What is it? The redesign of Hyundai’s mid-sized Santa Fe SUV will come in two sizes, the five-passenger Santa Fe Sport and a long-wheelbase Santa Fe. The exterior adopts the sleeker styling already familiar from the mainstream Elantra and Sonata sedans, with bold creases sweeping upward along the body side. Hyundai says the new Santa Fe has more rear legroom than the Chevy Traverse or Toyota Highlander, a welcome improvement. The Santa Fe Sport is powered by a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine or a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder. The longer 7-passenger Santa Fe offers the same 290-hp 3.3-liter V6 found in the Azera sedan.
What’s new or notable? The nicely laid out dashboard features bright and crisp electroluminescent gauge displays and a sharp-looking TFT navigation screen.
CR’s take: Hyundai again packs a lot of features for the money, and the company’s recent emphasis on improved fuel economy is now part of the equation. Hyundai claims the Santa Fe Sport with the base engine should get 33 mpg on the highway, which is pretty good for a midsized SUV.The sweeping sheetmetal of the new design comes at the expense of rearward visibility.
When will it be available? Sport version, summer 2012; longer wheel base, January 2013.