Hyundai Crossover SUV Debuts
In an unusual move, Hyundai brought three “study” families to the North American International Auto Show as it debuted its 2007 Veracruz crossover sport-utility vehicle.
The families―two with young children―came on stage at Hyundai’s press conference to stand in front of the 5-door, V6-powered Veracruz, which goes on sale in showrooms in March 2007. The group gave Hyundai officials insight into consumer perceptions of the company’s new vehicle, which is the first to come standard with three rows of seats to accommodate seven people and is luxuriously appointed.
Though final Veracruz pricing wasn’t announced, the well-equipped vehicle will be positioned as an alternative to luxury crossover SUVs and will start at less than $30,000, said John Krafcik, vice president of development and strategic planning at Hyundai Motor America.
“We want luxury and performance to be attainable in a crossover,” he said, noting that the Veracruz will be available with many upscale features, such as dual front-seat climate control, rear-seat entertainment, brushed aluminum interior accents and premium, 605-watt Infinity audio system. The Veracruz on display in Detroit, for example, had optional leather seat trim that was soft to the touch and set off by contrast stitching like you’d expect from a luxury car brand.
The Veracruz puts Hyundai in new territory as the company’s SUV with the highest starting price. The other Hyundai SUVs―the 2007 Tucson and Santa Fe―have starting manufacturer’s suggested retail prices of $16,895 and $21,045, respectively.
More Room and More Power
The Veracruz is some 6 inches longer, overall, and 2.2 inches wider than the Santa Fe, which is Hyundai’s current largest SUV. As a result, passenger room in the Veracruz is slightly roomier than that in the Santa Fe. Headroom and legroom for people sitting in the third row of the Veracruz, for example, is 1.3 inches and 0.2 inch more, respectively, than in the Santa Fe. Maximum cargo space in the Veracruz is 86.8 cubic feet compared with 78.2 cubic feet in the Santa Fe.
Power for the Veracruz comes from a 260-horsepower 3.8-liter V6 that produces 257 lb-ft of torque. This is more powerful than the 242-horsepower, 2.7-liter V6 that’s in Hyundai’s Santa Fe SUV.
The Santa Fe is offered with a choice of 5- or 7-passenger seating, but Krafcik said only about 30 percent of Santa Fes are sold with third rows.
He added that Hyundai is waiting to see how Veracruz sales go and isn’t announcing an expected U.S. sales volume. The vehicle also is sold in Hyundai’s home country of South Korea.