Maybe they should've called it the Genesis Crossover. The Hyundai Veracruz was one of the first salvos in the Korean automaker's recent new-product assault on the U.S. market, which has been followed by the intros of the much-hyped Genesis Sedan and Coupe.

The Veracruz has been generally well received since its launch in March 2007 and scored an impressive comparison test victory against the 2008 Lexus RX 350 in July of that year. But despite the positive vibes, only 11,004 Veracruz sport/utes moved off Hyundai dealership lots in 2008 (in case you're wondering, Toyota sold more than 84,000 RXs over the same period). Yes, we know, 2008 was a bad year to be selling SUVs, but...Is it too late to change the name?

So while it hasn't exactly been shooting up the sales charts like a bullet, the Veracruz, as was the Genesis models that followed it, is also about showing critics that Hyundai can make a $38,320 crossover that's not only worth the money, but is also competitive with the best the world has to offer.

After a year behind the Veracruz's power-adjustable, leather-trimmed steering wheel, consider our perceptions changed.

"I almost hate to admit how much I like this Veracruz -- so much for my Pennzoil-fed enthusiast's heart," opined editor at large Arthur St. Antoine. "It goes down the road expensively. It shifts expensively. It rides expensively."

Senior editor Edward Loh offered many the same observations about the Veracruz's overall ride, calling it "smooth, quiet, refined, and willing to get up and boogie when needed."

Our Car
Base price $36,445
Options Navigation package ($1750: navigation, 605-watt Infinity Logic 7 Audio), Carpeted floormats ($125)
MSRP, as tested $38,320
Total mileage 22,684
Avg fuel economy 16.1 mpg
Problem areas None
Maintenance cost $301.43
Normal-wear cost $40.33
Three-year residual value* $19,160
Recalls Trailer hitch wiring harnesses
* Automotive Lease Guide