Category Archives: Veracruz

The Heart and Seoul of Hyundai

What does it tell you that Hyundai/Kia is the only major carmaker to post a profit this year? Sure, it was small (less then six percent in January), but the Korean company is actually in the black at a time when American manufacturers are struggling for survival, and major Japanese and German brands are deep in the red. Even Nissan may disappear if they don’t watch themselves more carefully.

Hyundai seems to be the only player to be positioning themselves positively in the midst of an otherwise global economic nightmare. How are they doing it? Well, the answer is not really that complicated. They are working overtime to build a reputation of quality and affordability. Quality that is up to par with stalwarts like Honda and Toyota. And affordability like, well… like what Hyundai is already known for. Quality. Affordability. A proverbial one-two punch.

Add to the equation the industry’s best warranty of 10 years/100,000 miles. And, to boot, a genius marketing strategy that offers a buy-back to prospective consumers, so they don’t have to be worried about getting laid off and then not being able to make their new car payments. It basically gives people the confidence to make a major purchase.

Now, back to the cars themselves. Let’s take a quick look at some of the highlights in the Hyundai/Kia line-up:

First, there’s the Hyundai Genesis. This is a luxury caliber sports sedan on par with BMW and Audi, but sells for $12,000 to $20,000 less.

Then there’s the Hyundai Veracruz, a very well put together crossover SUV that is almost identical to the Lexus RX300. Except, again, several thousand dollars less.

Kia’s new Soul is every bit as stylish and refined as the Scion xB, but starts at a thrifty $14,000.

And the compact Kia Rondo has smarter packaging than anything in the Toyota or Honda line, and grants more interior cargo room then virtually every other vehicle in its class. And the class above it.

Not only is Hyundai improving its overall public perception as a quality carmaker, it is actually positioning itself to have an upscale luxury presence in the market. If someone would have told you this 10 years ago, you would have laughed them out of the room. I know I would have.

2009 Veracruz a worthy competitor

Hyundai, the first South Korean automaker to enter the U.S. market, has come a long way since it rolled out its initial product here in 1985, the subcompact Excel hatchback.

Although it built its reputation on mostly small, affordable and fuel-efficient vehicles, Hyundai has become much more than that now, with a full line of cars, SUVs and a minivan.

For 2009, the company introduced its first true luxury sedan, the Genesis, and a coupe version of it is on the way to market.

The Genesis was so good that it won the North American Car of the Year award at this past January’s Detroit auto show.

Hyundai also now has a premium SUV as well. For 2007, the company brought the midsize Veracruz crossover to the United States. For 2009, it comes with a base price range of $27,145 (plus $750 freight) for the entry-level GLS front-drive model to $35,995 for the top-of-the-line Limited model with all-wheel drive.

We tested the Limited front-drive model (base price $34,295 plus freight).

With options and freight, our tester’s price rang up at $38,295, but that included the Navigation Package ($1,750), which also brought the uplevel Logic 7 surround-sound 605-watt audio system; and the Rear Seat Entertainment Package ($1,500), which comes with a roof-mounted 8-inch LCD screen and two wireless headphones.

It’s not necessary to pay this much to get a nicely equipped Veracruz, however. The GLS model with its under-$28,000 price is a good buy if you can live without all the fancy extras and gadgets.

The marvelous thing about the Veracruz is that it seems a lot more expensive than it is, with the look and feel of a luxury model such as the Lexus RX 350, against which the Veracruz was benchmarked. The RX 350 begins at just under $38,000.

All models come with the same 3.8-liter V-6 engine with dual exhaust, rated at 260 horsepower and 257 foot-pounds of torque.

The engine is connected to a six-speed automatic transmission, another feature distinguishing the Veracruz from its competitors. Most of them have five-speed automatics, including the competing Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander.

Standard on even the base Veracruz are such amenities as electronic stability control, traction control, anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution, front seat-mounted side air bags, roof-mounted side-curtain air bags for all rows, 17-inch alloy wheels, six-speaker compact-disc audio system with iPod connection, power/heated outside mirrors with approach lights and turn-signal lights, cruise control with steering wheel controls, power windows/mirrors/door locks with remote and much more.

That means that even at the starting price, with very few (if any) options tacked on to the sticker, the Veracruz comes across as a bargain.

Adding such options that were either standard or included on our Veracruz Limited model, including leather interior and the rear-seat entertainment system, sunroof, backup warning system and 18-inch alloy wheels — among other things — would push the RX 350’s price into the upper $40,000s.

Keep in mind, though, that the Veracruz is not a Lexus, and the Hyundai name is not the attention-getter that Lexus is. But with prices starting $11,000 less than those of the RX 350, and with a similarly equipped Veracruz running about $8,000 less than the base RX, Hyundai surely wins the value race.

