useful, does basically what you need when you need it, and absolutely forgettable.
Oh, and there’s another way the Entourage is like a wall outlet: the boring outer shell is hiding a surprising amount of power within.
When I looked at this car and painfully forced my brain to consider it, I made some assumptions. If you asked me what the drivetrain was like on this thing, I’d have guessed some sort of two-ish liter transverse four-banger making about 160 or so horsepower, mated to some joyless four-speed automatic.
Holy shit, was I wrong.
Improbably, the Hyundai Entourage’s sole engine was a 3.8-liter V6 making a shockingly respectable 250 hp, and 253 pound-feet of torque. What the hell? A base 4-liter V6 Ford Mustang in 2008 only made 210 HP!
The Entourage could do 0-60 in 8.5 seconds, which is the same as an Alfa Romeo Brera S from the same year. It’s not lightning-fast, but that’s not bad, especially for something that seems as mundane as the Entourage.
Plus, it used a five-speed automatic, which is better than I’d have guessed. So, mechanically it’s more impressive than I would have guessed, and yet instead of feeling like some kind of fun sleeper, the Entourage’s wildly powerful inoffens-fields manage to still make this a vehicle no one gives a shit about.
The marketing didn’t really help much. This commercial, for example, is cute and I think relatable to all of us former kids who pretended our family cars were spaceships, but still fundamentally generic, as pretty much any minivan could have been slotted in the place of the Hyundai:
Like all Meh cars worthy of the title, there’s nothing really wrong with the Entourage. It’s absolutely fine for its intended purpose, and slips so well into the status quo of mid-to-late 2000s minivans that it effectively disappears.
The forgettable power of this thing is so potent and considerable it scares me, a little. I feel like if I get to close to one I too may end up being forgotten, its yawning chasm of obscurity swallowing myself, my actions, and all of my vainglorious attempted accomplishments, like the desert swallowing the ruins of Ozimandias’ former glory.
Here’s a really powerful and personal example of how forgettable the Entourage is. I just now, as in this moment, noticed something about the rear view of an Entourage, so I reached down under my workbench in my basement office/workshop and pulled out this taillight that’s been banging around here for years.
Take a look:
Holy shit, that’s an Entourage taillight! I think I knew it was from some Hyundai/Kia something, but this car is so staggeringly uninteresting that I didn’t even realize I’ve had a part of one sitting within ten feet of me for who the hell knows how long.
You really have to appreciate the incredible power that is the void of interest surrounding the Hyundai Entourage. So much care seems to have been taken into making every aspect of this car forgettable—the boring name, the generic design, the oddly decent engineering specs, the ineffective marketing, everything everything about this anonymous machine serves the one grand, secret purpose of convincing you it never existed.
About 25,000 of these were sold in those two short years and they could be all gone or you could be surrounded by five of them right now and you’d never know, or care.
So, take a moment to cherish the very concept of memory, my friends, to savor the glorious fact that we can recall and replay moments of our lives that have passed, because this is a gift we should never take for granted.
If you think you may be guilty of not appreciating how important memory is to you and human culture in general, consider the Hyundai Entourage and recoil at the empty horror of the alternative.