2010 Hyundai Veracruz Review

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Deputy Editor
November 20, 2009

The 2010 Hyundai Veracruz doesn’t stand as a common-sense bargain like some of the brand’s other vehicles, but it’s spacious and comfortable.

To bring you an expert take that combines firsthand driving impressions with highlights of what other leading sources have to say, TheCarConnection.com has produced this comprehensive review on the 2010 Hyundai Veracruz.

With a conservative, slightly luxurious look that’s undeniably close to that of the Lexus RX 350 or Nissan Murano, the 2010 Hyundai Veracruz aims for those who want to project ‘luxury’ on a much tighter budget.

On the outside, the Veracruz is no longer a particularly noteworthy vehicle, style-wise. While it was surprisingly attention-getting from new, it now looks quite anonymous, albeit sleek and flowing. The exterior style of the Hyundai Veracruz is sleek and flowing, rather than rugged, from a distance; up close Hyundai has taken its own direction with the details, with upscale interior styling and attractive, soft-touch surfaces.

Shoppers for this type of vehicle probably don’t expect a lot of excitement; in following, there’s not much enthusiasm to be found in the Veracruz driving experience. The 260-horsepower, 3.8-liter V-6 engine moves the Veracruz quickly if needed, but the six-speed automatic transmission cancels out any remaining eagerness because of hesitant downshifts and lumpy operation. The Hyundai Veracruz handles safely, but the dull steering feel manages to make it feel heavier and than it is. As with most vehicles of this type, the 2010 Veracruz is offered with front- or all-wheel drive.

Review continues below

With three rows of seating, the 2010 Hyundai Veracruz can seat up to seven, though the third row won’t be an option for many adults; kids will be just find back there, though entry and exit is difficult. The first two rows are comfortable, with enough headroom and legroom for all and plenty of storage spaces for small items; cargo space is sacrifices in the name of form, due to the sloped hatch. The Veracruz might be luxury-caliber in design, but it can’t maintain the exclusive feel up close. Materials and trims are pleasant but not of the sort you’d find in a Lexus or Infiniti.

Nearly every vehicle in this class is a top performer, and the 2010 Veracruz follows that trend. Crash-test results from the federal government and insurance industry-sponsored IIHS are all top-notch, and the standard equipment list includes stability control, anti-lock brakes, front side airbags, and side-curtain bags.

Two models of the Veracruz remain—GLS and Limited—and while Hyundai doesn’t make waves with standard equipment here as they do with some of their other vehicles, they come with a pretty respectable feature list. For those willing to option up a bit, the Veracruz is available with an AC power outlet, a handy cooler box, and 605-watt premium sound.

8

2010 Hyundai Veracruz

Styling

The 2010 Hyundai Veracruz might hint at more expensive vehicles, though up close the Veracruz is pleasant in its own right.

On the outside, the 2010 Hyundai Veracruz fits in with the pack of mid-size crossover vehicles, but it's no longer particularly noteworthy, style-wise. While it was surprisingly attention-getting from new, it now looks quite anonymous, albeit sleek and flowing. The exterior style of the Hyundai Veracruz is sleek and flowing, rather than rugged, from a distance

Hyundai hasn't hesitated to say that the Lexus RX 350 was benchmarked for style and refinement, so it begs the comparisons. The Washington Post actually considers the Hyundai more attractive than the previous-generation RX 350 (the RX has been redesigned for 2010). “It has a longer, more elegantly sculpted body than the RX350. Inside and out, it simply looks better,” beams the reviewer.

But not all remarks about the Veracruz exterior are favorable. “Dual chrome exhaust outlets, a rear spoiler and available 18-inch wheels don't impart a sporty appearance as much as they defend against blandness,” says Kelley Blue Book. Still looking at its exterior, KBB adds, “Side mirrors with integrated turn indicators and puddle lights are a nice touch.”

Up close Hyundai has taken its own direction with the details, with upscale interior styling and attractive, soft-touch surfaces.

