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At some point in time the fundamental ordinariness of Hyundai products will become unremarkable. That point is coming, but it isn’t here yet. Because the most the most fascinating thing about the new second-generation Hyundai Santa Fe sorta-SUV is what a competent and thoroughly conventional machine it is. There are no glaring flaws in its design, it seems well made, and operates dang near imperceptibly. It’s just one more well-conceived Hyundai. After this, the expectation has to be that all future Hyundais will be at least as good.
With any luck when the Chinese cars finally get here at least some of them will be horribly crappy and we’ll have something to make fun of again.
The middle of everything
Hyundai will be building the unibody
The base $20,945 front-drive Santa Fe GLS comes with a 185-horsepower, 2.7-liter, DOHC, 24-valve V-6 driving either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transaxle. Opting for all-wheel drive adds $1200 to the GLS’ price but most everything else stays them same. The mainstream SE ($23,645 with front-drive, $25,645 when all the wheels churn) and upscale Limited ($25,945 front- and $27,945 all-wheel drive) both use a 242-horsepower, 3.3-liter, DOHC, 24-valve V-6 driving a five-speed automatic transaxle equipped with Hyundai’s “Shiftronic” manual shifting scheme.
With a 106.3-inch wheelbase (3.2 inches longer than the first Santa Fe’s) and 184.1-inch overall length (6.9 inches lengthier than before), Hyundai puts exactly the same space between the new Santa Fe’s front and rear axles as Honda does between the Pilot’s. However the Brand H (Honda) machine is 3.9 inches longer overall and more than two inches wider. And a look at the respective manufacturers’ claimed curb weights shows the Honda weighing at least 400 pounds more than the Hyundai.
Nissan XterraEnlarge Photo
So, no surprise, the 3.3-liter
Hyundai’s particularly proud of
In sum the mechanical essence of
And a lot of the middle
For the record, every 2007
Having noted all that, the bottom
seat cushions on both the front buckets and the rear bench seat seem short; as
if Hyundai were willing to give up some critical thigh support in order to
generate an artificially large legroom number. Beyond that the front seats seem
to be mounted rather high above the cockpit floor too. So while Hyundai says the
Just a little weird
About the worst thing that can be
said about the
The next perfectly acceptable Hyundai won’t be a surprise at all. So Hyundai’s next challenge is to build something that’s so good it flat-out shocks the world.
Engine: 3.3-liter V-6, 244 hp
Drivetrain: Five-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel drive
Length x width x height: 184.1 x 74.4 x 67.9 in
Wheelbase: 106.3 in
Curb weight: 4022 lb
Fuel economy (EPA city/hwy): 19/24 mpg
Safety equipment: Dual front, side and curtain airbags; four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes
Major standard equipment: Power windows/locks/mirrors; cruise control; CD player; keyless entry
Warranty: Five years/60,000 miles