2010 Hyundai Santa Fe
With the crossover segment establishing itself as the new hot trend in the U.S. auto market, Hyundai wisely chose to update the Santa Fe with more high-tech features and new, more efficient powertrains.
The most noticeable update hides beneath the Santa Fe's hood, where Hyundai has replaced both engine options with more frugal powerplants. Gone is the 185-hp 2.7L V-6 in favor of Hyundai's new 175-hp four-cylinder engine, which produces 169 lb.-ft. of torque. Though the four-cylinder takes a hit in the power department, down 10 hp and 14 lb.-ft., it makes up for it in fuel economy. Where the old six-cylinder could only manage 18 mpg city and 24 mpg highway, the new four-banger returns 20 mpg city and 28 mpg highway.
For those requiring more pull, the Santa Fe's top-range 242-hp 3.3L V-6 has been punched out to 3.5L and now pounds out a much more impressive 276 hp and 248 lb.-ft, up 34 hp and 22 lb.-ft. over the old engine. Where the four-banger's extra mpgs came with a power hit, the new V-6 allows you to have your cake and eat it too, with city fuel economy up by 3 mpg to 20 mpg and highway fuel economy up by 2 mpg to 26 mpg with towing capacity increased to 3500 lbs.
A pair of six-speed transmissions help both engines achieve better fuel economy. On the four-cylinder, a six-speed manual is standard while Hyundai's new Shiftronic six-speed automatic is optional. The automatic is the only transmission option for the V-6 engine. While FWD is standard, an AWD system is optional and can be locked to maintain a 50/50 front/rear torque-split in sticky situations.
Inside, the only obvious changes are on the center console, where the storage cubby has been moved from in front of the shifter to the side of it. There's more than meets the eye, though. Bluetooth connectivity and iPod and USB connections are now standard on all models, as are steering wheel controls, heated mirrors, and driver lumbar support. By popular demand, touchscreen navigation with XM NavTraffic and an optional back-up camera is now optional on all models, as is automatic climate control.
Though Hyundai hasn't announced any pricing changes for the updated 2010 models, the company says they're already available at Hyundai dealers.
Above the hood, Hyundai has performed some minor cosmetic surgery to usher the Santa Fe into the new decade. Front and center, a new grille adds a third bar and becomes body-colored with a chrome border to better match Hyundai's latest designs. Below it, a revised front fascia slightly modifies the lower air intake and creates new asymmetric cutouts for the fog lights. Hyundai has also given the sides of the car a minor tweak, and the rear appears to have gotten a minor fascia update and new taillights. New wheels finish the package.