Beautiful Gulf of Mexico waters, serene beaches and Mexico's grandest port are all reminiscent of the Mexican state and the meaning behind the name of the latest Hyundai model, the Veracruz, its maker said.

US consumer websites had said earlier that the new crossover, larger than the just-redesigned Santa Fe, would be called Mesa Stateside.

Hyundai said its ninth new 2007 model will be larger than the US-built Honda Pilot, have more cargo volume than the full-size Mercedes-Benz and offer sleek styling, a car-like ride and premium features. The Veracruz will also have the so-called Hyundai Hideaway third-row seat, a simple-to-use 50/50 split fold-into-the-floor seat, offering space for up to seven passengers.

The new model will have a standard 3.8-litre V6 petrol engine and six-speed automatic transmission in the US. Hyundai, as you'd expect, added it "will offer an unprecedented combination of styling, safety, comfort and convenience including available all-wheel drive, standard electronic stability control, standard side-airbags, as well as side-curtain airbags for all three rows of passengers". Two-and four-wheel drive models will be available.

The automaker said the Veracruz will compete primarily with upper midsize crossovers including the aforementioned Pilot, Nissan Murano, Subaru B9 Tribeca (recently launched here in Europe, incidentally) and Toyota's Lexus RX350.