2008 Hyundai Veracruz Long-Term Road Test

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2008 Hyundai Veracruz SE AWD: Parent Approved

November 03, 2008

veracruzblog.jpg

In a previous blog entry I mentioned that I had swapped the Veracruz out for the smart fortwo. The smart had an aux input and was more appropriate for the weekend I had planned. Plus I sort of like the smart.

I whined a little bit about the numb steering in the Veracruz offending me as a driver and left it at that. What I probably should have taken the time to mention was the steering feel being almost the same as what's found in Lexus vehicles-- one of the many elements of Lexus vehicles I happen to dislike. But that type of steering, along with the floaty ride and complete lack of road information transmitted to the driver are the kinds of thing that sells to people like my parents who happened to be visiting for the weekend and who happened to absolutely love the Veracruz

They loved the seat comfort and material. They loved the dash layout and color scheme. My mom wouldn't stop talking about the ride comfort, that she couldn't hear the engine or the wind no matter how fast we were going. My dad busied himself trying to take apart the wireless headphones for the rear seat entertainment..he's an engineer, don't ask.

They were sold. My mom is now considering the Genesis for her next car. (She says that now, but if I know her next time she goes to buy a new car she won't leave the GM lot empty handed...she never does.) And it turns out that after a few hundred miles of exploring California with reluctant tourists, I put aside my steering complaints and found a few things about the Veracruz that I was smitten with like these super handy, and cool when closed, storage bins. I had them filled all weekend. Never with cups.

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2008 Hyundai Veracruz: Gauges Should Be Lit All the Time

August 26, 2008

Veracruz gauges headlights off

The picture at left is how the Veracruz's gauges look when the headlights are off. On the right is how they look with the headlights on. Both photos were taken in the same location at the same time with the same camera light setting.

While I don't need all the extra cobalt blue instrument lighting throughout the interior in daylight, it would be nice if the gauges remained fully lit during the day and then dimmed at night like most electroluminescent clusters.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 15,640 miles

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2008 Hyundai Veracruz: Perfect For the Back Door Man

August 21, 2008

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This photo is proof that the full-size back door and frame I bought for my house this morning fit in our long-term 2008 Hyundai Veracruz. I had a hard time believing it myself. For the record, I did have to shove the passenger seat as far forward as possible, but the rear door did close for the 15 mile drive home from the door store.

Lets see my beloved BMW X5 do that.

Scott Oldham, Edmunds.com Editor in Chief

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2008 Hyundai Veracruz: Hidden Storage

August 20, 2008

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I keep finding more things to like about the Hyundai Veracruz - the Infinity stereo sounds good and I like this hidden storage area in the rear cargo area. Whatever you put back there has to share the space with the jack but it works out well for stuff you don't want sliding around, like say glass bottles of tea. Now that I see the pic that seems like a lot of tea - OK, I have a problem, it's a cry for help.

Brian Moody, Road Test Editor

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2008 Hyundai Veracruz: None More Lower

August 20, 2008

I hopped into our Veracruz to run some quick errands and was immediately struck like everyone else by the cool lighting in our dark garage. It was a short lived awestruck moment.

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As I started rolling along I noticed I had a very high level view of the car and I'm not even all that tall. I just thought it was a previous drivers setting and I hadn't fully adjusted the seat. But no, it was just the seat. I felt very uncomfortable at such altitude, like I was sitting on some large puffy cushion.

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2008 Hyundai Veracruz: Manual Shiftgate, Why So Far Away?

May 22, 2008

Photo by Caroline Pardilla

I don't understand why our 2008 Hyundai Veracruz has the manual shiftgate away from the driver. To engage this function you have to push the gearshift away from you instead of toward you. This doesn't make sense to me because when you use the manual function, that means you'll be shifting a lot so wouldn't you want that closer to you so that you have more control? And that center console makes me position my arm high up so that I'm holding the shifter in a way that feels awkward to me. So not only is my arm outstretched to manually shift gears but I have to hold the shifter almost daintily, using my wrist more. I tried driving with the console lid open but as soon as I hit the brakes, it fell down and hit the back of my arm.

