2009 Hyundai Veracruz Review

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The Car Connection
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The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Trevor Wild Trevor Wild Author
June 16, 2009

The 2009 Hyundai Veracruz is an impressive SUV for the price, but it’s no Lexus.

TheCarConnection.com has driven the Hyundai Veracruz to provide you an informed, expert review, presented here alongside highlights from available road tests on the Veracruz.

The 2009 Hyundai Veracruz looks a lot like a Lexus RX 350, and that's the intent. The Veracruz is Hyundai's attempt to take on luxury crossovers—though with a much lower price.

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 upmarket interior flourishes and attractive, soft-touch surfaces.

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A 260-horsepower, 3.8-liter V-6 engine moves the 2009 Hyundai Veracruz. It's hooked up to a six-speed automatic transmission and delivers power to the front or all four wheels. The powertrain provides adequate performance, though the transmission isn't as decisive or quick to downshift as most others in rival vehicles.

The seven-passenger Hyundai Veracruz has three rows of seating to accommodate up to seven, but the third row is quite cramped. Whether with cloth or leather upholstery, the interior is pleasant but not quite luxury-caliber, though functionally the Veracruz is every bit as useful and comfortable, with plenty of headroom and legroom for the first and second rows and family-friendly cubbies throughout.

The 2009 Hyundai Veracruz sacrifices some interior space, but Hyundai's crossover is a quality-built vehicle and one of the safest in its class. With styling borrowed from more expensive luxury crossovers, the affordable Veracruz impresses with its list of features and design attributes; its driving experience, however, ranks squarely as average among its many mid-size competitors.

Handy features available in the Veracruz include a cooler box, an AC power outlet, and a powerful 605-watt premium sound system. For 2009 Hyundai simplified the Veracruz's trim level packages by eliminating the SE model and narrowing the choice to the GLS and the Limited, with the GLS Preferred Package incorporating the most popular SE features.

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2009 Hyundai Veracruz

Styling

The interior styling of the 2009 Hyundai Veracruz might fool you, at first, into thinking you’re in a more expensive vehicle.

In their firsthand experience, TheCarConnection.com's editors find that the Veracruz's curvy silhouette, with its aggressively sloped roofline, sacrifices cargo space and third-row passenger volume.

Although the 2009 Veracruz is priced against more affordable models such as the Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander, Hyundai reportedly benchmarked the Lexus RX 350 when designing and engineering the Veracruz. It shows in the Veracruz's styling, as it has the same streamlined shape and similar design details.

When it comes to making comparisons to Lexus, reviewers can't resist. The Washington Post proclaims the Hyundai is better looking inside and out compared to the RX350, citing a more elegant, longer body outside and more spacious cabin inside versus the Japanese luxury rival. Popular Mechanics made point to mention the Veracruz's illuminated doorsills and overhead mood lighting. MyRide.com finds the Veracruz's cabin to be warm and inviting, while Truck Trend finds the interior intuitive with easy-to-understand knobs and buttons.

That said, not all the comparisons are favorable to the Hyundai. Stylistic features like the Veracruz's dual chrome outlets, rear spoiler, and optional 18-inch wheels merely make the Hyundai not look as boring as it would, says Kelley Blue Book, but reviewers did commend Hyundai for adding upscale puddle lights and integrated side mirror turn indicators. MyRide.com takes exception with the Hyundai's dash, which reflects an abnormal amount of glare on the windshield in daylight.

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2009 Hyundai Veracruz

Performance

The 2009 Hyundai Veracruz doesn't dazzle anyone with its sport-sedan performance or off-road prowess, but it does possess enough gusto for most people.

Reviews read by TheCarConnection.com cover both front- and all-wheel-drive Veracruz models. The available all-wheel drive can either send power to the rear wheels on demand or lock in a 50/50 front/rear power split.

The Veracruz's Shiftronic six-speed automatic transmission, the sole transmission Hyundai offers on the model, can be manually shifted via its shift gate. However, based on numerous reviews, the transmission seems to be the Hyundai's weak point. MyRide.com finds the Veracruz will take over and perform upshifts before you get deep into the revs, stealing some fun in the process. Additionally, it observed laziness during aggressive throttle on behalf of the automatic, which refuses to respond with any immediacy. Kelley Blue Book agrees, but keep the throttle down and you're rewarded with all the grunt offered by the Veracruz's V-6. Driving the point home further, ConsumerGuide reports the Veracruz's engine is slow from a dead stop, but that could also be caused by a transmission that's slow to the party.

It's far from exciting to sporty, but that's because it's not meant to be. Instead, the Veracruz executes its mission on delivering stable, safe handling and a smooth ride. ConsumerGuide's impressions back this up with its reviewers finding the Veracruz's suspension exhibits body roll and lack of steering feel in corners, but makes up for it for favorable ride quality and stability on slicker roads. Popular Mechanics points out the Veracruz's numb on-center.

