The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

A Reveal and a Surprise at the NY Auto Show - 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
2013 Hyundai Santa Fe

By Steve Purdy
Michigan Bureau

Just moments ago at the New York Auto Show John Krafcik, president and CEO of Hyundai North America, introduced the redesigned Sante Fe and surprised the audience with the news that a long-wheelbase, 3-row-seat version of this popular mid-size CUV will be coming shortly.

The Sante Fe has been one of the products that put Hyundai on the map over the past years as it had proven to be well made, functional and a good value for folks who wanted the utility of an SUV with the efficiency of a CUV. This popularity was one reason it was just about the oldest design in a Hyundai lineup that has seen most of the portfolio updated and modernized in the past two years.

The new Sante Fe falls right into line with Hyundai’s dramatic design language they call “fluidic sculpture.” With high beltline and flowing character lines along with a dramatic chrome grille, flashy front and rear lighting designs, and swoopy interior, the Sante Fe is distinctly up-to-date as a member of the new Hyundai family.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

Interior features include electroluminescent gauges, lots of cargo room (35 square-feet behind the rear seat), the most rear seat legroom of anything in its class, a 40/20/40 rear seatback folding scheme for versatility and available premium sound system. Optional Blue Link (Hyundai’s infotainment system) gets added features and is now “cloud-based.”

Powertrains are the updated units already seeing duty in the Sonata and Elantra – the 2.4-liter, naturally aspirated, direct injected, 200-horsepower Theta 2 engine and the 2.0-liter turbo making 266 horsepower. Both are mated to the new 6-speed automatic transmission developed in-house by the Hyundai engineers.

They’ve saved nearly 300 pounds from the current Sante Fe using much more high-tensile steel. With better aerodynamics and these fresh engine choices they’re touting highway mpg numbers of 33 and 31 respectively.

Krafcik, with his usual charming confidence, surprised the crowd by announcing that a 3-row, long-wheelbase model of the Sante Fe is also in the works. It seems the demand for 6-, 7- and 8-passenger CUVs is strong enough to be worth pursuing. (See our story on the Infiniti JX this week.) The bigger Sante Fe will be powered by the same 290-horsepower V6 that just found its way into the recently introduced Azera, and it will have a respectable towing capacity substantially more than the 3,500 pounds of the turbo 4-cylinder version.

Regular and long-wheelbase Sante Fe models will be built in the U.S. for domestic consumption and export as they squeeze more and more capacity out of their domestic factories trying to keep up with demand for existing products. The 5-passenger Sante Fe is expected on dealer lots by August of this year and the 3-row version by January of 2013.

© Steve Purdy, Shunpiker