More tow and passenger capacity with off-road features add a new crossover vehicle to the mix

Feb 03, 2013, 18:41 ET from INSIDEout: Cars & Trucks

AUSTIN, Texas, Feb. 3, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- When automotive journalists think about sports vehicles, it is rare if Hyundai is even mentioned, according to Linda Water Nelson, editor of INSIDEout: Cars & Trucks and sports vehicle editor of Texas Fish & Game magazine.

The 25-year journalist sees the introduction of their latest vehicle as a possible game changer.

With the company's addition of a longer and more robust Santa Fe which combines all-wheel drive, three-row seating and increased tow capacity.  In an interview at recent outdoor event in Houston with John Shon, manager-product planning for Hyundai Motor America, Water Nelson found that the tow capacity in this vehicle has been upped to 5,000 lbs. – 1,500 lbs. more than the Vera Cruz that it replaced and in line with competitors like Toyota's Highlander and Nissan's Pathfinder.

"Once I saw the integrated bumper cutout for a tow hitch I figured they weren't kidding around," said Water Nelson.  "For a crossover vehicle, the 3.3L V6 engine, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission is a good combination for both fuel efficiency and power."

She also mentioned the active cornering all-wheel drive control system, an option that allows for off-road conditions as well as better towing.  "This system can anticipate traction requirements and deliver additional stability through braking, while most AWD systems are only designed to react to conditions after they occur."

Other advantages that the sports vehicle editor found helpful were improved lateral stability while cornering, removal of unintended over- and under-steer by reducing unwanted traction to the front and rear axle and high thermal capacity to prevent overheating during hill climbs and trailer towing.  There is also hillstart assist and downhill brake control, which make this new addition to the sports vehicle market interesting, she added.

There is new MacPherson strut front suspension and a fully independent multi-link rear suspension with a 19mm solid stabilizer bar in the all-wheel drive models. 

"This should be a viable alternative for sportsmen and families who need a less hardy vehicle during the week but like to kick lose some of the time," Water Nelson added.  Her regular column, …and on the seventh day, wheels, can be found at, where she regularly writes about the truck and passenger sport vehicle industry.   





SOURCE INSIDEout: Cars & Trucks