The Veracruz's four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes possess plenty of stopping power, according to Cars.com, but the brake pedal is mushy at best. However, other reviewers make no mention of this.

As you would expect, the Veracruz is easier to park in comparison to full-size SUVs because of its shorter length, stated Kelley Blue Book.

During a weekend camping trip, TheCarConnection.com's editors noted a transmission hesitation that's especially apparent on steep grades. Even at higher altitudes, the V-6 has plenty of power to haul three and loads of gear. Handling is on the soft side, as reported, but safe and predictable.

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2009 Hyundai Veracruz

Comfort & Quality

With the 2009 Hyundai Veracruz, you’ll get more than you expect and a quiet, refined experience.

Kelley Blue Book forecasts the Hyundai Veracruz to retain its value as well as the Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander, nixing any Hyundai-related resale-value fears. That still didn't stop some reviewers for criticizing Hyundai's $38,000 pricetag for a loaded Veracruz Limited as being too high.

Further, Kelley Blue Book was solidly impressed by the effortless and comfortable Hyundai and reviewers focused in on its luxury-level details, such as ambient lighting and soft-lined bins. Similarly, MyRide.com says the Veracruz utilizes interior materials that are class-above in terms of quality and definitely not what they expected to find in a Hyundai.

Conversely, during a mid-size SUV comparison test, Truck Trend criticized the vinyl and leather upholstery used in the Veracruz, noting the material colors didn't quite match. Additionally, it found some misaligned trim pieces about the interior.

TheCarConnection.com notes the Veracruz is most at home on pavement and it's best to stay away from harsher roads. And before you think about it, don't even consider taking the Hyundai off-roading.

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2009 Hyundai Veracruz

Safety

Safety tests confirm that the 2009 Hyundai Veracruz is one of the top picks in its class.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) bestowed the Veracruz with "good" ratings in all of its crash tests—including the seat-based rear-impact test that measures whiplash protection. Likewise, the federal government awarded Hyundai's mid-size SUV with five-star scores in front and side crash tests.

Kelley Blue Book summarizes the Veracruz is on par with the segment's best safety performers. However, Cars.com does mention the Hyundai is missing a rearview camera, one of the features most desired in this class.

The Washington Post points to the Veracruz's standard safety equipment and features, such as electronic stability control, head and side airbags, active headrests, four-wheel ABS, and others.

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2009 Hyundai Veracruz

Features

Compared to other vehicles in its class, the Veracruz comes loaded.

In terms of features, not much has changed for 2009, but Hyundai gives the Veracruz USB/iPod auxiliary inputs in the vehicle's audio system. Trim packages are also modified to include a GLS with Preferred and Premium Packages, and a new black-leather interior and monochromatic exterior is offered on the Limited. As with most Hyundais, value is the name of the game and the Veracruz offers a host of features.

Popular Mechanics notes the perforated leather seats will keep parents cool, while Kelley Blue Book most appreciates the Veracruz's optional power liftgate. Its Proximity Key remote-sensing feature, which automatically locks/unlocks the car depending how close it is to the key, is standard on Limited models.

Autoblog hones in on the Veracruz's cooled storage box, which relies on the air conditioning system to keep temperatures down. The Washington Post beams the Veracruz's vast collection of standard features is more than what you'll find on the RX350.

The list of standard features and equipment on the $28,600 base-priced GLS is impressive. Unfortunately, all the reviews we sourced are for Limited models. That said, lower-priced models still got a nod from Popular Mechanics, which says most of the Veracruz Limited's "goodness" is found on lower trims and still deserves to be called one of the best seven-passenger crossovers on the market.

Limited trim features include rain-sensing wipers, 115-volt AC power point, an optional 605-watt audio system, and rear-seat DVD entertainment. An LG-brand nav system was added last year.

As impressive as the features lists on the GLS and Limited are, passenger and cargo volume prove controversial. Almost all reviewers point out the Veracruz's lack of cargo space with the third-row seat in place—an issue shared by many three row, mid-size SUVs. Kelley Blue Book states the space provided is significantly under that found in either the Toyota Highlander and Honda Pilot.

Kelley Blue Book remarks third-row seating is best left for kids, but adults can use it in a pinch. Meanwhile, AutoBlog praises the Veracruz for its large rear doors that make for easier third-row access. MyRide.com compliments the wide bolstering and, including the padded armrests alongside, declares that the seats "made for a downright comfy spot even as the miles piled on." The same reviewer observes plenty of foot- and headroom in the second-row seat but criticizes it as flat and low and points out that the sloped roofline and wheel well hurt access to the third row, which echo the comments in several other reviews.

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7.6
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Styling 8
Performance 7
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Features 7
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