The crossover utility vehicle (CUV) segment has become a busy one, with no shortage of choices form many manufacturers. Hyundai's Santa Fe has been redesigned for 2013, with both a seven-passenger long-wheelbase model and a five-passenger Sport version. The test vehicle for this review is the Sport AWD 2.0T model, with a base retail price of $29,450. Option packages on the test car include the Leather & Premium Equipment Package ($2,450) and the Technology Package ($2,900) for a total MSRP of $35,925.
Standard features on the base Sport model include 17-inch alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, cruise control, a trip computer, full power accessories, air-conditioning, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, cloth upholstery, 40/20/40 split-folding rear seats, Bluetooth phone connectivity, Hyundai's Blue Link telematics system and a six-speaker audio system with CD player, satellite radio and USB/iPod integration. To this, the optional Popular Equipment package can be added, which includes automatic headlights, foglights, heated mirrors, roof rack rails, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated front seats and an eight-way power-adjustable driver seat (with power lumbar support). The Sport 2.0T adds all of the above, along with a more powerful turbocharged engine, 19-inch wheels, an upgraded gauge cluster and information display and keyless ignition/entry.
The Santa Fe Sport 2.0T is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine rated at 264 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque, backed up by a six-speed automatic which motivates the 3,700lb vehicle from 0-60 in 8.1 seconds (Edmunds data). The EPA rating is 20mpg city, 27mpg highway with a combined rating of 23mpg, which is quite respectable for a midsize SUV. Like all other Santa Fe models, front-wheel drive is standard while all-wheel drive is optional.
Standard safety features for all 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe models include traction and stability control, antilock disc brakes, front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags, front-seat active head restraints, and hill hold and descent control. Also standard is Blue Link, Hyundai's version of GM OnStar, which provides services such as remote access, emergency assistance, theft recovery and geo-fencing.
Hyundai did their homework when designing the new Santa Fe. The new model is about 300lb lighter than the previous model, which goes against the normal model bloat experienced by many automakers.The front seats are quite comfortable and have enough adjustments to accommodate virtually any driver. The upholstery is an improvement over the previous car, and has better support from the bottom seat cushions. Passengers in the second-row have a wide range of recline angles and plenty of head- and legroom for the average adult. The Santa Fe has a healthy 35.4 cubic feet of cargo behind the second row of seats; the second-row seats fold flat and expand this to 71.5 cubic feet. A sliding second-row seat and underfloor cargo storage offer extra utility and hidden cargo storage that isn't normally found in competing vehicles.
On the road, the chassis and steering supply a solid feeling of control while absorbing most of the highway’s imperfections. The turbocharged four-cylinder provides the same power as a V6 but with improved fuel economy. The engine felt quick off the line and throttle response was excellent from a stop. The new body shape gives the Santa Fe an elegant, mature look that will wear well, and not look dated anytime soon. Hyundai has done a good job with the Sport's styling and overall value, but restraint must be exercised when ordering as options quickly add to the price of the vehicle.
For more detailed model information, visit www.hyundaiusa.com
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