Variety isn't the driving force behind the 2012 Hyundai Veracruz. It comes with just one powertrain configuration, with an option for changing its front-wheel drive to all-wheel drive. It keeps things focused on a competent, family-friendly driving feel--one without much enthusiasm.
The Veracruz' powertrain pairs a 3.8-liter V-8 with 260 horsepower and 257 pound-feet of torque with a six-speed automatic. Since the Veracruz weighs about 4,300 pounds, its straight-line performance hits respectable levels, and not much more. When it's cruising, it's fairly serene, but runs out of steam when it's filled with passengers and their stuff.
Some refinement to its transmission programming might help. In previous test drives, we've observed the gearbox hesitates when a downshift is needed, like on a steep hill climb, and shifts themselves aren't as smooth as those in the big Honda and Ford crossovers. There's a Shiftronic mode with some manual control over gear changes, but even doing so won't let the Veracruz' V-6 run to its redline.
The big Veracruz may only rarely encounter really foul weather, and it's already a chunky piece. So if you're outside the usual winter-weather belt, think twice about adding a few hundred pounds of all-wheel-drive hardware.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.