SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -- For more than a year, Hyundai has grappled with two similarly sized compact SUVs in its lineup, the Tucson and Santa Fe. For the 2007 model year, the Santa Fe has grown up a size, into the mid-sized realm. Yet the price has come down.
The basics: The Santa Fe and an even larger SUV coming next year will be derived from a new platform. The Santa Fe is built at Hyundai's Alabama plant, alongside the Sonata.
The Santa Fe comes with a choice of V-6 engines. The base 2.7-liter engine puts out 185 hp, a slight increase from the previous-generation Santa Fe engine. The upgraded 3.3-liter is smaller than the 3.5-liter engine it replaces, but its 242 hp is 42 more than the old engine. The larger engine is a retuned version of what is in the Sonata.
Hyundai figures on a 50-50 sales split between the two engines. The smaller engine comes with a choice of five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmissions. The bigger engine has a five-speed automatic. The Santa Fe also comes in five- and seven-seat models.