LA Auto Show: Hyundai brings the 2013 three-row, six/seven-passenger Santa Fe

Article by Christian Andrei, on November 28, 2012

Thinking at those who have bigger families Hyundai introduced at the 2012 LA Auto Show the three-row, six/seven-passenger Santa Fe. As expected, the new car will be sold alongside the five-passenger Santa Fe Sport and will be available with a Lambda II 3.3-liter GDI V6 engine delivering 290 hp and 252 lb-ft of torque.

The engine will make the Santa Fe the most powerful vehicle among its main competitors: 2013 Toyota Highlander (3.5-liter with 270 hp), 2013 Honda Pilot (3.5-liter with 250 hp) and the 2013 Nissan Pathfinder (3.5-liter and 260 hp). The new Lambda V6 engine is mated to Hyundai’s six-speed automatic transmission with Shiftronic manual control.

Regarding fuel consumption,the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe is expected to deliver 18 mpg city and 25 mpg highway in front-wheel-drive configuration.

The all-wheel-drive model is expected to deliver with 1 mpg less, which means 17 mpg city and 24 mpg highway. The three-row Santa Fe increases second-row legroom by 1.9 inches and cargo capacity 5.5 cubic feet and features standard rear-passenger HVAC controls and vents to increase family comfort.

The design of the car remains almost the same as seen on the 2012 Santa Fe Sport, but there is something that will separate the two models: the side view daylight opening (side window shape) - the larger Santa Fe features a shape that highlights the increased passenger and cargo room behind the third-row seat.

Press Release


The production version of the new three-row, six/seven-passenger Hyundai Santa Fe made its world debut at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show, joining the two-row, five-passenger Santa Fe Sport which has been on sale since August 2012. The all-new Santa Fe delivers Hyundai's recipe of bold design, high-output powertrains with Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) and a host of features to please drivers and passengers with high expectations for functionality, versatility and comfort. Pricing will be announced closer to the on-sale date in early 2013.


Hyundai designers crafted Santa Fe Sport and three-row Santa Fe together, with the signature differentiating element being the side view daylight opening (side window shape) - the larger Hyundai Santa Fe features a shape that highlights the increased passenger and cargo room behind the third-row seat. Hyundai Santa Fe also has its own bodyside character lines from the B-pillar back, grille design, 18-inch Euroflange alloy wheels, chrome-tipped dual exhaust and a flush-mounted tow hitch design.

Both Santa Fe trims feature the same flowing interior look, designed for passenger functionality and comfort. From the available heated rear seats and eight-way power driver seat with four-way lumbar support, to a standard 40:20:40 folding rear seat back, both models boast flexibility and a pleasant cabin for all. Also new for 2013 - and standard on all Hyundai Santa Fe equipped with cloth seats - is a 'YES Essentials' seat fabric treatment that provides soil-resistant, anti-odor and anti-static properties for added longevity and livability. Special care and attention went into other interior details, such as an optional panoramic sunroof, which allows more natural light into the cabin and rear side window sunshades. Available on Santa Fe models, is a push-button starter with proximity key, Electroluminescent Gauge Cluster with color LCD trip computer and a heated steering wheel.

The three-row Hyundai Santa Fe increases second-row legroom by 1.9 inches and cargo capacity 5.5 cubic feet and features standard rear-passenger HVAC controls and vents to increase family comfort, while also offering a standard 50:50 split folding third-row bench seat with 31.5 inches of legroom. Second row captain's chairs are also available on the three-row Santa Fe.


The Hyundai Santa Fe is powered by the highly acclaimed 3.3-liter V6 engine, which is also found in the Hyundai Azera. This V6 engine will suit a shopper's needs in terms of towing, drivability and fuel economy. The Santa Fe's Lambda II 3.3-liter GDI also has a high-pressure direct injection system (over 2,200 psi), which dramatically increases power and torque, while reducing fuel consumption and emissions. This system eliminates the need for a large displacement V6 engine and increases the compression ratio for greater thermal efficiency and output. Santa Fe's V6 tow rating of up to 5,000 pounds is perfect for towing small boats or weekend toys. The three-row Hyundai Santa Fe's powertrain was tuned in Ann Arbor, Michigan to satisfy American driving expectations.


The Lambda V6 engine is mated to Hyundai's six-speed automatic transmission with SHIFTRONIC® manual control. This transmission offers smooth shifts and a wide ratio spread that suits the engine's characteristics. An automatic transmission warmer is included to keep the transmission oil at its optimal temperature, which improves real-world fuel economy.

Additionally, all models have an Active ECO System that modifies engine and transmission control to smooth out throttle response to help increase real-world fuel economy by 5-7 percent.


