Twenty years from now, the Veracruz might be regarded as a watershed product for Hyundai, the vehicle that sprang the Korean manufacturer onto even ground with the likes of Honda and Toyota — and even Acura and Lexus. Indeed, Hyundai’s lineup is now filled with world-class cars that compete on many levels, not just on the merits of superlow pricing and an excellent warranty. The Veracruz, which first hit the streets in 2007 and isn’t aging all that well, can easily be spec’d out to a Lexus RX350-like $39,000 (although a Lexus at that price wouldn’t have as many features as this Hyundai). Your family might not love the strange front-end styling, but everyone will probably adore the car’s oceans of space, numerous standard amenities, very nice interior, and respectable towing rating. Rear-seat DVD entertainment is no longer available, but a navigation system is paired with a 605-watt Infinity sound system, Pandora internet radio, and a rearview camera. Classy illuminated doorsill scuff plates, leather upholstery, heated first- and second-row seats, dual automatic climate control, a power sunroof, a power liftgate, and eighteen-inch wheels are standard equipment on Limited models. All-wheel drive can be added to either model for less than $2000. A six-speed automatic, an XM- and MP3-ready stereo, rear parking sensors, and seven-passenger seating are standard. For all its positive aspects, though, the Veracruz isn’t a very strong seller because it’s overshadowed by many rivals that have been launched or redesigned more recently, most notably the Ford Explorer.

Drive: Front-wheel, 4-wheel
Trim Levels: GLS, Limited
Body style: SUV/crossover, 7-passenger
Engine: 3.8L V-6, 260 hp, 257 lb-ft
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Passenger volume: 137.2 cu ft
Capacities: Towing 3500 lb; cargo (behind third/middle/front seats) 13.4/40.0/86.8 cu ft

Visible changes from the outside are minimal — a two-slat horizontal grille insert replaces last year’s wiry-looking piece, and the Limited gets a different design for its eighteen-inch wheels. Inside, heated second-row seats are now standard on the Limited, and a new Alpine navigation system is offered on that trim level.

Dual-stage front air bags, front side air bags, side curtain air bags, and active front head restraints are standard equipment on all Veracruzes. Antilock brakes are standard, as are traction and stability control, electronic brake-force distribution, and tire-pressure monitors.

All: 16-17 mpg city/21-22 mpg highway

  • Tons of space
  • The only 7-passenger Hyundai
  • Filled with luxury goodies
  • Not getting any younger
  • Odd-looking front end

Hyundai’s biggest dog is going gray.

  • Ford Explorer
  • GMC Acadia
  • Lexus RX350
  • Mazda CX-9

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