Crossover vehicles might have seemed frivolous to a certain group of drivers, the answer to a question that the market had never truly asked, but for some car companies they were a gift from above in terms of offering the potential to expand their product lineup in an entirely new direction. While many car companies, particularly at the lower end of the spectrum had no history whatsoever of developing and selling any type of truck or truck-like vehicle, crossovers suddenly presented the opportunity to make the most of their current expertise and still take part in the SUV craze that had swept through North America like a wild fire.
The key for these automakers when it came to rolling out a successful crossover was the careful evaluation of their current line of sedan platforms in order to determine which one could best be converted into high capacity people movers. Crossover vehicles were known not only for their ability to offer a measure of off-road performance in the form of all-wheel drive and increased ground clearance, but also provide extra passenger space and room for all of the luggage and gear that usually accompanied a group of people on a camping trip or a drive to hockey practice. By using the same type of unibody design that was applied to the construction of a sedan, crossover vehicles could stretch out automobile platforms and provide a body shape that was similar to an SUV but which featured none of the rough riding characteristics associated with a truck-like frame.
At the dawn of the new millennium, Hyundai was salivating at the prospect of expanding their lineup of automobiles and competing more seriously against other import car companies like Toyota, Nissan and Mazda. The potential revenues associated with building a successful crossover vehicle were too tempting to ignore, and Hyundai found inspiration in the least likely of places - the Sonata mid-size sedan. With the perfect wheelbase for accommodating bulky crossover sheet metal, the Sonata's chassis was quickly altered to form the basis of the Hyundai Santa Fe, a crossover that would prove so popular that it became difficult for dealers to maintain a steady supply on their lots. After several years of production, Hyundai decided to test the waters with an even larger crossover, the Veracruz, that would point towards the luxury future that the Korean automaker was quietly carving out for themselves.
This article discusses both the Santa Fe and the Veracruz and enumerates the reasons why these two vehicles represent the best used crossovers available from Hyundai.
2007 Hyundai Santa Fe
Even a car company's best-selling crossover vehicle needs to be updated from time to time in order to keep in line with market expectations, and the 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe is no exception. One of the most immediately noticeable differences between the new generation of vehicle and the old is streamlined styling that erases the protruding front lip and bulging fenders of the original crossover in favor of a handsome, aerodynamic appearance. The 2007 Santa Fe has truly matured into a vehicle that would not look out of place parked beside competing crossovers from Acura and Lexus.
Further evidence of the newer Santa Fe's evolution can be found underneath the vehicle's skin. Base editions of the crossover are powered by a 2.7-liter V-6 engine that produces 185 horsepower and 183 lb-ft of torque, and shifting is accomplished through either a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission. Higher trim levels have access to a 242 horsepower, 3.3-liter V-6 engine and a 5-speed automatic transmission that truly helps the vehicle to achieve a level of acceleration that was completely absent in the original crossover. All editions of the Santa Fe can be ordered with all-wheel drive.
The vehicle's new, larger interior has been equipped with a third row seat, allowing the 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe to now seat up to seven passengers. While the idea is good, the final row is best reserved for small children or removed entirely in order to vastly improve the vehicle's overall available cargo space. While entry-level Santa Fe's come equipped with power windows, door locks and mirrors, along with air conditioning, the Limited trim adds in heated leather seats and dual climate controls, along with an available sunroof and a DVD entertainment system.
The 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe proves just how far the company has come in terms of building fully-featured vehicles that have risen up from their economy roots to provide the excellent value like that which is found in this used crossover.
2007 Hyundai Veracruz
Hyundai has slowly been re-orienting their product strategy to introduce the public to the concept of a high-end Hyundai that offers many of the features found in traditional luxury vehicles but at a fraction of the price. The 2007 Hyundai Veracruz was one of their first weapons in this new battle for market share, a crossover that sat upon a stretched version of the Santa Fe's platform and which provides buyers with the first truly large Hyundai crossover SUV. With styling that wouldn't look out of place surrounded by some of the most expensive vehicles in its class, Hyundai has thrown down the value gauntlet and challenged their Japanese and domestic rivals to a duel.
All editions of the 2007 Hyundai Veracruz are powered by the same 3.8-liter V-6 engine that is capable of outputting 260 horsepower and 257 lb-ft of torque. This makes the Veracruz the most powerful crossover available from the Korean car company, and along with all-wheel drive and a 6-speed automatic transmission with manual shifting capabilities, the large vehicle sports a well-engineered drivetrain that makes no apologies for its economy-brand roots. The Veracruz is comfortable on rough pavement, responds well to steering inputs and braking is authoritative, making the vehicle pleasant to drive even at the limits of its performance envelope.
With seven passenger seating, the Veracruz is a true minivan-replacement, and even passengers relegated to the far reaches of the third row will not have much to complain about in terms of leg or head room. The vehicle's cabin abounds with small luxury touches, like an optional chilled center console, MP3-capable stereo system and available heated leather seats and backup warning system to help driver's avoid obstacles while reversing. The standard DVD entertainment for rear passengers is of course also on the options list, and a powered liftgate makes it easy for even diminutive drivers to access the Veracruz's exceptional cargo area.
The 2007 Hyundai Veracruz is an excellent used crossover that is fully capable of competing with vehicles priced far above its affordable cost of ownership.