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2008 Hyundai Veracruz: What's It Like to Live With?

Read the latest updates in our long-term road test of the 2008 Hyundai Veracruz as our editors live with this car for a year.

Hyundai Veracruz 2008



Where were you in 1989?

George H.W. Bush was moving into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, we were learning long division and Lexus was in the late stages of mitosis from Toyota. The fledgling brand promised luxury and reliability like the world had never seen from a Japanese company. The world was skeptical.

Meanwhile, a scant three years after it had first started exporting cars to the U.S., Hyundai was trying to convince America that Korea could build a car that was cheap, yet wouldn't fail in a fiery collision before all the monthly payments had been made.

Fast-forward nearly 20 years to a changed landscape, one where Toyota is the sales king, where Lexus has equaled Mercedes not only in quality and luxury but also in children named in homage. A world where the SUV went from macho off-roader to matriarchal soft-roader to plus-size wagons renamed CUV (crossover-utility vehicle).

And Hyundai, now past its second decade in the U.S., confident enough with its products to offer what it calls "America's Best Warranty," has moved into the luxury arena with the seven-seat 2008 Hyundai Veracruz. It has leather upholstery, a big V6 and more standard features than Batman's belt, and can cost north of $35,000.

The world is skeptical and we're here to help with a 12-month, 20,000-mile long-term test of the 2008 Hyundai Veracruz SE AWD.

What We Bought
The 2008 Hyundai Veracruz is available in three trims: GLS, SE and the top-of-the-line Limited. There are minor differences in option packages, but the basics are all the same. The 3.8-liter V6 makes 260 horsepower and 257 pound-feet of torque (the latter at a not-so-low 4,500 rpm) and it's matched with a six-speed automatic. Every trim level is available in either front- or all-wheel-drive configurations, the latter being a $1,700 option. The SE package appeals to our budget and has most of the options we wanted — and the fewest of the options we had no interest in.

The Veracruz SE comes with standard rear-seat climate control, an AM/FM/satellite radio/MP3 audio system, audio controls mounted on the tilt-telescoping steering wheel, keyless entry with alarm, 18-inch wheels, foglights, a roof rack and a rear spoiler. Heated outside mirrors are a welcome piece of standard kit for when the outside temperature gauge (also standard) reads in the single digits. The SE AWD starts at $30,300.

For our Veracruz, we broke from the trend set with our Buick Enclave and Mazda CX-9 and went for the $1,700 all-wheel-drive option. While large front-drive crossovers are fine here in SoCal, they can be challenged in a large part of the country. Fortunately the all-wheel-drive Veracruz is only 165 pounds heavier than its front-drive counterpart, and has nearly identical EPA fuel economy estimates: 16 mpg city/23 mpg highway for the front-driver, 15 mpg city/22 mpg highway for AWD. It should provide our editors with an option other than a full-size pickup should they venture somewhere with snow, rain or even dirt roads.

Even with AWD on the list, we were still well below our budget — that's what Hyundai's about, after all. So we bypassed the cloth seats and added the Premium & Leather and Entertainment packages. We're sure that we'll use the heated leather seats far more often than the AWD lock button. The Premium part of the equation upgrades the stereo to an Infinity unit with a subwoofer and external amp. It also adds a 115-volt power outlet — the type you can plug real plugs into — and a back-up warning system.

Safety is a key selling point in this market segment and a back-up warning system alone won't cut it. Stability control, traction control, ABS with electronic brakeforce distribution, tire pressure monitoring systems, active front head restraints, and six airbags will. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has given the Veracruz a five-star rating in both front and side impact crashes, and four stars for rollover protection.

The entertainment bit breaks down thusly: rear-seat DVD with 8-inch screen, Infinity Logic 7 605-watt surround-sound audio system and a conversation mirror to keep tabs on rear-seat passengers. Checking that box on the order sheet clearly gets a lot of toys into the Veracruz, but it also removes $5,750 from your bank account.

Carpeted floor mats were $125. They look nice, so we got them.

While the 2008 Veracruz starts at $26,900, our nearly fully loaded model was $36,870.

Those of you with highly keen senses and keener knowledge of the Hyundai Veracruz specification sheet will be puzzled by our decision to go with the SE and load it up instead of getting the pre-loaded Limited. The Limited, as you know, has all of the options we added, plus a proximity key, memory seats and an automatic air quality system. It was $380 more expensive and wasn't available in the Light Blue Titanium paint job that Editor in Chief Scott Oldham is so keen on, so we built what we wanted instead.

Why We Bought It
In our first drive of the 2007 Hyundai Veracruz, we came away impressed. Chief Road Test Editor Chris Walton said, "You have to say that Hyundai's ambitious attempt to target Lexus has worked out in almost every way where the Veracruz has been concerned." Moreover, Hyundai vehicles have always fared well in our comparison tests.

