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AFFORDABLE LUXURY

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Sun, Mar 23, 2008

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

AFFORDABLE LUXURY By Gordon Bleam The 2008 Hyundai Veracruz is an amazing advance of automotive one-up-manship. Hyundai did not start with a stellar reputation and they lived up (or down) to that reputation until they instituted its 100,000 mile warranty in 1999. Offering this industry-leading warranty provided them the choice of increasing quality or going out of business with the additional expense. They choose to better the quality of their cars and the big winner are Hyundai owners. Recently, Hyundai announced they are offering 10 year/100,000 mile warranty on certified per-owned vehicles. For the specifics, click here. The 2008 Hyundai Veracruz is a family-friendly, seven-seat, midsized SUV with an affordable price and more options per dollar than the competition. Even though Newsday says the Veracruz is "better than its competition regardless of price," it does not have the last bit of polish the higher-priced luxury competitors have. For example the heated seats only have settings of high or low and the only part of the seat which is heated is the main cushion. Sure you say that is fine, I wanted a heated seat and the seat is "heated." However the bolsters are not heated so in cold climates (Big Bear for us) or just a cold morning there is a difference to your fanny. Do not get me wrong, the Veracruz is an amazing vehicle and scored high with everyone that drove and road in it, you just realize for 35k your not going to get a Lexus RX. But the twenty-thousand dollars you save will take you and your family to Tahiti three times with some style.

The only problems I noticed are the powered rear hatch, heated seats and lack of over-the-top acceleration. The trouble with the powered rear hatch is it is slow and only operates motorized. The best powered rear hatches provide you with both manual or powered opening and it opens and closes fast and quietly. People with preconceived notions about Hyundai may hesitate, but if given a test drive in the Veracruz, they will be sold. It accelerates and brakes smoothly and is easy to drive from the first time you sit down. Hyundai has taken the interior interfaces and controls and upgraded from all analog to digital (not computerized) controls. What I mean by that is described best by the heat controls. Sure you just set the desired interior temperature to what ever you want and ignore it but if the engine is cold it will blow cold air at first. It does not have the sensors to wait to turn on the fan once the coolant reaches heating temperature. But this is minor as compared to the easy and simplicity of the controls. The 2008 Hyundai Veracruz is largely unchanged from the 2007 but for some things that were options are now standard. All we can say is to go out and drive it - you will be surprised at the value and easy of driving. But take it for a drive at night to see the best frequency of blue background lighting. The lighting makes it easy to read the controls with out distracting from the road. Plus the power adjustable petals and tilt/telescopic steering wheel make setting the proper driving position a breeze. If you are tall like me (six foot two inches), the position is close to optimal but lacks just a bit of seat movement. With the front seats all that way back, there is ample rear leg, shoulder and head room. The third row seats are not designed for adults for long trips, but will accommodate a full adult compliment to go to dinner or the meeting. With rear seat heating and radio controls the kids can have some control over their domain and maybe be happy a little longer.

Within the class of midsize crossover SUVs, the 2008 Hyundai Veracruz is arguably the best value and provides a platform that is hard to rival. The only difference between the Limited and GLS are some standard options like the power rear hatch, separate front climate controls and the Hyundai Air Quality System (filter on in-coming air). I would suggest the Infinity® Logic7 entertainment system and you will agree when you hear quality sound. No, it is not a system for the most discriminating audiophile, but the sound is wonderful for most of us. With its refined power train, quiet cabin and upscale interior decor, the Veracruz is highly recommended for its class. SUMMARY JUDGMENT It's a Hyundai in Lexus clothing, but you may never know the difference. For more information about Hyundai products, see www.hyundai.com.

SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle 2008 Hyundai Veracruz Limited Prices 2WD GLS 4-door wagon $26,900 AWD GLS 4-door wagon $28,600 2WD SE 4-door wagon $28,600 AWD SE 4-door wagon $30,300 2WD Limited 4-door wagon $34,050 AWD Limited 4-door wagon $35,750 Engine 3.8-liter DOHC 24-valve V-6 Horsepower 260 hp @ 6000 RPM Torque 257 lb-ft @ 4500 RPM Fuel Economy EPA City/Hwy MPG: 15/22 Fuel-Tank Capacity/Range 20.6 gal/309 mi Transmission 6-sp auto with manumatic shifting Susupension Front: ind, struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar Rear: ind, multilink, coil springs, anti-roll bar Brakes Front: vented disc Rear: disc ABS: standard Dimensions Length: 190.6 in Width: 76.6 in Height: 68.9 in Curb Weight: 4431 lbs

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