Last year, the Hyundai Santa Fe got a little lost in the shuffle when it came to the competitive midsize SUV class. However, a full redesign for the 2013 model results in a vehicle that is more powerful, more fuel efficient and more stylish than the outgoing model. All in all, early reviews suggest the Santa Fe is now one of the top vehicles in its class. Keep reading to find out what's new for the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe and determine if it is the right fuel-efficient SUV for your needs.
Styling: 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe
The biggest styling change for the Santa Fe is the ability to choose between a 5-passenger and 7-passenger model. Rather than simply adding third-row seating, the 7-passenger model actually boasts an extended wheelbase. As such, the Santa Fe Sport might be considered more of a compact SUV than a midsize SUV. It should also be noted that the 7-passenger Hyundai Santa Fe replaces the discontinued Hyundai Veracruz in the Korean automaker's lineup.
If you like the look of the recently redesigned Hyundai Sonata and Hyundai Elantra, then you'll probably find much to like about the new exterior design of the Santa Fe. Similar styling features include a pronounced front airdam and angular doorframe line. Inside, cargo volume is listed at 35.4 cubic feet (71.5 cubic feet with rear seats down) for the Santa Fe Sport and 41 cubic feet (71.5 cubic feet with rear seats down) for the full-size Santa Fe.
Performance: 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe
The base engine for the 2013 Santa Fe is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that promises 190 horsepower and 181 lb-ft. of torque. As a comparison, last year's base engine output 175 horsepower and 169 lb-ft. of torque. Despite the power boost, fuel efficiency also increases, with early estimates suggesting 23 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway (26 mpg combined). If the EPA agrees with these numbers, the Santa Fe will be one of the most fuel-efficient midsize suvs on the road.
For a little extra power, a turbocharged four-cylinder engine offers 264 horsepower and 269 lb-ft. of torque. Remarkably, you won't lose much in the way of gas mileage by opting for this upgrade (22 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway). A thirstier 3.3-liter V6 engine will also be available that outputs 290 horsepower (19 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway).
Safety: 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe
The 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe comes standard with seven airbags (including driver's knee airbag), electronic stability control, traction control, anti-lock brakes and hill start assist. Available options include all-wheel drive and a blind-spot monitoring system. The 2013 Santa Fe has yet to be crash-tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Pricing and Features: 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe
The base MSRP for the Hyundai Santa Fe should fall pretty close to last year's entry fee (around $23,000). Hyundai hints that the standard features list will be quite extensive. While the full list has yet to be released, a few standout base features you can expect include 40/20/40 split rear seat, Hyundai BlueLink, keyless entry, cruise control, full power accessories and six-speaker stereo. Available options will include heated rear seats, heated steering wheel and panoramic sunroof.
The Hyundai Santa Fe Sport is scheduled to hit dealerships in September. The full-size Hyundai Santa Fe V6 won't be available until January 2013.