Americans have had their first glimpse of Hyundai's new Santa Fe, which was unveiled in New York overnight, swathed in the company's Fluidic Sculpture look, as we predicted, and boasting new engines and more technology for 2013.
And when the new model goes on sale in the US later this year, Hyundai will drop the larger, but slow-selling Veracruz (ix55 in Europe), leaving the 2013 Santa Fe to take its place.
The third-generation Santa Fe is to be built on an altogether new platform and two different wheelbases, but only the LWB Santa Fe will seat seven, according to Hyundai's American press information. Short-wheelbase variants are limited to five seats, so it seems more likely we will see the LWB models in Australia, if not both body styles. According to Hyundai, the LWB Santa Fe offers more legroom for second-row passengers and increased luggage volume. Consumers in North America can line up for the SWB models late this year, but the LWB Santa Fe will not be launched there before January 2013.
For the American market Hyundai will offer SWB models with two new Theta II engines, both direct-injected petrol engines; one turbocharged and one naturally-aspirated. The atmo engine is good for 190hp (142kW) and the turbo engine develops 264hp (200kW). In the case of the LWB Santa Fe, power for American customers will come from a 3.3-litre direct-injection V6 that produces 290hp (216kW). Although diesel won't be offered in North America, it seems, in other markets there will be a Euro 6-compliant 2.0-litre R-Series diesel rated at 110kW and an upgraded version of the current 2.2-litre diesel available to power the Santa Fe — with the 2.2 for Australia, presumably. North American consumers will have no choice in transmission, the Santa Fe variants there will be sold with the six-speed automatic developed in-house by Hyundai as the default. In other markets a six-speed manual box will be available to order.
Riding on MacPherson struts and a multi-link IRS, the new Santa Fe features enhanced rigidity through increased reliance on ultra-high tensile strength steels in the vehicle's construction — up 30 per cent. Other safety features include Hyundai's first Blind Spot Detection System and seven airbags, and the Santa Fe will introduce Americans to 'Blue Link', a safety/service/infotainment telematics system. Navigation updates and audio system readouts will be displayed in an eight-inch display.