At the same time, the previous Hyundai vehicles in our long-term fleet always get raves in the first few months when we talk about the quality/price ratio or just the quality in general. As the months pass, however, the tables turn and the little stuff starts to go. The leather in our Azera started to stain and fade before a year was out. It also had some questionable panel fitments.

Our overall impression has been that Hyundai is on the right track. Its products are getting better and better as the years pass. Hyundai is again convinced that its newest product can take on the world's best, and do so at a bargain price.

We'll spend the next 12 months with the 2008 Hyundai Veracruz SE AWD to see if the company has finally nailed it. Will the veneer fade, exposing a slightly flawed vehicle? Or will this be the test wherein we can finally say that Hyundai has officially arrived in the world of premium automobiles?

Current Odometer: 2,654
Best Fuel Economy: 18.3 mpg
Worst Fuel Economy: 14.9 mpg
Average Fuel Economy (over the life of the vehicle): 16.3 mpg

The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.

Welcome to the Fray

January 18, 2008

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.


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."


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."


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."


0.80g (0.76g, 0.79g)

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

James Riswick, Associate Editor @ 2,750 miles

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

Things That Make You go, "Hmmmm"

January 28, 2008

The big question: Is this Hyundai Veracruz as "nice" as the Lexus RX 350 upon which it was benchmarked? My initial (apprehensive) impressions may be found in this first drive, but some more time behind the wheel of our new 2008 Hyundai Veracruz has provided mixed results.

I'm not particularly fond of the ride. Over smooth pavement, the ride is quiet and, well, smooth. Presented with seams or recently created potholes, the Veracruz gets all stiff-legged and boomy. The ride remains within tolerable levels, but the steering shudders slightly and the sound the suspension transmits into the cabin reminds me that I'm not in a Lexus.

Also, I've noticed the air-con pump makes a groaning sound that varies with the speed of the engine. The whirrrrRRRRRRrrrr is especially evident at parking lot speeds where there's little else to be heard, and disappears when the A/C is shut off. The engine is so quiet that it's sometimes difficult to tell if it's running which makes the groan so noticeable. I popped the hood to see if the serpentine belt was loose, but the compressor is buried so deep that I couldn't see if the belt was slipping. Next time it goes in for service, we'll make sure the system is not mal-adjusted.

Chris Walton, Chief Road Test Editor @ 3,684 miles

Seeing Clearly in the 2008 Hyundai Veracruz

February 05, 2008

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

We're Veracruzin'

February 11, 2008

I like our new Hyundai Veracruz.

It drives nice and smooth, feels refined and is quiet on the road. The 260-horsepower V6 has sufficient power for its weight. It's seats and driving position are comfortable...

It's easy to climb in and out of, even for short people like me. And with Hyundai you get a lot for your money. So, our Veracruz is nicely equipped with leather seats and a premium audio system.

The heated seats are a little too mild for my taste but at least it has them. The headlights are rather dim. When leaving the office Friday night, I had to see the car's reflection to make sure they were actually on. It's not that they don't work, it's just that most vehicles today beam out like an exploding star.

It has its quirks. For example, the A/C system likes to sing along with the radio. I wouldn't mind if it wasn't so off-key. But it works quickly and the dials are clearly labeled and intuitive.

So far, I like it.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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.

In the end, I drove the Hyundai Veracruz to handle two-thirds of the load, and another Brownie mom brought her Toyota Camry sans car seats and kid crap. Combined the Veracruz and Camry were both loaded to the max, neither having room to carry even one passenger.

It took a total of ten minutes to load four pallets of cases into the Veracruz and Camry, and we had to move the Hyundai out before moving the Toyota into position. That put us four minutes over the six-minute load window we were assigned this year. Last year we got seven minutes to load, so General Girl Scout has cracked down even more on her cookie-selling army.

Maybe next year we'll sell 2,000 boxes and be forced to load them in five minutes.

Or maybe we'll back up to the loading dock in a Smart just to see the look on their faces.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 5,130 miles

I Could Live With This Face

February 27, 2008

I took my first drive in our 2008 Hyundai Veracruz last night. The first thing I noticed is that I like walking up to the Veracruz. Its face is pleasant, maybe a little derivative of the current-generation Lexus RX, but still distinct. This is my favorite face in the Hyundai family. Not surprisingly, driving the the Hyundai Veracruz reminds me a lot of our long-term Azera. Aside from some extra wind noise, it's a serene experience and the ride quality is extremely forgiving. Handling, of course, is not on par with the CX-9's, but I like the way the Hyundai's soft suspension manages weight transfer. It's very predictable. I'd feel just as comfortable with a Veracruz on a back road.

However, I recently had the pleasure of driving a current-gen Honda Odyssey again, and its dynamics are so accomplished, I'm not sure I could justify spending more on a Veracruz — no matter how much I like its face.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 5,245 miles

Ski Trip Day

February 29, 2008

With plans for a ski day looming, I requested one of our SUVs and was given the Veracruz. Although the forecast for Big Bear (about 115 miles northeast of L.A.) was for clear and sunny skies with temps in the mid-50s and hence theoretically no slippery roads, I wanted to be prepared in case the weather took a turn for the worse. Having skied but four times since my arrival here eight years ago, I was not gonna be denied my skiing fix!

