By on April 4, 2012

The original Santa Fe used a 2.7-liter V-6 that was supposedly developed by Porsche — and the joke went that the Germans traded that engineering for the Santa Fe’s styling so they could “Design” the Cayenne.

That story no longer applies. The new Santa Fe has homegrown world-class engines and styling that beats the Porker six ways to Sunday.

The Santa Fe now “plays” in the seven-seater “space”, leaving the Tuscon to fill the compact five-seater role. Of the four Santa Fe trim levels, however, only one — the GLS — is a true seven-seat, three-row player. The rest are five-or-six-seaters. The interesting entry is the 2.0T, which slots the near-ubiquitous four-cylinder turbo into a five-seat sporting variant. Six-speed automatics are standard across the board. Hyundai’s SUV lineup was the weakest link in its American plans, and with this Santa Fe, thirty-three percent of this problem has likely been rectified.

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32 Comments on “New York 2012: Hyundai Santa Fe...”

  • avatar

    Looks like a tiny window for the third row. Otherwise a good looking design.

    • 0 avatar

      These are all photos of the 5 passenger. The 7 passenger has a longer wheelbase and larger rear side windows.

      • 0 avatar

        Hyundai is a big reason Ford’s North American President (Mark Fields) just came out and is warning of Ford losing U.S. market share this year.

        Ford (F) America’s President says the co. will probably lose US market share in 2012 :!#/headlines/214670

        Ford is getting squeezed by Hyundai and Volkswagen, with both these companies expanding market share in aggressive ways.

  • avatar

    The rear 3/4 visibility should be non-existent. They could not even bother with cutting those envelope slots of a window in there.

    • 0 avatar

      I can’t wait til the day that stupid CUV swooshy rear window trend takes its last breath. It was mildly interesting in its first couple manifestations, but it’s time to move on.

  • avatar

    Hyundai has mastered VW’s exterior detailing.

  • avatar

    Nice. Even nicer if that is 40/20/40 folding 2nd row seating like the CX-5. What about a spare tire, or do you get the same kit as the Elantra?

  • avatar

    This had got to be one of the most derivative designs I’ve seen on a midsize crossover SUV. Just about every styling cue (rear 3/4 body creases, taillights, etc.) could have come from a Subaru Tribeca, Volkswagen/Audi, or another Hyundai/Kia vehicle. The upswept beltline has been done a million times: Rogue, Murano, X3, Traverse, etc. The chrome-trimmed greenhouse is very X3-esque, especially that slight uptick going from the front window into the A-pillar. I could forgive derivative styling if it were done for function’s sake, i.e. visibility, interior space, cargo room, but this is just a mess.

  • avatar

    I’m guessing it sits on a platform related to the Kia Sorento? If so, I hope it drives better than the Sorento I rented –rough ride, very truck-like, feeling like it was bigger than it actually is.

    • 0 avatar

      The SF is on an all-new platform while the Sorento rides on the same platform as the outgoing SF.

      I would think the SF rides similarly to the new Azera which is a lot more compliant than the old one.

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah the outgoing Santa Fe definitely suffered from some ride quality issues. It’s probably the roughest passenger vehicle I’ve ever driven-the ride quality felt worse over rough pavement and highway joints than even a lot of actual trucks. I actually thought that even a Silverado rode better than the Santa Fe, for some weird reason they made it a fairly stiff suspension but the Santa Fe had essentially zero sportiness to it and felt like a massive beast around every corner so I have no idea why the suspension was tuned the way it was.

      It’s hard to tell without seeing it in person but it *seems* to look less terribly cheap than the outgoing Santa Fe, though I wonder if the lower level trims will look as nice.

      • 0 avatar

        Not sure about that. I test drove the Santa Fe (Limited), the Murano, the CR-V, the Venza, the Equinox, the CX-7 and 9, the Outback, the Grand Cherokee, all of these 2011-2, some twice. I ended up with the Santa Fe in part because of the ride quality. The Murano was woolly, the CX-7 and 9 more or less on par, the other ones were all choppier and harder. Only the Outback had a better ride than the Santa Fe. Then again, maybe there is more than a little subjectiveness in this.

  • avatar

    It looks like a Crosstour, except it has one more fake Fordish front grill louvre.

