2012 Hyundai Santa Fe

The 2012 Santa Fe has few changes for the new model year. The mid-size five-passenger SUV received exterior updates and new powertrains in 2010. A larger, new generation of the model is coming for the 2013 model year. The Santa Fe slots between the compact Tucson and large Veracruz in Hyundai’s crossover lineup.

The Santa Fe comes in three trim lines: GLS, SE, and Limited. The base 2012 Santa Fe GLS has a starting MSRP of $23,225. The base model comes with a 2.4-liter 175 horsepower four-cylinder engine with an optional 3.5-liter 276 horsepower V6 engine. The V6 engine is standard in the SE and Limited trim lines. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard across all trim lines and all-wheel drive is an option.

Average Fuel Economy

Surprisingly the Santa Fe’s fuel economy is almost the same between the two engines. A four-cylinder GLS all-wheel drive is rated at 20-mpg city and 25-mpg highway and V6 all-wheel drive models are rated at 20-mpg city and 26-mpg highway. In comparison, the 2011 Toyota RAV4 Limited 4X4 is rated at 19-mpg city and 26-mpg highway.

Features and Safety

The Santa Fe offers such features as dual front temperature control, navigation, XM Satellite Radio, iPod/USB and Bluetooth connectivity, 10 speaker audio system, and 115-volt power outlets that allow you to play household appliance such as laptops and televisions.

The Santa Fe also comes standard with great safety features such as downhill brake assist, active front head restraints, and electronic brake-force distribution. The model was among the 2011 safest SUVs and has been on the Insurance Institute For Highway Safety’s Top Safety Pick list for the past three years.

In terms of differences in trims, the SE, which has a starting MSRP of $26,225, is equipped with 18” alloy wheels, sporty roof rack cross rails, front fog lights, leather/cloth seats, and rear spoiler. The Limited, which has a starting MSRP of $27,275 adds leather seats, heated front seats, a one-touch sunroof, and a premium audio system.

Interior Room

The Santa Fe is spacious inside with more passenger volume than the RAV4 or Mazda CX-7. In terms of cargo room, the Santa Fe has 78.2 cubic feet with the rear seats folded, which is nearly as large as the Ford Explorer, although the Santa Fe does not offer a third row of seating.

The Santa Fe shares the same build platform and underpinnings with the Kia Sorento. Both are built at Kia’s new factory in West Point, Georgia. Buyers seeking a larger vehicle may want to consider the Hyundai Veracruz, a three-row crossover. For pictures of the 2012 Santa Fe, check out Hyundai’s photo gallery.

Which of these 2012 models would you buy?

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