As it happened, the weather was great — just as advertised. Getting to the ski area, however, involves about 15 miles of twisty, narrow two-lane, which is not exactly the Veracruz's cup of 10W-40. Though the Veracruz felt stable enough, something like a Mazda CX-9 would've been more fun, with its quicker steering and sport sedan-like handling.

But overall, the Veracruz was easy to like on the trip — the heated seats and power lumbar support for the driver were nice on the way home and the ride was quiet and well cushioned. Minor gripes included the lack of water bottle pockets in the front doors and the washout of the clock's display up high on the center stack.

On another note, I checked my trip mileage, which averaged around 17 mpg. Our Veracruz is averaging just 16.3 mpg, against the EPA's combined figure of 18 mpg. I'd blame L.A. traffic and some lead-footed staffers for that...

John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 5,555 miles.

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.

A Tell-Tale Rattling

March 10, 2008

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


March 17, 2008

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

A/C Compressor Pushing Daisies

March 21, 2008

We tracked the decline of the A/C compressor in 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

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, Editor in Chief @ 6404 miles

Nice Stereo, No Nav

April 02, 2008

The Veracruz is an excellent effort overall - good looking, roomy and with a fairly decked out interior (not just by Hyundai standards). The Infinity audio system is also very good but I'd like to see a factory installed nav system for our test car's $36,780 MSRP. I'm not against aftermarket systems like this Garmin, it's just that an in dash unit is so much nicer looking - Hyundai does offer one, it adds $1,750 to the price.

Brian Moody, Road Test Editor @ 6,602 miles

Fuel Economy Update

April 07, 2008

It's time for a fuel economy update at 6,983 miles:

Best: 20.2 mpg

Worst: 13.3 mpg

Overall combined: 16.2 mpg

And I'm proud to say that through some miracle of physics and new parenthood I managed that "best" tank myself last weekend.

Josh Jacquot, Senior road test editor @ 6,983 miles

No AUX Input

April 11, 2008

I'd have a hard time trying to think of recently introduced or redesigned vehicles that don't have auxiliary audio jacks. But here you go our long-term 2008 Veracruz doesn't have one from the factory.

I tried routing my iPod through the optional rear-seat entertainment system's RCA port, but so far I haven't been able to get that to work. So for now I'm listening to XM Radio and CD-burned MP3s on the Veracruz's 10-speaker, Infinity surround-sound audio system.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

Others On The Road?

April 14, 2008

When I hop into a new vehicle I usually become more attune to seeing others just like it on the road. But this hasn't really happened yet for my time in our Hyundai Veracruz. So I was wondering: Has the vehicle's conservative styling made it relatively invisible, or is it that there aren't many Veracruzs on the road yet?

Hyundai reports that it sold 3,800 Veracruzs for the first three months of 2008. For comparison, Buick sold 11,712 Enclaves and Mazda sold 6,729 CX-9s during the same period.

Styling or sales? Maybe it's a bit of both.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 7,321 miles

7,500-mile Service

April 23, 2008

I took our 2008 Hyundai Veracruz in yesterday for its 7,500-mile service. The maintenance schedule calls for an oil and filter change, and thankfully the dealership's service advisor wrote me up just for that without trying to add anything else on. An hour later, the job was done. The final bill was $31.62.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 7,652 miles

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.


Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief @ 8,150 miles

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, Editor in Chief @ 8,162 miles

Cool, but Not Really Cooling

May 12, 2008

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

Is the 2008 Hyundai Veracruz a Real Cruiser?

May 13, 2008

Strawberry fields forever. The Hyundai Veracruz was great for taking in the sights, but not the sounds.

There's a lot to love about the 2008 Hyundai Veracruz. On my recent trip from L.A. to Carmel, Calif., and back, I experienced hour after hour of comfortable seating, intuitive controls, and DVD convenience (Hyundai even includes two sets of batteries for the headphones, which store nicely in the second-row console). But while Hyundai attempts to mimic its more expensive cousins, there's a couple things about crusing in this car that bother me.

First, I like a quiet cabin, and the Veracruz had some pronounced road and wind noise. Granted, I was moving quickly most of the time, but even at 60 mph, I felt it was noisier than I like. By 80mph, it sounded more like a wind tunnel.

Second, while I don't want a too-soft ride, the Veracruz' abilities to absorb the bumps in the road were less than ideal. Case in point: I I was trying to right-lane it for a while, because I had already received a speeding ticket (see below). (At least the CHP officer was nice — he chopped quite a few miles off the ticket because we were honest about our speed. There's a lesson for you.) But the right lane was a little rougher, presumably from all the truck traffic, and those bumps entered the cabin — disturbing my sleeping kids. And as any parent can tell you: keeping the kids asleep is priority numero uno.

