Hyundai Santa Fe

The Hyundai Santa Fe is a compact/mid-size crossover SUV based on the Hyundai Sonata platform. It was introduced for the 2001 model year as Hyundai's first SUV, released at the same time as the Ford Escape/Mazda Tribute and Pontiac Aztek. The car was a milestone in the company's restructuring program of the late 1990s because, despite receiving criticism from journalists for its obscure looks, the car was a hit with the American buyers. The car was so popular that at times, Hyundai had trouble supplying the demand. The Santa Fe quickly became Hyundai's best seller and contributed to Hyundai's success in the United States. As of 2007, the Santa Fe falls between the Tucson and the related Veracruz (which was preceded by the Terracan). Hyundai Santa Fe awarded 2008 Consumer Reports "top pick". Hyundai Santa Fe was among the top 10 vehicles for 2008 unveiled in the magazine's issue. The magazine's annual ratings, based on road tests and predicted safety and reliability are considered highly influential among consumers.

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The next-generation 2007 Santa Fe debuted at the 2006 North American International Auto Show. The first production Santa Fe rolled off Hyundai's Montgomery, Alabama assembly line on April 18, 2006. It shares this assembly line with the current generation Hyundai Sonata. The new generation sheds the old style's quirky design in favor of a more contemporary look.

In the United States, the new generation is offered in GLS, SE, and Limited versions. The new Santa Fe sees the return of a manual transmission but only when mated with the 2.7-liter V6. The 3.3 liter V6 (a retuned version of the same engine found in the Sonata) is standard on the SE and Limited and comes only with a 5-speed automatic. Body lean in turns, a problem with the previous generation, has been curbed in the new Santa Fe. Both road and wind noise have been hushed, as well.

Newly standard on the latest iteration of the Santa Fe are all the safety features the previous model lacked or charged as extra. Electronic Stability Control (ESC), side curtain airbags for all seating rows, a tire pressure monitor, active front head restraints and anti-lock brakes are all standard. A heated windshield wiper grid located in the front wipers' 'park' position helps to thaw ice buildup on the blades in colder climates. Some features like the tailgate flip glass and the lower body cladding were not integrated into the new model.

The interior has been upgraded as well with blue-lit dashboard controls, (unlike the green color used in other Hyundai models), a gated shifter pattern, illuminated cupholders, and higher quality leather on Limited models. The rear seat head restraints caused visibility problems in the previous model due to their size. The new style features 'shingled' head rests that when lowered completely, sit flush with the top of the seat, helping to maximize rear visibility. The middle rear seating position now comes with its own head restraint and a three-point seatbelt built in. LATCH child seat anchors are also standard.

Pricing remained competitive despite the upward move in size and feature content.

In Malaysia, Hyundai Santa Fe is available as a Complete knock down model rebadged as Inokom Santa Fe. The Inokom Santa Fe is only available in CRDi 2.2-liter Diesel and 2.7-liter V6.

For 2008, only minor changes have been applied to the Santa Fe. A navigation system made by LG is now available on the Limited trim level. The Infinity sound system and the power glass sunroof have been made standard on Limited models. The non-metallic white paint trim has been dropped, leaving only the pearl style as the only white color available on the Santa Fe.

Production 2007–present
Assembly Montgomery, Alabama
Ulsan, Korea
Engine(s) 2.7L 185 hp (138 kW) V6
3.3L 242 hp (180 kW) V6
2.2L 150 hp (110 kW) Diesel I4 (Not for North America)
Transmission(s) 4-speed automatic
5-speed manual
5-speed automatic
Wheelbase 106.3 in (2700 mm)
Length 184.1 in (4676 mm)
Width 74.4 in (1890 mm)
Height 67.9 in (1725 mm)
Fuel capacity 19.8 US gal.


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