Hyundai Santa Fe (2013)

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I was in Park City Utah last week to drive the all-new third-generation Santa Fe. There are two versions of the 2013 Santa Fe. A five-passenger model similar in size to today’s Santa Fe, called the Santa Fe Sport. And a stretched three-row, seven-passenger model that is called the Santa Fe.

Both are capable crossovers built for today’s family, with flexible seating and cargo room, and advanced safety technologies.

Both Santa Fe models feature the same interior look, designed for functionality and comfort. From the heated rear seats and slick eight-way power driver seat, to a standard 40:20:40 folding rear seat back, both show flexibility and a pleasant cabin for all.

Special care and attention went into other interior details, such as an optional panoramic sunroof, which allows more natural light into the cabin, and premium window switch trim. Available on 2.4-liter models and standard on Turbo models, is a push-button starter with proximity key and an electrochromatic gauge cluster color LCD screen. A heated steering wheel and sliding second row seats are optional first-class touches on Santa Fe Sport. The heated steering wheel is also optional on the LWB Santa Fe.


Santa Fe Sport buyers have the choice of a base 2.4-liter GDI engine or a turbocharged 2.0-liter GDI engine. Both engines have been well tested in the Hyundai Sonata and provide more than enough power for city or highway driving and have the ability to tow up to 3,500 pounds. With 190 horsepower and 181 lb-ft of torque, Santa Fe Sport 2.4 still manages EPA fuel economy of 22 city and 33 highway.

The higher output 2.0-liter turbocharged engine found under the hood of Santa Fe Sport 2.0T increases horsepower to 264, while also delivering excellent fuel economy. The LWB Santa Fe is powered by the 3.3-liter GDI V6 engine, which is also found in the Hyundai Azera.

Hyundai still is all about bang for the buck. Some of the goodies found on 12-speaker Infinity Logic 7® surround sound audio system (550-watts), Active Cornering Control AWD for outstanding CUV driving dynamics, Segment first Driver Selectable Steering Mode, Seven standard airbags – includes driver’s knee airbag, Panoramic sunroof, Heated steering wheel, Heated rear seats and manual rear side window sunshades

Standard Blue Link – safety, service and infotainment telematics system, third generation navigation and audio multimedia systems with an available eight-inch touchscreen display.

Hyundai first gained notice with their 10 year 100k warranty. Then their “we’ll buy it back if you lose your job” promise. Their getting more notice because of their super hot looks that they call “Fluidic Sculpture” exterior design. Now, they are backing that up with great fuel economy and a host of features to delight drivers and passengers with high expectations for functionality and comfort.

After driving the 2013 Santa Fe all around the mountains of Utah, I must agree that anyone looking at a Honda CRV or Pilot, Toyota RAV4, Highlander, Escape, or Edge owes it to themselves to add the Hyundai Santa Fe to the list.

The all-new 2013 five-passenger Santa Fe Sport began arriving at Hyundai dealerships in August, with the long wheelbase Santa Fe set to arrive in January 2013. –Mike Herzing


Base Price: $24,450

Fuel Economy: 22/33

Engine: 2.4 /190hp 2.0t /264hp 3.3V6 coming soon

Transmission: 6 spd AT

What I liked: Bang for the buck/ great looks

Star Rating: 5 out of 5