The Hyundai Santa Fe prides itself on being the first Hyundai SUV. This car is seen more as a crossover SUV rather than a full SUV due to its shape and looks. When it was released in 2001, it received a lot of heat from journalists and news channels because of its looks, but ironically, it was its looks that made it one of the most successful Hyundai cars ever produced in the United States. Its shape endeared it to a lot of U.S consumers, and the demand was so high that sometimes Hyundai was unable to keep up the supply of this early model SUV.
The Hyundai Santa Fe has been produced in three generations with the first of these three being released in 2001. Although this car was able to beat its competitors as far as price and features go, it was unable to compete in other areas, particularly in the performance arena.
The first generation
The first generation of the Hyundai Santa Fe was produced between 2001 and 2006. In the first year, this car came in two engine and transmission combinations: a 2.4 liter four cylinder engine that came with 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic system and a delta V6 engine that offered a lot more power, and only came in an automatic option. Another 2.4 liter four cylinder model came out in late 2001 and was only available in the manual transmission option.
This car model did not undergo a lot of changes in the years that followed, apart from mid-2002, when the fuel tank’s size was increased from 17gallons (64 liters) to 19 gallons (71 liters). The interior layout was also revamped and the clock changed. A lot of changes were made to this generation in 2005 with modifications such as a face-lift, an increased speedometer and the four-cylinder engine, as well as the 5-speed automatic transmission were dropped.
The second generation
The second generation of the Hyundai Santa Fe came out in 2007 and was discontinued in 2013. This generation was offered in the GLS, limited edition as well as the SE model. This generation saw the return of manual transmission that was discontinued in 2005, but this manual transmission only came with the 2656 cc V6 engine. The 3342 cc V6 engine became standard on the SE with the Limited edition of this car model coming with the 5-speed automatic engine.
There are some Hyundai Santa Fe models that are not available in the United States. For example, there is the 2.2 liter diesel engine model that produces 186 hp. Most of the internal features added to this generation were safety features with tire pressure monitors, side-curtain airbags, active front head restrains, electronic stability control and anti-lock brakes being added as standard issues.
The dashboard of this Hyundai Santa Fe generation was also upgraded to use blue lights, compared to the blue ones used in other models. This generation also came with high quality leather seats on the limited models as well as illuminated cup holders.
The third generation
This generation features a 5-seat sport version that is shorter than the Hyundai Santa Fe XL, which is a long-wheelbase version. It also features a new grille design, flush dual exhaust tips and 19 inch alloy heels that are optional.
As far as the engine goes, the standard is the 2.4 liter variant with all of the models being front wheel driven. There is also a 2.0 liter turbo four in the market, although this model is the lesser known of the two. The long-wheelbase variant of this vehicle received a 3.0 liter engine and was exclusively sold in Northern America. Other available engine types include the 2.2L E-VGT R-Line diesel and the 2.0L E-VGT R-Line engines, both of which were sold exclusively in Asia.