The Hyundai Galloper is a classic SUV in Costa Rica, loved for its fuel economy, inexpensive parts and 7 passenger capacity. The off-road capability is surprising, and the heavy weight makes it a fairly comfortable ride on gravel roads.
Features and Options
The Hyundai comes with many extras as standard features, for example most Gallopers have electric windows and door locks. All Gallopers are true 4 x 4, meaning that they have a low and high 4 wheel drive to get you through most situations. They are available in automatic and manual transmission, although the manual is much more common. Most available in Costa Rica have true luggage racks (not luggage rails! ) for tying down gear or suitcases, running boards and a rear ladder. Fog lights are often a factory feature or have been added. High quality aluminum rims are a standard feature also.
Inside the Galloper has seating capacity for 7 passengers, although the 3rd row seats are not comfortable for adults on long journeys. Most tend to have seat covers to protect the upholstery, which is generally in pristine condition. The instrument panel features not only the temperature gauge, oil pressure gauge and tachometer, but also an incline gauge showing how many degrees of tilt fore and aft, as well as port and starboard tilt, plus an altimeter and voltage meter for the battery. On newer models the gyroscope is replaced by a digital temperature readout for both inside and outside the vehicle. Many Gallopers have dual A/C and some have factory CD changers with a 6 or 8 CD capacity, although most older models do not have this. Electric mirrors and an adjustable steering wheel are common.
Parts and Repairs
The Galloper shares a motor with the Starex, Grace and Terracan (non-CRDI) models by Hyundai which are also on a heavy duty chassis and often classified as work vehicles. These models are very popular in Costa Rica, so parts are easy to come by and inexpensive. Mechanics are very familiar with all of these vehicles, so getting them worked on is no problem either, even when traveling.
Pros and Cons: Hyundai Galloper
Pros: The Galloper will handle 5 adults comfortably and a ton of luggage inside and on the luggage rack, many people with frequent visitors or who are B & B owners choose Gallopers for this reason. It will cross shallow rivers and has the power to get you out of most situations you find on Costa Rica’s rural roads. It has the chassis strength to handle potholes and the suspension to smooth out the rough roads you commonly encounter when traveling. Parts are easy to find and the vehicle is simple for any reliable mechanic to fix. The 2 door version is even more capable off road, without sacrificing much comfort. If you live in a rural area, the Galloper chassis is a truck frame, which will hold up to gravel roads and washouts found in most farm settings or outlying areas in Costa Rica.
Cons: Some people don’t think the Hyundai is up to the standards set by Japanese car makers such as Toyota and Honda. Parts are not expensive and some would say you get what you pay for. This may be true in some ways in this case, as the Galloper technology is very 1990s. Hyundai built their current reputation for quality on slightly newer technology. The Galloper is boxy, some people would rather have a more pleasing design, and the handling is definitely not sporty. The power and acceleration is adequate for most situations, but not so much for passing in highway conditions at higher speeds or trucks in the mountains.