Truck Trend appreciates the stylish looks and logical function of the Veracruz instrument panel, saying, “Each portion of it is dedicated to its respective function: HVAC, audio, etc. The knobs and buttons are easy to understand and do what you want them to in an intuitive way.” Popular Mechanics likes the overhead mood lighting and illuminated doorsill plates. MyRide.com applauds the interior design as inviting and warm, but does see plenty of Lexus influence. However they note that the shiny, flat dash top attracts glare in bright sunlight.

6

2010 Hyundai Veracruz

Performance

The 2010 Hyundai Veracruz moves plenty quick, but doesn't deliver much driving satisfaction.

Shoppers for this type of vehicle probably don’t expect a lot of excitement; in following, there’s not much enthusiasm to be found in the Veracruz driving experience. The 260-horsepower, 3.8-liter V-6 engine moves the Veracruz quickly if needed, by nearly all accounts, but the six-speed automatic transmission cancels out any remaining eagerness because of hesitant downshifts and lumpy operation.

The V-6 engine that's included with all Veracruz models delivers adequate, if not blistering, performance. Only a few reviewers criticized the engine for its sluggishness when accelerating from a standstill—although that might be more an indication of the Veracruz's heft. ConsumerGuide says, “A bit slow from a stop, Veracruz has acceptable power once underway.” Autoblog however notes that the V-6 "moves the 4,300-lb. Wagon without seeming to run short of breath."

In the performance area, the most complaints were associated with the six-speed automatic transmission. “In merging and passing situations the refined six-speed transmission can be a little reluctant to kick down into a lower gear,” agrees Kelley Blue Book, “but keep squeezing the accelerator pedal and the Veracruz rewards with enough power to get the job done.” MyRide.com says, “Goose the gas pedal for an aggressive pass and a confused throttle or off-guard transmission causes a noticeable delay.” Autoblog notes differently, saying that the "six-speed automatic "shifts imperceptibly and kicks down quickly and smoothly when you put your foot in it." TheCarConnection.com's editors have noted that the transmission is especially hesitant and reluctant to downshift on steep grades, but pleasant on level ground, so that might explain the difference in comments here.

The transmission comes with Shiftronic, through which drivers can manually select gears; but even in the manual mode some reviewers noted that the transmission wouldn't let the engine reach its redline. “All buyers will appreciate the manual shift control, though the Veracruz executes its own upshifts early, which serves to steal some fun,” says MyRide.com.

The Hyundai Veracruz handles safely, but the dull steering feel manages to make it feel even heavier and than it is. Its smooth ride and safe, stable handling are commended, though few go so far as to say that it feels sporty or exciting. Popular Mechanics notes the steering’s “rather numb” feel on-center, while Cars.com says that the Veracruz has quite a bit of body roll (lean) on twisty roads. ConsumerGuide assesses, “Suspension tuning favors ride quality over handling response,” also noting the body lean in corners and the lack of steering feel. “Still, Veracruz never felt unstable, even on slick roads,” they say. Autoblog describes the steering as "nicely weighted with no center slop."

Kelley Blue Book points out that relative to full-size SUVs, the Veracruz is much easier to park due to its shorter length and smaller turning circle.

Four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes give good stopping power, by all accounts, but according to Cars.com the pedal’s “mushy feel is a little disappointing.” They were the only ones to point this out.

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2010 Hyundai Veracruz

Comfort & Quality

The 2010 Hyundai Veracruz is quite roomy inside and almost meets luxury-brand expectations at a fraction of the price.

With three rows of seating, the 2010 Hyundai Veracruz can seat up to seven, though the third row won’t be an option for many adults; kids will be just find back there, though entry and exit is difficult. The first two rows are comfortable, with enough headroom and legroom for all and plenty of storage spaces for small items; cargo space is sacrifices in the name of form, due to the sloped hatch.

