The new longer version of Hyundai’s 2013 Santa Fe made its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show last month, joining the five-passenger Sport version that went on sale in August. The new three-row Santa Fe seats either six or seven passengers in three rows.

This is the third generation Santa Fe, a nimble crossover that now offers room for five, six or seven. The Sport comes with a 2.4-liter Inline 4-cylinder engine and the long wheel base Santa Fe will have a 3.3-liter V-6. A turbocharged I-4 engine is also available on the Sport.

The new Sport Santa Fe is 266 pounds lighter than its predecessor, which might not sound like all that much. But in the car world, where weight is the enemy of mileage, every pound counts, and 266 of them is a lot. The weight savings come primarily from the use of more high-tensile steel, which also increases the vehicle’s body stiffness by more than 15 percent.

An AWD version with Hyundai’s Active Cornering Control is available.

The just-introduced seven-passenger Santa Fe with the V-6 is also dieting, losing a whopping 397 pounds when compared to the outgoing Veracruz. Although the Santa Fe is assembled in Georgia, Hyundai has its own steel plants in South Korea and can design the new high-tensile metals to exact specifications, resulting in the reduction in weights.

Hyundai is aiming squarely at families with the new Santa Fe. The Sport model is for young families just starting out or for empty nesters who might have grandchildren. The long wheel-base version – nearly 9 inches longer – is for the full-fledged, soccer-mom-driving, team-toting, pile-the-kids-in kind of family hauling. Standard on all Santa Fe models with cloth seats is a special fabric treatment that is soil, odor and static resistant – perfect for said hauling.

Both models have the same flowing interior, designed for functionality. The longer model provides nearly two inches more legroom to the second row. Total interior volume in the Sport model is 143.3 cubic feet, while the longer Santa Fe has 160 cubic feet of space. Cargo volume in the Sport is 71.5 cubic feet, and the longer Santa Fe has 80 cubic feet behind the front seats.

Convenience features include dual-zone climate control with a clean air ionizer and a cooled glove box, as well as sliding and reclining second-row seats.

Hyundai’s Blue Link connectivity system combines safety, service and infotainment features with voice text messaging and turn-by-turn navigation. Offered in three packages, Blue Link can also assist with remote door locking and unlocking, remote starting of the engine, location sharing, automated diagnostics and maintenance alerts, stolen vehicle slowdown and recovery, speed and curfew alerts, and all manner of navigation assistance ranging from gas station locators, to weather alerts, to restaurant ratings.

The 2013 Santa Fe is a “Top Safety Pick” from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Standard safety equipment includes a vehicle stability management system, seven airbags including driver’s knee and side curtains with rollover sensors, and four-wheel anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution.

The 2013 Santa Fe Sport with FWD starts at $24,450 and ranges all the way to $29,450 for the AWD turbocharged version. Prices are not yet available on the LWB model.

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe

  • Engine: 3.3-liter V-6
  • Transmission: 6-speed automatic with Shiftronic
  • Horsepower: 290
  • Base price: $29,450 (Sport 2.0T AWD), LWB not yet announced
  • EPA mileage rating: 18 mpg city / 25 mpg highway (3.3-liter V-6)