NEW FOR 2008:

– Front-wheel drive GL model
– Integrated running board added to Limited
– Exterior colour: Deep Blue added to Limited

Now in its second year, the Hyundai Veracruz adds a new model, the front-wheel drive GL model.

Built on a stretched version of the Santa Fe SUV platform, the Veracruz is available in GL, GLS or Limited trim; all use a 3.8-litre V6 engine and six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode. The GLS and Limited use on-demand all-wheel drive. All come with three rows of seats for seven-passenger seating.

Features on the GL include 17-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control with rear controls, fog lights, body-colour door handles, heated mirrors with puddle lamps, front and rear mud guards, rear spoiler, roof rack side rails, power sunroof, front windshield de-icer, intermittent rear wiper, CD/MP3 stereo with six speakers, cruise control, heated cloth seats with eight-way power adjustment, leather-wrapped wheel with audio controls, conversation mirror, and keyless entry.

The GLS adds 18-inch alloy wheels, leather upholstery, automatic headlamps, rain-sensing wipers, cooled front console, auto-dimming rearview mirror with compass, and rear parking assist.

The Limited adds premium leather seats, rear-seat DVD system, six-CD stereo with XM Satellite Radio and ten speakers, garage door opener, proximity key, deluxe illuminated door scuff, power-adjustable pedals, auto-dimming exterior mirrors, power passenger seat, power liftgate, LED taillights, chrome exterior door handles, driver’s side memory system and 110-volt outlet.

The largest and most expensive vehicle in Hyundai’s stable, the Veracruz is packed with content for its price; the V6 provides snappy acceleration and the ride is firm but pleasant, although some drivers may find the handling a bit too light. The first- and second-row seats are comfortable, and while there is adequate legroom for the third row, headroom can get tight. Hyundai’s traditional position as an economy car company may work against it in this price range, but buyers will find a lot of vehicle for the money.

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