By KBB.com Editors
While Hyundai is quick to point out that its three-row crossover has more cargo room than a Mercedes-Benz GL and a quieter highway ride than the Lexus RX 350, actual competitors for the Veracruz are more mainstream people-movers like the Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander. Still, the premium-like Veracruz stood up very well to the RX 350 in back-to-back test drives organized, admittedly, by the Hyundai folks. Some have even suggested that Hyundai may have been a little too optimistic in its reliance upon the RX 350 as a source of inspiration. But we remember hearing similar criticisms when Lexus introduced its flagship LS sedan, in which some saw too many hints of Mercedes' S-Class---and that seemed to work out okay for Lexus.You'll Like This Car If... You May Not Like This Car If...
Traveling with a car full of people and their luggage may be rather tight, as cargo room behind the third-row seat is under seven cubic feet. That's nearly four cubic feet less than the Toyota Highlander and nine cubic feet less than the Honda Pilot.What's Significant About This Car?
The Limited trim receives the majority of the upgrades for 2008, along with an optional navigation system designed by LG, a first for Hyundai.Driving It Driving Impressions
With its car-like unibody construction and four-wheel independent suspension, the Veracruz combines smooth, stable and exceptionally quiet highway cruising with as much around-town agility as is fair to expect or require from such a vehicle. The Veracruz is also among the most nimble three-row vehicles in any parking lot, thanks to a turning circle and an overall length similar to a typical mid-size sedan's. In merging and passing situations the refined six-speed transmission can be a little reluctant to kick down into a lower gear, but keep squeezing the accelerator pedal and the Veracruz rewards with enough power to get the job done. Our time in the Veracruz included everything from short commutes to interstate road trips, and it never failed to impress us as effortless and comfortable.Favorite Features
The Hyundai's remote-sensing unlock and start feature allows you to get in and go without ever touching the key that remains in your pocket or purse.
A feature that seemed like such an indulgence only a couple years ago---and one we wouldn't have expected on a Hyundai---has become one of the features we miss the most when driving any vehicle with a liftgate that is not powered.
While Hyundai claims the interior of the Veracruz was inspired by boutique hotels, it's obvious the Lexus RX 350 was also a source of inspiration. That the Veracruz has more interior cargo volume than the Mercedes-Benz GL says more about the Mercedes than it does about the Hyundai, which offers a touch less room than the Honda Pilot. The third-row seat is about as accommodating as others in the category---best for kids, doable for adults---but when the third row is occupied by people the Veracruz offers little remaining room for cargo. Premium-like touches include soft-lined bins and consoles and ambient spotlighting. An available air-conditioned center console keeps food and drinks chilled.Exterior
The 2008 Hyundai Veracruz is roughly the same size as the Toyota Highlander and Honda Pilot but doesn't share those models' more traditional SUV proportions. Dual chrome exhaust outlets, a rear spoiler and available 18-inch wheels don't impart a sporty appearance as much as they defend against blandness. Side mirrors with integrated turn indicators and puddle lights are a nice touch. The Veracruz performed well enough in government crash tests to receive ratings equal to those of its best competitors.Notable Standard Equipment
The standard equipment list of a 2008 Hyundai Veracruz GLS includes a six-speaker AM/FM/XM/CD/MP3 audio system, air conditioning, rear-seat climate controls, steering wheel audio and cruise controls, power windows/locks/mirrors and remote keyless entry. The Limited adds remote-sensing unlock and start, adjustable pedals, rain-sensing windshield wipers and memory settings for the driver's seat, exterior mirrors and steering wheel. Standard safety equipment includes front, front-side and three-row side curtain airbags plus electronic stability control and a sophisticated braking system.Notable Optional Equipment
The 2008 Hyundai Veracruz features a comprehensive list of optional equipment that includes premium 315-watt and 605-watt audio systems, backup warning system, power liftgate, 115-volt power outlet in the cargo area, rear-seat DVD entertainment system, glass sunroof, heated front seats and a power driver's seat. The Limited offers Hyundai's first navigation system.Under the Hood
Hyundai's sophisticated powertrain comprises an all-aluminum V6 with continuously variable valve timing, vibration-reducing electronically controlled engine mounts and a six-speed automatic transmission (the Honda Pilot and the Toyota Highlander have five-speed transmissions). The Veracruz is offered with either front- or all-wheel drive.
260 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
257 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4500 rpm
EPA estimated fuel economy: 16/23 (FWD), 15/22 (AWD)
The 2008 Hyundai Veracruz starts at a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $28,000 and tops out impressively equipped right around $39,000. All-wheel drive works out to about $1,700. We expect our Fair Purchase Prices to continue reflecting real-world transaction prices several hundred dollars below MSRP. The Veracruz can boast an equipment-based price advantage of some $3,000 to $4,000 or more versus the Toyota Highlander and Honda Pilot. The all-new Hyundai is expected to maintain resale value on par with the 2008 Highlander and Pilot.