The Santa Fe has returned in five-passenger two-row form, while a new seven-passenger model has also arrived.
Hyundai is looking to build on the success of the Santa Fe crossover, which has been a big hit for the brand, by introducing not one, but two all-new models. One is a two-row Sport model, and the other a three-row family-oriented model named simply Santa Fe. The former comes with two four-cylinder options; base models come with a direct-injection 2.4-liter engine rated at 190hp and 181lb-ft of torque, while a 2.0-liter turbo with an estimated 264hp is also an option.
Hyundai claim they are good for 33mpg and 31mpg on the highway respectively. Both engines are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission and can be had with AWD, while the Sport comes with torque-vectoring cornering control that Hyundai hopes will steer potential buyers towards the model and away from other affordable crossovers. Both models benefit from a new exterior design that evolves the brand's 'fluidic sculpture' language. The motif is dubbed 'Storm Edge,' designed to capture the "dynamic images created by nature during the formation of a storm." We're not sure what that means exactly but the familiar hexagonal grille looks the business.
Buyers needing a seven-passenger model will find the new Santa Fe is a significant 121kg lighter than the 2012 model. The three-row model also has an additional four inches of wheelbase and a more powerful 3.3-liter V6 with 290hp at its disposal. Those extra inches account for an additional 38.6 cubic feet of passenger volume over the Sport model. The interiors of the new models come with optional eight-way power driver's seats, heated rear seats, and Hyundai's Blue Link telematics system. Higher trim models come with optional features such as a panoramic sunroof and heated steering wheel.
The 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport will hit dealerships in late summer, followed by the roomier Santa Fe in January 2013. Prices should be announced nearer to those times.