Granted, those who would buy a Lexus and those who would buy a Hyundai are entirely different customers. But the point is that anyone who chooses the Veracruz can feel good about the purchase. This is a lot of vehicle for the money, and even without a name like Lexus, it’s quite elegant.

The Hyundai also stacks up well against popular crossovers that Veracruz shoppers also might consider — the Pilot and Highlander, as well as the Nissan Murano and Ford Edge.

And while Hyundai might have a hard time taking customers away from Honda, Toyota and Nissan, it can offer a great crossover with lots of standard equipment to those who can’t quite afford one of those Japanese brands. The Veracruz really is on the same level, but with a lower price.

This is the third SUV in the Hyundai lineup. It joined the entry compact Tucson and midsize Santa Fe. The Veracruz is built on a stretched and widened Santa Fe chassis to allow for a roomy third row of seating, giving it a maximum capacity of seven. (The RX 350 has room for only five.)

There is more cargo volume — 86.8 cubic feet with the second and third seats folded — than in all of the Veracruz’s direct competitors except for the Pilot (87.6 cubic feet).

Fuel-economy ratings are quite decent for a roomy seven-passenger SUV. The Veracruz is rated at 16 miles per gallon in the city and 23 on the highway vs. 17/23 for the Pilot, 18/24 for the V-6 Highlander and 18/23 for the Murano (all with two-wheel drive).

Inside, the Veracruz is quieter than the Pilot, with levels of noise and vibration that nearly match those of the Lexus RX.

The Veracruz has achieved the top five-star crash-test ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in frontal- and side-impact testing for all front and rear passengers. It scored four stars in the rollover rating, which is the highest any of the crossovers have received.

In designing the Veracruz, Hyundai went with an exterior similar to that of several of the newer crossovers, including the RX 350, Edge and Acura MDX, which is an upscale version of the Pilot. The styling was a product of Hyundai’s California studio and was tailored for American tastes.

Luxury abounds inside the Veracruz. There is nothing cheap or cheesy looking. The leather seats are optional on the base model, but standard on the Limited. Our vehicle also had wood-grain interior trim that gave it a premium look.

Standard on our Limited model were several items that usually are found only on premium models, and then sometimes only as options. Among them were a power rear liftgate, automatic climate control and a backup warning system.

Base models come with a single-disc CD player that is MP3-capable, and XM satellite radio is standard.

Our Limited model came with the uplevel Infinity audio system with a six-disc CD changer. Other standard features included power adjustable pedals, power tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel, rain-sensing wipers, 115-volt power outlet and a keyless entry/start system. The key can be left in the pocket, and the doors unlock as the person with the key fob approaches the vehicle.

All-wheel drive is a $1,700 option on either trim level. Most Sun Belt buyers choose the two-wheel drive models, but all-wheel drive system is of value even outside snowy climates and is a bargain at this price.

It can direct up to half of the torque to the rear wheels, and there is a lock switch on the dash that can force it into the 50/50 mode. The Veracruz has 8.1 inches of ground clearance, which makes it suitable for some light off-road use, but as with most crossovers, this vehicle is not designed for rugged off-road use.

Ride quality is quite Lexus-like in the Veracruz, which also helps give it a luxury feel.

The engine offers decent acceleration, even on uphill freeway ramps; although as with most vehicles in this class, it can feel a little sluggish when fully loaded with people and their stuff.

The Veracruz, which is based on the architecture of the Sonata midsize sedan, handled quite well on some fun twisty country roads. It’s not a sports car, of course, but for an SUV, it holds the road quite well and the steering is predictable.

G. Chambers Williams III

Hyundai Santa Fe and Veracruz Named 2009 ‘Best Bets’ BY

Two Hyundai crossovers recognized for safety, reliability and fuel efficiency by top automotive website

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif., 04/06/2009 The Hyundai Veracruz and Hyundai Santa Fe were named 2009 “Best Bets” in the SUV and Crossover category by, the leading destination for online car shoppers.

“Both the Hyundai Veracruz and Santa Fe are exactly what value car buyers are looking for,” said Mike Hanley, an editor at “They offer stylish features, quiet cabins, leading safety features and are backed by the best warranty in the industry. These are vehicles our editors would love to drive.”

To qualify as a “Best Bet,” models must meet three quantified criteria: a “Good” rating in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) frontal-offset and side-impact crash tests; average or higher reliability ratings; and average or higher gas mileage within their class.

“It’s an honor to have editors recognize the Veracruz and Santa Fe on their list of vehicles to buy in 2009,” said Scott Margason, director, Product & Strategic Planning, Hyundai Motor America. “Both of these models offer industry-leading safety technologies, top-tier quality and a host of luxury and convenience features that offer more value to today’s car shopper than our competitors.”