Oh, and another thing, another editor pointed out that there are some cars out there that are also made in the European market and therefore the manual gate on the right of the shifter makes sense for those right-hand-drive versions of these cars. But since this is an SUV and SUVs are primarily sold in North America, there's really no good reason for the shiftgate to be positioned like it is in the Veracruz.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 9,874 miles

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2008 Hyundai Veracruz: Cool, but Not Really Cooling

May 12, 2008

2008 Hyundai Veracruz Cool Box. Photo by Joanne Helperin

I recently took a road trip in our 2008 Hyundai Veracruz, and did the "Wow, cool!" thing when I discovered the "Cool Box" in the front row's center console.

We opened the vents to test it out. But our "test sandwich" covered the vents, which prevented the cool air from circulating, defeating the purpose. Perhaps mayo-based sandwiches aren't its strengths, which is too bad if you're on a long road trip. The cool box is good enough for a closed can of soda or two, but an open can would have spilled. In the end, most people will end up using it for storage, in which case, it works just fine.

-- Joanne Helperin, Senior Features Editor @9022 miles

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2008 Hyundai Veracuz: Loaded with little things

April 29, 2008

After several days in our long term 2008 Hyundai Veracruz I've come to appreciate some of the crossovers surprise and delight features. Yesterday I mentioned the Hyundai's many rear A/C vents, which are a good example of this truck's well thoughtout details. I also like the truck's felt lined storage bins in its dashboard and console, its 110 volt plug and powerpoint in is cargo bay and really appreciate the lighting mounted under is exterior mirrors (pictured). They illuminate when you unlock the truck and cast just enough glow around the vehicle.

Hyundai has figured out that a lot of little pleasures add up to a better vehicle. Instead of decontenting, Hyundai is contenting. Combine that with the fact that the Veracruz has better fit and finish than on long term Mazda CX-9, and the Veracruz should be on more shopping lists.

Scott Oldham, Edmunds.com Editor in Chief @ 8,162 miles

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2008 Hyundai Veracruz: Happy in a Heat Wave

April 28, 2008

With Los Angeles in the throes of a heat wave, I reluctantly signed out our long term 2008 Hyundai Veracruz for the weekend. The crossover's air conditioning woes have been well documented in this blog, and the last thing I wanted was weaksuck A/C when the mercury is cresting the century mark. If I did, I would have signed up for the Ferrari 308, which is better looking and more fun to drive than the Hyundai.

But I was assured the Veracruz's air conditioning was no longer a problem, so I took the chance.

I had no need to worry. The Hyundai was perfect during the three days of super hot temps. The A/C worked so well it was freezing my kids out. "Daddy, we're cold," they said through shivering teeth. And this was only the way home from the Huntington Beach Dog Beach where we had been cooking in the sun for a couple of hours. Even my pooch, camped out in the cargo area, was kept comfy by the Hyundai's many rear A/C ducts mouted in its headliner.

Still, we couldn't spend the entire weekend in the cool confines of the Hyundai, so it also served as the go get vehicle for a home air conditioner. Photographic evidence of which is included. Love that power tailgate.

Coolio.

Scott Oldham, Edmunds.com Editor in Chief @ 8,150 miles

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2008 Hyundai Veracruz: Little Controls Mean A Lot

March 24, 2008

It's easy to get caught up in high-visibility issues regarding vehicle design. Do I like the slope of the roofline? Is the drivetrain refined and powerful? Do I have the option of hearing satellite radio?

On our long-term 2008 Hyundai Veracruz the answer to all of these questions is "Yes." But it's the little things, including the controls on the driver's door, that confirm Hyundai's committment in getting this crossover "right." The look and feel of the window switches, power locks and mirror controls transmit a sense of purpose and quality that you don't always get in modern automobiles. I also like the location of these controls, as they are easy to see and reach. It's not uncommon for these items to be scattered about the lower dash and center console, but this is where they should be in my not-so-humble opinion.

Karl Brauer, Edmunds.com Editor in Chief @ 6404 miles

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2007 Hyundai Veracruz: A/C Compressor Pushing Daisies

March 21, 2008

We tracked the decline of the A/C compressorin our Veracruz until it finally croaked. So the other day we scheduled an appointment with Cormier Hyundai in Carson. It was ready for pick up in a few hours.

According to the service tech, a lack of Freon was to blame. Mixed with Freon is a light oil used to lubricate the compressor. No Freon means no lubrication. No lubrication leads to a whirring, groaning noise and eventual failure. Sounds familiar.

