First, the new Hyundai Veracruz scored a stunning upset against the Lexus RX-the longtime luxury crossover kingpin-in our July 2007 head-to-head showdown. Then, the Veracruz shined in our 2008 Sport/Utility of the Year contest. After its sport/ute showing, we decided it was time to get the Veracruz in for a long-term cruise to see how it holds up after a year behind the wheel.
Our tester is a 2008 Veracruz Limited AWD that starts at $36,445. For that scratch, Hyundai loads you up with a serious amount of standard features. There's power everything, including front seats, tailgate, adjustable pedals, and steering wheel. And if you need more juice, there's a 115-volt outlet. Safety also is covered every which way, with six standard airbags and active head restraints, traction and stability control, and ABS-all helping the Veracruz achieve five-star front and side crash ratings. Tack on the navigation package ($1750) and carpeted floormats ($125), and the as-tested price hits $38,320.
At the heart of the Veracruz is Hyundai's 3.8-liter DOHC V-6 pumping out 260 horses, mated to a six-speed automatic. The engine has just enough grunt to propel the 4620-poundvehicle in most any situation, and the six-speed never seems out of sorts. It's not exactly the most fuel-friendly combination, however, with EPA ratings of 15 city/22 highway. Straight-line numbers are decent for a vehicle of this size, with 0 to 60 coming in eight flat, and the quarter mile clocking in at 16.3 seconds. Braking was also respectable, with stops from 60 to 0 taking 140 feet.
From the moment you step over the door-sill plate with the Veracruz badge glowing in a blue hue, you realize this isn't your flat-broke third cousin's Hyundai. The gauge cluster and multifunction steering wheel are nicely done. The center stack is easy to manage and features arguably the best XM radio display on the market-making it easy to find your favorite Eddie Money song. We'd rather have a backup camera instead of the beeping sensor, but Hyundai says that's coming soon. And, surprise, the third row can actually fit grown-up humans.
While we wouldn't call the Veracruz's exterior look ground-breaking, its clean lines and minimalist trim help it blend right in with the crossover crowd. We'll let you know how the cruising goes as our year in the Veracruz unfolds.
| Our Car |
| Base Price || $36,445 |
| Vehicle layout || Front engine, AWD, 7-pass, 4-door SUV |
| Engine || 3.8l/260-hp/257-lb-ft DOHC 24-valve V-6 |
| Transmission || 6-speed automatic |
| Curb weight (dist f/r) || 4620 lb (56/44%) |
| Wheelbase || 110.4 in |
| Length x width x height || 190.6 x 76.6 x 68.9 in |
| 0-60 mph || 8.0 sec |
| Quarter mile || 16.3 sec @ 86.5 mph (avg) |
| Braking, 60-0 mph || 140 ft |
| Lateral acceleration || 0.78 g (avg) |
| MT figure eight || 28.1 sec @ 0.59 g (avg) |
| EPA city/hwy econ || 15/22 mpg |
| CO2 emmisions || 1.11 lb/mile |
| Total mileage || 7004 |
| Average fuel economy || 16.4 mpg |
| Unresolved problem areas || None |