Santa Fe customers will feel the benefits of the optional Active Cornering Control All-Wheel-Drive (AWD) system, which cooperatively controls torque and braking in conjunction with the Vehicle Stability Management System. This system can anticipate traction requirements and deliver additional stability through braking via continuous monitoring of driving conditions compared with other AWD systems, which can only react to conditions after they occur. The Dynamax AWD system supplied by Magna Powertrain access an intelligent control unit that continuously analyzes data from the vehicle controller and distributes torque to any single wheel at a time through a multi-clutch plate. The coupling system is fully controllable via an electro-hydraulic actuation system. Braking force can also be sent to any single wheel at a time via the software. These processes are known as torque vectoring and torque braking. All this analysis is completely transparent to the driver.

Drivers of the Hyundai Santa Fe equipped with Active Cornering Control AWD will realize the following advantages:

Improved lateral stability while cornering
Removal of unintended over- and under-steer, by reducing unwanted traction to the front and rear axle
High thermal capacity, which helps prevent overheating during hill climbs and trailer towing
In addition, greater efficiency is achieved through the intelligent control electronics that provide the torque needed for enhanced traction in a variety of driving situations. As a result, lower fuel consumption and reduced emissions are achieved. The electronic components are also optimally sized for minimal energy usage. This intelligent system allows for even more driver control.

All 2013 Santa Fe trims feature Hyundai's Hillstart Assist Control (HAC) and Downhill Brake Control (DBC) to maximize control on steep hills. HAC minimizes rolling backwards on steep ascents, while DBC helps the driver maintain vehicle control and speed on steep downhill descents. By selecting the DBC switch, the Hydro-Electronic Control unit manages the wheel speed sensors, steering angle sensor and acceleration sensor to maintain control and speed on steep declines without having to use the brake.


For enhanced ride performance, Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, Santa Fe Sport 2.0T and the three-row Santa Fe employ a compact and light MacPherson strut front suspension and a fully independent multi-link rear suspension. The front suspension has a 26 mm hollow stabilizer bar to save weight. The rear suspension uses a 21 mm solid stabilizer bar in the front wheel drive and 19 mm solid stabilizer bar in the all-wheel drive Hyundai Santa Fe. The larger Santa Fe sits on 18- or 19-inch wheels.

Behind the wheel, drivers benefit from Hyundai's all-new Driver Selectable Steering Mode, with three operating modes - Comfort, Normal and Sport. This innovative system allows drivers to adapt the Santa Fe's steering characteristics to varying driving preferences and road conditions. Comfort mode is ideal for city and parking environments, offering the greatest ease of steering with a 10 percent decrease in steering effort from Normal mode. Normal mode is ideal for a mix of driving conditions. Meanwhile, Sport Mode is optimized for higher-speed freeways or winding roads and decreases power steering assist by 10 percent from Normal mode. The Driver Selectable Steering Mode not only adjusts power assistance levels in each mode, but also adjusts on-center build-up feel and steering build-up curves throughout the steering range, for a very natural and progressive feel. Steering dampening characteristics, active return and friction levels have also been optimized in Hyundai Santa Fe.


The sleek design of the Santa Fe, combined with Hyundai's expertise in interior engineering, delivers a great presence on the road, while improving functionality and convenience. The spacious cabin has more passenger and cargo volume along with second and third row leg room than Toyota Highlander. Seating utility is also improved, due to a standard 40:20:40 folding rear seat back. This seat back is perfect for seating five passengers comfortably or accommodating four passengers, plus long items like skis, golf clubs, snowboards or surfboards. Fold down two seats to seat three people and hold larger packages or fold all rear seats to maximize cargo space. The three-row Hyundai Santa Fe also features a power liftgate for added convenience.

Santa Fe include a number of convenient, standard stowage and storage features, including an overhead console sunglass holder, two front and two rear seat cupholders, door bottle holders, enlarged central storage console, front storage bin, front seat- back pockets and generous under-floor cargo storage.

Dual-zone climate controls ensure a comfortable environment for all occupants during long journeys. The dual-zone climate controls also incorporate an automatic defogging system, which detects humidity levels using a sensor and removes it from the windshield. Another premium feature is a CleanAir Ionizer that produces negatively charged ions to purify the air when the heater or air conditioner is running.


The larger Hyundai Santa Fe rides on a 110.2-inch wheelbase, which is 3.9 inches longer than the Santa Fe Sport's wheelbase. Its overall length of 193.1 inches is 8.5 inches longer compared to Santa Fe Sport. The 74.2-inch width is slightly wider (0.2 inch) than Hyundai Santa Fe Sport. The LWB Santa Fe's overall height is 66.5 inches, which is 0.4 inches higher than Santa Fe Sport.

