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The 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe: No deceptions here

The 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe
The 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe
Hyundai

No one likes to be deceived. We don’t appreciate having the wool pulled over our eyes. Just tell us the truth; give it to us straight, go ahead we can take it. Don’t try and hide it, give us the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. The sad fact is of course that we don’t always tell it like it is. We might hide the details, leave out the important facts. “Oh, yeah I forgot to tell you about that.”

The 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe
Hyundai

Advertisers have done this for years. All message with no truth as to what it is they are really selling. Recently one car company even seemed to champion this in their ads. Hyundai hired one of those fancy ad agencies to come up with ads to appeal to the segment of society Hyundai calls “Alternadults.” An “Alternadult” is someone who has kids still at home but enjoys some measure of success. They aren’t young people just entering the workforce, nor the senior getting ready to retire and play with the grandkids. The “Alternadult” is somewhere in between.

But there is a problem, at least in our opinion.

The ads the agency came up for Hyundai for the Santa Fe show adults, we assume them to be the vaunted “Alternadults”, in several situations with their kids doing what some parents might find questionable. The phrase “Don’t tell your mom”, “Don’t tell your dad” are central to the ads. The tagline is “The best stories you’ll ever tell start with ‘don’t tell’”. The overall message seems to be that the “Alternadult” is someone going through a midlife crisis, jumping out of a perfectly good airplane then is fine, taking the kids to an R-rated drive-in or pranking someone. And trying to hide that from someone who might care, and finding it perfectly acceptable.

Part of the marketing ploy to this segment makes perfect sense; those who still have kids at home, the older “latch key” type who can take care of themselves, need a vehicle that fits the lifestyle. They tend to shun the sedan, can’t afford the large luxury SUV, thus set their sights on the crossover. Something with a little more style, a little more comfort, but something that can still haul the groceries when needed. They will shy away from the minivan, perhaps not ready to give into that stereotype.

But the message Hyundai seems to be trying to convey, that it’s perfectly okay to hide the truth; don’t tell mom, or dad, shouldn’t be a message we try to teach our kids, latch key or otherwise.

So when we were given the chance to test the 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe recently, we were a bit hesitant. In the end though, we decided to climb off the soapbox and give it an honest, truthful, evaluation, without holding anything back.

We are glad we did.

The Santa Fe is a midsize crossover. It’s offered with three engines, and five, six or seven passenger seating configurations. The two-row Santa Fe Sport has seating for five and is available with either a 2.4-liter four-cylinder or turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. The three-row Santa Fe seats up to seven and has a 3.3-liter V6 engine. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard on both the Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport. Trim levels for the Santa Fe are GLS and Limited; front wheel driver and all wheel drive can also be had. The Santa Fe was redesigned for the 2013 model year so for 2014 the only additions are blind spot detection now available on all trim levels and the rear parking system that comes with the Technology packages.

On the inside there are four audio systems. Standard is an AM/FM/Satellite Radio/CD/MP3 audio system with six-speakers and iPod®/USB/auxiliary input jacks. The upgraded audio system adds a 4.3-inch full color LCD screen with HD Radio and rear view camera. The third system consists of the Gen 3.0 Navigation unit with Dimension audio with 10 speakers. Finally, the premium navigation system includes an Infinity® 550-watt, Logic 7® surround sound audio system with 12 speakers, including an available eight-inch subwoofer and external amplifier. A SiriusXM Satellite Radio interface is integrated into each head unit and features channel logos and Data services, such as NavWeather®, Stock Ticker and Sports Ticker. A Bluetooth hands-free phone system with voice recognition, address book download and audio streaming is also standard. Both navigation systems integrate rear-view camera output. Blue Link™ turn-by-turn navigation is standard.

We had the Limited with front wheel drive for the week and at first we raised an eyebrow at the $39,540 MSRP (for a Hyundai?). The reality is however, that getting a Hyundai for $40,000 gives you a great deal to like. This thing is packed and truthfully very stylish to look at both inside and out.

On the road our test model with the 3.3 liter V6 glided surprisingly well over the road. There was more than enough power to deal with the everyday commute and more than ample room to enjoy the ride and carry the weekly groceries. The gauges are well placed and easy to read and the touchscreen interface works well . The sound system (we had the Infinity® 550-watt) was ok, adequate, but not really memorable. The fuel mileage is also a little bit on the low side considering what can be had these days (EPA estimated 18 city, 25 highway). Overall though we enjoyed the week with the Santa Fe, ads be damned.

Hyundai’s ads for the Santa Fe still leave us shaking our heads. Why not simply tell the truth; the Santa Fe, even at near $40,000 for a Hyundai, is a definite player in the crossover SUV market. An “Alternadult”, or anyone in the market for a crossover SUV packed with “stuff” and still needing room to carry their everyday life, should give the Santa Fe a look. Just don’t be afraid to tell your significant other about it. Or anything else for that matter. Because the truth is if more people simply told it like it is, the world would be a better place.

The 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited

MSRP: $33,700
MSRP (As tested with Technology package): $39,540
Engine (as tested): 3.3 Liter V6 rated at 290 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm, torque: 252 lb-ft. @ 5,200 rpm
Fuel Mileage (EPA estimated): 18 city, 25 highway, 21 combined
Fuel Mileage (As tested in mixed conditions): 23 mpg
Transmission: Six-speed automatic transmission with SHIFTRONIC® manual control

Exterior Dimensions
Wheelbase 110.2 in.
Overall length 193.1 in.
Overall width 74.2 in.
Overall height (with roof rack) 66.5 in. (66.9 in.)

Interior Dimensions
Head Room (with sunroof)
Front 39.6 in. (38.2 in.)
2nd row 39.4 in. (38.3 in.)
3rd row 35.7 in. (35.7 in.)
Leg room
Front (MAX) 41.3 in. (44.1 in.)
2nd row 41.3 in.
3rd row 31.5 in.
Shoulder room
Front 59.4 in.
2nd row 58.6 in.
3rd row 53.9 in.
Hip room
Front 56.7 in.
2nd row 55.4 in.
3rd row 44.1 in.
SAE passenger volume 146.6 cubic ft.
Total interior volume 160 cubic ft.
SAE cargo volume – Behind front seats (estimated) 80.0 cubic ft.
SAE cargo volume – Behind 2nd row seats (estimated) 40.9 cubic ft.
SAE cargo volume – Behind 3rd row seats (estimated) 13.5 cubic ft.

Warranty
5-year/60,000-mile fully transferable new vehicle limited warranty
7-year unlimited mile anti-perforation
10-year/100,000-mile powertrain limited warranty and five years of complimentary Roadside Assistance