Zero to 60: 2008 Hyundai Veracruz SE AWD
Zero to 60: 2008 Hyundai Veracruz SE AWD

by J.T. Hills
SGN Contributing Writer

            TOP

  • Sophisticated styling
  • High quality fit and finish
  • Excellent value for the money

 

            BOTTOM

  • Poor rear visibility
  • Not enough legroom in front for especially tall drivers
  • Steering a bit numb

            Introduced for the 2007 model year, the Veracruz is Hyundai’s first attempt at the luxury crossover market. With a competitive starting MSRP of $30,330, the Veracruz is Hyundai’s most expensive model, but is almost a bargain when compared against its competitors in the marketplace, the Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander. After a week with the 2008 Hyundai Veracruz SE AWD, I’ve compiled a brass-tacks list of highly technical scientific data based upon observations, experimentation, tabulations, inspections and so forth. Here we go:

            Hyundai states the Veracruz is a worthy alternative to the Lexus RX350 and Mercedes-Benz M450
            Well, there is an uncanny styling resemblance to the Lexus RX350, but I want a sip of Hyundai’s marketing department Kool-Aid. Although, when comparing the Veracruz to the Honda Pilot or the GMC Acadia, it’s really much more of a value – a more sophisticated crossover for the same or less money.
            The 2008 Veracruz comes with a standard 260-hp 3.8 liter V-6 engine that’s mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. It’s rated at 15 mpg city and 22 mpg highway, which is pretty standard for this size of crossover, and runs on regular 87 octane unleaded gas. In addition to all-wheel-drive, the Veracruz comes standard with electronic stability control, traction control, and ABS braking system.
            Out on the freeway the Veracruz is surprisingly quiet, with an excellent ride. There’s more than enough horsepower for passing and it is has a zero to 60 time of 7.8 seconds. Handling is a bit numb, but there is little body roll in cornering and handling isn’t sloppy, either; it’s predictable. In the city, the Veracruz benefits from a tight turning radius, but rear visibility is poor. The test model came with rear park assist, but it would benefit greatly with a back-up camera, especially for parallel parking in the city.  
            The interior of the Veracruz is sophisticated, and the fit and finish is on par with its Japanese competitors. The test model came with the optional premium leather and entertainment package that included rich leather seating surfaces and heated seats. There’s room for seven in the Veracruz, and with the rear seats folded down, 76.8 cubic feet of storage space. Surprisingly enough, for those drivers over six feet tall, there just wasn’t enough legroom in the front seat. I tried multiple seating positions and I couldn’t find a comfortable place to put my legs. Strangely enough, the second row has ample legroom and was very comfortable even with the front seats all the way back.
            All in all, I felt the Veracruz is an extraordinary value for the price and comes with one of the best new-car warranties out there. For those not familiar, Hyundai offers a five-year/60,000 mile new-car warranty, 10-year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty, seven-year/unlimited mile anti-perforation warranty, and five-year/unlimited mile roadside assistance.

            OK, for a before-tax price of $36,050, what do you get?
            The 2008 Hyundai Veracruz SE AWD has a starting MSRP of $30,330. A quick look at the favorites includes:

            Performance

  • 260-hp 3.8-liter V-6
  • All-wheel-drive with traction and electronic stability control
  • ABS breaking system
  • 18” five-spoke alloy wheels
  • Six-speed automatic transmission with Shiftronic shift function

            Safety

  • Dual stage front airbags, front side-impact airbags, and side curtain airbags
  • Tire pressure monitoring system
  • Automatic headlamps
  • Front fog lights
  • Autodim rearview mirror
  • Active front head restraints

            Comfort and Convenience

  • XM/AM/FM stereo, CD player, MP3 player w/ input jack
  • Power windows and door locks
  • Air-conditioning
  • Power drivers seat
  • Cruise control with trip computer

            Additional Charges

  • Premium leather and entertainment package which includes: power sunroof, leather heated seating surfaces, Infinity CD/MP3 changer audio system with subwoofer and external amplifier, backup warning system, 115-volt power outlet, power liftgate, rear seat DVD entertainment system with 8” LCD screen  ($5,750)