Can A Buick Grand National Beat A Hyundai Family Crossover In A Race?: Video

The Buick Grand National was one of the quickest cars of the 1980s. With a 0 to 60 mph time of just 4.9 seconds, the menacing black Buick was quicker than a Lamborghini Countach, Porsche 928S and, rather controversially, the Chevy Corvette.

While the Buick Grand National was definitely an impressive product for its time, this American performance icon isn’t very quick by today’s standards. We live in an age where relatively cheap crossovers have near-300 horsepower V6s and all-wheel-drive, so even the most run-of-the-mill grocery getters and family haulers are capable of accelerating from 0-60 mph in five seconds or so.

In a recent episode of their This vs. That show, which pits different types of vehicles against each other in a drag race, Hoonigan decided to see how a 1987 Buick Grand National would fare against a Hyundai Palisade.

These two vehicles are nothing alike, but on paper, they seem as though they’d be pretty evenly matched. The Buick Grand National has a turbocharged 3.8L V6 engine producing roughly 245 horsepower, while the Palisade has a naturally aspirated 3.8L V6 making 291 horsepower. What the Buick lacks in power it makes up for in weight, however, as it tips the scales at about 3,400 pounds – 1,458 lbs less than the seven-passenger Palisade.

There are two other advantages that give Palisade an edge here, though. The SUV has all-wheel-drive and a quick-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission. The Grand National has to make do with a comparably sluggish four-speed and rear-wheel-drive. It even chirps its tires when it shifts into second, losing it a little time to the Hyundai.

So, with all that said, can one of the most iconic American performance cars of the 1980s beat a run-of-the-mill South Korean family crossover in a drag race? Check out the video embedded below to find out.

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Sam McEachern: Sam loves to write and has a passion for auto racing, karting and performance driving of all types.

View Comments (14)

  • '86 & '87 Buicks would run 14.40's bone stock in 80 degree temperatures, and would get close to 14.00's when the weather was cold. With an hour of effort (with some basic hand tools) 13.50's could be achieved an no one could tell anything had been touched. Slicks and an exhaust would get the right driver on the right night into the 12's.

    The real comparison would be versus an Escalade...which will outrun the stock Buick - AND get better fuel economy (EPA numbers).

    • But an Escalade or Hyundai will never turn heads on the street like a GN. Almost every other time I take my '87 GN out and make a stop at a traffic light, there is usually some guy who rolls his window down and yells loudly: "NICE car! You wanna sell it?" That would be a very rare occasion when driving those other run of the mill modern cars.

      Also, keep in mind that the motto for my car fleet is "stock is boring - and too slow". I bought my car from a friend that added some typical mid-level GN upgrades. The most significant was a bigger turbo. He regularly ran 7.0 seconds @ 100 mph in the 1/8th (!) mile. It was pushing about 550 hp at the crank. I added a hydraulic roller cam and aggressively ported heads since then. I'm anxious to see what it will do. Hope to get 100 hp per cylinder out of it.

  • I have said for years the stock GN while fast in 1985 terms is not a really fast car in today’s terms.

    Now it is easy to make faster which is it’s claim to fame and why a stick unmolested one is worth a good penny today.

    Heck my HHR SS with the GM tune was easily faster than many stock 60’s performance cars running in the 13’s if I could get the tires to hook up. 300 HP from 2.0 at 23 pounds of boost on pump gas is just crazy.

  • Why are we even bothering a GN is GN and a Hyundai is a Hyundai what is the point of this and who cares. A 21 ZL1 will beat a 69 ZL1 and so what, different times, different technology. What a waste of time comparison.

  • The GN was sort of fast in it's day. My friend had one and I had a stock 340 Plymouth Duster. He couldn't beat me!

  • Any 86-87 GN should easily run high 13's or low 14 seconds in the quarter and do the 0-60 run in under 5 seconds. The Hyundai Palisade has been tested at 7.2 seconds to 60 and mid 15's in the 1/4 mile so the GN should easily beat the far heavier Hyundai. Also note the GN has 340 torque vs the Hyundai's weaker 262. This is an odd comparison

  • Is it just me or are others having issues with all these videos they put on here? Every time I try to watch one (like this one here), it says video no longer available. ???

  • That Buick is either horribly out of tune, or they can't drive it right. They ran 14 seconds stock...sometimes better. I know that it doesn't really compare to today's performance cars, but up against that thiing , this still no contest.

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