Review: 2007 Hyundai Veracruz
By Dan Jedlicka of MSN Autos
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.
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.
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
The engine works with a responsive 6-speeed automatic transmission with a manual shift feature.
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
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
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
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
Rather Numb Steering
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.
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.