Most reviewers were satisfied with front seat comfort, but TheCarConnection.com found some varied comments on backseat and cargo space. "The second- and third-row seats, on the other hand, are pretty flat," notes Autoblog, also assessing that "with the middle row pushed all the way back, my knees didn't touch the seat backs from the back row." Autoblog also notes that “rear door openings are large and access to the third row is fairly easy.” But Kelley Blue Book notes, “Traveling with a car full of people and their luggage may be rather tight, as cargo room behind the third-row seat is under seven cubic feet.” According to the reviewer, that's significantly less that in a Toyota Highlander or Honda Pilot.

The Veracruz might be luxury-caliber in design, but would its exclusive feel hold up close? Most reviewers thought so. “The materials are above and beyond what one would expect from a non-luxury brand like Hyundai,” says MyRide.com. Kelley Blue Book like the look and feel of what it sees inside, including “soft-lined bins and consoles and ambient spotlighting,” and further declares that in a variety of uses, the Veracruz “never failed to impress us as effortless and comfortable.” And the comparisons to the Lexus RX keep cropping up; the Veracruz "feels better—more spacious, less cramped than the RX350,” says the Washington Post.

Truck Trend compared the Veracruz to several other crossovers in its class and was disappointed that “the leather and vinyl on the seats didn't quite color-match, the silver finish on the center stack doesn't appear all that sturdy, and there were a few misaligned bits of trim.”

MyRide.com commends the Veracruz for its quiet ride, except for what it describes as “excess wind noise.”

9

2010 Hyundai Veracruz

Safety

Safety tests confirm that the 2010 Hyundai Veracruz is one of the top picks in its class.

Nearly every vehicle in this class of vehicle is a top performer, and the 2010 Veracruz follows that trend. Crash-test results from the federal government and insurance industry-sponsored IIHS are all top-notch, and the standard equipment list includes stability control, anti-lock brakes, front active head restraints, front side airbags, and side-curtain bags.

“The Veracruz performed well enough in government crash tests to receive ratings equal to those of its best competitors,” assesses Kelley Blue Book.

Cars.com notes that while the Veracruz is available with power-adjustable pedals and rear parking sensors (now standard), a rearview camera, a much-appreciated feature for some SUV drivers, isn’t available.

7

2010 Hyundai Veracruz

Features

The Veracruz comes loaded with features, but unlike some of Hyundai's other vehicles it's no bargain.

The 2010 Veracruz is offered in two different trims—GLS and Limited—and while Hyundai doesn’t make waves with standard equipment here as they do with some of their other vehicles, they both come with a pretty respectable feature list.

And for 2010 the base GLS gets several things that were previously optional, including the backup warning system, leather steering-wheel and shift-knob trim, fog lamps, a power driver seat, and roof rack rails.

The Washington Post gushes about the Veracruz feature list, saying that it “has more standard equipment—including some that is usually optional, such as third-row seating—than the RX350.” Popular Mechanics also gives a nod to the lower-priced models, advising that “you can skip some features and still have one of the best seven-passenger crossovers on the market.”

An LG-brand nav system is now available. And for those willing to option up a bit, the Veracruz is available with an AC power outlet, backseat DVD entertainment, and 605-watt premium sound.

The now-standard cooler box is a subject of many positive comments. "No more melted chocolate bars for the kiddies,” Popular Mechanics notes, “and the perforated leather seats keep mommies and daddies cool, too." Autoblog reports that "chilled air from the A/C system is ducted through the center console compartment to keep drinks cool."

Kelley Blue Book points out the optional power liftgate as one of the Veracruz’s most appreciated features, along with the Proximity Key remote-sensing feature (standard on the Limited) that automatically locks and unlocks the vehicle as you walk toward or away from the vehicle,

Only a couple of reviewers comment that the Veracruz’s price, totaling more than $38,000 for a loaded Limited model, is too high for Hyundai. That's actually higher than a base Lexus RX 350.

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7.4
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Expert Rating
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Styling 8.0
Performance 6.0
Comfort & Quality 7.0
Safety 9.0
Features 7.0
Fuel Economy N/A
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