As the first production vehicle designed at Hyundai’s design center in Irvine, Calif., Hyundai Santa Fe is targeted to meet American consumers’ demand for safety, style, sophistication and performance. Before designing it, however, Hyundai engineers benchmarked the world’s leading unibody SUVs, including the Lexus RX, Acura MDX and Volvo XC90. The result is a more exciting and upscale Santa Fe that combines the best attributes of SUVs with the driving character of a mid-size sedan.
Hyundai packed the all-new Santa Fe with the industry’s most effective safety technologies, including Electronic Stability Control (ESC), anti-whiplash active head restraints and six airbags including side air curtains, which help protect occupants in all three rows during side impacts. Santa Fe is expected to earn the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) top five-star crash test rating for front and side impacts.
Santa Fe will be available with a choice of two powerful and efficient V6 engines: the new 2.7-liter Mu (m) and the modern 3.3-liter Lambda (l), both featuring all-aluminum construction. The standard 2.7-liter V6 is upgraded for 2007 and now includes Variable Valve Timing and a Variable Intake System to produce more than 180 horsepower and 180 lb.-ft. of torque (preliminary estimates). This new 2.7-liter V6 produces more horsepower and torque than its predecessor, with improved fuel economy. The 3.3-liter Lambda V6 is lighter, more fuel efficient and cleaner burning than the previous-generation Santa Fe 3.5-liter V6, while producing an additional 30 horsepower. Preliminary output estimates are more than 230 horsepower and 220 lb.-ft. of torque. Both powertrains are expected to meet the stringent ULEV emissions requirements.
The 2.7-liter V6 comes with a standard five-speed manual transmission and is available with an optional four-speed automatic, while the 3.3-liter V6 is mated to a five-speed automatic gearbox. Meanwhile, Santa Fe’s electronically controlled all-wheel-drive system automatically routes power to the wheels offering the best traction. A new driver-selectable AWD lock provides a fixed 50/50 torque split between front and rear wheels, which can improve traction in certain conditions.
The all-new 2007 Santa Fe continues Hyundai’s leadership in standardizing the industry’s most effective safety technologies. The new Santa Fe features six standard airbags, including side air curtains for all three rows of seats. The combination of side and curtain airbags, which help protect the head and body during side impacts, can reduce fatalities by more than 45 percent, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Side curtain air protection is optional on many compact and mid-size SUVs, including Toyota RAV4, Toyota Highlander and Ford Explorer.
In addition, all Santa Fe trim levels come standard with Electronic Stability Control (ESC), one of the industry’s most effective life-saving technologies. ESC compares the driver’s intended course with the vehicle’s actual response. ESC then brakes individual front or rear wheels and/or reduces engine power as needed in certain driving circumstances to help correct understeer or oversteer. NHTSA studies show SUVs equipped with ESC experience 63 percent fewer fatalities in single-vehicle crashes. Santa Fe joins Tucson, Sonata, Azera, and Entourage as vehicles in Hyundai’s growing lineup with standard Electronic Stability Control - a commitment to this sophisticated and effective automotive safety technology that is unmatched by any other non-luxury automotive brand.
Front and rear disc brakes are standard and are coupled with a four-channel Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) that includes Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD) to optimize brake performance even with differing vehicle loading.
All seating positions feature three-point seatbelts and adjustable head restraints. Front seat active head restraints help prevent whiplash by automatically reducing the space between a front occupant’s head and the head restraint during a rear collision. Santa Fe also features a standard tire pressure monitoring system.
With dramatic new styling that is assertive, refined and confident, the all-new Santa Fe exterior showcases the evolving face of the Hyundai brand. At 184.1 inches long, the new Santa Fe is about seven inches longer than its predecessor, one inch wider and almost two inches taller. Its 2.9-inch wider track - wider than Toyota Highlander or Ford Explorer - provides a strong stance, improved handling and increased interior room.
