The 2009 Hyundai Veracruz has a very simple lineup; there are just two models, GLS and Limited, and both of those come with a choice of either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.
A 260-horsepower, 3.8-liter V6 and 6-speed automatic transmission are standard across the entire lineup. The combination is very smooth and responsive, and the transmission includes a manual mode for those who want to select the gears themselves. Fuel economy ratings are 16 mpg city, 23 highway with front-wheel drive and 1 mpg lower in the city with all-wheel drive.
The so-called Torque Controlled Coupling All Wheel Drive system that's offered on the Veracruz is designed for snowy and slick road conditions, rather than off-roading. The system sends more power to the rear wheels only when it's needed, so the effect on mileage is minimal; it also includes an AWD Lock mode for tough mud, sand or deep snow.
The Veracruz also features 7-passenger seating -- the third-row seat stows away into the floor when it's not needed, leaving a flat, low loading floor comparable to those in minivans. And at the far back, there's an additional storage well. Meanwhile the second-row seats fold forward flat for easy access to the second row or long cargo items, and third-row occupants get their own vents and climate controls.
Safety content is generous in the Veracruz; it features electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes, along with front side airbags and side-curtain airbags that cover all three rows of seating.
Base GLS models of the Veracruz start attractively at just over $27,000, and they're very well-equipped. The GLS includes air conditioning, heated power side mirrors with puddle lamps, cruise control and a trip computer. A Preferred Package adds a power sunroof, heated front seats, a power driver seat, leather-wrapped steering wheel, a reverse-parking sensor system, automatic headlamps, fog lamps and a temperature-controlled center console storage box. A Premium Package includes the contents of the Preferred Package, but also adds leather seat trim, a power-assisted tailgate and 18-inch alloy wheels. At the top of the range, the Limited gets most of those Premium Package extras as standard equipment. A navigation system is optional on the Limited, as is rear-seat video entertainment. An audiophile-grade Infinity Logic 7 surround system with iPod compatible USB jacks is also optional.