Uh-oh. Looks like someone's going to be attending traffic school.

It was the same situation over road seams, changing surface conditions, etc. The ride wasn't stiff by any means, but it became apparent that, for all the luxurious touches inside, the Veracruz can't compete on sound dampening and road feel with cars that cost more. So while it's built for family cruising, it's not exactly the ideal cruiser. This wouldn't necessarily stop me from buying one, though. Priced at $26,900 for the base model, you still get more than your money's worth. More on that, later.

Joanne Helperin, Senior Feature Editor @ 9100 miles

No Honking Allowed!

May 14, 2008

More on our California coastal trip in the Hyundai Veracruz.

We were about to head home from gorgeous Carmel when we discovered the horn wasn't working. Not making a single sound, no matter how hard or where you smacked it. Strange!

The horn is an important safety feature. And my honey was getting nervous.

"Shouldn't we take it to get fixed before we get on the road?" he asks. No way, I said. I'm not spending hours in a dealership before we start a 6+ hour road trip. Granted, a broken horn might be a sign of an electrical problem, but everything else seemed to be working fine... I decided to take my chances.

I made it home without a hitch. But we'll get the Veracruz checked out and report back on the cause of the horn malfunction. At less than 10,000 miles, it's a weird thing to happen.

Joanne Helperin, Senior Features Editor, @ 9200 miles

Manual Shiftgate, Why So Far Away?

May 22, 2008

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

10,000 Miles

May 27, 2008

We've passed the 10,000 mile mark on our Hyundai Veracruz.

Some thoughts on this large crossover SUV:

• drives like a minivan
• seats are comfortable
• easy to get in and out
• good visibility in all directions
• A/C works quickly and no longer hums
• no AUX port
• nice power liftgate in a car this price
• gulps gas

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor @10,003 miles

Hornless Again

June 09, 2008

Almost a month ago now, Joanne reported that the horn in our long-term Hyundai Veracruz wasn't working. We changed the fuse and were back in honking business, that is, until this weekend, when the horn went MIA again. We're starting to think that this isn't a fuse issue anymore. Sounds like it's time for a dealer visit.

Stay tuned.

Before I took the keys to the Veracruz for the weekend, Vehicle Testing Coordinator Mike Schmidt warned me that the front passenger door was being temperamental and not always opening when asked to do so. I kept an eye out for that, but the door opened for me every time I tried it over the weekend. Maybe these horn and front passenger door issues are being caused by a gremlin who doesn't multi-task well.

Bryn MacKinnon, Senior Editor, @ 10,707 miles

The Forgotten Crossover

June 24, 2008

The Hyundai Veracruz seems like a forgotten player in the large-ish crossover game. This isn't surprising given its badge and that it has to contend with the excellent Mazda CX-9 and three excellent triplets from GM (with a quadruplet on the way) — and not only in the marketplace, but in our long-term fleet as well. Quite telling is the Veracruz's fewer amount of miles compared to our Enclave and CX-9 (they all showed up around the same time). However, the number of miles isn't an exact science, so perhaps we've just been overlooking the Veracruz.

If the Hyundai has a major weakness it's size, specifically in regards to the third row. 'm 6-foot-3 and fit in the aftmost rows of the Enclave, CX-9 and new Pilot. In the Veracruz, my head is tilted to the side and my knees are parallel to my sternum. This is yoga, not sitting. Five years ago, the Veracruz actually would've been quite spacious compared to the contemporary Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander, and with the rest of its impressive docket of driving dynamics, features list and interior quality, it would easily be the class leader. Today, though, the market has moved larger without a hit to power or fuel economy, so how much does the Veracruz's size hurt it?

Recently, the editors collected a group of three-row, large-ish crossovers together for an impromptu comparison and the Veracruz was amongst them. The big Hyundai impressed many and won some fans, but you'll have to stay tuned on the Edmunds Strategies Blog in two weeks to find out how we ultimately stacked them up. You may be surprised.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 12,077 miles

Beep-beep? Hai!

July 03, 2008

What?! The horn on the Veracruz is still busted? (Oh, the part has been ordered from the dealer and it will be here soon. Any day now ...) I discovered the broken horn during last evening's commute as I tried to alert a fellow motorist of my presence when he to tried to occupy the same parcel of Interstate 10 that I currently inhabited. I pounded the center of the wheel and - Crap! - got nothing. In non-confrontational Japan the horn is used to say Hello!, Goodbye!, and Thank you! The auto horn is never used in an aggressive manner, or as a punitive measure. This isn't Japan.

