At the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show, Hyundai officially pulled the wraps off the three-row versions of the new Santa Fe that, as we’ve already pointed out in our First Drive of the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe last summer, effectively replace the now-discontinued Veracruz in the brand’s U.S. lineup. Models with two rows of seating are called Santa Fe Sport, while those with three rows are now just called Santa Fe.
The three-row Santa Fe is 8.5 inches longer than the Sport, with a wheelbase that’s nearly four inches longer; that translates to nearly 40 more cubic feet of passenger volume. One other key difference between the Santa Fe and the Sport is that the three-row Santa Fe models come only with the new-generation 290-horsepower, 3.3-liter direct-injection (DI) V-6 and a six-speed automatic—plus tow ratings ranging up to an impressive 5,000 pounds.
Shoppers will have two seating layouts to choose from in three-row Santa Fe models: a seven passenger layout with 40/20/40-split folding, or a six-passenger layout that includes second-row captain’s chairs. All the seats are now treated in a Yes Essentials soil-resistant upholstery, while new rear side-window sunshades and an available panoramic sunroof allow a brighter interior.
In order to make the Santa Fe look cohesive in its stretched form, Hyundai gave it different bodyside character lines from the B-pillar back, plus a different grille design, a chrome-tipped dual exhaust, and 18-inch Euroflange alloy wheels.
Available features include both heated rear seats and a heated steering wheel, a power liftgate, Hyundai Blue Link (safety, service, and infotainment), and upgraded navigation and entertainment systems including an eight-inch display. Hyundai has also added the improved Active Cornering Control AWD system, and multiple steering modes.
Hyundai says that the powertrain of three-row models was tuned in Michigan, for U.S. driving expectations; yet these models will be assembled in South Korea, while Santa Fe Sport models are assembled by Kia in Georgia.
See these pictures, direct from the show floor, for an idea of how much extra space this new model offers. We’ll soon get up close with full driving tests of the three-row 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe; in the meantime, see our First Drive of the Santa Fe Sport, or our full review of the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe