The Basics
We listen very carefully to the market, says Robert F. Cosmei, vice president national sales for Hyundai. And what they heard was a plea for more hump and a little more power. Hyundai has answered their plea. For 2004, you can pack a little more punch into your Santa Fe by opting for a 3.5L V-6 available as " />

Issue: Jul 2003


New Product in Brief: 2003 Hyundai Sante Fe



Hyundai Hitches a Few More Horses to This Wagon

by John Peter

The Basics
We listen very carefully to the market, says Robert F. Cosmei, vice president national sales for Hyundai. And what they heard was a plea for more hump and a little more power. Hyundai has answered their plea. For 2004, you can pack a little more punch into your Santa Fe by opting for a 3.5L V-6 available as an option on GLS models and standard on the LX.

Powertrain
The 3.5L Sigma engine was plucked from the XG350 sedan and shoehorned into the Santa Fe. The iron-block, aluminum-head engine makes 195 hp at 5,500 rpm and 219 lbs.-ft. of torque at 3,500 rpm 20 percent more torque than the standard 2.7L V-6.

The 3.5L engine is mated to a 5-speed Shiftronic automatic transmission that allows the driver the option of manually shifting gears by moving the lever to the right of the gate.

Engineering
Hyundai engineers had to do some extensive repackaging of the engine compartment to accommodate the new motor re-routing hoses and rearranging some components. The engine cradle was also modified with the installation of new motor mounts and the heavier engine necessitated revised spring rates and shock absorber valving for the front suspension.
The 2003 Santa Fe uses the same Borg-Warner electronic 4WD system thats found on the Acura MDX, but without all of the bells and whistles.

While the system seamlessly transfers traction from front to back when necessary, Hyundai wasnt able to utilize all of the traction control functions of the system because Santa Fes traction control software isnt compatible with the Borg-Warner system.

Hyundai says that the next-generation Santa Fe that will be built in the new Montgomery, Ala., assembly plant in 2005 will fully utilize the systems capabilities.

What We Think
The engine and 4WD option add $1,400 to Santa Fes sticker, which puts the top-ofthe- line XL at $24,999. The 2004 Santa Fe retains its unique styling and, best of all, Hyundais 10-year 100,000 mile powertrain warranty. While Hyundai has made great strides in quality, its still price and warranty that bring most buyers into the showroom.  And while those things have helped Hyundai increase sales, it may be a while before they reach their goal becoming a top-five OEM manufacturer.

















2003 Hyundai Santa Fe

What is it? A five-passenger, mid-size SUV.

Whos it for? An SUV buyer looking for good-quality, affordable transportation.

Wheres it built? Ulsan, Korea 

Competitors: Honda Pilot, Ford Escape, Toyota Highlander.
 
The XG350s 3.5L V-6 was a tight fit in Santa Fes engine bay.
 
Interior materials are better quality than some domestic competitors.
 
Santa Fe boasts 77.7 cu.-ft. of cargo space with the back seat folded down.


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