Albert Austria, Sr Vehicle Evaluation Engineer @ 12,403 mi

Cheap, But In A Good Way

July 07, 2008

There's a lot that I like about our Hyundai Veracruz. We could start with its ride quality. The SUV feels luxurious on the road, with a suspension tuned to make bumps, ruts and other road irregularities disappear like they were part of a Houdini magic trick. The going is soft but not too soft; there's enough road feel to keep it from feeling like a cruiser for the geriatric set.

In fact, the Veracruz's universal attention to luxury had me thinking of another favorite SUV of mine, our Buick Enclave. Both are similarly impressive in their competence, but there's one big difference that separates them: price. A base Veracruz goes for $29,900, while a base Enclave will set you back $33,220.

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor @ 12,431 miles

Fuel Economy Update

July 21, 2008

Remember how we said our Veracruz was less expensive than the 2008 Buick Enclave? Well, we might have been hasty. Because while the Veracruz does have a lower sticker price than its American-made competitor, our Hyundai just hit a new all-time low for fuel economy.

In the past month we've had two tanks averaging 11.7 miles per gallon, each with different drivers. At first we thought our calculations might be off, so we double-checked our math. It was right. (And it turns out one of those tanks was on a road trip with the car full of kids and luggage.) Those runs helped to drop the Veracruz's overall gas mileage to below that of the Enclave's 17.52 mpg.

So if you're looking beyond sticker price at overall cost of ownership, bear in mind that in the long run, a difference of a mile or two per gallon can really add up.

Current mileage: 12,636
Best tank over life of test: 20.3
Worst tank over life of test: 11.7
Overall average: 16.3
Official EPA estimate: 15 mpg city/20 mpg highway

Laura Burstein, Automotive Editor @ 12,652 miles

2008 Hyundai Veracruzin'

August 06, 2008

Just got back from a 2,000-mile round trip to Sunriver Oregon and have a few thoughts and photos to share. Things got off to a rough start as we were to enjoy a three-day rafting/camping excursion starting in Happy Camp, Calif. As the moody photo above shows, the wild fires still raging in Northern California put a kybosh on the Klamath trip. We discovered the Veracruz's recirculation mode on the HVAC system was up to the task. We didn't smell any smoke until we popped the door open to phone the rafting company (there's no cell service in Seiad Valley). With only a grey-white sky and an orange sun at noon, we had no choice but to push on.

After a single night in oh-so-cute Ashland Oregon, we made a bee-line up Hwy 97 to Sunriver. Interesting side note: As our Veracruz is without sat nav, we relied solely on printed Google Maps for our A-to-B reckoning. Hey, guess what? Google Maps are not fool-proof, just fool-resistant, as one set of directions told us to use a road that the gentleman behind the counter at a General Store said was for "Serious off-roaders — y'know, like 4-wheel drive thrill-seeker stuff." Ah, nope, not us.

It was still a very long day for our 4-year old in the second row. She discovered Mary Poppins (and now has practically memorized it from start to finish) thanks to the Veracruz's rear entertainment system. Can you say Supercalifragilisticexpyalidocious?

Truthfully, I wouldn't even have attempted such a long drive without some sort of child-mellowing device. Side note: I didn't discover the set of I.R. headphones concealed in the armrest until I flipped the other part of the second-row seat back up this morning for the major vacuum job at the car wash. Toppins a Bag! We could've simultaneously listened to XM channel 51's 30 Days of Coldplay(ed to death) all the while.

Sunriver was beautiful and restful, and I'd recommend it to anybody for a family vacation. On the way home, we stopped in Old Town Sacramento, Calif. With most of the tourists put to bed, and most of the flamboyant signage obscured by night, those couple of city blocks do a convincing job of portraying the wild west beginnings of California.

Neat, huh?

In the end, the Veracruz racked up 2,002 miles and averaged 18.8-miles per gallon while running the AC full time with at least 200 pounds of luggage, and about 300 pounds of passengers. The best tank took us 402.2 miles on 19.968 gallons for a 20.1 mpg best. Only after looking up the Veracruz's fuel capacity here at my desk (20.6 gal,) did I discover we were a mere 9.1 miles from running out of fuel. Also, the on-board "Range" indicator stops giving an estimate at something like 30 miles, but the self-generated average it supplies is nearly spot on. Our experience showed it varies by between 0.1- and 0.9-mpg to the true mpg we later calculated.

Chris Walton, Chief Road Test Editor @ 14,900 miles


August 11, 2008

There was a time when you could see a Hyundai coming from a block or two away. It was usually identifiable by a huge cloud of white smoke billowing out from the tailpipe. They were the laughing stock of the highway. The parking lot pariah. I wouldn't have driven one if you paid me.

Fast forward 20-something years and here I am, getting paid to drive a Hyundai. Not only is there not any smoke, but there's leather, a decent stereo, climate control, heated power seats and a comfortable ride. In the old Excel you could count how many times the pistons smashed into the valves before punching them out of the head, but in the Veracruz, you'd have a heck of a time noticing if the car was idling. It's very smooth and very quiet.