Hyundai Motor America, headquartered in Fountain Valley, Calif., is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Co. of Korea. Hyundai vehicles are distributed throughout the United States by Hyundai Motor America and are sold and serviced through more than 790 dealerships nationwide. All Hyundai vehicles sold in the U.S. are covered by The Hyundai Advantage, America’s Best Warranty. In addition, the Hyundai Assurance Program is now offered on all new vehicles leased or purchased from a certified Hyundai dealer. The program is available to any consumer, regardless of age, health, employment record or financed amount of the vehicle. The program is complimentary for the first 12 months.

CARS.COM is the leading destination for online car shoppers, offering credible, easy-to-understand information from consumers and experts to help buyers formulate opinions on what to buy, where to buy and how much to pay for a car. With comprehensive pricing information, side-by-side comparison tools, photo galleries, videos, unbiased editorial content and a large selection of new- and used-car inventory, puts millions of car buyers in control of their shopping process with the information they need to make confident buying decisions.

Three Hyundai Models Earn Top Safety Pick Awards

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif., 11/25/2008 For a second year in a row, three Hyundai models earned the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) Top Safety Pick award. The Hyundai Veracruz and Santa Fe received awards in the midsize SUV segment and the Hyundai Entourage in the minivan segment. All winning vehicles are recognized for their ability to protect passengers in front, side and rear crashes.

This marks the fourth year in a row the Entourage has received the Institute’s highest honor in the minivan category and second year in a row for the Veracruz and Santa Fe. All three vehicles also earned five-star crash test ratings, the highest government rating under NHTSA’s New Car Assessment Program, for both frontal and side impact.

Top Safety Pick awards recognize vehicles that do the best job of protecting people in front, side and rear crashes based on ratings in the Institute’s tests. Each vehicle’s overall evaluation is based on a variety of measures including injuries to dummies, vehicle’s structural performance, restraint performance, etc. Winners are also required to be equipped with the latest crash prevention technology, electronic stability control (ESC) — which is standard on all three Hyundai Top Safety Pick vehicles and 67 percent of all Hyundai vehicles sold in the U.S.

According to the IIHS, “Consumers are the biggest winners. No matter what kind of vehicle buyers may be considering, now they can walk into just about any dealership and find one that affords the best overall protection in serious crashes.”

Hyundai remains committed to the implementation of advanced safety technologies, such as electronic active head restraints, introduced on the 2009 Hyundai Genesis,” said Michael Deitz, manager of product development, Hyundai Motor America. “We’re pleased that three of our models are Top Safety Picks again this year.”


Hyundai Motor America, headquartered in Fountain Valley, Calif., is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Co. of Korea. Hyundai vehicles are distributed throughout the United States by Hyundai Motor America and are sold and serviced through more than 790 dealerships nationwide.

Hyundai Veracruz Challenges Luxury Crossover Market

If you’re looking for proof of how far Hyundai has come in the last 20 years, go check out the Veracruz midsize crossover. Hyundai’s goal here is to give you Lexus-level accommodations at a Honda price.

Hyundai’s very modest Excel lowballed the car market in the 1980s but wasn’t that great a vehicle. Later models, such as the Elantra, have given the Korean manufacturer real economycar credentials, but to take on the Lexus RX models is pretty gutsy.

Hyundai’s styling has moved from slightly quirky but conventional to pretty attractive and slightly quirky. The Veracruz swoops and curves while the competing Honda Pilot emulates a worn pavement brick. A few styling tricks at front and rear give it an intriguing, eye-catching quality. Look at those sensuous, multi-part headlamp clusters! The flush-mounted taillamps are stretched forward boldly across the rear side panels. Tidy body panel fits and judicious use of chrome impart surprising elegance.

Inside, it’s the same story. The dash swirls and rolls almost dizzyingly, with an unusual elliptical center dash top. The attractive instrument panel features colorful gauges. The easy-to-use navigation system, specially designed for Hyundai by LG, displays a three-dimensional look. The elegantly trimmed seats, convincing looking artificial wood trim, and intelligent use of silvery accents is more than a polite nod to real luxury models.

You can get a Veracruz in three models with typical car company monikers — GLS, SE and Limited. The GLS is the “base” car, but it boasts a long list of standard features. These include power windows and locks; heated power mirrors; keyless entry; tire pressure monitor; 17-inch alloy wheels; and thirdrow seating. A 172-watt audio system with AM/FM/XM/CD is also standard, with three months of XM service included. A host of safety equipment gives the Veracruz top-level, five-star ratings in the government crash tests.

Stepping up to the SE gives you, as you might expect from the name, more “sportiness.”

Because all Veracruz models use the same powertrain, this means larger (18-inch) alloy wheels, a roof rack, automatically dimming rearview mirror, and a center console with a cool box for chilling sodas (no beer, please).

