"We want to take on the Lexus, straight up." Those were the words of a confident Hyundai PR man when offered the challenge of pitting the 2007 Hyundai Veracruz up against the 2008 Lexus RX350 in an extensive road test conducted by Motor Trend.

In recent years, Hyundai has gone from strength to strength, offering more powerful and better built cars yet still maintaining its aggressive pricing strategy. One of its newest contenders, the SoCal designed Veracruz crossover offers customers an excellent overall package in terms of performance, handling and value. In the other corner we have the Lexus RX350, one of the pioneers of the midsized, car-based, luxury crossover segments, and an incredibly refined vehicle. It's a comparo for the ages that has produced some surprising results.

Follow the jump for more.

[Source: Motor Trend]

The Veracruz certainly has a tough challenge on its hands. The Lexus beats it on performance, safety and equipment, and also has a 400 pound weight advantage, so it's not surprising that the RX is touted as the "gold standard in the category" by the guys at Motor Trend. The Hyundai, meanwhile, is picked as the better handler of the two, plus its gearbox has one extra cog over the Lexus' five-speeder, and believe it or not, it has a better laid out dash.

The conclusion? Equip the Veracruz properly and you've got a vehicle that comes incredibly close to being the top contender in this market.

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