Is the Hyundai Veracruz the Best SUV Under $30,000?

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Hyundai Veracruz
Hyundai Veracruz

After driving Minivans for the last 12 years, why get an SUV? Well, mainly because I am a 47 year old man who’s sick of looking like a soccer mom hauling an unruly gang of daycare children. But, why else? One, they are hip and trendier than mini-vans. Two, they can get you up the steep icy cul-de-sac on a snowy, winter day. That was enough incentive for me anyway, when I finally traded in our family’s Chevrolet Venture Minivan on a 2008 Hyundai Veracruz. I simply needed an all-wheel drive vehicle that would be sure to get us up our very steep street on those rare winter days when the snow is deep, unplowed and impassable. Who owns a Hyundai Veracruz? You may not find many Hyundai Veracruz reviews,  but you will find plenty of satisfied owners. I predict that Hyundai Veracruz owners are going to be an extremely satisfied group of SUV owners for years to come. When you move into an SUV you get the all wheel drive and trendier looks, but you do give up few things over a minivan: Cash, Gas and Seats. The one thing I did not want to compromise was the 7 or 8 person seating capacity of our minivan. The Veracruz will accommodate 7-passengers, yet is not monstrously huge on the inside or outside. It is a nice looking vehicle and is available in three trim levels: GLS, SE and Limited Due to Hyundai’s leasing deal at the time, I was able to get into the 2008 SE at a price that was lower than the GLS, base model. The SE adds 18” tires (17” On GLS), Power Drivers Seat and Leather Wrapped steering wheel. For 3 – 5 Grand more, the Limited will give you Leather, Navigator, GPS, and just about every other luxury found on pricier Lexus’s, BMWs, etc.
Besides having the best new-car smell I’ve ever experienced in a new car, there are a few other reasons I highly recommend this vehicle: The Veracruz seats 7 passengers very comfortably. There are a couple of nifty third-row seats that fold neatly down into the floor, when not in use, allowing plenty of cargo room when only 4 passengers are seated. The Veracruz SE is equipped with just about everything you could possibly need or want: Cruise Control, Quality, 6-Speaker CD Stereo with XM, trip computer, programmable garage door opener with home link, built in audio control in steering wheel, fully-powered driver’s seat, and very slick compartment inside the console that can be used as a cooler. Also, there are plenty of cupholders and a number of other nooks and crannies for storage. There is not just one, but two sunglasses compartments just above the rearview mirror. (Very handy, my wife and I use them both) My 2008 Hyundai Veracruz SE priced out at about $31,000, which is $6,000 more than the Venture Minivan I traded in for it. Despite the heftier price tag, I actually saved on Auto Insurance due to the outstanding safety features Hyundai has made standard on the Veracruz: Front Air Bags, and dual side air curtains in both rows, Electronic Stability Control System (ESC) with Traction Control System (TCS), Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Brake Assist and Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Front and Rear Crumple Zones, hood buckling creases and safety stops, body reinforcements and anti-theft engine immobilization, just to name a few of the more prominent ones. If the safety features are not enough, sitting in the Veracruz and driving it for the first time will assure you of its stability and safety. It is a very solid and robust vehicle, and the best part of all is the how comfortable it is to drive. The 3800L 24-Valve V6 engine is not going to snap your head back, but it gives you ample power, even with a full load of passengers. The one thing that all family members and friends have commented on when sitting in the Veracruz for their first time is how quiet it is. It is really hard to tell the engine is running at stop lights. When accelerating from a stop the engine is very subdued, but responsive. For a vehicle this size, the steering and handling is remarkable. It really feels as though you are driving a much smaller vehicle. One nice feature that I find comes in handy with full passenger loads is the SHIFTRONIC shift setting, which gives you the flexibility of a manual transmission, when you need a little more power.Visibility is excellent, and the turning radius makes those illegal u-turns a breeze!It is a very nimble, sporty ride for an SUV of this size.I acquired this Veracruz right about the time gas prices started going through the sky, and though the vehicle is rated 15/22 MPG on the sticker, I was initially getting closer to 13 and 20. It seemed to me that right at about 3,000 miles, just after my first oil change, my fuel economy improved significantly. My wife is getting about 16MPG in stop and go city commuting, and I was able to get about 22 in mostly highway commuting the other day.Rave reviews and favorable comparisons to the similar Lexus SUVs encouraged me to take a look at the Hyundai. As the scores indicate, I am not at all disappointed I was led in the direction of a Hyundai Veracruz SE.

Final Ratings

  • Performance: 85
  • Steering and handling: 93
  • Ride and Comfort: 93
  • Features and Ammenities: 92
  • Safety: 95
  • Cargo Room: 86
  • Fuel economy: 80
  • Value: 93
  • New-Car Smell: 98
  • Overall: 90

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