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May 11, 2007
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Volume 35
Issue 19
 
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Zero to Sixty - 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited
by J.T. Hills - SGN Contributing Writer

TOP
Completely redesigned for 2007
Larger more powerful engine
Value pricing

BOTTOM
Handling feels cumbersome at times
Poor parking visibility
Historically poor resale values

The Hyundai Santa Fe was first introduced in 2001, the first SUV for the South Korean Automaker, designed specifically for the U.S. market. For 2007, Hyundai has completely redesigned the Santa Fe, and along with the Sonata, will be produced at their factory in Montgomery, Alabama. Hyundai is marketing the Santa Fe as a crossover vehicle because it shares the same platform as the Sonata sedan. After a week with the 2007 Santa Fe Limited, I've compiled a brass tacks list of highly technical scientific data based upon observations, experimentation, tabulations, inspections and so forth. Here we go:

Hyundai& not just for struggling college kids anymore!
Hyundai is moving on up! The 2007 Santa Fe is the South Korean automakers first model to be designed at their design center in California, and is meant to appeal to the American appetite for design, style and performance. It's a positive step for Hyundai, who in previous years designed more to imitate more than innovate.

The new generation Santa Fe is seven inches overall longer than the 2006 model, two inches tall and two inches wider. The end result is a spacious interior cabin and room in the rear for an optional third row for small children. The interior on the test vehicle was nicely appointed and well designed. Surprisingly, the fit and finish details were on par with its Japanese rivals. The Santa Fe Limited comes with a long list of standard features for a base price of $27,945.

Underneath the hood the Santa Fe Limited comes with a 3.3 liter 242 hp V-6 engine, with 242 lbs. ft. of torque at 6000 rpm's. This is combined to an automatic five-speed transmission with Shiftronic manual shift mode. The Limited model is rated at 19 mpg city and 24 mpg highway. Out on the road the Santa Fe handle's much like the Ford Explorer or any other American SUV dejour. I kind of expected something a little sportier, considering that the Santa Fe is a car based crossover, unlike the Explorer, which is truck based. Not that the Santa Fe was awful, it just drove like it was bigger and a little more cumbersome than it actually was. The 3.3 liter V-6 engine is plenty powerful, and provides ample acceleration for passing at freeway speeds and during spirited driving in general.

City driving is a bit different. I could appreciate the comfortable seats, the dual zone climate control, and the excellent sound system. The Limited addition even comes with standard leather seating surfaces, and power adjustable heated front seats. The fact that there was multiple power outlets, tons of storage space, and great big drink holders was also a big plus. The only thing that did bother me was that the ride was a bit jarring on surface streets, and parallel parking in the city was a bit difficult due to low visibility out of the back end. Some sort of parking assist and a back-up camera would greatly help. Plus it saves bumpers and small children and kittens and what not.

Hyundai has made great strides with the 2007 Santa Fe. You get a lot of standard options and a lot of value compared to its pricier competition. The fact that you get an amazing factory warranty is also something to give a consumer pause. The fact that Hyundai traditionally has poor resale value might also be something that gives you pause. I wouldn't say that the 2007 Santa Fe is a Crossover innovator, but it's not longer an imitator.

OK, for a before tax price of $29,090, what do you get?
The base Hyundai Santa Fe actually comes with a long list of standard features, and some relatively inexpensive options. A quick look at the favorites includes:

Performance
- 3.3 liter 242 hp V-6 engine
- 18-inch alloy wheels
- Electronic stability and traction control
- Electronic all wheel drive
- Five speed automatic with Shiftronic manual shift mode

Safety - Driver and front passenger front airbags, side curtain airbags
- ABS braking system
- Keyless entry with alarm

Comfort and Convenience
- Dual zone climate control
- Leather seating surfaces with heated front seats
- Power drivers and front passenger seat
- AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system with steering wheel controls

Options
- Power roof with tilt and slide ($950)
- Rear cargo screen ($100)
- Carpeted Floor mats ($95)

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