The Limited adds leather seats — the front ones heated. You also get a substantial audio system upgrade to 315 watts with CD changer, power sunroof, power tailgate, blue backlit scuff plates, and more. If the GLS is going after the Toyota Highlander, the Limited is the real Lexus fighter.

All Veracruz models are available with either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Add $1,700 to the bill for the latter. My test car was a Limited model with all-wheel drive in Liquid Silver.

All Veracruz models share a 3.8-liter V6 and six-speed automatic transmission. The V6 generates 260 horsepower and 257 lb.-ft. of torque and employs continuously variable valve timing and a variable intake system.

These high-tech methods get the most out of an engine under a variety of operating conditions. Typical for today’s automatics, a manual shift mode lets you move the car from gear to gear with the touch of a lever — but no clutch is involved.

The EPA gives the 4,431- pound Veracruz all-wheel-drive models fuel economy ratings of 15 City, 22 Highway. Frontwheel drive models get one mpg more for each number. I averaged 16.7 mpg. In the EPA’s Green Vehicle Guide ratings, all Veracruz configurations earn a 6 on the Air Pollution scale and a 5 conon the Greenhouse Gases scale.

That’s good enough for a Low Emissions Vehicle (LEV) rating. If you want superior scores in the Green Vehicle Guide, Hyundai’s modestly priced Elantra rates almost as high as a hybrid vehicle.

The Veracruz is enjoyable for cruising. You sit high, the seats feel great, and it’s eerily silent.

Hyundai used lots of sound insulation and even has a variable engine mount that banishes vibration. They must have taken the Lexus challenge to heart. Compared to Hyundai’s worthy Santa Fe, this is an upscale ride.

What’s the price for all of this? The two-wheel-drive GLS starts at $27,595, including shipping charges — very competitive.

The Limited stickers at $36,445 with shipping — great versus a Lexus, but definitely a lot for a car with the Hyundai badge on the nose. My tester, with a navigation system, floor mats and sunroof wind deflector, came to $38,405.

Hyundai proudly backs up the Veracruz with its now-famous fiveyear, 60,000-mile New Vehicle warranty combined with a 10-year, 100,000-mile Powertrain warranty, seven-year Anti-perforation warranty (less relevant in California), and five years of unlimited-mile roadside assistance.

Are you game? The Lexus RX 350 starts at $38,265 and needs additional option packages to match the Veracruz’s level of equipment. And, it’s a five-passenger vehicle. If the combination of comfort, features, sevenpassenger capacity and lower purchase price matches your requirements — and you have a little bit of a pioneer streak — the Veracruz offers a very tempting choice.

By : Steve Schaefer
San Leandro Times

Hyundai Veracruz Wins 2008 AutoPacific Vehicle Satisfaction Award

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, CALIF., 05/29/2008 The 2008 Hyundai Veracruz ranked above the competition in the Large Crossover Sport Utility Vehicle category in AutoPacific’s 2008 Vehicle Satisfaction Awards (VSA). AutoPacific’s VSA, based on owner survey results, is an industry benchmark for objectively measuring how satisfied owners are with their new car or light truck.

“Today there are more nameplates and fewer buyers than a decade ago and the 2008 calendar year is the most challenging year for the American auto industry since the mid-1990s,” said George Peterson, president, AutoPacific, Inc. “This extremely competitive situation means that automakers need to use any advantage they have to get their vehicles considered and purchased.”

“We are pleased and honored to have been recognized with such an influential industry award,” said Scott Margason, national manager of Product Development at Hyundai Motor America. “Veracruz is an exceptionally well-equipped vehicle, boasting the latest safety technologies like Electronic Stability Control, convenience features like a proximity key, and a quiet, comfortable ride. Veracruz is a prime example of Hyundai’s commitment to achieving maximum customer satisfaction.”

AutoPacific’s Vehicle Satisfaction Awards are driven by data collected from more than 34,000 buyers and lessees of new vehicles acquired during September through December 2007. Buyers and lessees rate 46 attributes related to a vehicle’s operation, comfort, safety and overall purchase experience. The awards recognize vehicles in 28 different categories. A complete description of scoring methodology and a list of all winners can be found at

Hyundai Motor America, headquartered in Fountain Valley, Calif., is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Company of Korea. Hyundai vehicles are distributed throughout the United States by Hyundai Motor America and are sold and serviced by more than 790 Hyundai dealerships nationwide.

Veracruz impresses with upscale details

Hyundai’s biggest crossover is worthy of higher price tag

Over the last five years, Hyundai has impressed me about as much as any car company. With smart marketing, outstanding quality and an industry-best warranty to back it up, the sky seems to be the limit for growth from the Korean manufacturing giant. Having praised enough, I present the 2008 Hyundai Veracruz, the latest embodiment of the aforementioned gloating.

