SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -- As fuel prices soar, Hyundai plans to add a four-cylinder engine to its Santa Fe lineup when the crossover is redesigned in 2010. The Santa Fe now is available only with 2.7-liter and 3.3-liter V-6s.
The redesigned Santa Fe also will get a six-speed automatic transmission, John Krafcik, vice president of product planning for Hyundai Motor America, said at a press event here.
The 2.4-liter four-cylinder is Hyundai's second-generation Theta engine, which debuted this spring on the 2009 Sonata sedan.
On the Sonata, the four-cylinder automatic gets 22 mpg in the city and 32 in highway driving, up from 21/30 on the previous four-cylinder Sonata.
On the Santa Fe, the 2.7-liter V-6 automatic delivers 18/24; the 3.3-liter is rated at 17/24.
Krafcik also said the small Tucson crossover will be equipped only with four-cylinder engines when redesigned in 2010 or 2011. The 2.7-liter V-6 will be dropped from the Tucson lineup. A turbocharged four-cylinder could be added.
For the 2009 model year, Hyundai has tweaked the 1.6-liter four-cylinder that powers the subcompact Accent, Krafcik said. The result will be a 2 mpg improvement in fuel economy.
The Accent's four-speed automatic currently delivers 24 mpg in the city and 33 on the highway.
"We are focusing on fuel-efficient cars," Krafcik said. "We have a much greater capacity now for 1.6- to 2.0-liter engines."
Hyundai now imports all of its four-cylinder engines from Korea, but a new engine plant in Alabama will start cranking out the new 2.4-liter four-banger for the United States this month.
(Source: Automotive News)