Cormier recharged the system with Freon, checked for leaks and the issue appears to be fixed. We'll be sure to report if the problem returns.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Coordinator @ 6,241 miles

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2008 Hyundai Veracruz: Color-Coordinated

March 17, 2008

Hyundai Veracruz - cabin (photo by Warren Clarke)

It seems like a simple enough detail to nail, and yet it's one that many automakers seem to overlook. I'm talking about the grave business of gauge and display lighting. Many manufacturers take a haphazard approach -- red light here, blue light there, no sense of cohesiveness whatsoever. The end result is a cabin with the nighttime ambiance of a hole-in-the-wall bar whose owners forgot to take down its Christmas lights.

When cruising in our Hyundai Veracruz after dark this weekend, I was pleased to note that this cruiser, um, saw the light. LCD display for the clock? Blue. LCD display for the stereo? Blue. Illumination for the speedometer? Blue. And not just any shade of blue -- a warm, pleasing shade of cerulean goodness that feels as gentle and soothing as a hug from your favorite aunt.

Needless to say, Veracruz country is a nice place to be when the sun goes down.

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor @ 6,200 miles

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2008 Hyundai Veracruz: A Tell-Tale Rattling

March 10, 2008

Photo by Caroline Pardilla

Our 2008 Hyundai Veracruz has a very noisy interior. But it might be the kinda "noisy" that only bothers the easily irritated like me. When I went for a long drive on the 405 this weekend, there was a constant rattling sound coming from the passenger side of the interior. It sounded through every road imperfection I traveled over. At first I thought it might be the unused passenger seatbelt but when I went ahead and buckled that in, the rattling continued. Aarrrgghh!

It almost sounded like the passenger door wasn't closed properly when in fact it was. And the more the rattling continued, the angrier I got, sorta like the Tell-Tale Heart effect. Where is that noise coming from?!

Since I couldn't quiet the noise, I just turned up the volume on the radio. Could still hear the rattling but tried to ignore it. When I finally got to my destination, I ran screaming from the car. Kidding. But it sure did irritate the heck out of me.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 5,978 miles

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2008 Hyundai Veracruz: Losing its Cool?

March 07, 2008

As my colleague Chris pointed out in a previous post, the Veracruz's A/C makes an annoying buzz / groan that's most noticeable at low road speeds. Usually, an A/C unit making noise is not a good thing, and can be an indication that something, like say, a compressor, is getting ready to give up the ghost. Well, it seems that heaven may have welcomed another mechanical soul, as the Veracruz's A/C system was not kicking out any cool air for me.

To verify that I wasn't imagining this, I switched the A/C on and off a few times -- not rapidly, mind you, so as to give it ample time to kick in -- and there was no difference in the air coming out of the vents. It was ambient temperature in both cases. I checked to see if there was a TSB (Technical Service Bulletin) for the Veracruz's A/C system, but there was none. As Chris stated, when we bring in the Veracruz for its next service, we'll have this looked at.

John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 5,828 miles.

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2008 Hyundai Veracruz: Girl Scout Cookies for the Masses

February 25, 2008

It's that time of year again. Time for an army of girls dressed in brown and green uniforms to saturate the market with Thin Mints and Samoas, Tagalongs and Do Si Dos. And as Cookie Mom for Brownie Troop 421, it's time for me to pick up the entire troop's cookie order from the cookie warehouse.

After surveying the vehicles in the current long-term test fleet, I realize we are without a minivan, and therefore, I am without a clear-cut cookie-picking-up machine. Being a math-challenged English major, I enlist the help of Director of Vehicle Testing Dan Edmunds, the man, the myth, the ENGINEER, to run the numbers.

Dan opens up a new Excel spreadsheet, and calculating the number of boxes of Girl Scout cookies sold (1,764 boxes) into approximate cubic feet per case (1.5 cubic feet per case, approx. because different flavors come in different sized boxes) he starts discarding the options. Gone is the Toyota Tundra, Mazda CX-9 and Buick Enclave. In need of 200 cubic feet or so, none of the pickups or SUVs in our fleet are gonna do the job.

What you need, said Dan, is a minivan.

Exactly. But with last year's Kia Sedona tester long gone, and this year's Dodge Grand Caravan still in the works, I needed to bring two vehicles.

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Seeing Clearly in the 2008 Hyundai Veracruz

February 05, 2008

Rear view from the driver's seat of the 2008 Hyundai Veracruz. Photo by Joanne Helperin.

I'm always amazed by new vehicles that have the latest safety technology but still have terrible sight lines -- as though visibility isn't a safety factor. So I was particularly impressed with the 2008 Veracruz.

