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"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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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      I read all these comments with interest but how many of you actually drive both? I guess as with most things it comes down to personal taste but at the same country fair the luxury of the Lexus struggled through 6 inches of mud while the Hyundai Tucson had no issues, so more money does not always imply a better drive. I can also compare the avarage cost of servicing a Lexus compared to Hyundai and its about half to keep a Hyundai. So even if parts have to be replaced after the 5 years cover then its running cost on the new model will still be less, and my own experience is that neither make has been a let down in reliability.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I definitely agree with the earlier comment (#55) that comparing a brand new vehicle with one that is due for a model change isn't exactly fair, but even still, you have to give it to the Veracruz for performing so well.

      The only reason I'd still go with the Lex is because no matter what anyone says about the Veracruz, I find it horrendously ugly.
      • 8 Years Ago
      JC, I didn't forget...i'd say the same thing to them too, if they were copying. It also wasn't a blanket statement against Hyundai, not all their cars are more-or-less exact copies of other more popular cars. But this one is.

      • 8 Years Ago
      Motor Trend is going through some tough times, and this review garnered it a lot of media exposure (a couple weeks ago).
      • 8 Years Ago
      The IS250 is certainly not the pinnacle of entry-level sports sedans, but it's far ahead of a Civic Si, and it is easily worth $10k more. The Veracruz is not branded as a luxury SUV. However, seeing as Hyundai copied the RX350, it certainly is a luxury SUV.

      If the Veracruz is in a larger class of SUVs than the RX, it would compete with even more expensive vehicles, such as the Lexus GX and Mercedes-Benz GL. Your example of an X5 is less than ideal, as the X5 barely has more of a third seat than an RX350 does.

      Speaking of defining one's competitors, the recent Hyundai television commercial that compares the Santa Fe with the LR3 is as truthful as it is manipulative. This certainly is like comparing a Civic Si with an IS250.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Calm down guys the Edge, MKX, Outlook, Acadia, etc are all better than these anyways. What is funny is how so many people in here praise Hyundai for getting so much better yet criticize Ford and GM when they have made major strides. Hyundai builds and sells way less than Ford and GM. And for Ford and GM to have brought their quality up that fast with as many vehicles as they build in sell is much more mind blowing than Hyundai finally making a decent car.
        • 8 Years Ago
        I drove the Edge on a weekend trip and was not at all impressed. I got alot of ooo's and ahh's from family and friends, but things inside made it seem like a rush job by Ford. First, instead of a dead pedal for the left foot, you get a irregular protrusion from the firewall. The turn signal stalk was awkwardly designed so that I end up turning on the wipers several times when using the turn signal. Mileage on hwy cruise was more like 21-22 instead of 24 (maybe it was windy), and the turning radius makes you do a 4 or 5 point turn if you need to do a U. Pickup was decent but the transmission didn't feel as smooth as it should - too much gear hunting. For a company that started this whole SUV trend with the Explorer, the Edge didn't live up to it's hype. I stil have high hopes for the Acadia/Outlook family. But Ford Edge, shame.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I didn't read the article, but too many comparisons don't factor in resale value when comparing brands. If people are paying a premium for a paticular brand than the resale of that vehicle will probably still command a premium as well. If the Lexus holds its value better than the Hyundai, the difference in cost for he Lexus becomes less when you add depreciation back in. That has always been an argument for some of the premium brands and an argument aginst some of the domestics. When you compared a Camry to a Taurus for a 4 year cycle and traded them back in, the Camry was often cheaper to own even if it costs more up front.
        • 8 Years Ago
        Okay, if we are going to compare cars as an "investment" then let's compare apples to apples. Take the $10K you save on the Hyundai and put it in a real investment. Say 5% growth, compounded annually?
        After 4 years you now have a little over $12K to add back to the resale value of your Hyundai and I doubt that the Lexus will come out on top especially with its higher gas bill and probable higher insurance cost.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Loved the fact that the Vera Cruz gets better mileage on 87 octane.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I have a feeling Motor Trend was trying to be shocking with this one. If you read the comparo, they say the Lexus is better in all aspects (especially quicker) but the Hyundai has a third row and is cheaper.
        • 8 Years Ago
        I got the very same notion from that article.
        • 8 Years Ago
        Lexus wins in all aspects? Read the article again. Hyundai has a third row seat, the RX doesn't. Hyundai uses regular gas, the RX uses premium. Despite being heavier, the Hyundai has better gas milage. Hyundai has better handling -- it beat the Lexus in the figure 8 test and had better grip. Hyundai had the better transmission -- smoother shifts and extra gear. The editors cliamed the interior's center stack was "a model of logic", while the Lexus' was "okay". Hyundai also has more interior space, a better turning circle and the better warranty. Oh yeah, and it costs 10k less.

