NEW FOR 2008:

– XM Satellite Radio added to all models
– Revised catalytic converter improves fuel mileage on 3.3-litre models
– All Santa Fe models with automatic transmissions receive heated seats and leather-wrapped telescopic wheel with audio controls
– All 3.3-litre Santa Fe models receive trailer towing package, fog lamps, trip computer and new grille
– Limited model receives six-CD/MP3 stereo with ten Infinity speakers, power passenger seat and 115-volt power outlet
– GL 3.3-litre with Premium Package replaced with five-passenger GLS
– 2.7-litre GLS model added
– Solar control glass and roof rack cross bars deleted
– Spare wheel changed from alloy to steel
– 2.7-litre model door courtesy lights replaced with reflectors
– Luggage side lamp removed from all five-passenger models
– Third-row coat hook deleted
– Exterior colours: Natural Khaki replaces Golden Beige

Completely redesigned in 2007, the Hyundai Santa Fe has its trim levels redefined for 2008. All models are five-passenger except for the Limited, which can also be ordered as a seven-seater.

The Santa Fe is available with a choice of two V6 engines: a 2.7-litre and 3.3-litre. The 2.7-litre uses a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic, while the 3.3-litre comes only with a five-speed automatic. The 2.7-litre is front-wheel drive only; the 3.3-litre can be optioned to all-wheel drive in the GL and GLS, and is AWD only in the Limited.

Features on the 2.7-litre GL include 16-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, heated mirrors, power locks with keyless entry, cruise control, power windows, privacy glass, variable intermittent wipers, rear washer/wiper, roof rails, CD/MP3 stereo with XM Satellite Radio, floor mats, and 60/40 folding rear seat. Models with the optional four-speed automatic also include heated seats and telescopic leather-wrapped wheel with audio controls.

The 2.7-litre GLS adds power sunroof, heated leather seats with eight-way power driver’s adjustment, illuminated vanity mirrors, and telescopic leather-wrapped wheel with audio controls.

The 3.3-litre GL is equipped similarly to the 2.7-litre GL with automatic package, but adds fog lamps and trip computer.

The 3.3-litre GLS is equipped similarly to the 2.7-litre GLS, but adds fog lamps, trip computer and silver door handles.

The Limited builds on the 3.3-litre GLS with 18-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, four-way power passenger seat, six-CD/MP3 stereo with subwoofer, 115-volt outlet, auto-dimming rearview mirror, garage door opener, and illuminated ignition cylinder. The seven-passenger model includes a vinyl 50/50 split fold-into-floor third-row seat.

Positioned between the Tucson and the new Veracruz, the Santa Fe features mature styling, a comfortable and refined interior, two strong V6 choices and the ability to outfit it nicely without having to move up to all-wheel drive if that isn’t a preference.

The third-row seat is cramped and awkward, and suitable mostly for smaller children, which is no doubt Hyundai’s reason for restricting its availability to a single trim line. The five-seat models offer a large, deep under-floor storage box with movable dividers, and the second-row seats can be reclined and locked in at any position on their travel. They can also be folded and locked into place to form a flat cargo floor. Overall, the content, price and warranty make this a good contender in the segment.

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