2007 Hyundai Veracruz
2007 Hyundai Veracruz. Click image to enlarge


Review and photos by Chris Chase

Discuss this story in the forum at CarTalkCanada

Find this vehicle in Autos’s Classified Ads

Photo Gallery: 2007 Hyundai Veracruz

Ottawa, Ontario – Mexico’s tourism Web site calls the City of Veracruz its most important port; several centuries ago, it was a waypoint for silver and other goods being shipped from Acapulco to Spain. As a result, Veracruz was pillaged by pirates numerous times, and was held under siege in 1683 by bad guys who looted the place, then took off (reportedly without even offering to help clean up – how rude).

Fast-forward a century and a half: the city was occupied twice each by France and the United States between 1838 and 1914. Kind of makes you want to go there just to see what all the fuss was about.

It’s apt, then, that Hyundai appropriated this richly-storied city’s name for its first large crossover. After all, this new vehicle competes in an important segment, with automakers vying for the attention of shoppers looking for something cooler than a minivan, but without all the ill will that traditional SUVs seem to attract.

This is a big vehicle for Hyundai, both in the figurative sense, and in a very literal one, too. It’s the largest Hyundai passenger vehicle to be sold here, and the most expensive.

2007 Hyundai Veracruz
2007 Hyundai Veracruz
2007 Hyundai Veracruz. Click image to enlarge

I’ll get to the price later, but the other big thing – the Veracruz’ size – translates into decent interior space. However, while front-seat space is good, headroom is limited by the standard sunroof. Your tallest friends will be able to sit up straighter in the second row. Keep them out of the third row, though: while the sixth and seventh seats found back there are useful, headroom is tight. Legroom is okay, as long as second-row riders give up a bit of the generous space in that row.

As a five-seater, however, the Veracruz forces few other compromises on its passengers. I drove my tester to Montreal with my wife to greet her parents at the airport after two weeks in France. There was plenty of cargo space for their luggage, and if the swiftness with which the in-laws succumbed to their jet lag is any indication, the second-row seats are plenty comfortable.

The front seats are nice places to be, too. Headroom issues aside, space in every other direction is great. The power adjustable pedals in my top-line Limited model made

2007 Hyundai Veracruz
2007 Hyundai Veracruz
2007 Hyundai Veracruz. Click image to enlarge

finding a comfy driving position a cinch.

Interior fit-and-finish is great. As in the Santa Fe, the font used on the instruments and dash controls is rather plain, and looks out of place in a $40,000 vehicle, but it’s a minor gripe: everything’s easily legible and logically laid out, and the various bits and pieces are nicely assembled. Even the fake wood looks reasonable, something I can’t say about every car I drive. There’s loads of small item storage for all three rows of seats – a welcome feature for road trips.

On the road, the first things that stick out are the overly light steering and a lazy throttle tip-in. Both make navigating parking lots a simpler task than it could be in such a big vehicle, but the super-boosted steering doesn’t transmit much road feedback to the driver, and the first inch or so of throttle travel does next to nothing – it takes a judicious step down to get things moving.

Once things are moving, though, there’s not much to complain about. The ride is surprisingly firm, where I expected a cushy, luxury-car experience. Things never got harsh, though, despite dampers that allowed next to no rebound over large bumps. That composed ride doesn’t translate into exciting handling; it’s tough to make a 2,200 kg tallboy carve corners – unless you’re Porsche, of course.

2007 Hyundai Veracruz
2007 Hyundai Veracruz
2007 Hyundai Veracruz. Click image to enlarge

Going at an easier pace, steering response is actually pretty good, with the firm suspension keeping body roll to a minimum and making for decent turn-in for such a tall-sided vehicle.

Road noise is nicely muted at highway speeds, but sharp bumps elicit clunking noises from the suspension – something I’ve noticed in just about every other recent Hyundai I’ve driven, big and small, but even more out of place in a car that otherwise comports itself so well.

