The Hyundai Custo looks good enough for America.
The latest 2022 Kia Carnival proves automakers can sell minivans to a crossover-obsessed US market, so long as they create a handsome design and premium interior. Kia doesn't even offer the most luxurious Carnival with the built-in foot massagers here in America, but we still think it is one of the best minivans on the market. The segment is clearly making a comeback, but Kia's sister company Hyundai still doesn't want to get in on the action, at least not in the US.
Hyundai last offered a minivan here back in 2008, an uninspiring model called the Entourage. Though that one was pretty forgettable, Hyundai's upcoming effort will be much more interesting. The Korean automaker recently teased a new minivan for the Chinese market. Dubbed the Hyundai Custo, we think this looks like an impressive model that could sell well here in the US.
Hyundai's first teaser showed off the Custo's sleek exterior styling. The bold front grille looks reminiscent of the Tucson and Santa Cruz, while the wide taillight bar gives off Chrysler Pacifica vibes. It's difficult to make a minivan look stylish, but it seems like the Hyundai Motor Group has cracked the code. Inside, the Custo features luxurious reclining captain's chairs in the second row with seating for three in the third row. The front row has some similarities to the Tucson but adds a massive 10.4-inch touchscreen plus under console storage.
This minivan is designed for the Chinese market, so it uses one of two small turbocharged engines. The base unit is a 1.5-liter four-cylinder producing 167 horsepower and 187 lb-ft of torque going out through an eight-speed automatic transmission. A larger 2.0-liter engine is available with 233 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque, sending its grunt to a seven-speed dual-clutch. We are surprised to see no hybrid option for China.
When it debuts next month at the Chengdu Auto Show, the Hyundai Custo will compete with other China-only minivan models such as the Buick GL8.