Our Hyundai does not stand out or distinguish itself from any other CUV on the road. It has the manners of any other decent car. It blends in. And looking back at Hyundais of old, I think this is exactly what it needs to do.

Kurt Niebuhr, Photo Editor @ 15,208 miles

Hidden Storage

August 20, 2008

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

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.

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.

The power adjustments did nothing for me. It turned out to be my Nigel Tufnel moment of the day.

The seat would go none more lower.

Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer

Perfect For the Back Door Man

August 21, 2008

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, Editor in Chief

Gauges Should Be Lit All the Time

August 26, 2008

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

HVAC Controls — The Right Way

September 15, 2008

People seem to feel strongly about HVAC controls. Well, actually, people seem to feel strongly about anything we write about the Aura. Two weeks ago I wrote this blog about the Aura's knob-free temperature controls. Today I'm pointing out a design I prefer — three knobs, three buttons (for the primary controls). The Hyundai's HVAC system isn't an auto-climate-control design like the Aura's, but it also doesn't require punching a button six times to make a quick and significant temperature change.

Josh Jacquot, Senior road test editor @ 16, 851 miles

Horn And Oil

September 22, 2008

Back in July, we reported that our Hyundai Veracruz's horn still wasn't working but that the dealership had ordered a part for us. Two and half months later, the Veracruz is still beepless. It seems that the Hyundai dealership never called to tell us the part was in, and we absent-mindedly let the issue fall off our radar.

Meanwhile, it seems we also, uh, forgot to get the 15,000-mile service done. At least the dipstick's easy to find and pull (oil: A-OK and dirty). A dealer visit will hopefully occur later this week.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 17,167 miles

15,000-mile Service

September 26, 2008

I took our 2008 Veracruz in for service today. Just like the last time at 7,500 miles, service was prompt and courteous at Lithia Hyundai in Fresno, Calif. An oil change and tire rotation this time set us back $54.64.

Due to a scheduling conflict on my part, I couldn't let the dealer spend enough time with the Veracruz to fix the horn.

As always, remind your friends and family that Edmunds has a nifty Dealer Ratings and Reviews feature, where you can write and read reviews about sales and service.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

Exterior Styling

October 01, 2008

Our 2008 Hyundai Veracruz has a great interior, plenty of features and an attractive price. It's very competitive against other midsize or large crossovers, and I'd fully recommend it to someone shopping in this segment. But when I wonder if I'd buy one, the answer keeps coming back "no."

I think it's the styling. The soft and inoffensive curves put the Veracuz in the bland category, and the rear three-quarter look reminds me of an egg. This might seem like a petty thing to bring up, but if everything else is pretty much equal, I'd pay a bit more to get the classy look of our long-term Enclave.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

Ice House

October 15, 2008

My family has a seasonal cabin well north of Lake Tahoe that has to be closed for the winter. Well, winter is fast approaching so I raced the 9 hour drive up there to shut 'er down.

Thankfully I was handed the keys to the Veracruz. It had plenty of cargo room to stuff the extra anti-freeze, mouse traps, our extra warm blankets and food for our weekend in the mountains.

I got a late start, but the comfortable seats and quiet ride of the Veracruz were welcome luxuries. Also having XM to entertain me as my lady slept the entire way up was nice too. I got to listen to the ballgames and some political analysis from various sources. It might be rather desolate where my cabin is, but satellite radio keeps me in touch with the world.

Driving up the last of the mountain passes to my cabin, I kept my eye on the outside temp gauge which kept dropping. We arrived pretty late in the day to temperatures in the teens. The ground was frozen, the deck was covered with ice and it was windy.

I quickly went to work on what needed to happen on the exterior of the cabin before it got dark. When I stepped inside the cabin, it was noticeably colder. This wasn't going to be fun.

After draining all the water from the pipes and flushing them with antifreeze, dropping the mouse traps, shutting off the power and buttoning down the storm shutters we decided to ironman it back. We'd rather suffer for a little on another long drive than freeze the entire weekend in a cabin with no insulation.

Thank god those seats in the Veracruz are damn comfy with the added bonus of being heated.

Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer


October 27, 2008

The horn still doesn't work on our Veracruz.


Josh Jacquot, Senior road test editor

Parent Approved

November 03, 2008

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.

Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assistant @ 21,203 miles

Relax, the horn works

November 07, 2008

"What if the police pull you over because your horn doesn't work?"

"What would happen if an absent minded pedestrian wandered in your way and you had to sound the horn to draw his attention to you?"

"Don't you want the horn to work so that you can honk at the girls in LA?"

"A non-operational horn is like tires without tread. Not important till you need it in a hurry."

We heard it all. And fixed the horn by popular demand.

So now the honker works again. Let's all take a deep breath in - - and exhale. Both horn assemblies were replaced under warranty, as was the blown fuse. We also had the oil changed and tires rotated for $57.44.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 21,547 miles

Horn Still Works

November 11, 2008

Here we are in the Veracruz. The guy up front in his Celica doesn't realize the light turned green.

