While few will lament the loss of the wheezy old 2.7-liter V-6, the four-cylinder option is no roadrunner, either. Despite weighing more than 100 pounds less than the all-wheel drive V-6, the front-wheel drive four-pot still needed a leisurely 10.6 seconds to hit 60 mph. The lower curb weight didn't help much in braking, either, where the four-cylinder stopped only one foot shorter than the heavier V-6. Nor did it help much in handling tests, where the lighter four-cylinder posted a lower average g around the skid pad than the V-6 (0.77 g average vs. 0.79 g average) and a slower figure eight time (29.2 seconds at 0.54 g average vs. 28.7 seconds at 0.63 g average), though much of this can be attributed to the all-wheel drive system fitted to the V-6. Regardless, both models show an improvement over the old Santa Fe, with the exception of the figure eight test for the four-cylinder.

Visually, the Santa Fe enjoys a few aesthetic tweaks that move it in the right direction, including a new grille, a re-jiggered lower fascia, and refashioned taillights. Remember the original Santa Fe? This descendant should go a long way in erasing that torturous memory. In fact, if you recall anything about the original Santa Fe, it should be its low entry price, which has thankfully carried over to the latest model, making it an even better value proposition in four-cylinder trim.

The most noticeable consequence of the Santa Fe's recently arrived stablemates is the deletion of a third-row seat (there's a Veracruz for that, and its bench was too small, anyway). And next year, it'll be underpinned by a version of the Kia Sorento's new chassis, which we hope will carry with it the new spice of modern Hyundais. Will it be enough? We shall see.


2010 Hyundai Santa Fe
Base price range $22,490-$31,090
Price as tested $25,900; $31,765*
Vehicle layout Front-engine, FWD/AWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV
Engine 3.5L/276-hp/248-lb-ft DOHC 24-valve V-6
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Curb weight (f/r/ dist) 3793 lb (57/43%); 3870 lb (59/41%)*
Wheelbase 106.3 in
Length x width x height 184.1 x 74.4 x 67.9 in
0-60 mph 10.6; 7.4 sec*
Quarter mile 17.7 sec @ 78.2 mph; 15.7 sec @ 90.1 mph*
Braking, 60-0 mph 139; 140 ft*
Lateral acceleration 0.77; 0.79 g (avg)*
MT figure eight 29.2 sec @ 0.54 g (avg); 28.7 sec @ 0.63 g (avg)*
EPA City/hwy fuel econ 21/27; 20/26 mpg*
CO2 emissions 0.83; 0.87 lb/mile*
*GLS; Limited