The Hyundai Santa Fe is split into two body styles, each with two trim levels. The short wheelbase Sport is available in Base and 2.0T forms while the long wheelbase is available in GLS and Limited trims. All models come standard as front-wheel drive, but all-wheel drive is an option across the board.
The Santa Fe Sport is available with one of two different engines. Both are mated to a 6-speed automatic. The standard engine is a 2.4L 4-cylinder making 190 horsepower. This engine is more powerful than the 4-cylinder options from many of the rivals from Toyota, Ford and GMC. Despite this, it produces best in class fuel economy, rated at 22 mpg city and an astonishing 33 mpg on the highway. The Santa Fe Sport 2.0T is powered by a turbocharged 4-cylinder making 264 horsepower. With power equivalent to or better than many of the V6 engines in its class, the Santa Fe Sport 2.0T still returns 21 mpg city and 31 mpg highway, again bettering most small SUVs.
The long wheelbase Santa Fe comes standard with a 3.3L V6 which produces 290 hp. Once again power and fuel economy compare positively to most of its rivals. The Santa Fe accomplishes this feat with a combination of slippery aerodynamics, light weight, a 6-speed transmission and state of the art direct injection on all of its engines.
The Santa Fe has plenty of standard equipment. Even the cheapest Sport model still comes with features such as air conditioning, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel with integrated stereo controls, second row ventilation, power lumbar support, a trip computer and outside thermometer, cruise control, keyless entry, a 6-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 player, a 3-month subscription to Sirius XM satellite radio and Bluetooth connectivity.
Buyers opting for the Sport 2.0T get the more powerful engine along with additional exterior features such as 19-inch wheels, fog lights, heated mirrors, automatic headlight control and a windshield wiper de-icer. Inside the 2.0T differs from base models with the inclusion of a leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, a color LCD screen in their gauge cluster, an 8-way power adjustable and heated front seat and a compass.
The long wheelbase Santa Fe GLS comes very similarly equipped to the base Sport, though with a much bigger engine and 3-row seating. Notable differences include standard fog lamps and 18-inch wheels on the GLS. Likewise Santa Fe Limited models echo many of the features of the 2.0T though the Limited is better equipped with additions including dual zone climate control, heated second row seats, a leather interior, a power adjustable front passenger seat, a power rear liftgate, a rearview camera, an uprated audio system and an auto dimming rearview mirror.
All Santa Fe models come with plenty of safety equipment. Acceleration is monitored by a traction control system, while braking is aided by 4-channel anti-lock brakes featuring electronic brake distribution. Airbags are plentiful with front, side and roof mounted airbags as well as a driver's knee airbag. Seatbelt pretensioners, an anti-theft system and a tire pressure monitoring system round out the Santa Fe's safety features.
The Santa Fe is totally redesigned for 2013 and is a huge improvement over the outgoing model. Many of these improvements stem from its new lighter curb weight. Weighing 266 lbs less than the outgoing model pays big dividends in fuel economy and performance. The 2013 Santa Fe also significantly diverges from the 2012 model by being available in two body styles. A short wheelbase model dubbed the Santa Fe Sport features two row seating while a long wheelbase version features a third row. With attractive styling and a trio of modern engines, the 2013 Santa Fe has plenty of features to recommend it to buyers looking for a small or medium sized crossover SUV.