We're patient... waiting at least 3 full seconds before laying on the horn to get his attention. The driver waves his hand and accelerates away from the light.

Man, that feels good. Glad we fixed the horn in this thing.

Mike Schmidt, Manager of Vehicle Testing @ 21,600 miles

Our Favorite Caption

January 30, 2009

Thanks to fadetoblackii for this week's favorite caption.

Some other good ones:

After 16,274 miles, our paint began fading. Perhaps we should have waxed it once or twice.

Aw man...the dealer said this isn't covered under the warranty.

Clearly the best car money can buy.

It's a good thing we paid extra for that clearcoat.

What was your favorite?

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

You Write the Caption

January 30, 2009

This week's photo was taken by Kurt Niebuhr.

Our Senior Copy Editor Doug Lloyd suggested "It's better to burnout than fade away."

Can you beat it?

We'll post our favorite caption at 4PM (Pacific Time).

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor


Why We Bought It
Performance and Fuel Economy
Retained Value
Summing Up

Hyundai vehicles entered the United States more than 20 years ago with an affordable alternative to the mainstream sedan. Poor build quality caused Hyundai's popularity to plummet as the affordable label deteriorated to a far less flattering image — cheap. We bring up this unflattering episode in Hyundai's history yet again because it was the best thing that could have happened, both for the Korean automaker and for the American driver.

Heavy investments in reliability paid dividends for the Korean brand when it reemerged in 2004. Ever since, Hyundai has led the industry in emphasizing reliability results and warranty coverage. When you say "Hyundai," the consumer now responds, "100,000-mile warranty." As a result, Hyundai attained an image of value — an excellent ratio between what is expected and what is delivered.

Hyundai has applied this thinking to each new category it has entered — mainstream sedans with the Sonata, luxury sedans with the Azera, and now premium sedans and coupes with the Genesis. With the Veracruz, we expected to apply these same standards of value to a crossover suited to the brand's luxury-for-less image. So ordered up an all-wheel-drive 2008 Hyundai Veracruz SE and ran it through our durability gauntlet for 12 months and 22,000 miles.

Why We Bought It
Changes to the Veracruz SE were minimal from its introductory year in 2007 to the 2008 model. We chose the Veracruz SE for several reasons.

Our first drive of the Veracruz drew instant comparisons to the Lexus RX 350. We found Hyundai products generally a step behind their luxury benchmarks in past tests. They could never quite reach that elite level of quality. But the Veracruz showed signs during our first drive that it might just be good enough to reach the brand's lofty objectives. Would this SUV look as fresh after 12 months as it did out of the box? We ordered one to find out.

Hyundai products have always fared well in comparison tests. Their value package sees to that. But now that we had the chance to test the durability of the Veracruz, would material wear in the passenger cabin be an issue as it was with our long-term Hyundai Azera and Sonata? In addition, the timely additions of the Buick Enclave and Mazda CX-9 crossovers to our fleet offered the potential for a three-way SUV durability comparison live on our blogs.

Our initial impressions of the Veracruz's driving manners left us apprehensive about its long-term prospects with us. The engine didn't offer quite the power we hoped for, and early fuel-economy figures were unimpressive. But as we spent more time behind the wheel, our opinions slowly changed.

Chief Road Test Editor Chris Walton voiced some initial concerns about the Veracruz's ride quality on the long-term blog pages. Walton wrote, "I'm not particularly fond of the ride. Over smooth pavement it is quiet and compliant. Presented with seams or potholes, the Hyundai gets stiff-legged and boomy. The ride remains within tolerable levels, but the steering shudders slightly and the suspension transmits sound into the cabin in a way that reminds me I'm not in a Lexus."

Inside the cabin we found the 2008 Hyundai Veracruz and its numerous amenities a big plus: felt-lined storage bins, 100-volt auxiliary plug and powerpoint in the rear cargo area, multiple rear A/C vents and a power liftgate, just to name a few. Hyundai figured out that a lot of little pleasures add up to a better vehicle. It was right.

When it came to quality, the Hyundai's interior durability was impressive. The black leather interior seats were virtually indestructible. They easily managed to endure every dirty child and wet dog we could drag across them. By contrast, the beige leather interiors of our long-term Sonata and Azera took a beating under similar conditions. (If we took anything from this test it was to definitely choose the dark interior color for the kind of hard use to which we subject vehicles.) Fit and finish on the Veracruz was equally commendable, handily surpassing that of our long-term Mazda CX-9, which was a surprise to us.

Interior cargo capacity was ample, but there were times we wanted more. Our Veracruz was put to the ultimate cargo test when News Editor Kelly Toepke attempted to load it with 1,700 boxes of Girl Scout cookies (a record number in her Girl Scout region). Toepke recounted, "I needed 200 cubic feet or so of space, but none of the pickups or SUVs in our fleet were gonna do the job. What I needed was a minivan. But our long-term Kia Sedona was gone and our long-term Dodge Grand Caravan wasn't in yet. In the end, I drove the Veracruz to handle two-thirds of the load and another Brownie mom brought her Toyota Camry for the rest."

