Vehicle Overview
The Santa Fe is a midsize crossover SUV that competes with models like the Nissan Murano. Though it still compares on many levels to the Toyota Highlander, for 2010 the Santa Fe no longer offers a third-row seat, while the Highlander still does. This year brings changes to the Santa Fe's interior, exterior and drivetrains, including improved mileage.

The Santa Fe's trim levels comprise the GLS, SE and Limited.

For 2010, Hyundai has updated the Santa Fe's grille, bumpers, fog lights and body side moldings. The wheels are also new, in 17- and 18-inch sizes.

At 184.1 inches from bumper to bumper, the Santa Fe is shorter than the Murano, Highlander, Ford Edge and Subaru Tribeca. Roof rails are standard; the cross-bars come standard on the SE and Limited trim levels. The Limited trim adds chrome accents to the door handles.

The third-row option may be gone, but a number of popular entertainment features have been added for 2010 as standard equipment. In addition to an MP3 jack, all Santa Fes now have a USB iPod interface, Bluetooth connectivity and audio controls on the steering wheel.

The seating surfaces have been upgraded for 2010, as has the available faux-wood trim, according to Hyundai. A power driver's seat comes on the SE trim level, and heated leather comes on the Limited, along with dual-zone automatic climate control, HomeLink and more.

Under the Hood
The 2010 Santa Fe gets two new engines: A base 2.4-liter four-cylinder replaces a 2.7-liter V-6, providing quicker acceleration and better gas mileage. The upgrade engine is a 3.5-liter V-6, replacing a 3.3-liter V-6. The base transmission in the four-cylinder GLS is a manual, which is rare in this class. Both it and the automatic transmission, which is standard with the V-6, are six-speeds. Hyundai says both engines with automatic transmissions improve upon their predecessors in combined city/highway driving.

All-wheel drive is an option on all three trim levels, but it comes only with the automatic transmission.

The Santa Fe's airbag complement includes the required frontal and side-impact airbags for the front seats, as well as curtain airbags that cover the side windows along the front and rear seats. New for 2010 are rollover sensors that will deploy the side curtain airbags if a rollover occurs. Antilock disc brakes and an electronic stability system with traction control are standard, as are active head restraints for the front seats.