2007 Hyundai Veracruz


Review: 2007 Hyundai Veracruz

By Dan Jedlicka of MSN Autos
Rating: 8

Bottom Line:

This new model may lead more folks to consider Hyundai.
  • Surprisingly upscale
  • Roomy
  • Well equipped
  • Rather numb steering
  • Average handling
  • Rear visibility

South Korea's Hyundai moves closer to being considered a legitimate rival to esteemed Japanese automakers such as Honda and Toyota with vehicles such as its new Veracruz midsize crossover.

Hyundai needs vehicles such as the Veracruz to get the respect it feels it deserves—but isn't getting—from many Americans. It says it's mainly aiming the Veracruz—named after a tourist Mexican state on the Gulf of Mexico—at the Toyota Highlander and Honda Pilot. But other rivals include the Subaru Tribeca, Mazda CX-9 and Saturn Outlook. Not to mention—dare we say?—the Lexus RX 350.

Third-Row Seating
The 7-seat Veracruz has a quiet Lexus-like interior. It's like no other Hyundai interior, thanks to such things as soft-touch materials and superb fit-and-finish. The second-row seat area is especially roomy. And a third-row seat can be easily reached via the sliding, split second-row seat. The third seat can accommodate two adults in reasonable comfort, which is something that can't be said for a lot of third-row seats.

The 50-50 split third seat folds into the floor without needing to remove the headrests and finding a place that's reasonably out of the way to put them.

The Veracruz rides on a stretched platform from the above-average Hyundai Santa Fe SUV. The new model looks handsome and has impressively tight panel gaps.

However, wide back roof pillars partially obstruct rear vision, making it a good idea to check the large outside mirrors when making moves in traffic. Of course, it's also wise to use the turn signals when changing lanes, and even the turn-signal stalk's clicks sound just right. Good attention to detail, there.

The Veracruz is offered with front- or electronic all-wheel drive and costs from $26,305 to $34,005. Trim levels are base GLS, midrange SE and top-line Limited.

Power is from a 3.8-liter 260-horsepower V6 also found in Hyundai's flagship Azera sedan. The V6 propels the Veracruz from 0-60 mph in 7.8 seconds and allows good merging and 65-75 mph passing.

Decent Fuel Economy
Estimated fuel economy is 18 mpg in the city and 25 on highways, which is decent for a vehicle that weighs 4,266 pounds with front-wheel drive and 4,431 pounds with all-wheel drive. Only 87-octane gasoline is needed.

The engine works with a responsive 6-speeed automatic transmission with a manual shift feature.

Sophisticated Engine
The dual overhead camshaft V6 is sophisticated, with continuously variable valve timing and a variable intake system for good response at all speeds. It even rides on newly developed semi-active mounts that harness engine vacuum to offset engine vibrations for subdued engine noise.

Besides one of the industry's longest warranties, one of Hyundai's major strengths is value for the dollar—and the Veracruz has plenty of that. It's packed with comfort, convenience and safety equipment.

Lots of Equipment
Standard for even the GLS are air conditioning with separate rear climate controls, cruise control, tilt/telescopic steering wheel and an AM/FM/XM/CD/MP3 audio system with 6 speakers. There's also power heated external mirrors and power windows, tailgate lock and doors with remote keyless entry.

The SE adds a power driver's seat with lumbar support, 18-inch (up from 17-inch) wheels, leather-wrapped wheel and shift know, automatic headlight and a cooled front center console storage area.

Just About Everything
Hyundai throws just about everything in the Limited. It has leather upholstery, power front passenger seat, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, power tilt/slide sunroof, backup warning system and a power tailgate. For good measure, it even has a windshield wiper de-icer.

There are plenty of safety items—for all trim levels. They have electronic stability control with traction control, anti-lock braking with electronic brake force distribution and brake assist, along with front-seat side airbags and side-curtain airbags for all seating rows.

Not enough? Then there's the aptly named $2,950 Ultimate Package for the Limited with adjustable pedals, power tilt/telescopic wheel, rear DVD entertainment system with surround sound audio and rain-sensing wipers.

Over the Top
Still not satisfied? Then get the Ultimate Package with the Premium Black/Saddle interior for $3,200.

Even the GLS is offered with a $1,950 Premium Package, which contains the power tilt/sliding sunroof, power driver seat, heated front seats and back-up warning system, which is a good family feature to have.

The $3,350 Premium and Leather Package for the SE also looks enticing. Although pricey, it contains the sunroof, leather seats, heated front seats and Infinity CD/MP3 changer.

Family Essential DVD
There's also a $1,600 Entertainment option for the SE that requires the Premium/Leather option but contains a "family essential" rear DVD entertainment system with a surround sound audio system.

Rather Numb Steering
I tested the $32,305 front-wheel-drive version of the Limited and found the steering rather numb near the on-center wheel position. However, the steering is fast enough for emergency moves, and there's a tighter minimum turning radius than the shorter Lexus RX 350.

Handling is good despite a fair amount of body sway when taking curves fast, even with front and rear anti-sway bars. The all-independent suspension provides a firm-but-supple ride, although the suspension clunks over large bumps. The brake pedal has a positive feel and braking distances are acceptable.

Sitting High
Occupants sit high, although getting in and out calls for extra effort. The front bucket seats provide good support, and major controls are easily reached. Gauges can be quickly read, and climate controls are commendably large. But the low, foot-operated parking brake can hit the side of a driver's ankle.

Doors have storage pockets, and the console storage bin is fairly deep. Front cupholders are nicely positioned and are ringed with blue light during night driving—another nifty interior touch.

The cargo area is large, especially with the third-row seat folded out of the way. And second-row seatbacks can be flipped forward for even more storage space.

The Veracruz still generally lacks Lexus polish, but one no longer wonders if it can be attained—at Hyundai prices.


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BB01 - 9/18/2014 7:07:47 AM