Hyundai’s next-generation Santa Fe will come in 2 flavors: the standard Santa Fe (5 seats, FWD/AWD, 4-cylinder); and a longer version (3 rows of seats, FWD/AWD, V-6).
The standard version arrives first, late this summer, and will take the name Santa Fe Sport. Its standard 2.4-liter four-cylinder makes 190 hp and 181 lb-ft and is paired with a 6-speed automatic. EPA estimates are 23/33 mpg (FWD), which Hyundai claims is best-in-class. The optional 2.0-liter turbo is good for 264 hp and 269 lb-ft; it’s rated at 22/31 mpg (FWD). Impressively, Hyundai claims to have chopped 266 pounds of the Santa Fe’s weight, mostly through the use of ultra high-tensile steel.
The larger Santa Fe won’t reach dealerships until January 2013, at which time it will replace the slow-selling Veracruz. It has a 4-inch longer wheelbase than the Sport and is 6.5 inches longer overall. A third row of seats is standard; in the second row, buyers will have a choice of a bench seat or captain’s chairs, making the LWB Santa Fe a 6- or 7-seater. Interestingly, the current-generation Santa Fe initially offered the option of a third-row seat but it was dropped due to buyer disinterest. The LWB Santa Fe is powered exclusively by a 290-hp, 3.3-liter V-6; it’s rated at 19/26 mpg.
New features on both versions include torque-vectoring AWD (something Acura used to offer on the entry-luxury RDX crossover), driver-selectable steering assist, heated front and rear seats, a heated steering wheel, and a panoramic sunroof.