The 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe is an important model for the Korean automaker. The company has already made significant inroads in building up its brand and sales with the Elantra and Sonata sedans, which feature the company’s “Fluidic Sculpture” design.
The Tucson, the company’s compact crossover that was significantly revised in 2010, also has resonated with buyers, particularly females, and has the company’s new design cues. Now the Santa Fe, which is lighter, more powerful, and more fuel-efficient for 2013, looks to better take on models such as the Chevy Equinox and Toyota RAV4.
Engine and Trim Choices
Hyundai is taking the interesting step of introducing a long-wheel base three-row version of the model, which will be known simple as the “Santa Fe”. The 2013 Santa Fe will be offered as a two-row Sport model.
The Santa Fe Sport will come equipped with the company’s direct-injection 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 190 horsepower. This fuel-efficient engine is also found in Tucson and 2012 Kia Sorento. Hyundai estimates highway fuel economy of 23-pmpg city and 33-mpg in the model, which would make it more efficient than the 2012 Honda CR-V.
The Santa Fe Sport will also offer the 2.0-liter 264 horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine also found in the Kia Sportage SX. Hyundai claims best-in-class power-to-weight ratio for the 2.0T model and estimated fuel-economy of 31-mpg highway. 19-inch wheels come standard with the Sport 2.0T.
The three-row Santa Fe will be offered with the company’s new 3.3-liter 290 horsepower V6 engine. This engine is also seen in the all-new Hyundai Azera sedan. The 2012 Santa Fe has an optional 3.5-liter 276 horsepower V6 engine.
Two-Row or Three-Row?
Deciding whether to buy the Sport or Santa Fe will depending on a driver’s needs and budget. Both trims come standard with a six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive with an all-wheel drive option. In addition to the two extra seats with seating for seven, the Santa Fe offers a lot more cargo room; 38.6 cubic feet more than the Sport.
With its longer wheelbase and six inches more of overall length, the Santa Fe has 1.9 inches more second-row legroom and has second-row HVAC controls. The third-row of seats has 31.5 inches of legroom, which is significantly larger than the diminutive 29.2 inches found in the luxurious Audi Q7. One word of caution for tall drivers – the optional panoramic sunroof cuts headroom by 1.7 inches.
Comparisons to Competitors
Despite its smaller size, the Santa Fe Sport still offers good cargo room. It has 35.4 cubic feet behind the second row of seats, compared to 32.2 for the Ford Edge. The Santa Fe Sport, which uses high-strength-tensile steel in its construction, weighs 3,459 pounds whereas the Edge weighs nearly 4,000 pounds.
The Sport has an edge in many areas over the Edge include price. The 2012 Edge has a started suggested retail price $27,525, while the 2013 Santa Fe Sport should have a starting price under $24,000. The Santa Fe should also compare favorably to another competitor – the Dodge Journey.
Perhaps the most impressive feat for Sport is that Hyundai has been able to shed 266 pounds of weight compared to the 2012 model. The Santa Fe has a curb weight of 3,861, which is quite light for a three-row crossover. This along with its direct-injection engines is why this model will be one of the most fuel-efficient midsize SUVs on the market.
2013 Santa Fe Release Date
The 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe made its debut at the 2012 New York International Auto Show. According to Hyundai, the Santa Fe Sport will go on sale late summer 2012 in the U.S. The 2013 Santa Fe will not go on sale until January 2013.