The 2007 Santa Fe shares an assertive front grille, confident sculptured lines and finely detailed headlights with Hyundai’s HCD9 Talus concept, which was also introduced at the 2006 NAIAS. For a more aggressive appearance, Santa Fe SE and Limited models come with 18-inch alloy wheels. Sleeker styling makes 2007 Santa Fe more aerodynamic, improving its drag coefficient. A roof rack with integrated cross rails helps define its clean side profile, while adding functionality.
The all-new 2007 Santa Fe is one of the most package-efficient crossover SUVs on the market. Hyundai accomplished this by developing an all-new platform that avoids the compromises inherent in typical mid-size car/SUV platform sharing. For example, although the 2007 Santa Fe is 2.1 inches shorter than the Lexus RX330, its first- and second-row seats have more head, leg, and shoulder room than the RX, with enough room left over to allow an optional third-row seat not available in the Lexus. In addition, the 2007 Santa Fe’s third-row seat offers more legroom than the third-row seat in the Acura MDX, Honda Pilot or Volvo XC90, while matching the legroom of the much larger all-new Mercedes-Benz GL-class SUV.
Santa Fe is Hyundai’s first SUV with optional seven-passenger seating. Since forty percent of all SUV customers want a third-row seat, this will significantly broaden Santa Fe’s appeal. The third-row seat is split 50/50 and can be folded flat like the 60/40-split second-row seat. Total cargo volume is a cavernous 79.4 cubic feet, with plenty of storage for items of different sizes.
By increasing the use of laminated steel and improving body rigidity, Hyundai engineers significantly reduced cabin noise. In fact, the 2007 Santa Fe is quieter than the Volvo XC90 at 60 mph.
Available dual-zone climate controls for driver and front seat passenger bring a touch of luxury to the Santa Fe. Second- and third-row passengers will enjoy a new level of comfort thanks to a rear fan switch, B-pillar mounted adjustable vents and dual rear heating ducts.
Other thoughtful convenience features include an available power driver seat with power lumbar support, steering wheel audio controls, trip computer, heated side mirrors plus a windshield wiper de-icing system.
The second-generation Santa Fe rides on an all-new, purpose-built unibody SUV platform with a 106.3-inch wheelbase that is 3.2 inches longer than its predecessor. This chassis was specifically designed to deliver more of the ride and handling balance that resonates with crossover shoppers. The 2007 Santa Fe achieves a 50-percent improvement in body bending rigidity over the prior model and is 59 percent stiffer than Toyota Highlander. This stiff body structure provides a more refined sedan-like ride. Thanks to the new suspension geometry and wider track width (which enables greater turn angles), Hyundai engineers tightened Santa Fe’s turning circle by more than a foot - an advantage Santa Fe drivers will appreciate in their daily driving.
Santa Fe has MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension systems, with the all-new front suspension using an increased caster angle to improve stability. All four wheels are controlled by coil springs and fade-resistant gas-charged dampers, while front and rear stabilizer bars help keep the vehicle flat during cornering. Power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering also contributes to the Santa Fe’s solid handling dynamics.
When the first-generation Santa Fe arrived in 2000, it represented a bold new design direction and was a remarkable value. Consumers responded enthusiastically, and since then, more than 420,000 Santa Fe’s have been sold. A well-equipped 2007 Santa Fe, with standard Electronic Stability Control, six airbags, anti-whiplash active front head restraints, tire pressure monitoring system, air conditioning, power windows, power locks, heated power mirrors, cruise control, AM/FM/CD/MP3 player, 16-inch aluminum wheels, dual exhausts and roof rack will be priced thousands of dollars below a comparably-equipped Toyota Highlander, carrying on the Santa Fe tradition of exceptional value.
The 2007 Santa Fe will be built at Hyundai Motor Manufacturing America (HMMA) in Montgomery, Ala., with some early units also being produced at the company’s Ulsan, Korea plant. HMMA currently produces the 2006 Hyundai Sonata, and with the launch of the all-new Santa Fe, both vehicles will travel down the same assembly line. Production of the Santa Fe is scheduled to begin in the second quarter of 2006, with vehicles arriving in dealerships during summer. By the end of 2006, Hyundai will manufacture more than half of its total U.S. sales volume in Alabama.