Introduced last year, the Veracruz is a midsize crossover that builds on recent improvements to extremely popular Sante Fe and the smaller Tucson SUVs. Considered a premium model compared to it smaller siblings, my Veracruz Limited tester featured all-wheel drive and a host of upscale features that proves this is not your former Hyundai.

The Veracruz is offered in three trim levels: GLS, SE and Limited; base prices start at $26,900, mid-line at $28,600 and top-off at $34,050. All models come standard with front-wheel drive or available all-wheel drive.

On the outside, Veracruz features a rounded profile similar to Sante Fe and Tucson. This is a refined treatment featuring soft lines with subtle accents in the front headlight assembly and bolder cues such as the roof rack on top. Plenty of glass opens up the views inside.

Once inside, the cabin is especially impressive in size and comfort. Noise was virtually non-existent during highway driving. Hyundai says it benchmarked the Lexus RX350 and Mercedes-Benz ML for the interior appointments – and it shows. There is a premium feel to the Veracruz Limited, and at a price of $38,525 loaded, it is a bargain compared to those it looked up to.

Veracruz has three rows of seating, though the third row will only accommodate children comfortably. If you raise the last row of seats, rear storage is only 6.5 cubic feet; however, a two-row setup leaves a generous 40 cubic feet of storage space. That utility space grows to 86.8 cubic feet when you fold the second row down. Passengers in my tester said they had plenty of legroom in the second row, even with the front seats pushed all the way back.

Up front, leather upholstery adorned big, plush seating, power adjustments allow for perfect positioning. Featuring A touch-screen navigation system as the centerpiece of an attractively laid-out dash, the front row has plenty of storage nooks and a big “cool zone” center console.

Adding value to the Veracruz is a host on standard features (formerly options): memory function for the power driver’s seat, exterior mirrors and steering wheel; power tilt/telescoping wheel, adjustable pedals, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a 115-volt power outlet, lighted door scuff plates and keyless entry/start function.

With all the surrounding glass, driver visibility is great. The HVAC controls make climate adjustments a breeze. My tester had a rear-seat entertainment system that included a DVD player and 8-inch, overhead LCD screen. The Infinity Logic 7 audio system, part of the upgrade Navigation package ($1,750), offered a 605-watt external amp that delivered the CD, radio or XM signals in zealous magnitude.

My Veracruz featured a 3.8-liter V6 engine delivering 260 horsepower and 257 lb.-ft. of torque. This powerplant is mated to a versatile 6-speed automatic transmission. The EPA estimates for the Veracruz is 15 mpg city/23 highway. Nothing to brag about but there are vehicles this size well under that. My top-of-the-line Limited featured Hyundai’s AWD system. Sensors channels power from the front to the rear wheels as needed to improve traction.

Drivability is impressive on the highway. While this big crossover has distinctive car-like characteristics, it still manages to aptly handle tight turns and fast maneuvers. Even with a full load, my tester delivered a solid performance on the highway and around town.

While I’m not sure buyers are prepared to plop down $38,000-plus for any Hyundai, even one as deserving as this Veracruz, consumers would be wise to look at the value of standard equipment and warranty compared to other competitors.

BY JOHN STEIN SouthtownStar Auto Editor
Chicago Sun-Times

2008 Hyundai Veracruz: Small Price to Pay for Happiness

I recently took a trip to Carmel, California in our long-term 2008 Hyundai Veracruz AWD. There are so many little reasons to like this car. In fact, it’s the first time I’ve ever considered buying a Korean vehicle as my personal car.

Sure, I had a couple of gripes, which you can read on the Straightline blog: The “Cool Box” in the console doesn’t cool that well, it’s got too much wind and road noise for my taste, it could handle the bumps with more grace, and the horn wouldn’t work. But overall, this is a car I really enjoyed and would recommend. Here’s why:

First: It’s good-looking. I like the styling and didn’t feel like I was driving a boxy-looking SUV or egg-shaped minivan. I know it’s a matter of personal taste, but I really like its lines, particularly the sporty-looking back end.

Second: It’s spacious. We lowered the third row and filled the cargo area with the following: a large cooler, a large plastic container filled with non-perishable food, a large rolling duffel bag, an carry-on rolling bag (airline size), four backpacks, a guitar, a mandolin (don’t ask!), a men’s suit bag, a couple of shopping bags, a bunch of heavy jackets and sweater. Yeah, we overpack, don’t we?!

We were still able to see out the rear view. In fact, the rear view on this car is one of its very best features. The only thing that really hinders it, though, is the DVD screen. Not much you can do about that.

Next: It’s comfortable. I drove almost the entire way from L.A. to Carmel, which is about 5 1/2 hours if you do it without stopping. I never felt stiff or like my back ached (we had optional lumbar support). You know how after some road trips you have to get out and do the “back stretch”? Not so here. My kids were also comfortable the whole time. How do I know? They didn’t complain. The third row seat is also quite comfortable and not too difficult to access.

