Almost every market segment Hyundai has entered in the last few years, they've become a major player in the segment. The Sonata, Elantra are two prime examples of Hyundai's success in the midsize and compact sedan markets. However, the company admits that it's had a proverbial donut hole in its lineup, lacking a model that strongly appeals to families with children or extended families. It hopes to rectify that situation with a massively expanded Santa Fe lineup with models to meet almost every need in the midsize crossover segment. The Santa Fe will be offered as both a two-row, four-cylinder-powered five-passenger model, and a long-wheelbase, three-row model with V-6 power.

The 2013 Santa Fe also features an all-new engine gasoline direct-injection engine lineup, starting with the familiar 2.4-liter GDI four-cylinder that debuted last year as an option in the Kia Sorento, and produces an estimated 190 hp and 181 lb-ft of torque in the Santa Fe. The optional powerplant for the standard-length model is a version of the 2.0-liter turbo that debuted as the in the 2011 Sonata. In this application, the engine produces 264 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque. Estimated fuel economy for the Santa Fe is 23 mpg city, 33 mpg highway for the naturally-aspirated 2.4-liter, and 23 mpg city, 31 mpg highway for the 2.0 turbo.

Hyundai was particularly proud of the weight reduction on the 2013 Santa Fe, noting that it is between 266 and 300 pounds lighter than an equivalent 2012 model, and more than 500 pounds lighter than some competitors. This was achieved through drastically increased use of high-tensile lightweight steel, 30 percent more than the 2012 model. The entry-level Santa Fe Sport tips the scales at 3459 pounds, with the turbocharged model at 3602 for front-drive models. The long-wheelbase Santa Fe weighs 3861 pounds for the front-drive model, and 4004 pounds for the all-wheel drive model.

Size-wise, the 2013 model is close to the 2012, with the regular-length model sharing the same 106.3-inch wheelbase as last year's model, with its overall length being fractionally longer at 184.6 inches, just a half-inch longer. Comparing the long-wheelbase Santa Fe to the Veracruz, the LWB model's wheelbase is 110.2 inches, two-tenths of an inch shorter than the Veracruz's, with overall length being fractionally longer at 193.1 inches, compared to 190.6 on the Veracruz. The 2013 Santa Fe is fractionally narrower than its predecessor at 74 inches and 74.2 inches for the Sport and long-wheelbase models, respectively, compared to 74.4 for the 2012.

Equipment-wise, the 2013 adds many new features not available on last year's model, including an optional panoramic sunroof, and a driver-selectable steering mode. Driver's memory seat and mirror settings are also available on most trim levels of the Santa Fe. The standard-length model is offered in Sport and Sport 2.0T trims, and the long-wheelbase model is offered in GLS and Limited versions. A blind-spot detection system is available exclusively in the long-wheelbase model.

The long-wheelbase Santa Fe model features the same 3.3-liter GDI V-6 that debuted in the recently-introduced Azera near-luxury sedan, producing 290 hp in this application, and returning 19 mpg city and 26 mpg highway fuel economy. Although not quite as impressive as the economy figures on the four-cylinder model, they're a major improvement over the current Veracruz three-row crossover, representing a 2-3 mpg increase in the city, and 4 mpg on the highway. Speaking of the Veracruz, Hyundai representatives confirmed with the introduction of the long-wheelbase Santa Fe, the Veracruz will be discontinued for 2013 in the U.S. market.

Almost no new model introductions go without some sort of electronics-related announcement, and the Santa Fe is no exception. As expected, it adds Hyundai's BlueLink telematics system standard. Also new for the Santa Fe is standard HD Radio. The Santa Fe is scheduled to go on sale in August 2012. Prices will be announced closer to introduction.