Thursday, March 06, 2008

2008 Hyundai Veracruz: It's New... and It's Spectacular!

2008 Hyundai Veracruz: It's New... and it's Spectacular!

A lot of folks haven't heard much about the new 2008 Hyundai Veracruz, but we are going to let you in on a little secret. It is about as close to a Lexus RX 350 as you are ever going to get for a mere $22,000. We spoke with editor James Bell this week about his top favorite SUV's for 2008 and his top personal choice for the crossover class was without a doubt, the Veracruz.

The first thing that you have to realize as a consumer, is that Hyundai has been in a pickle since their release of the "grossly misnamed" Hyundai Excel, which could have been called a lot of names in its day, but "excel" would certainly not have been one of them. While the car wasn't a complete flop, if left little to the imagination beyond a shoe box with a few untamed rats spinning within its tires.

It's a big job to overcome something like that, but Hyundai has set a goal in motion and they are indeed changing their mental image with an entire generation from that shoe box on wheels, to a very sleek and stylish luxury SUV. In fact, according to James, the Veracruz has every bit as much detail and material quality as the Lexus flagship.The beautiful interior is a well planned combination of brushed metal and deep wood textures. The seating is very plush and comfortable for the driver and passenger. In fact, in the case of the Veracruz, even the back-seat "steerage" passengers get deep contoured seating with personal climate control adjustment.

For the base price of about $22,000 a consumer can look forward to a base GLS which offers 17-inch alloy wheels, power everything, seven-passenger seating, navigation assistance, and CD/MP3 audio. The SE adds 18-inch alloy wheels and a convenience package of automatic headlights and dimming mirror. The Limited edition adds leather seating with driver memory, heat (to the seats), automatic climate control, sunroof, rain sensing wiper blades, and rear parking sensors.

No matter which flavor you go with, you can expect Hyundai's unsurpassed 10 year/100,000 mile warranty and standard 3.8 liter V-6, with 260 horsepower and 257 lb-ft of torque. The standard automatic six-speed transmission offers a brisk manual shift mode capable of MPG's of 18 city/25 highway. Drop one MPG for the AWD (All-Wheel-Drive) option.

By Eric J. Leech | March 6th, 2008
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