All-new powertrains are the big news in the 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe. The new Theta II 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine in the Santa Fe makes 175 horsepower and has improved fuel economy (up to 20 mpg city, 28 highway), while the new 3.5-liter Lambda V-6 engine produces 276 horsepower and achieves EPA ratings of 20/26 mpg—an improvement of 18 percent in the city and 8 percent on the highway. A new six-speed automatic transmission comes with either engine for the Santa Fe. Front-wheel drive is standard, with an optional electronically controlled all-wheel-drive system that can send power to whichever wheels have the best traction or locked 50/50 between front and rear wheels for light off-road conditions.
At the time we assembled this review, no professional review sources had yet driven the 2010 Santa Fe, so we can't comment on the powertrain. Since most of the Santa Fe's other mechanical underpinnings are carried over, we anticipate that the Santa Fe will keep its excellent road manners.
"Don't count on doing any serious off-road driving," says Car and Driver—advice that no doubt holds true for the new model. "The all-wheel-drive system does not have low-range gearing."