Debuting with the latest generation of Hyundai's fluidic sculpture design language, it's easy to see echoes of the Veloster and new Genesis Coupe in the Santa Fe's hexagonal grille.
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The larger of the two Santa Fe models is powered by the same 3.3-liter V-6 engine we saw debut on the Hyundai Azera sedan.
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With its stretched wheelbase and a third row of seats, the Santa Fe now seats up to seven passengers.
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET
A blind-spot monitoring system is available on the larger Santa Fe model.
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET
Power is estimated at 290 horsepower with a towing capacity of 3,500 pounds.
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET
The smaller Santa Fe Sport is aimed at buyers who don't need the extra chassis length, towing capacity, or third row of seats.
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Buyers are given a choice of two powerplants. The first is a 2.4-liter direct-injected gasoline engine that outputs 190 horsepower. Fuel efficiency for this configuration is 33 mpg on the highway.
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The more powerful engine is a 264 horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged mill that gets a highway fuel efficiency of 31 mpg in its front wheel-drive configuration, thanks to direct-injection technology.
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No matter what engine you chose, power flows to the front wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission.
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An optional all-wheel drive system adds on-demand power to the rear axle.
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In its all-wheel drive configuration, the Santa Fe also gains torque vectoring and torque braking.
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A Driver Selectable Steering Mode (DSSM) system gives drivers the choice between three selectable power steering programs. Comfort, Normal, and Sport feature light, moderate, and heavy steering feel for a variety of driving situations.
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Hyundai also claims that the Santa Fe Sport is one of the lightest vehicles in its class.
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Inside the cabin, users are given a choice between three levels of cabin technology, all of which feature Hyundai's BlueLink telematics service.
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At the top level, the Santa Fe features a large 8-inch color touch screen, the third generation of Hyundai's navigation software, and a 550-watt Infinity premium audio system.
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET
Expect the Santa Fe Sport to go on sale in late summer 2012 with the larger seven-passenger Santa Fe reaching dealerships in January 2013.
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET
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