  • avatar

    Hyundai did such a great job of focusing on fuel mileage that they drove us to looking at another make for our next purchase. The girlfriend owns a 2008 Sonata with the 3.3 V6. She loves the car, and especially loves the power of the V6. It now has 89,000 miles, and still drives like most other cars with 20,000 miles. In 2011 Hyundai dropped the V6. After driving the newer Sonatas and Tucsons with the 4 cylinder, she decided she wouldn’t buy another one as she had expected. The 4 cylinders were noisy, and the power drop was significant. It was especially noticeable in the Tucson. We’ll continue to look elsewhere for her next purchase. It’s too bad, because we were really impressed with Hyundai’s improvement in quality over the last several years.

    • 0 avatar

      What about an Azera?

    • 0 avatar


      • 0 avatar

        The turbo looks much better on paper than in real life driving experiences. If you drive the turbo Sonata with anything remotely approaching aggressive it’s mileage plummets to a V6 like 23-24 average. It doesn’t have the same silky smooth sound and rev happy nature that a good DOHC V6 has, off the line power isn’t impressive and performance is less than most any V6 mid size competitor today. That and the greater complexity and extra service care and the public’s ignorance on turbo upkeep would sure scare me on a used example that is out of warranty. My good friend has a 2011 Sonata SE turbo so I have a lot of experience with that car and ironically his father drives a 2012 Regal with the 2.0 liter T. Neither car is very good on gas with the Regal struggling to achieve over 22-23 overall combined and 28 on pure highway trips and his Hyundai averages 23-24 combined and rarely every sees more than 30 on a trip unless your driving under 65 MPH! Right now I see the 4 cylinder only mid size offerings as a gimmick, especially considering the fact that a rental 2012 Impala we had for a weekend with the 302 HP 3.6 and excellent performance smoothness and quietness achieved the exact same mileage as his Sonata.

    • 0 avatar

      Interesting, since the 2.4 in the new Tucson has the same power as the old 2.7 v6, and the 2.0T has way more power than the old 3.3 v6. Wonder what you’ll do when no one offers a v6 in a mid size anymore – a coming reality in a few short years…

  • avatar

    Count on this thing to have absolutely zero driver appeal. and once again Hyundai rips off other makes and tries to slap their styling cues on to this “platypus”. Boring

  • avatar

    Wait a minute – I thought this vehicle was just featured earlier today? Oh, that was the Crosstour. I had to do a double take based on the strikingly similar front ends. Of course, one’s a Honda and the other’s a Hyundai, so this site will naturally be biased against the former but not the latter.

  • avatar

    As the owner of a 2010 Santa Fe (that my wife loves), I’m not too thrilled about this redesign for a few reasons:

    Redesign looks OK, but dislike the smaller windows. I don’t like the gunslit windows design trend, and the previous gen’s larger window area was a deciding factor in picking it over the Tucson.

    Not too sure about the turbo 4 for long term reliability vs the port injected 3.5L V6 in my 2010. The article was inaccurate in one respect: Since the mid life refresh (which my 2010 fell under) all the Santa Fe’s received 6 speed autos. The V6 in mine makes 276HP (same as the turbo), enough low end and midrange torque to match with the trans, and is rated 20 city/26 highway. Will have to see if the turbo 4 does any better, I would have to see at least 23 city/30 highway for me to want it over the V6.

    • 0 avatar

      I do wonder why Hyundai isn’t offering a V6 here.

      Loaded up with passengers and a full roof box for a family-vacation road trip is going to put alot of work on the turbo motor.

      EDIT: Looks like the 7-passenger version offers a V6.

  • avatar

    bd2: No question the Crosstour is ugly. But the Santa Fe is decent looking compared to what?

  • avatar
    PJ McCombs

    For a $20K-$30K CUV, that is a damn good-looking car. Especially when you remember what the 2003 SF looked like…

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    Please correct me if I’m wrong…but doesn’t turbo-boosted engines require PREMIUM gas? Would the more expensive fuel offset the slight MPG gains?

    That, the weaker low-end torque and the added complexity of the turbo I would still choose the V6. But that is only me.

  • avatar

    Rest assured this thing will ride and handle poorly. Hyundai has perfected pirating cues from others and throwing together a cheap platypus of a vehicle. Boring

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