Hyundai went for the daily double in New York and unveiled two distinct variations of its fully redesigned mid-size crossover for 2013. The new five passenger version will carry Santa Fe Sport nomenclature while a long-anticipated, long-wheelbase iteration with three-row seating becomes the new LWB Santa Fe. In addition to adopting dramatically edgier styling previewed in a number of early teaser images, the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe clan will roll into showrooms with new engines, enhanced technology and new features aimed at bolstering their appeal to both their drivers and passengers.
Both 2013 Santa Fe models display the same fundamental design cues that are based on the latest evolution of Hyundai's Fluidic Sculpture language. Beyond bolder and more dynamic body contours, this revamp also brings a fairly dramatic recasting of the front and rear fascias. The biggest differentiation between the two is seen aft of the B-pillar where in the side glass and character lines in the LWB Santa Fe are revamped to emphasize it extra capacity and 3.9 inch longer wheelbase. Inside, the impressively appointed cabins display even more style and upgraded materials in addition to more people and cargo space. This is particularly true in the case of the seven-passenger LWB Santa Fe that has more second-row legroom than the full-size Chevrolet Traverse and more cargo space than a Chevy Equinox or Ford Edge, two of its prime mid-size rivals-to-be.
The 2013 Santa Fe set will be available with three different engines, all featuring econo-enhancing direct injection and backed by a six-speed automatic transmission. Santa Fe Sport buyers will have a choice of two four-cylinders, already used in the Sonata. Base motivator is a naturally aspirated 190-horsepower/2.4-liter while the Santa Fe Sport 2.0T gets a turbocharged 2.0-liter that makes 264 horsepower. The LWB Santa Fe GLS and Santa Fe Limited models get Hyundai's Lambda II 3.3-liter V6 that's shared with the Azera and turns out 290 horsepower. All Santa Fe models also will be equipped with Hyundai's Active ECO System and are expected to deliver exceptional fuel economy whether in standard front-wheel-drive or optional all-wheel-drive configurations.
Underpinning the new Santa Fe family is an all-new platform that incorporates 30 percent more high-strength steel to dramatically reduce weight while improving rigidity. Hyundai says the base model front-drive Santa Fe Sport is 266 pounds lighter than its 2012 counterpart. The dynamic experience in all-new Santa Fe variants has been enhanced thanks to several chassis tweaks and the addition of Hyundai's new Driver Selectable Steering Mode that offers Comfort/Normal/Sport settings. The Santa Fe's new intelligent AWD system also offers Torque Vectoring Cornering Control that adds an extra measure of confidence when negotiating slick road surfaces.
As with all Hyundai vehicles, the 2013 Santa Fe comes with a full complement of standard safety features including a Vehicle Stability Management System, antilock disc brakes with Brake Assist and Electronic Brake force Distribution and seven air bags. Hyundai's first Blindspot Detection System (BDS) is optional on the LWB Santa Fe. Other key options include a new Gen 3.0 voice-activated navigation system with an 8.0-inch touch-screen display and several premium audio packages, including a 550-watt Infinity system.
The 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport goes on sale late this summer while the 2013 LWB Santa Fe is scheduled to hit showrooms here next January. Pricing has not been released for either model.