Comparison: 2008 Lexus RX 350 vs. 2007 Hyundai Veracruz Limited AWD

Comparison: 2008 Lexus RX 350 vs. 2007 Hyundai Veracruz Limited AWD

It should be common knowledge that the Lexus RX 350 and the Hyundai Veracruz Limited are in different classes, bought by different people for different reasons, but that didn’t stop Motortrend from comparing the two vehicles in their latest issue.

Let me save you the farce, the Veracruz is declared the winner of the two, simply by placing inordinate weight on a questionable concept of value.

Compared, the Hyundai rings in at $10,000 less than the Lexus, yet it lacks a navigation system, a backup camera, adaptive HID headlights, to speak nothing of the lower interior quality. These are not small differences: the Navigation feature alone would add $1500-2000 to the price of the Vercruz — that is, if it was even available as an option.

Perhaps the strangest part of the comparison was the criticism of the RX 350’s safety features:

Is the Hyundai chassis that much superior? No. It’s the RX’s insistence in keeping you overly safe that electronically inhibited its performance. It sensed that our max-handling performance testing was impending accident doom and lit up the stability controls at anything more than the slightest provocation. Beepers beeped, brakes braked, and the throttle was dialed out until the RX 350 knew we weren’t going to crash. This also was the case on our mountain road loop, even during moderate cornering. The Lexus computer wizards need to dial the electronannies back a notch or two.

Makes absolutely no sense to me, this vehicle isn’t a sports car, it’s a people mover. Wouldn’t the additional safeguards be considered a plus rather than a minus?

Really, dragging the RX 350 into a comparison with what is essentially a cheaper knockoff, then basing the final verdict strictly on “value”, seems inappropriate for a major car magazine. How would the Veracruz compare to the BMW X3, I wonder?



  1. I think the Veracruz really does win - I like this guys' comment: "the Navigation feature alone would add $1500-2000 to the price of the Vercruz " What a joke. I got new, full featured GPS for $300 at Circuit City and it isn't built into my car so I'm NOT stuck with old technology in a couple years (months?). Ok, I drive an old car and can't afford a new one but hey, I say - GO Hyundai, I love to see the underdog win. Oh and adaptive headlights? Yeah, they're worth a few grand, sure.

  2. Fair enough, to each their own.

  3. Usually, there's two sides to an argument… The Veracruz had better gas mileage, runs on regular (Lexus on premium), quieter engine, handled better, steered better, shifted smoother, had 3rd row seat, bigger interior, more cargo space, costs over $10,000 less and better warranty. They called the Veracruz's center stack "a model of logic", while calling the RX's "okay" but noted problems. And navigation is now an option on the Veracruz.

    BTW: Their point wasn't that the Veracruz was better car. In fact they didn't say that at all. Their point was that the Veracruz was a better car given the difference in price. This is where it gets harder to argue for Lexus. But like the article states, some people would be happier with the Lexus because of the cachet it carries and extra touches, while others will find the value of the Veracruz too good to pass up. Count me on the latter, and I'm quite happy with my Hyundai.

  4. saywhat,

    Yes, it's definitely true that the Veracruz stacks up quite well with the Lexus RX. I look at it this way, this generation of the RX was released in 2004 and is definitely beginning to show its age. The Veracruz, on the other hand, was just released last year, and builds on the RX design.

    A new RX should be released next year, and I doubt the Veracruz will continue to find it an easy comparison.

  5. I find it funny that a vehicle company makes a vehicle exactly as good as a Lexus 350, and its better in alot of aspects, but because it doesnt say Lexus on it, it cant be luxury.  Give me a break.  If u want to buy a luxury vehicle no one compares to go buy an Infinity or the BMW or Mercedes.  Dont buy a vehicle only slightly more prestigious than the rest of the Big 4 and then get mad when someone bests them.

  6. I have no problem with Hyundai putting out an great RX competitor, my issue with this comparison was Motor Trend basing the result on a very loose idea of “value”.

  7. The way I see it, the only pros for the Hyundai were the interior size and the cost. Otherwise, Lexus excels in every single aspect, including: power, torque, acceleration, braking, luxury, quality of materials (a huge gap!), stability and safety (yeah, safer is better, I don’t care what motor trend thinks!), and fuel economy (I believe 17 MPG is better than 15?!)

  8. Anon: You’ve hit on the thing that manages to still bug me about this comparison, even a year later. There was absolutely no hiding the bias that Motor Trend had, there was a real sense that the only point of the review was to take a swipe at the RX.

  9. This is a joke. You can’t compare a Lexus to a Hyundai. They are in two different leagues. It’s like comparing a Yamaha piano against a Steinway piano. People who can’t afford a Steinway try to compare there piano to make people think that the two items are similar when they’re not. You cannot compare these two vehicles. Coming from someone who owns a new RX350, there is no conceivable way the Hyundai’s quality is anywhere in the same vicinity as the Lexus. Hyundai knows it too. Example; On the new Genesis (Hyundai “luxury” sedan) They did not put the Hyundai logo on the front of the car as a kind of passive insecurity knowing that people would be detracted to a car that is not known to be a luxury and now know that they are trying to lure you to believe that this gem of a car is a $100,000 Lexus or Mercedes-Benz. It is also a known fact that Lexus’ are offspring of Toyota, which are known to be very reliable cars, are the least expensive cars to maintain and will leave you with the satisfaction that you will never need to buy another vehicle again.

    Good night to all.

