Friday, August 31, 2007

Hyundai is the Next Target

Hyundai Is the Next Target

Isn't it thrilling that we live in a day and age when the line between bargain basement and luxury consumer goods is getting incredibly blurry? Take Target, for example. I remember when places like Kmart, Wal-Mart and Target were considered equally low-end retailers. Since then, Target has risen up, and now (at least amongst my circle of friends) it is the cool place for hip moms to shop for designer clothing and home goods on a budget. You get all of this while sipping a latte from the store's Starbucks.

The Hyundai Veracruz is the Target of the automotive world. Don't get your hopes up, ladies! There isn't a Starbucks located inside Hyundai's cars or even its dealerships (although I like that idea). What I'm trying to say is that the Veracruz is much like that sweet pair of Mossimo wedges I recently purchased: Pewter metallic strappy sandals with cork wedges, and they even have a driving heel -- how perfect is that? The point I was trying to make before I so rudely allowed myself to get distracted with euphoric fantasies of shoe shopping was that the Veracruz is a budget-esque crossover masquerading as a luxury one. It does so well that I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that the Veracruz is almost as nice (and in some respects even nicer) as the Lexus RX -- for a base price of more than $10,000 lower. Meowwww!

During my two weeks in the Veracruz, I was surprised by every new feature I uncovered. Initially, I was just thrilled to be driving the first offering from Hyundai with three rows. Imagine how my excitement rose when I slid one of the rear seats forward to climb into the third row and found an incredibly thoughtful handle perfectly placed on the back of the sliding seat for me to grab and hoist myself into the vehicle. The third row, despite being a bit tight, was certainly more comfortable than the sardine-can seat I'm sitting in right now on the airplane while writing this review. While the seat belt receptors in the third row were easy for my kids to buckle on their own, unfortunately, I can't say the same about the ones in the second row. I ended up having to buckle in my youngest every time.

The second row seat belt annoyance was quickly forgotten when I found a slew of my favorite car features all standard in the Veracruz, including a backup warning system, power tailgate, a conversation mirror that offers a view of all the rear passengers, steering wheel mounted audio controls, lighted storage compartments and cupholders, a chill zone in the center console to keep my kids' string cheese cold and -- I'm getting way too typeractive here -- let me just slow down and collect myself a bit before continuing.

Ahhh. Deep breath. Other fabulous features I found in the Veracruz were an available DVD entertainment system with rear controls so capable backseat passengers could play around with it without distracting the driver for instructions. I also appreciated the under-floor storage bin in the cargo area, good rear visibility and luxuriously tactile fit and finish inside the vehicle.

The main thing that I think would make the Hyundai Veracruz -- and, honestly, any Hyundai for that matter -- any better would be for them to be on sale at Target. Stick with me on this for a moment. Hyundai could be the next designer brand to pair up with Target. Imagine a world where you could drive up to one store and purchase a new convertible five-point harness to replace the one with the inexplicable odor emanating from it (despite washing the cover three times), a hand vacuum that plugs into a car's cigarette lighter to suck up the endless supply of loose Cheerios, and the car to put these things into. All this while sipping a latte from the store's Starbucks kiosk.

*For more information on the Hyundai Veracruz and its safety features, visit Cars.com. With questions or comments regarding this review, write to editor@motherproof.com.




LET'S TALK NUMBERS

Latch Connectors: 2

Seating Capacity (includes driver): 7

IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT COUNT

Storage Compartments (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Ample

Cargo/Trunk Space (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Ample

SENSE AND STYLE

Family Friendly (Not Really, Fair, Great, Excellent): Great – Excellent

Fun Factor (None, Some, Good Times, Groove On): Groove On

Specs
2007 Hyundai Veracruz
AWD Limited
 
Base price: $34,005
Price as tested: $38,020
Engine: 260-hp, 3.8 liter V-6
Fuel: 17/24 mpg
Length: 190.6"
Width: 76.6"
Ground Clearance: 8.1"
Turning Radius: 18.3'
Cargo space: 6.5 - 86.8 cu. ft.


NHTSA Crash-Test Ratings
Frontal Impact  
Driver's side: 5 Stars
Passenger's side: 4 Stars
Side Impact  
Front occupant: 5 Stars
Rear occupant: 5 Stars
Rollover resistance: 4 Stars


By: Kristin Varela
www.motherproof.com

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