NEW FOR 2009:

- Seven-passenger seating option discontinued
- Standard auxiliary and USB stereo inputs on all models
- Base audio system increased from 112 to 120 watts, with four lines of display text instead of two
- 2.7 GLS discontinued
- 2.7 GL uses 16-inch steel wheels instead of 16-inch alloy wheels

For 2009, the Hyundai Santa Fe pares down its offerings: the GLS with the 2.7-litre V6 engine has been discontinued, and the available third-row seating that could be optioned on the Limited for 2008 is gone. The base stereo system, standard on all but the Limited, has been tweaked for more power, and all models can now accept music players via USB or auxiliary inputs.

The Santa Fe is available with a 2.7-litre V6 or 3.3-litre V6. The 2.7 uses a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic, while the 3.3 comes strictly with a five-speed automatic. The 3.3 can be optioned with all-wheel drive in the GL and GLS trim lines, and is the only choice on the Limited.

Features on the 2.7 GL include 16-inch steel wheels, air conditioning, side and curtain airbags, CD/MP3 stereo with auxiliary input, heated mirrors, cloth seats, cruise control, vanity mirrors, front and rear mud guards, power windows with driver’s auto-down, variable intermittent wipers, rear washer/wiper, power locks with keyless entry, roof rack side rails, 60/40 split-folding rear seat, tilt and telescopic wheel, tinted glass, windshield wiper de-icer, and woodgrain interior accents.

The 2.7 GL Auto adds a four-speed automatic transmission, heated seats, and leather-wrapped wheel with audio controls.

The 3.3 GL builds on the 2.7 GL Auto and adds 16-inch alloy wheels, illuminated vanity mirrors, chrome-tipped exhaust, fog lights and trip computer.

The Limited adds 18-inch alloy wheels, heated leather seats, eight-way power driver’s seat, and power sunroof.

Positioned between the Tucson and Veracruz, the Santa Fe is a comfortable vehicle with nice styling, refined interior, a choice of two V6 engines, and available all-wheel drive. The third row of seats, previously available on the Limited, was cramped and its discontinuation is no great loss. The cargo area includes a large, deep, under-floor storage box with movable dividers, and rear seats that can be folded and locked into place to form a flat load floor.