What's New for 2012
The 2012 Hyundai Veracruz sports a new front grille and standard second-row heated seats on Limited models. An Alpine-branded navigation system is also now available on the Limited.
Hyundai's rise as a serious and determined automaker follows a formula that's simple to grasp: Deliver quality, feature-rich cars and SUVs to a broad spectrum of buyers for less than the competition. From the sporty turbocharged Genesis coupe to the executive luxury Equus, Hyundai has something for most needs and interests. For shoppers seeking a large family SUV, there's the seven-passenger 2012 Hyundai Veracruz.
The Veracruz is one of the few Hyundai models untouched by the automaker's recent redesign frenzy, and its relative lack of attention hints at a full-scale overhaul in the near future. For now, the Veracruz continues trading on the strengths that make it a contender in its class. Its 260-horsepower, 3.8-liter V6 provides ample midrange power, and the ride is composed and transparent in most conditions. And while the Veracruz looks unremarkable when you approach it, sliding into the cabin reveals an interior befitting many entry-level luxury models that sticker for thousands more.
The Veracruz may push the value envelope, but it's not hard to end up parting with considerable money. Opt for an all-wheel-drive Limited model with a handful of options (Bluetooth, for example, is only available through an accessory package) and you can easily breach $37,000. It'll be hard to complain about what you're getting, though, especially when you factor in Hyundai's class-leading warranties.
Given that there are many good choices in this segment, it's not a bad idea to shop around a little. Competitors like the Dodge Durango, Ford Flex, GMC Acadia and Mazda CX-9 offer more rear seat room, more useful cargo areas and generally more refined driving experiences. Still, the 2012 Hyundai Veracruz has plenty going for it, though, enough to merit serious consideration on any midsize or large crossover shopper's list.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2012 Hyundai Veracruz is a seven-passenger crossover SUV available in GLS and Limited trim levels. The GLS comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, heated side mirrors, foglights, automatic headlights, rear parking sensors, cruise control, an eight-way power driver seat, heated front seats (on all-wheel-drive models only), a tilt-and-telescoping steering column, rear seat climate controls and vents, and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB interface. The Premium package adds a sunroof, auto-dimming mirrors, a windshield de-icer, a power liftgate and heated front seats (for the front-wheel-drive model).
The Veracruz Limited includes the content of the Premium package and adds 18-inch wheels, driver memory functions, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a four-way power passenger seat, heated second-row seats, a 115-volt household-style power outlet and an eight-speaker Infinity sound system with a six-CD changer.
For the Limited, an Alpine navigation system is optional and includes a rearview camera, Bluetooth and a 10-speaker Infinity surround-sound audio system with Pandora audio streaming and HD radio. Bluetooth is a stand-alone option on both Veracruz trims.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2012 Hyundai Veracruz is available in either front- or all-wheel drive, and is powered by a 3.8-liter V6 that makes 260 hp and 257 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic is the standard transmission.
In Edmunds performance testing, an all-wheel-drive Veracruz accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 8.3 seconds, about average for this class. EPA fuel economy estimates are 17 mpg city/22 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined for the front-drive model and 16/21/18 for the all-wheel-drive model.
Each Veracruz trim level comes standard with antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags and active front head restraints.
In crash testing performed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Veracruz earned the agency's top rating of "Good" in frontal-offset and side impact collisions.
Interior Design and Special Features
Although the 2012 Hyundai Veracruz looks a little plain outside, its handsome interior and solid materials quality disguise a crossover built as a class value leader. The cabin features wood and faux-aluminum trim and accents, with controls laid out in clean, minimalist fashion. Take away the badges and most passengers would probably think they're riding in an Acura or Volvo.
Comfort and space are high points, although the third row offers less room than the Acadia, Flex, Honda Pilot and CX-9. With both rows of rear seats folded down, the Veracruz can carry up to 87 cubic feet of cargo. That's less than the Acadia and CX-9, and although basically equal to the Flex and Pilot, their boxy shape makes them better suited to carrying bulky items.
The 2012 Hyundai Veracruz is a buttoned-down boulevard and highway cruiser. Supple and quiet on well-paved roads, the Veracruz does lose more composure than its rivals over neglected, weather-beaten blacktop. Around corners, the Veracruz handles predictably, despite the quick steering being noticeably inert. The V6's power is enough for most daily situations, but the six-speed auto -- while a smooth, quiet shifter -- sometimes hesitates to drop a gear for passing or while climbing grades. The Veracruz drives well enough, but ultimately leaves no real lasting impression.