It’s functional: The controls on the dash are just plain easy to figure out. In my experience, more expensive cars often require a weekend of study to figure out all the electronics. Even things that should be easy, like air conditioning and the radio, require more time than they should. The Veracruz reminded me of Toyota in its design: not gorgeous, but simple.

And my six-year-old was able to open and close the rear doors, and climb in and out without any problem. I also liked the “conversation mirror” which lets you see the kids in back (below the sunglass holder), the rear-seat reading lights, and the substantial hooks for hanging dry cleaning, and the fuel door release conveniently located on the driver door. All small touches that make a difference in everyday use.

Handling and maneuverability were also good. Not performance-great, but perfectly adequate. And the Veracruz has all the latest safety features, including stability control, which is a must-have for me.

Finally, the cost of this all-new crossover SUV is a selling point. Starting at $26,900 MSRP and topping out at $35,750, it’s a lot more reasonable than many of its competitors and it has Hyundai’s terrific 10 yr /10,000 mile drivetrain warranty.

So if you’re looking for a vehicle that can seat up to 7 in comfort and style, drives well, is safe, and has a great warranty, then put the Veracruz on the list.

Source: The Driving Woman

Hyundai Makes Nice Move to Upper End

2008 Veracruz crossover SUV a study in luxury

Think of Hyundai’s Veracruz as the “blue light special.”

The nickname doesn’t mean the crossover carries Kmart pricing. In fact, this model may be the best test of Hyundai’s strength in the market’s upper end.

But in its most luxurious form, the Veracruz greets passengers with elegant blue-lit scuff plates upon opening the doors. Blue light cools the instrument panel, the reading lamp, even the cup-holder rings. And, yes, this is a special experience.

2008 Hyundai Veracruz Ltd

TYPE: All-wheel-drive, five-door, seven-passenger, crossover sport utility vehicle.

BASE PRICE: $36,445.

POWER: 3.8-liter, 260-horsepower V6; six-speed auto transmission.

SAFETY: Power disc brakes with anti-lock braking system, traction control, electronic stability control.

FUEL ECONOMY: 15 miles per gallon city, 22 mpg highway.

TOWING: 3,500 pounds.

STANDARD: Leather seating; heated front seats; power front passenger seat; dual-zone automatic temperature control; rear climate manual; Infinity CD/MP3 changer audio system with subwoofer and external amplifier; power tilt & slide sunroof; power tailgate; windshield wiper deicer; backup warning system; power tilt/telescopic steering wheel; 115-volt power outlet; rain sensing wipers; proximity key with immobilizer and keyless drive.

To stand out from the crowd of car-based crossover sport-utility vehicles, Hyundai dressed the Veracruz in such finery that you can’t ignore the exclamatory fashion statement.

When Hyundai arrived on our shores in 1986 with one model, the Excel, the South Korean carmaker was so desperate to gain a foothold that it sought buyers with marginal credit while providing marginal quality at a price they could afford.

More than 5 million sales later, Hyundai carries the J.D. Power seal of approval for its quality and a merger partner in fellow South Korean carmaker Kia. The two brands (merged by Hyundai’s acquisition of bankrupt Kia in 1998) are seeking to distinguish themselves from each other. Kia covers the low end of the economy, while Hyundai goes upscale. Upon its introduction last year, the Veracruz was discussed as a possible contender for a new Hyundai luxury brand, along the lines of Lexus, Infiniti or Acura.

Hyundai made no bones about its luxury aspirations, calling the Veracruz a “luxury utility vehicle” and comparing it to the Lexus RX350, which costs $11,000 more. Across three trim levels, the GLS, SE and Limited, the Veracruz is sold in front-drive or all-wheel-drive in base prices, ranging from $27,595 to $36,445. The review car was a Limited with all-wheel-drive.

Veracruz Limited comes with all the equipment found standard on the SE and adds leather seating, heated front seats, power front passenger seat, automatic temperature control, a 315-watt Infinity audio system with CD changer, power tilt and slide glass sunroof, power tailgate, chrome door handles, conversation mirror, windshield wiper de-icer and backup warning system.

Add the Ultimate Package of options and you get the aforementioned blue backlit scuff plates, power-adjustable pedals, integrated memory system, power tilt and telescoping steering wheel, 605-watt Infinity AM/FM/XM/CD-changer/MP3 audio system with Logic 7 surround sound, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system with an 8-inch LCD monitor, 115-volt power outlet, proximity key and rain-sensing wipers.

Veracruz’s sculpted design features three-tiered headlights adjoining a grille with a flat-lined upper chrome bezel and a curved lower bezel bearing the Hyundai “flying-H” emblem. Character lines and a swept profile connect the wrap-around headlights to the large, prominent taillights and rear fascia. Chrome accents the skin, while large wheel arches represent muscular stability.

