For 2010, the Hyundai Santa Fe crossover gets a mild redesign inside and out, along with a couple new engines and a new transmission. The new engines include a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that replaces the outgoing 2.7-liter mill. An improved 3.5-liter powerplant takes over the old and busted 3.3-liter V6. Both engines offer more power and better fuel efficiency than the outgoing engines, as one would expect, and are mated to a six-speed auto or manual transmission.
A few minor touch-ups on the outside include different wheels, tail lights and fog lights, along with new bumper fascias, bodyside moldings, and a color-matching grill. Nothing major out here, just enough to keep it fresh and allow Santa Fe enthusiasts (is there such a thing?) to bore others to death with their in-depth crossover SUV knowledge.
Inside, Hyundai adds an “Eco” indicator standard all automatic transmissions, touch-screen navigation, a couple safety bits, standard bluetooth and steering wheel audio controls, and new seating surfaces. Again, nothing major here, but if it’s enough to attract a few new buyers then Hyundai’s done their job.
The real superstars for 2010 are the engines. Both get a noticeable increase in power, torque, and fuel efficiency. The new 3.5-liter V6, for example, is bigger and lighter than the old engine, and manages to get 20 city / 26 hwy (compared to 17/24 for 2009.)
When we reviewed the 2008 Hyundai Santa Fe, we were particularly impressed with how friendly and pleasant it was to drive without feeling too big or top-heavy. What we didn’t like were the cheap-feeling interior materials, and Hyundai seems to have (At least partially) corrected that in the new model.