The 2011 Hyundai Veracruz offers a single powertrain, with a choice of front- or all-wheel drive. It's a competitive performer, but there's not much enthusiasm to be found in the way it drives.
Hyundai's 3.8-liter V-6 teams up with a six-speed automatic transmission in the Veracruz. The 260-horsepower six twists out 257 pound-feet of torque and it delivers adequate, if not blistering performance. It's moving a heavy piece of machinery--the Veracruz weighs about 4300 pounds--but once it's up to speed, the engine handles cruising duty rather well, only running out of steam when it's full laden, with people or cargo.
The Veracruz' six-speed automatic transmission saps the eagerness from the engine. It hesitates to downshift and shift quality feels lumpy. In our experience, it's most reluctant to downshift when pulling up steep grades. The transmission does comes with Shiftronic manual control, but even in this mode the transmission won't let the V-6 run up to its redline.
All-wheel drive is an option, and it goes without saying, if you live outside the winter belt, save the added weight and the front-drive Veracruz will rarely let you down.
Handling is set on the softer side, which gives the Veracruz a smothering quality. The steering feels numb on center, and doesn't build up much weight as the vehicle builds up cornering forces. The brakes lose some sensitivity when saddled with power-adjustable pedals, like all other such systems do. There's plenty of body roll, but on the plus side, the Veracruz rides quite plushly. And since it's a bit smaller than some crossovers in its class, the Veracruz has a compact turning circle and can be easier to park.