Interior space surpasses that of the Mercedes-Benz GL, even though the Veracruz is 9.7 inches shorter. Acoustic luxury comes from dampening sheets applied to the doors and unibody, a steel plate beneath the engine and four layers of carpet padding. Engine noise is reduced through electronically controlled engine mounts, a multi-curvature dash, custom hood insulation and a pillow tripod joint that lessens vibrations from the driveshaft at idle.

With seven adults in all the seats, space becomes a little close but access is fairly facile. Access to the third seat requires flipping a lever to slide the second row forward. With an option package, you can get an automatic power lift gate for easy loading.

Brushed metal accents and blue backlighting for all interior gauges, switches and buttons create a romantic ambience. Even the front cupholders are ringed with blue light to aid nighttime driving, while a soft blue spotlight in the overhead console provides subdued task lighting.

The Veracruz has plenty of straightforward power behind a 3.8 liter, double overhead cam V6 with 24 valves. The peak 257 pounds-feet of torque flow through a six-speed automatic that manages the power efficiently.

Fuel economy falls in line with others at 15 miles per gallon in the city and 23 on the highway with all-wheel-drive.

Scripps Howard News Service
Sunday, April 13, 2008

2008 Hyundai Veracruz Limited AWD Review

2008 Hyundai Veracruz Limited AWD Review

When someone mentions “midsize luxury crossover”, “Hyundai” is probably not the first word to come to your mind. But the Veracruz, its newest, and largest, crossover is meant to change that.

Based on a stretched version of the platform that underlies the Korean company’s smaller Santa Fe, the Veracruz offers a spacious seven-passenger interior and a smooth, quiet driving experience. V6 power, to the tune of 260 horses, is standard; there are no four-cylinder models. If in looks and mien it is aimed at luxury crossovers like the Lexus RX350, the Veracruz is priced competitively with the middle-class alternatives, the Toyota Highlander and Honda Pilot.

There are three Veracruz trim levels. The GLS, at around $27,000, offers V6 power with a six-speed automatic transmission, four-wheel antilock disc brakes, stability control, alloy wheels, an AM/FM/XM/CD/MP3 audio system, filtration air conditioning, a full complement of airbags, and more. The SE gets larger wheels, a power driver’s seat, and upgraded interior and exterior trim for about $1,000 more. At the top of the line is the Limited, with premium features like leather seating, heated power-adjustable front seats, dual-zone climate control, an upgraded audio system, power for the tilt and slide sunroof, tilt and telescope steering wheel, pedals, and tailgate, memory for the driver’s seat, mirrors, and steering wheel, upscale exterior and interior trim, puddle lamps, a backup warning system, and proximity key ignition all part of the package.

That’s a little over $34,000 in front-wheel drive trim. Add $1700 to any trim level for an all-wheel drive system. In addition to the previously-offered rear-seat DVD entertainment system, a navigation system, developed in conjunction with Korean electronics company LG, is available this year, packaged with a high-quality Infinity Logic7 surround-sound audio system.

You could be excused for taking a cynical position and viewing the Veracruz as a vehicle people would buy only on price, if they couldn’t afford one of the established luxury-brand alternatives only if your last look at a Hyundai was 20 years ago. You’d be wrong today. Hyundai has worked its way up the ladder the old-fashioned way – by building consistently improved products. I’ve just spent a week in an almost fully-optioned all-wheel drive Veracruz Limited. With an MSRP of $38,405 including destination, “cheap” does not apply. Would I say that it’s worth that not-trivial price? Yes, as much as any other vehicle is today. Its build quality and fit and finish are as good as any competitor’s, as is the chassis refinement. The drivetrain is more than competent. The Veracruz was comfortable, spacious, and well-designed.

APPEARANCE: The Veracruz points to a new direction for Hyundai. Only the undulating shoulder line is reminiscent of earlier Hyundai SUV styling. The two-box crossover shape is clean and smooth, with an interesting interplay between curved surfaces and angular edges and a well-raked windshield and backlight. In front, the small chrome-trimmed half-elliptical grille is cut out for the corporate logo in an unusual fashion at the bottom, with a larger lower opening actually providing most of the radiator air. Large L-shaped headlights give an upscale look, and contrast-colored textured plastic lower bumper fascia, wheel arch trim, and lower side panels provide visual interest without the heavy look of ’90s SUV cladding. The Limited has puddle lights in its outside mirrors for ground visibility at night, and touchpads for keyless entry on the front door handles. At the rear, the taillights echo the shape of the headlights, and two oversize stainless steel exhaust tips hint at V6 power and refinement.

