2013 Hyundai Santa Fe
When: The Sport is out shortly; the LWB debuts at the end of 2012.
A lot of carmakers lately are trying to cram third rows into the backs of crossovers that were originally designed for five passengers. Even if kids can fit back there, it's no fun, nor is extracting them from nosebleed-seat purgatory.
Hyundai, bucking that trend, will offer two Santa Fe models, the five-seat Santa Fe Sport and the LWB Santa Fe with seating for seven. And the latter doesn't just throw a third bench into the cargo hold. Hyundai actually stretched the wheelbase by 4 inches, adding more room to both the second and third rows. The new crossover is made of more high-strength steel, which cut some weight from the five-passenger and should result in better handling.
The five-passenger Santa Fe can be had with a 190-hp direct-injected 2.4-liter four, or the turbocharged 2.0-liter four with 264 hp. That's slightly less potent than the V-6 it replaces, but Hyundai is betting on a big improvement in fuel economy. The seven-seater big boy will be driven only by the 290-hp V-6 from the Hyundai Azera Sport. Yes, you can pair either model with AWD, but it costs more.
Price: starting at $25,275