By reading most of the articles out there that describe the latest media day events at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show, one would think that the only vehicle Hyundai unveiled was a cute-looking, surfing-inspired Veloster Cabrio concept.
And while that little tailgate-equipped number may be getting the lion’s share of press coverage, the Korean manufacturer also introduced another vehicle that’s sure to make a much larger impression on the company’s bottom line: the 2014 Santa Fe.
It gets confusing
You might be asking how this is possible, since Hyundai has already rolled out the replacement for its current Santa Fe, the 2013 Santa Fe Sport.
You’d be right, of course. But the reason for tagging its newest midsize CUV a “Sport” is that the current model above it in both size and cost, the Veracruz, seems to have been found to be lacking in the identity department.
2014 Hyundai Santa Fe
Despite the fact that, to quote the Bard, “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” it appears that Hyundai felt, much like Juliet, that “‘Tis but thy name that is my enemy.”
In other words, sales of their larger vehicle might benefit from a name change because it’s altogether possible that many American buyers have a hard time identifying with a state in Mexico and feel more comfortable riding around in something named after, say, the capital city of the state of New Mexico. At
least that’s my take on it, and I’m sticking to it.
With that being said, what’s new?
Besides the name, just about everything is new on the 2014 Santa Fe.
Beginning with the body that incorporates a 30 percent increase in the use of ultra high-strength-tensile steel (also used for the outer door panels), torsional rigidity has been improved by 16 percent over the outgoing model.
New stamping methods also result in added strength, while the increased use of structural adhesives has also improved body rigidity while decreasing overall vehicle weight by 320 pounds.
Dimensionally, the new Santa Fe is narrower (74.2 inches versus 76.6 inches) and lower (66.5 inches versus 71.1 inches), but also longer(193.1 inches as opposed to 190.6 inches).
The result of these changes is about the same cargo volume behind the third seat (13.5 cubic feet for the Santa Fe versus 13.4 cubic feet for the Veracruz), but with nearly ten more cubic feet of passenger volume (146.6 cubic feet in the Santa Fe versus 137 cubic feet in the Veracruz).
Under the hood, more changes are afoot as the new Santa Fe will powered by Hyundai’s 3.3-liter Lambda II direct-injected V6 that, in this application (Hyundai also uses it in the Azera sedan) produces 290 horsepower (30 more than the 3.5-liter-powered Veracruz) and 252 lb.-ft. of torque (a loss of 5 lb.-ft. over the 3.5-liter mill).
The bottom line, however, is that towing capacity has been increased from 3,500 pounds in the outgoing model to 5,000 pounds in the new Santa Fe.
Availability and Pricing
We expect to see the 2014 Santa Fe in Hyundai new car dealer showrooms sometime early in the first quarter of 2013 while new car prices on all models will be released by Hyundai closer to the on sale date.