COMFORT: Walk up to the Veracruz Limited with the “key” fob in your pocket, press the pad on the door to unlock, and get in. Also notice the blue-lit “Veracruz” script in the stainless steel scuff plate. Keep the fob in your pocket, or place it in the receptacle on the rotary start/stop switch, and turn the switch. The engine is quiet, and there is virtually no vibration as it idles. Interior materials are standard for the entry-luxury/near-luxury class, leather seating surfaces and door inserts, with plastic “woodgrain” and “metallic” trim. They are done tastefully, with very good fit and finish. Instrumentation is backlit in blue and easy to read, and shaded from glare. The new navigation system is simple to use. It does replace the standard CD changer with a single-play unit hidden behind the screen. The power-adjustable, heated front seats provide first-rate comfort and support, with the driver’s cushion height-adjustable. The perfect driving position, important for both comfort and safety, is easily attained by virtue of a power-adjustable tilt-and-telescope steering wheel – with a leather rim and cruise and auxiliary audio controls – and power-adjustable pedals. Front seat storage is good, highlighted by a cooled center console box. Second row passengers are in business class, with adjustable legroom and seatback angle as well as useful storage spaces and cupholders plus local climate controls and vents. A nearly-flat floor and adequate width allows reasonable three-across seating. The third row is accessed by folding either second-row seatback, and is good for people up to 5-6 or so. With it up, luggage space is tight, but it easily folds flat into the floor. And the second row can also be folded down, easily giving enough space for a bicycle, no disassembly necessary. The power liftgate is a convenient feature.

SAFETY: The Veracruz surrounds its passengers with a reinforced safety cage, with front and rear crumple zones. Dual front, front seat-mounted side, and full-length side curtain airbags are standard in all models, as is a tire-pressure monitoring system. Brakes are four-wheel discs, with antilock, electronic brake-force distribution, and electronic stability control. It has received a five-star rating from NHTSA for frontal and side impact safety. A backup warning system, standard in the Limited and optional in other models, adds safety when backing in tight spots.

RIDE AND HANDLING: The aspiration in the luxury crossover class is not raw cornering power. It’s refinement, defined by a smooth, comfortable ride and low interior noise levels. The Veracruz fits that description well. No 90s-vintage truck SUV here. The fully-independent Macpherson strut front/ multilink rear suspension is calibrated moderately softly, but not overly so, and the damping is correct so there is no wallowing. The Veracruz is not a small vehicle, but reasonably quick steering and a tight turning circle make back-road driving pleasurable, and parking maneuvers a snap. Eight inches of ground clearance brings peace of mind around smaller road hazards. The all-wheel drive system normally operates in front-wheel drive mode, with torque sent to the rear wheels when necessary. For low-speed, slippery-condition operation it can be locked in 50:50 mode.

PERFORMANCE: At over 4400 pounds, the AWD Veracruz is no lightweight. But with 260 horsepower (at 6000 rpm) and 257 lb-ft of torque (at 4500 rpm), and matched to an Aisin six-speed automatic transmission, its 3.8-liter does its job well. It’s a contemporary design, of aluminum alloys with dual overhead cams, variable cam phasing on the intake cams, and a variable-length intake manifold. It uses a no-maintenance steel timing chain, no belts. A semi-active electronic engine mounting system removes most engine vibration. The six-speed transmission improves both acceleration, with lower low gears, and highway economy, with overdrive fifth and sixth gears. It shifts smoothly and quickly, with “Shiftronic” manual-mold shifting allowing manual over-ride when desired.

CONCLUSIONS: Hyundai expands with the Veracruz luxury crossover.

2008 Hyundai Veracruz Limited AWD

Base Price $ 35,750
Price As Tested $ 38,405
Engine Type dual overhead cam 24-valve aluminum alloy V6 with continuously-variable cam phasing on the intake camshafts
Engine Size 3.8 liters / 231 cu. in.
Horsepower 260 @ 6000 rpm
Torque (lb-ft) 257 @ 4500 rpm
Transmission 6-speed electronically-controlled automatic
Wheelbase / Length 110.4 in. / 190.6 in.
Curb Weight 4431 lbs.
Pounds Per Horsepower 17.0
Fuel Capacity 20.6 gal.
Fuel Requirement 87-octane unleaded regular gasoline
Tires P245/60 TR18 Michelin Latitude
Brakes, front/rear vented disc / solid disc, ABS, EBD, and ESC standard
Suspension, front/rear independent MacPherson strut / independent multilink
Ground clearance 8.1 inches
Drivetrain transverse front engine, full-time all-wheel drive
EPA Fuel Economy – miles per gallon
city / highway / observed 15 / 22 / 17
0 to 60 mph est 8.0 sec
Navigation Package – includes:
navigation system (replaces CD changer), Infinity® Logic 7® audio with external 605-watt amp $ 1,750
Carpeted floor mats $ 125
Sunroof wind deflector $ 85
Inland freight and handling $ 695

Source: The Auto Channel