The Santa Fe has undergone a clean-sheet redesign for 2007. The new Santa Fe rides on a unique, purpose-built platform and offers such features as seating for five or seven, a choice of two V-6 engines, front-wheel- or four-wheel-drive, and a host of standard safety equipment, including side curtain air bags for all rows.
Hyundai successfully entered the crossover utility vehicle (CUV) business with the Santa Fe, which was originally introduced in 2001. The Santa Fe was well planned, well priced, and quite fuel efficient compared to the truck-based SUVs that were popular at the time. The Santa Fe won several auto industry awards and thousands of new customers who might not have otherwise considered a Hyundai. Fast-forward to the present and we find a market that has embraced CUVs-there are two dozen models in the compact CUV segment alone. Hyundai has kept a close eye on this segment, and the changes to the new Santa Fe reflect their observations.
While the previous-generation Santa Fe was based on the Hyundai Sonata, the new Santa Fe uses a unique platform. Slightly longer than the outgoing model, the 2007 Santa Fe now offers optional seating for seven. As with the previous model, two V-6 engines are offered. Standard on the Santa Fe GLS is an improved version of last year's 2.7L V-6, which bumped its output to 185 hp. A 5-speed manual transmission is standard and a 4-speed automatic is optional. The 3.5L has been replaced by a cleaner-burning (and more powerful) 3.3L, which is optional on the GLS and standard on the sporty SE and top-of-the-line Limited; output is 242 hp and a 5-speed automatic is the sole transmission choice. All four-wheel-drive Santa Fe models now get an electronically controlled drive system with a lockable center differential.
All Santa Fe models feature a long list of standard equipment, including air conditioning, power windows/mirrors/locks, and alloy wheels. Options include a rear-seat DVD entertainment system and a load-leveling rear suspension. Safety equipment most in demand by SUV buyers is standard on all Santa Fe models, including six air bags, anti-lock brakes, and electronic stability control.
The Hyundai Santa Fe competes in the Midsize Crossover Utility Vehicle (CUV) segment, which consists of 13 models. Buyers in this segment look for comfort, reliability, and quality, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2006 Avoider StudySM and the Escaped Shopper Study.SM
The top sellers in the segment during calendar year 2006, according to the J.D. Power and Associates Sales Report,SM were the Toyota Highlander (129,794 units sold), Nissan Murano (81,362), and Chrysler Pacifica (78,243). The Hyundai Santa Fe sold 13,499 units in 2006, a decrease of 80.2 percent compared to the previous year. Other models offered in the Midsize CUV segment include the Ford Freestyle, Buick Rendezvous, Subaru B9 Tribeca, and Isuzu Axiom. Joining the segment in 2007 are the Ford Edge, GMC Acadia, Mazda CX-9, and Saturn Outlook.
|GLS w/XM (M5)||5 speed manual||$21,145||185-hp / 2.7L 6-cyl||20/25|
|SE w/XM (A5)||5 speed automatic||$23,845||242-hp / 3.3L 6-cyl||19/24|
|Limited w/XM (A5)||5 speed automatic||$26,145||242-hp / 3.3L 6-cyl||19/24|