The Veracruz’s 3.8-litre V6, borrowed from the company’s own Azera high-end sedan, is tuned for 264 horsepower and 250 lb-ft of torque here. That’s about 10 fewer ponies than you get in a GMC Acadia, but despite the GMC’s better power-to-weight ratio (the Acadia is lighter by about 60 kg), the Veracruz feels quicker in a straight line. Why? Who knows. It probably has to do with gearing, but both use smooth-shifting six-speed automatic transmissions (a first for Hyundai). It just goes to show that performance isn’t all about numbers on paper. My only gripe with the drive-train was that the transmission was slow to downshift when more speed was called for.

I don’t trust fuel consumption numbers as calculated by most vehicles’ on-board computers (they tend to be quite optimistic), but the Veracruz’s microchips told me I burned through 14.4 L/100 km in city driving, and 11.3 L/100 km on my short Montreal-and-back roadtrip. The city figure isn’t far off of Natural Resources Canada’s 13.9 L/100 rating, but my highway consumption pales compared, to NRCan’s 9 L/100 km highway number. Granted, NRCan doesn’t conduct its testing at a cruising speed of 115 km/h with four people and a load of luggage on board. All things considered, I didn’t think my result was that bad.

2007 Hyundai Veracruz
2007 Hyundai Veracruz
2007 Hyundai Veracruz. Click image to enlarge

The “base” Veracruz GLS comes nicely loaded with the usual suspects: six airbags, anti-lock brakes and six airbags, plus traction and stability control systems. Nice details like automatic headlights and wipers are here too, as well as a (useful!) rear parking assist system and a windshield wiper de-icer (a feature I wish was standard on all cars sold in Canada).

My tester was the top-line Limited model, however, which adds a six-CD stereo, ten speakers and great sound along with a rear-seat entertainment system; a 110-volt power inverter; a power front passenger seat, auto-dimming exterior mirrors and power adjustable pedals; proximity key, power liftgate, self-leveling suspension and a power tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel. There are even illuminated scuff plates at all four doors – a nifty, if useful, thing.

What about that big price? While the GLS squeaks in under the 40-grand plateau at $39,995, the Limited comes with a bottom line of $45,995 before taxes and fees, or $47,590 all in. Sure, it sounds like a lot of money for a Hyundai, but as is nearly always the case with this brand, it’s a good deal for a big, loaded crossover. The Acadia I mentioned before stickered at $56,100 out the door; subtract a few extras that my Veracruz didn’t have – like the trailering package, Xenon headlights, dual-panel sunroof and head-up display – and the price would still be well above $50,000. The Chrysler Pacifica that came my way a few weeks prior to the GMC was a top-end Limited model too, and without the $2,200 navigation and backup camera system it had, its price would have been about $47,500.

2007 Hyundai Veracruz
2007 Hyundai Veracruz. Click image to enlarge

The Veracruz didn’t feel quite as well-planted on the road as the Acadia did, but it was plenty pleasant given the discount, and both eclipse the Chrysler in most ways.

That Hyundai was able to produce an impressive large crossover isn’t really surprising; the second-generation Santa Fe proved they could do this sort of thing well. What impresses me the most is that, aside from a couple of relatively minor misses, the company’s engineers have made the Veracruz feel like it’s worth every penny of its highest-for-a-Hyundai price, while still making it look like others in its class are out to rip you off.

Looks like Veracruz is set to become a hot property once again.


Pricing: 2007 Hyundai Veracruz Limited


Specifications

  • Click here for complete specifications for the …


Related articles on Autos


Competitors

  • Buyer’s Guide: 2007 Chrysler Pacifica
  • Buyer’s Guide: 2007 Ford Edge
  • Buyer’s Guide: 2007 GMC Acadia
  • Buyer’s Guide: 2007 Saturn Outlook


Crash test results

Manufacturer’s web site

Connect with Autos.ca