Ultimately, the long wheelbase for both models allows for maximum comfort. An example of this is found in the second row seat track, delivering more second-row legroom. The three-row Hyundai Santa Fe's cargo volume is 40.9 cubic feet behind the second row seats and 13.5 cubic feet behind the third row seats.


The all-new architecture incorporates a new design that not only improves torsional rigidity by 16 percent, it also incorporates a 30-percent increase in the use of ultra high-strength-tensile steel to improve collision energy management. High-strength steel reduces weight and also allows the suspension to work optimally. Ultra-high strength tensile sheet metal has also been applied to the outer door panels for the first time in the company's history. In addition, anti-corrosion steel was applied to 70 percent of outer frame and floor structure.

New hot stamping and roll-forming methods have also been applied to impact members, which provide added strength, reduces the number of body parts and makes the architecture lighter. The amount of structural adhesives has also been increased significantly for improved body rigidity, crashworthiness and durability.


World-class weight efficiency is an essential part of all Hyundai models and the new Santa Fe hits its target. The curb weight for a FWD three-row Santa Fe is 3,946 pounds, with AWD models weighing 4,098 pounds. Hyundai Santa Fe provides outstanding fuel economy and is 99 pounds lighter than Highlander and 239 pounds lighter than the all-new Pathfinder. It is also 320 pounds lighter than the outgoing Veracruz. This priority on weight efficiency allows the three-row Santa Fe to deliver carlike handling, outstanding acceleration and fuel efficiency.


All models have a standard Vehicle Stability Management (VSM) system, which optimally manages Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and the Motor-Driven electric Power Steering (MDPS). VSM works to control two effects. The first is when a driver accelerates or brakes on a split-mu surface (slippery on one side, dry pavement on the other) and the vehicle wants to pull in one direction. VSM detects this condition and sends a signal to the MDPS to apply steering assist. VSM counters the pull and automatically provides eight Newton meters of counter-steering. VSM reacts the same way during sudden lane changes or fast cornering. Active Cornering AWD drive models integrate torque and brake vectoring.

All Santa Fe models feature seven airbags, including side curtain airbags and a driver's knee airbag along with rollover sensors for the side curtain airbags. When the sensors detect a potential rollover, the control module triggers the head-curtain side airbags and safety belt pre-tensioners to help protect passengers against serious injury.

Hyundai Santa Fe also features a state-of-the-art braking package. The package includes four-wheel disc brakes (12.6 inch front and 11.9 inch rear), an Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) including Brake Assist providing maximum braking force when a panic stop is detected, and Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) to automatically adjust the braking force to front and rear axles, based on vehicle loading conditions. Additionally, Santa Fe offers family-friendly passive safety features, including a Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) system for children's seats on the second row and three-point seatbelts for all seating positions.


All Hyundai Santa Fe models offer an optional multifunction eight-inch touch-screen display with navigation. This third-generation display features a simpler user interface, enhanced voice recognition commands and improved navigation screens. The system is more intuitive to use for commonly used tasks. Simple pop-up messages now appear to help pair a phone. The voice recognition software understands street addresses and cities all in one sentence. The route screens display speed limits and details the next three maneuvers. One or two button pushes now complete most functions.

HD Radio technology is also integrated into all Santa Fe displays. An HD Radio icon on the display appears next to the channel frequency to notify the user this station is broadcasting in HD.

All models are available with four audio systems. Standard is an AM/FM/Satellite Radio/CD/MP3 audio system with six-speakers and iPod®/USB/auxiliary input jacks. The upgrade audio system boasts a 4.3-inch full color LCD screen with HD Radio and rear view camera. The third system consists of the Gen 3.0 Navigation unit with Dimension audio with 10 speakers. Finally, the premium navigation system includes an Infinity® 550-watt, Logic 7® surround sound audio system with 12 speakers, including an eight-inch subwoofer and external amplifier is available. A SiriusXM Satellite Radio interface is integrated into each head unit and features channel logos and Data services, such as NavWeather®, Stock Ticker and Sports Ticker. A Bluetooth hands-free phone system with voice recognition, address book download and audio streaming is also standard. Both navigation systems integrate rear-view camera output. Blue Link™ turn-by-turn navigation is standard on all Santa Fe models (complimentary trial period).


Blue Link® combines safety, service and infotainment features to simplify owners' lives and reduce distracted driving. Blue Link brings seamless connectivity directly into the car with technology like voice text messaging, POI web search download, turn-by-turn navigation, and monthly vehicle reporting. Hyundai Blue Link telematics is standard on all Hyundai Santa Fe models with up to a one-year complimentary trial period. Blue Link can be easily accessed from the buttons on the rearview mirror, the web and via a smart phone. Blue Link is offered in three packages: Assurance, Essentials and Guidance.

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