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2007 Crossover Buyer's Guide: 2007 Hyundai Veracruz

by Martha Hindes

Honda CR-V

2007 Hyundai Veracruz
2007 Hyundai Veracruz Interior

It was only a matter of time before Hyundai took its relentless march toward automotive expansion into the realm of large crossover vehicles. So when the new 2007 Veracruz was unveiled in January, the only surprise was how well it was done.

Here's a company that not long ago was considered at best a Korea-based manufacturer of entry level autos. Now it is entering the premium crossover market with flash, style and a load of amenities, aiming even at Mercedes-Benz and Lexus in its quest for class. Already Hyundai officials are claiming superiority in size, safety and performance over larger, competitive crossovers.

So what does the Veracruz have to offer besides another of Hyundai's carefully chosen, identifiably Southwestern names? Interior treatments, including brushed metal accents and blue backlighting, are subtle and attractive. Inside, silence is golden with extra noise damping throughout. Dual zone climate controls add comfort. Power adjustable pedals, memory power mirrors, overhead "task" lighting, backup warning and eight-inch DVD screen are among available amenities. A Hideaway third row brings the seating total for adults to seven with ample legroom.

Outside, there's that softly rounded, high beltline design flow that has come to characterize crossovers as a pack. A subtle roof rack adds sportiness. The 17-inch tires seem visually smallish under the larger body size, although 18-inch are available on SE and Limited models.

Powering the Veracruz is the same lightweight 3.8L V6 that's in the Azera sedan, generating 260-hp and 257-lb. ft. of torque, with six-speed, auto-manual SHIFTRONIC. All-wheel-drive enhances "precise" steering and handling. Expect about a 25 mpg average and an anticipated Ultra-Low Emissions rating. With sales starting in early March, Veracruz should hit the showrooms with a $28,000 base price. (We'll check out driving credentials shortly. Stay tuned.)

Hyundai makes no apologies for using the best crossovers on the market for inspiration. Here's a case of the sincerest form of flattery coming back to be reckoned with.