Monday, June 09, 2008

2008 Hyundai Veracruz: Small Price to Pay for Happiness

I recently took a trip to Carmel, California in our long-term 2008 Hyundai Veracruz AWD. There are so many little reasons to like this car. In fact, it's the first time I've ever considered buying a Korean vehicle as my personal car.

Sure, I had a couple of gripes, which you can read on the Straightline blog: The "Cool Box" in the console doesn't cool that well, it's got too much wind and road noise for my taste, it could handle the bumps with more grace, and the horn wouldn't work. But overall, this is a car I really enjoyed and would recommend. Here's why:

First: It's good-looking. I like the styling and didn't feel like I was driving a boxy-looking SUV or egg-shaped minivan. I know it's a matter of personal taste, but I really like its lines, particularly the sporty-looking back end.

Second: It's spacious. We lowered the third row and filled the cargo area with the following: a large cooler, a large plastic container filled with non-perishable food, a large rolling duffel bag, an carry-on rolling bag (airline size), four backpacks, a guitar, a mandolin (don't ask!), a men's suit bag, a couple of shopping bags, a bunch of heavy jackets and sweater. Yeah, we overpack, don't we?!

We were still able to see out the rear view. In fact, the rear view on this car is one of its very best features. The only thing that really hinders it, though, is the DVD screen. Not much you can do about that.

Next: It's comfortable. I drove almost the entire way from L.A. to Carmel, which is about 5 1/2 hours if you do it without stopping. I never felt stiff or like my back ached (we had optional lumbar support). You know how after some road trips you have to get out and do the "back stretch"? Not so here. My kids were also comfortable the whole time. How do I know? They didn't complain. The third row seat is also quite comfortable and not too difficult to access.

It's functional: The controls on the dash are just plain easy to figure out. In my experience, more expensive cars often require a weekend of study to figure out all the electronics. Even things that should be easy, like air conditioning and the radio, require more time than they should. The Veracruz reminded me of Toyota in its design: not gorgeous, but simple.

And my six-year-old was able to open and close the rear doors, and climb in and out without any problem. I also liked the "conversation mirror" which lets you see the kids in back (below the sunglass holder), the rear-seat reading lights, and the substantial hooks for hanging dry cleaning, and the fuel door release conveniently located on the driver door. All small touches that make a difference in everyday use.

Handling and maneuverability were also good. Not performance-great, but perfectly adequate. And the Veracruz has all the latest safety features, including stability control, which is a must-have for me.

Finally, the cost of this all-new crossover SUV is a selling point. Starting at $26,900 MSRP and topping out at $35,750, it's a lot more reasonable than many of its competitors and it has Hyundai's terrific 10 yr /10,000 mile drivetrain warranty. So if you're looking for a vehicle that can seat up to 7 in comfort and style, drives well, is safe, and has a great warranty, then put the Veracruz on the list.

Source: The Driving Woman

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