The shot above shows the driver's view of the rear window from the rear-view mirror. I was parked at the curb at the time and got a terrific view of the entire street behind me. Had both second-row head restraints been raised instead of just one, I still would have seen clearly. While this may seem unremarkable at first, it was significant enough for me to notice it. This, in contrast to complaints I've heard about the Volvo XC90. Despite Volvo's legendary reputation for safety, it has rear blind spots that drive the soccer moms crazy.

The Veracruz' side view mirrors were quite large, and the front windshield also offered an excellent view. I felt like I had a good idea of what was happening 360-degrees around me. Add in the excellent crash test scores and standard safety equipment, and you get an overall feeling of security -- something buyers of crossovers (yours truly included) list as a top priority. Next time, I'll try it with the third row raised as well.

Joanne Helperin, Senior Features Editor @ 3,496 miles

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2008 Hyundai Veracruz: Blue Light Blues

January 22, 2008

Looks cool, but isn't. The backlighting in our 2008 Hyundai Veracruz's interior is a bad idea.

It's said that the rods in humans' eyes are most sensitive to wavelengths in the bluish-green range, which tend to "bleach" out a person's night vision.

I'm not sure how effective night vision is when you've got headlights on, but I can say that the blue illumination in our Veracruz makes things tough to focus on. All of the numbers and letters printed on the dozens of buttons look very fuzzy when lit in blue, making them difficult to read. I'd hazard a guess that that's why automakers so rarely choose blue for dashboard lighting--it's simply the wrong thing to do.

So why not just crank up the brightness to compensate? That's problem #2: the gauges in the cluster are WAY too bright even with the dimmer turned all the way down. I can't imagine driving the Veracruz in some remote location devoid of light pollution. The speedo and tach would bore holes into my skull.

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor @ 3,365 miles

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2008 Hyundai Veracruz: Welcome to the Fray

January 18, 2008

Hyundai Veracruz pulling .80 g on the skidpad -- Photo by James Riswick

Our third musketeer has arrived. Joining our Buick Enclave and Mazda CX-9 is another large crossover SUV, the 2008 Hyundai Veracruz. All three are pretty evenly equipped and priced, although we opted for certain features over others in each case. As you might have also noticed, they're all the same light blue color. OK, so the CX-9 is more purply blue, the Veracruz is the most blue blue and the Enclave can transform depending on lighting and the driver's mood. But still, you can tell we like the color -- we're repainting the company bathrooms to match.

The Veracruz is the dark horse in our unofficial, informal year-long comparison test of these three crossovers. It is the only one with all-wheel-drive and is also the most expensive. For all the info on what we ordered and why we ordered it, see the Long Term Introduction. It'll be interesting to see how this Hyundai fares against two vehicles that have universally drawn praise during their short time in the fleet. It should get interesting.

Below, you'll find the Veracruz's track testing info. I've included the Enclave (light blue) and CX-9's (grey) data for comparison.

James Riswick, Associate Editor @ 2,750 miles

ACCELERATION

0-30 - 3.0 seconds (3.0, 2.8)
0-45 - 5.4 seconds (5.0, 4.9)
0-60 - 8.3 seconds (7.9, 7.4)
0-75 - 12.6 seconds (12.0, 11.1)
1/4 mile - 16.6 seconds @ 84.7 mph (16.2 @ 86.2, 15.9 @ 89.4)

Chief Road Test Editor Chris Walton: "I expected more torque from the 3.8-liter V6, and the get-away was pretty leisurely. Even in manual mode, the transmission upshifts at redline. Shifts are a little leisurely, as well. Quiet even at wide-open throttle."

BRAKING

30-0 - 30 feet (33, 34)
60-0 - 126 feet (129, 133)

Walton: "Very spongy brake pedal goes nearly to the floor. Lots of ABS shudder and forward pitch. Brakes began fading and system didn't have enough power to enlist ABS on 3rd acceleration run's stop from 90 mph."

SLALOM

60.5 mph (58.6, 58.3 -- both of which were limited by stability control. Veracruz is not)

Walton: "Considering its size, the Veracruz dances pretty well for a seven-seater. An abrupt lift off the throttle initiates an immediate tail-wag (see video). I managed to catch the Veracruz's power steering pump running late. Steering felt linear until it locked up briefly."

SKIDPAD

0.80g (0.76g, 0.79g)

Walton: "'Directionality' is highly susceptible to throttle application -- lift and the Veracruz rotates. Stability control is truly off."

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