Matthew Jones04 April 2012

News on the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe

It’s slightly more efficient and a lot more perky...

Hyundai Santa Fe

To some, looking at an old Santa Fe was a bit like staring into the eyes of a cow - its expressionless face somehow combined vague approachability with a terrifying lack of soul.

But this one's shiny. It's new. And, for the first time in history, a Santa Fe's been bestowed with some charisma. Hyundai call the new look "strong, dynamic and refined... drawing inspiration from the shapes created by nature during the formation of a storm." We prefer "it makes driving a new, reasonably-priced Korean SUV much more acceptable".

Underneath the new look, there's a choice of one petrol and two diesel engines, with outputs ranging from 148bhp to 197bhp. The range-topper is still the 2.2-litre ‘R' all-aluminium diesel engine. CO2 emissions have been dialed down from 194g/km to 145g/km, but the variable geometry turbo engine still produces a healthy 318lb ft of torque, even if it is down 4lb ft from its predecessor. The smaller 282lb ft 2.0-litre diesel engine belches just 155g of carbons every kilometer, and the 2.4-litre petrol makes a not entirely awful 190bhp.

They're mated to either a six-speed manual or six-speed auto ‘box, both fitted with an extra tall cruising gear. The latter's quite clever, too - it's got a flat torque converter and re-jigged layout, so it's the most compact six-speed unit currently built, weighing 12kg less and boosting fuel economy by up to 12% compared with a conventional automatic.

Inside, it looks marginally less vanilla than its forbear, but just as practical. The second row of seats slides and folds with a one-touch control, front and second-row legroom's been increased by 38mm and 45mm respectively, there's a 37mm deeper boot (meaning luggage capacity's swollen to a thrilling 534 litres) and there's a big sunroof.

So, slightly less like a cow and a bit more frugal.

Pricing and final Euro specs yet to be confirmed, but it should be in dealerships by 2013. D'you dig it, TopGear.commers?

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