  10. Ok, I know I am a bit late here…...but, I do not understand how is is impossible to compare these two. So let me understand, you cannot compare Hyundai to Lexus because you have a Lexus????? So if we know that Lexus is a upscale Toyota, how is it imperceptable for Hyundai to build a upscale SUV? There is no doubt about the quality of Lexus, but my point is that if Toyota can build a good SUV with the RX350, why can’t Hyundai? If we are talking the 10K difference, it sounds like the RX350 is 10K more for the Lexus name plate? I completly agree with the question regarding the value of the GPS. There are portable units that are probably better than these makers are selling. I do think Lexus makes great cars and this is not meant to knock them, but the question is if it is worth an additional 10K.

  11. Being an owner of a 08 Veracruz Limited AWD, I can tell you I absolutely love it. I compared this model against a GMC Acadia head to head being a former GM supporter. It didn’t hold a candle against it. Even my wife was surprised when I suggested Hyundai but came away feeling we had made the right decision. I also looked at the Nissan, Infinity and Lexus models with AWD. I am not much of a “high end” badge supporter. If your one who can afford the Lexus and you feel strongly about having that in your driveway, then by all means, buy it. Don’t be so quick to snub your nose at others. Yes, we all remember the old generation of the pony. On a quiet night, we all could hear them rust. But how far has a company come. Hmm, lets see.. Toyota and its older generation cars, Nissan and it former name Datsun, they all made early forms of junk. They were made in Japan and we all said it wouldn’t and couldn’t last, and back then, we were right. Sticking our heads in the sand for a few years and they came back with luxury models that can compete with the big 3 at any level. In this day and age its what makes the customer happy. Will we be keeping these cars until they’re classics, I doubt it. For me, I tend to keep a car for 7-9 years and then buy another new one. I also rent cars about 45 weeks a year while on the road for my work. It gives me a great opportunity to test drive different models for a week at a time. Until someone shows me some significant differences to a Lexus 350 and a Hyundai Veracrus Limited AWD without waving the $10K at me, then I’ll be happy with my choice.

  12. This is sickening to me.

  13. Its interesting here. everyone talking about nonsense.
    In reality Lexus will be Lexus. Hyundai will be Hyundai.
    I give credit to the koreans for building a great car.
    But I have driven them both and had them taken in for service. The Lexus wins hands down. Parts are cheaper,and reliable. It will take some time for Hyundai t snatch the crown from Lexus. The Veracruz is a great car but the only one. The other models dont even compete with technology.
    NO HYBRID HYUNDAIS and no diesels. LEXUS has both and they perfected it.

  14. How so?

  15. Once upon a time, someone says, this is sickening to me, Lexus compared to Mercedes?!

  16. Well, to be fair—when the LS 400 was introduced, it was a revolutionary vehicle, and brought great change to the luxury car market.

    All the Veracruz really had on the last-gen RX was a lower price.

  17. I agree. The Hy-undai is one of many cheap knockoffs of the RX. And I can’t stand when people compare Lexus to Toyota or anything else that is cheaper.

  18. Stan, Lexus is Toyota. and yes being an owner of Lexus vehicles for many years and now of the 2009 RX350 Pebble Beach Edition, its a bit shocking that a “Hyundai” would be compared to Lexus. For anyone who owns the Hyundai, im happy for you, and im sure its a great car, and you feel very comfortable with it, but realistically it can’t be compared to a Lexus, and you know it. If you ever drive a Lexus you would understand! and I also own a 2008 Mercedes ML, and I can honestly say the Lexus has much better drive. Enjoy your Hyundai, but compare it with other vehicle’s in its league, its a safer bet.

  19. This is a great comparison, go hyundai its this kind of work that made toyota and lexus what they are today. how did toyota start out, just like hyundai is now and if hyundai learns about customer service they would knock it out of the park. I am giving serious thought about the new Hyundai Genesis and giving up my benz just for the looks of the car and reviews it gets. But could not give up the lexus our 3rd RX hyundai keep the pressure on it just gives us all better cars

  20. I’ve really come around on Hyundai, and only expect them to improve. The Genesis was brilliant, no question.

  21. It’s only a value if it retains value over the years. How is it’s resale value?

  22. I imagine the RX 350 to retain a much higher percentage of its value compared with the Veracruz—I see two year old Veracruz in my area with rust!

  23. This entire thread goes to show that there are 2 kinds of people in the world. Those with discerning taste and an appreciation of luxury, and those without it.

    The former will knowingly pay exponentially larger sums for incremental improvements. They will knowingly pay, what the latter group considers exorbitant sums, to achieve that elusive quality we call “luxury.” Whether its audio, video, instrumental, furniture, etc. I see it all the time, there are people who will walk up to a hand-crafted aged wood piece of furniture and they won’t feel they miss a thing by going with IKEA, and even would claim they’d RATHER go for a budget item.

    These 2 groups cannot be reconciled. Lexus to the former, and Hyundai to the latter. If you can’t see why the Lexus is more expensive or a more luxurious vehicle, you know which group you belong to. End of story.

    The motortrend review was especially dishonest because they should know better.

  24. I did the next best thing…got a 2008 CPO, paid $10-13g less and still got an RX with all its quality and cachet…I win!!!!

  25. This is all too funny!!!

    Bottom line: Hyundai Wins!

    Let's look at the facts – Hyundai has gotten everything they wanted and more. A group of car enthusiast arguing on which car is better. Yes, Lexus has a reputation for quality and Hyundai needs to continue to build on its reputation. Has Lexus always had this reputation? Absolutely NOT…… Lets face it, if you purchased the Lexus RX 350 you paid about 10K more then you had to and that really pisses you off. The good news is that your resale value should be 10k more then the Hyundai – You hope  You should be happy you're driving a Lexus; however you may not be happy when you see your monthly payment. I will be the guy in the Hyundai Veracruz smiling when I pass you by with my superior vehicle.