Hyundai intends to jumpstart sales for the year by introducing its new models to the US market at the 2010 North American International Auto Show. Making its debut was the 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe. It is offered with a choice between two engines. First, there's a 2.4-liter inline-four that develops 175hp the same one offered on the Tucson and available as standard.
There's also the 3.5-liter Lambda V6 releasing 276hp and 248 lb-ft of torque offered as an option. The fuel consumption of both engines has been improved, with the 2.4-liter unit achieving 20/28 mpg while the 3.5-liter unit posts 20/26 mpg.
The new Santa Fe actually only features slight upgrades when compared to the 2010 version. Styling was modified slightly but the carmaker went for more significant engine upgrades. The 2.7-liter and the 3.3-liter V6 engines have been replaced by new units, which were specifically modified for improved fuel economy and lower emissions. Safety has also been improved.
Santa Fe now comes with six standard airbags, including side air curtain airbags, as well as ABS with BA, EBD, ESC, three-point seatbelts and adjustable head restraints and Tire Pressure Monitoring System. Pricing information for the 2011 Santa Fe has not been revealed but it's likely to be similar to its predecessor.
Safety is clearly very much a priority of the designers of the Hyundai Santa Fe. In fact, Hyundai installed six standard airbags, including side and curtain airbags that protect the passenger's head and body during side impacts. The combination of these airbags has been able to cut the fatality rate by more than 52 percent, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
As if airbags are not enough, Hyundai also installed rollover sensors to the side curtain airbags. These sensors are designed to gauge the lateral and vertical acceleration as well as the vehicle speed and roll rate to predict a potential rollover.
Once such situation is predicted, the control module would deploy the head-curtain side air bags and safety belt pre-tensioners, thereby helping protect Santa Fe occupants against serious injury. Securing the passengers are three-point seatbelts and adjustable head restraints installed on all seating positions.
Santa Fe's front-seat active head restraints could help avert whiplash by automatically decreasing the space between the head of the front occupant and the head restraint in the event of a rear collision. On the other hand, the rear-seat head restraints automatically fold on the outboard seats, thereby improving overall visibility.
Also ensuring safety is the Santa Fe's brake system. Featured as standard are front and rear disc brakes, complemented by a four-channel Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) that includes the Brake Assist and Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) technologies. Brake Assist works by applying maximum braking force when the system detects a panic stop while EBD automatically balances the braking force to the front and rear axles, according to the Santa Fe's loading conditions.
A higher level of safety across all trim levels of the new Hyundai Santa Fe trim is secured by Electronic Stability Control (ESC), which is installed as standard. ESC works by comparing the driver's intended course with the Santa Fe's actual response.
When it detects understeer or oversteer in certain situations, ESC would then brake either the individual front or rear wheels and/or cut engine power as required. According to NHTSA studies, SUVs featuring ESC have recorded 63-percent fewer fatalities in single-vehicle crashes.
Also featured as standard on the new Hyundai Santa Fe is the Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), which works by alerting drivers if one or more tires lack necessary air pressure through an illuminated indicator light on the dashboard.