Our only real gripe was the blue interior light scheme, a color that Jaguar and Volkswagen have made very trendy in interior design. Engineering Editor Jason Kavanagh wrote, "The backlighting looks cool, but isn't. It's said that the rods in human 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 the headlights are on, but I can say that the blue illumination in our Veracruz makes things tough to focus on. I'd hazard a guess that is why automakers so rarely choose blue for dashboard lighting. It's simply the wrong thing to do."

We experienced two mechanical issues with the 2008 Hyundai Veracruz during its stay. The air-conditioning system and horn both failed.

The A/C unit began ticking and whirring unnaturally around the 3,000-mile mark before it shut down completely. It was most noticeable when the near-silent engine was at idle. We tracked the noise as it grew progressively louder and then finally quit. Cormier Hyundai in Carson, California, performed the A/C system test, recharged the system at no cost and sent us on our way. The issue never returned.

A few thousand miles later, the horn stopped working. We located the associated fuse and found it had burnt out. Within days our replacement fuse also failed, which confirmed we had a larger problem. Cormier completed this repair as well. Both high- and low-pitch horn assemblies were replaced under warranty. The horn has worked ever since.

We frequented Cormier Hyundai for the majority of our service needs. Our advisor, Jim Ivison, took care of our needs in a professional and timely manner. Out of convenience, Lithia Hyundai in Fresno, California, was also used for some of our routine maintenance needs. They, too, offered satisfactory levels of service. Our average service during 22,000 miles of Veracruz ownership was $41.

Total Body Repair Costs: None. (Yes, we can't believe it, either.)
Total Routine Maintenance Costs (over 12 months): $123.70
Additional Maintenance Costs: None.
Warranty Repairs: A/C compressor recharged. Horn replaced.
Non-Warranty Repairs: None.
Scheduled Dealer Visits: 3
Unscheduled Dealer Visits: None.
Days Out of Service: 1 day wait to special order horn parts.
Breakdowns Stranding Driver: None.

Performance and Fuel Economy
From its first test at 1,000 miles to its final test more than 20,000 miles later, the 2008 Hyundai Veracruz proved durable. This was reflected in a consistent track performance at both tests.

When it came to power, there just wasn't the kind of torque we expect from the 3.8-liter Hyundai V6. Gearchange patterns were leisurely, even in manual mode, which added to our impression of leisurely performance. We recorded a 0-60-mph time from a standstill of 8.3 seconds and ran the quarter-mile in 16.6 seconds at 84.7 mph with the Veracruz. This is noticeably slower to 60 mph than its Enclave (7.9 seconds from a standstill) and CX-9 (7.4 seconds from a standstill) counterparts.

We also expected more from the Hyundai's 260-horsepower V6 in terms of fuel economy. Our best fuel economy from a tank of regular unleaded was nearly 22 mpg following a long highway drive. This number was difficult to repeat and we rarely broke the 20-mpg barrier during the 22,000-mile test. We averaged just 16 mpg overall, which ranks behind our long-term Enclave (17.5 mpg) and CX-9 (18.2).

Best Fuel Economy: 21.8 mpg
Worst Fuel Economy: 11.7 mpg
Average Fuel Economy: 16.4 mpg

Retained Value
Yet another head-to-head battle that found the Hyundai bringing up the rear was that of retained value. Hyundai products are an excellent value at the time of purchase but resale value is historically low. The Veracruz is no exception. Edmunds' TMV® calculator valued the SUV at 29 percent lower than its $36,870 MSRP after our 22,000-mile test. Similar mileage took much less of a toll on the resale value of the Buick Enclave, which depreciated 23 percent. At the same time, our long-term Mazda CX-9 lost 28 percent in value by the end of its test.

True Market Value at service end: $26,121
Depreciation: $10,749 or 29% of original MSRP
Final Odometer Reading: 22,446

Summing Up
On an individual basis, the Hyundai Veracruz proved popular during its stay. Thoughtful luxury-oriented features went a long way toward winning us over. But when it came time to compare these features to competitive SUVs in our long-term fleet, the Hyundai lost some momentum. Smaller cabin dimensions, a third-row seat sized only for children and comparably poor fuel economy were limiting factors for this family road-tripper.

Hyundai products have broken from the poor quality stigma of their early years and become a true value leader in the industry. Our long-term 2008 Hyundai Veracruz SE is a perfect example of this. Like every Hyundai, it's affordable and boasts an incredible warranty. But in the resale market, the brand continues to struggle for respect. Because of the depreciation factor, Hyundai products should be bought and driven until they won't drive anymore. Those in search of a car to drive a few years and then sell off should look elsewhere.

The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.