Hyundai's Santa Fe crossover is all-new this year, boasting more space, power, and refinement in a body that's fully in tune with the rest of the recently restyled Hyundai line. The shorter Santa Fe Sport seats five passengers and offers SUV-like cargo room, especially with the standard split-back rear seat folded flat; with third-row seating, the longer Santa Fe has space for six or seven passengers.
The fresh exterior carries a rear spoiler, chromed door handles and grille, and 17-inch alloy wheels. Inside, you'll find a cloth interior, trip computer, tilt-and telescope steering wheel, power windows and locks, and air conditioning. The standard audio system includes a CD player, satellite radio, USB/iPOD connectivity, and six speakers. Hyundai's Blue Link navigation and communications system is also standard.
The Santa Fe Sport's base engine is a 2.4-liter four cylinder with 190 horsepower, matched to a six-speed automatic transmission used all on models. With an optional 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, the crossover gets a massive boost to 264 horsepower. Turbo models also get 19-inch wheels, expanded instrumentation, and keyless ignition. Gas mileage in combined city and highway driving is about 21 mpg with the turbo, versus 24 for the base engine. The Santa Fe, meanwhile, uses a 3.3-liter V6 to generate 290 horsepower. It's paired with the same six-speed automatic transmission used by the Santa Fe Sport.
Front-wheel-drive is standard, but all-wheel-drive is available on all Santa Fes for enhanced all-weather performance.
The interior received major attention during the Santa Fe's redesign, and it shows; the dashboard and controls look nothing like those on last year's model. The layout is convenient, modern, and flows well with the rest of the car. The quality of materials, from plastics to seat fabric, is a cut above what buyers might expect in this price range.
For a higher level of comfort and convenience, there's the Popular Equipment package with automatic headlights, fog lamps, heated outside mirrors, side rails for rooftop cargo, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and heated front seats with driver-side power and adjustable lumbar support. Going further, the Santa Fe offers several luxury-class options: full leather interior, Infinity Logic 7 surround sound, rearview camera, and a panoramic power sunroof that opens the entire passenger roof section to the sky.
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