Hyundai may be looking to take on the Toyota Highlander Hybrid, with its own gasoline-electric version of the Santa Fe.
Speaking at a press briefing during the ongoing first drive event for the new seven-passenger 2013 Santa Fe in San Diego, Hyundai Motor America CEO John Krafcik said such a car was a “maybe.”
Toyota has owned the 7-seater hybrid segment for almost a decade now, first introducing its Highlander Hybrid back in 2005. Regardless of Hyundai’s actions, fuel efficient alternatives in the segment will grow in the near future with an upcoming three-row crossover from Volkswagen, as well as a rumored Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid- likely sharing components with the recently-announced Infiniti QX60 Hybrid.
Hyundai has an uphill battle ahead of it, as the only gas-electric hybrid vehicle under its belt is the Sonata Hybrid. Hyundai’s Blue Hybrid system in the Sonata pairs a 2.4L four-cylinder engine with a 10.5 kW Hybrid starter generator, a 35 kW electric motor, and an advanced 47 kW Lithium Polymer battery pack. While that setup delivers a total of 206 hp and nets 36 mpg city, 40 highway and 38 mpg combined, it certainly wouldn’t be enough to power the bigger Santa Fe.
Currently the Toyota Highlander Hybrid is the king of the hill when it comes to large hybrid crossovers, sporting a 3.5L V6 and two electric motors. Total output for the Highlander Hybrid comes to 280 hp. The EPA rates the Hybrid at 28 mpg for both city and highway driving conditions.
Look for a review of the longer, seven passenger Santa Fe from AutoGuide.com’s own Mike Schlee on Monday.
[Source: Wards Auto Twitter]
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