        Someone mentioned the RX has better safety. ??? Not sure how you can make that assumption, when the RX received a rating of "poor" by IIHS for rear impacts. The VeraCruz hasn't even been tested by the IIHS yet. But Hyundais are quite known for saftey, especially its big cars. The Entourage is the best rated minivan for saftey and the SantaFe just recevied the top honor over all competitors by IIHS.
      • 8 Years Ago
      The verdict must've been a difficult one since the cars weren't in the same class to begin with. The concluding remarks say both are great cars that do what they do very well. But given the $10k price difference, each car represents a different market. It's like comparing a Honda Accord EX with a Lexus ES350-- to try to rank which one is "better" is impossible and the decision comes down to the person's preference and income.

      Having said that, I think this comparison was very entertaining because it's sort of like an auto-industry version of david vs. goliath. And I love rooting for the determined underdogs with substance.
        • 8 Years Ago
        Hate to break it to you but not everyone shops cars within the same class/market. I spent quite a bit of time considering a Q7 prior to settling on the highlander hybrid - same goes for the camry hybrid vs an a4. I don't know a whole lot of people who just shop within a narrow demographic anymore.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Motor Trend didn't say it was better in all areas: they like the Hyundai 6-speed tranny. And the Lexus should be better since, it costs $7k more, head-to-head (nav not included). If Hyundai added $7k per vehicle in additional engineering I am quite sure the outcome would be the same--'Hyundai wins'.
      Motor Trend did say that a Lexus buyer isn't going to buy a Veracruz because of the status. Personally, I am not so insecure that I need a brand name on my trunk to substantiate my identity. I'd take the Veracruz because it would fit my family much better.
        • 8 Years Ago
        But that would be the point:

        They don't put that extra $7k on the price and don't have better engineering which is reflected in the quality of their product over the life of its ownership. Hyundai has always hedged their reliability against cost of repair. Lexus will use the $500 part and make $100 on it, while Hyundai will use the $200 part, knowing it will have to be replaced once over the cars useful life, still netting them $100 profit. Get it? Their parts will fail more often over the life of the vehicle because of that $7k difference. This costs you TIME and MONEY.

        It's not all about name.

        YOU GET WHAT YOU PAID FOR (in this case anyway).

        • 8 Years Ago
        Mike, you are making an inaccurate assumption.
        1) I know too many people that have had no issue with their Hyundais from a reliability perspective
        2) Your argument only holds water if you believe that the accountants at Hyundai are so inept as to not consider that the car is under warranty for as long as it is so the part would likely be covered under warranty, AND that there would be no labor costs involved in the replacement.

        As in much of life, its cheaper to do it right the first time.

        All that aside, I'm not sure how much overlap there will be in the two vehicles' demographics and I expect a low rate of poaching by hyundai from lexus. On the other side of the coin, Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Ford better watch out.
      • 8 Years Ago
      The RX is safer so it has my vote. Safety is everything especially in an SUV with the rollover factor.
      Also the RX is due for a redo in year. Do a retest then.
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