Hyundai’s 2013 Santa Fe crossover has been billed as family-friendly, and indeed it is. It’s also much more.
Offered in five passenger Sport model and seven passenger Santa Fe, the latter has a longer wheelbase (110.2 inches) and added length (193.1 inches) to accommodate two extra passengers in the third row of seats. The Sport model is at dealers’ showrooms now while the larger version comes in late December or early January.
To say the new Santa Fe is a work of art, is an understatement. Its fluidic sculpted lines and creases complimented by rearward swooping headlamp assemblies and vertical grille slats are eye-grabbing and extremely attractive. Santa Fe reflects the upbeat styling that Hyundai used on their popular selling Sonata and Elantra sedans.
Sport buyers have a choice of powertrains; a 190-hp, 2.4-liter four-cylinder rated at 21 city, 28-highway mpg (AWD); or, the 2.0-liter turbocharged four with 264-hp and ratings of 20 city, 27 highway mpg (AWD). Both come standard with a 6-speed automatic transmission.
Since I didn’t test the 2.4L, the turbo four would be my choice as it’s always nice to have power, with, in this case, only a very slight decrease in economy.
The larger Santa Fe will only be offered with a 3.3-liter, 294-hp V6 EPA rated at 19/26 mpg.
Hyundai engineers didn’t stop with an exterior redesign, as the interior is similarly attractive and practical. My test car came with the optional Leather & Premium package ($2,450) containing a host of goodies like sliding and reclining second row seats, heated rear seats, dual automatic temperature control, CleanAir ionizer, auto dimming rearview mirror and more.
The perforated leather-faced seats were supportive with easy ingress/egress (step-in is a low 18.5 inches) fore and aft, with thanks going to the wide opening rear doors. The cabins’ modern design and quality materials plus intuitive controls make the Santa Fe’s driving experience a pleasurable one.
The dash had a small (3.75x2.25-inch) but readable LCD screen that contained a helpful rearview camera but no GPS nav system.
Back in the spacious cargo area, that measures 40 inches deep, 46.5 wide and 30.5 high (35.4 cubic feet) expands when folding the 40/20/40 back seats. Depth then extends to 72 inches (71.5 cubic feet) or a full six feet. Cargo load height too is an easy 29.5-inch lift. I was surprised, however, that a power lift gate wasn’t included as there was a button for it on the keyfob.
Beneath the cargo floor is a two compartment bin; one to stow the privacy cover, that in itself is not offered on any other SUV or crossover, while the other compartment is for small item storage.
I also liked that the Santa Fe has an AWD Lock button on the dash for when the going gets stuck. A lot of Santa Fe’s competition and pricey SUVs don’t offer this important feature.
All Santa Fe’s come with ABS, traction and stability control, an array of air bags, tire pressure monitoring, Sirius radio, fog lights, keyless ignition and much more.
Shod with 19-inch Continental tires, the Sport rode and handled like a full-size crossover. Handling is compliant and the ride quiet, even at Interstate speeds.
The turbo engine redlines at a high 7,000 rpm and produced gobs of low and top end power with virtually no turbo lag. It’s been 0-60 tested at 8.1 seconds.
With a long list of standard amenities and safety items, the Santa Fe was priced at a modest but reasonable $33,025 after a base of $29,450. The only other options were carpeted floor mats ($100), cargo net ($50) and cargo cover ($150). Added to this is a delivery charge of $825.
All of this plus Hyundai’s generous 5/60K new vehicle warranty, 10/100K powertrain, 7/Unlimited rust protection and 5/Unlimited Roadside Assistance warranties makes the Santa Fe a top contender among a long list of crossovers.
To test drive a Santa Fe stop by Lehigh Valley Hyundai on State Road in Emmaus. And to automatically receive auto news and reviews from Nick Hromiak, click on the “Subscribe” notation on this page.