Stocked with a standard 3.5-liter V6 powerplant and loaded with creature comforts and techno-goodies, the 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe SE is a distinct step up from its more prosaic GLS siblings. Of course, the ubiquitous 78.4 cubic feet of cargo space (with the rear seats folded), as well as the cloth/leather upholstery and power-adjustable driver’s seat further enhance this 5-passenger compact crossover’s image in the mind of the frugal, family-rearing commuter. Add to all that 18-inch alloy wheels, a roof rack and rear spoiler, not to mention standard trailer wiring and an available tow hitch, and this midlevel trim looks better and better.
Of course full power accessories, including heated outside mirrors, grace this classy mini-ute, as do a leather-trimmed steering wheel and shift knob, simulated wood cabin accents, cruise control and telescoping tilt-wheel steering. Finally, standard entertainment stuff includes a 120-watt stereo with an MP3-capable single-CD player, 6 speakers, satellite radio and a USB connection, all bolstered by Bluetooth hands-free communications.
Options, meantime, include remote engine start, carpeted floor mats, several cargo management features, a few appearance upgrades and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror with remote garage door opener. Then there’s the available Premium Package, boasting a power sunroof, a navigation suite with dashboard-mounted display, a rear-view camera and a 350-watt audio upgrade boasting 7 speakers.
Power-wise, the Santa Fe SE’s variable-valve-timed (VVT) V6 mates with a standard 6-speed shiftable automatic transmission (boasting standard descent control) to put out 276 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque to the tune of 20 mpg city/26 highway. Furthermore, when properly equipped, this midlevel V6-endowed crossover can tow up to 3,500 pounds of trailer.
Standard safety equipment for Hyundai’s 2012 Santa Fe SE includes 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), traction and stability control, front and rear head airbags, front side-mounted airbags and active front headrests. Finally, topping it all off are a standard remote antitheft alarm and front fog/driving lights.