2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Road Test: Wherein We Abuse the Poor Dear

Every car has a personality and the Hyundai Santa Fe is no exception. The Santa Fe is an interesting vehicle because at first glance you could be tricked into thinking it’s a Mom Car. This crossover is a Mom Car but not in the defeated way that a minivan is a mom car. The Santa Fe is an everyone car and with the trim level I was in it’s a little bit snooty to let kids in but still affordable.

The 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe is a crossover that makes you look smart.

I’ve never driven a Hyundai for more than a test drive before so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I’ve also not owned a crossover and I’m not sure that I’ve ever had an extended drive in one. My friend Vincent at Slashgear got great video that shows you some of the terrain we covered. I took some video too, but it was decidedly less great.

We left the hotel and took paved and unpaved roads for a few hours from Deer Valley to Sundance. There are a few things I noticed about the Hyundai Santa Fe right away.

  • It handles like a luxury car but looks like a truck (or SUV whatever…)
  • The rear seats are heated
  • It’s very fuel efficient
  • The cabin is quiet even when the road is rough
  • You can go 45 MPH on an unpaved road, slam on the brakes and there’s ZERO fishtailing. This thing is safe.

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Collection

The Santa Fe is an attractive crossover. Crossovers by their very nature aren’t particularly sexy so the folks at Hyundai had to really work at this. I found the styling (particularly on the front grille) to be very attractive. It speaks of luxe to me. The vehicle has a very aerodynamic look to it that extends to the trunk area and saves it from looking like a clunky SUV.

I drove that car like the biggest jerk on the road. On pavement, I switched the steering from comfort to sport and back again all the while wiggling the wheel (and my poor passengers). I did experience a slight bit of tightness to the drive with it in sport but I wouldn’t call it dramatic. I accelerated wildly and then slammed the brakes on both on paved and unpaved roads, the vehicle performed perfectly.

Let’s talk about the interior. There’s space here. A lot of space actually. We were driving the Sport model which seats 5. I sat comfortably in the rear seat with a six-foot tall man in front of me. It was quite roomy, exceeding my expectations. They’ve also added an airbag at the knee to keep the driver in her seat in case of an accident. I hope to never need that feature but I like that it’s there.

The Santa Fe has great pickup. They’ve shaved more than 260 pounds off the curb weight of the vehicle without sacrificing safety. Hyundai uses high tensile steel which means that it can stand up to higher levels stress before necking. Why does this matter to you? Well, if you combine a lower weight vehicle with a little more torque all without giving up on safety you end up with a car that can get you up a ramp and onto a freeway at 65 MPH without feeling like you’re holding up traffic. It also means that you can quickly accelerate to change lanes or to avoid an accident because the dopey guy next to you is checking tumblr…

The price-point of the Santa Fe is extraordinary. It starts at $24,450 and ends at $29,450 for the turbo model with All Wheel Drive (money well spent if you can swing it). There are add-ons available for up to $6,600 so with every bell and whistle the Santa Fe could top out at $36,050. Let’s talk about some of those bells and whistles, shall we?

I love panoramic sunroofs. One of the most tragic moments in my life was when I realized that the only way to get a five-seater convertible was to buy a Bentley. My husband won’t buy me a Bentley, he just doesn’t love me enough. True story. Panoramic sunroofs take the sting out of not being able to buy a convertible when you’ve got two kids (which kid isn’t allowed a playdate because Mommy wanted a cute car?). I’m also someone who just feels better with sunlight. The sunroof is the size of Texas, I love it more than words can say.

Hyundai Santa Fe 2013 features a large sunroof

There’s a lot of hidden storage in the cargo (trunk area) so you can leave your electronics and whatnot under the “floor”. If you get the longer wheelbase you can have a Santa Fe that seats 7 and since the interior of that one is still top secret I have no idea what happens in that cargo area.

Speaking of interiors the only part of the Santa Fe that has a whiff of Mom Car is that if you get fabric it features YES. Which is a stain resistant technology that keeps the seats clean and dry. I didn’t sit in a car with YES but if you prefer cloth seats then this might be a huge selling point.

Hyundai has a 5 year 60,000 warranty along with a 10-year 100,000-mile powertrain protection warranty and a few others too (see the site because there’s a lot to read there). While I was driving the Santa Fe I was thinking that it would be a smart car to buy (I lease cars not buy them), it’s got every luxury that a crossover can have (except air conditioned seats but I’m pretty sure that’s not a deal breaker). With a lower price point than most in its class, a longer warranty and a fuel-efficient engine it seems like a no-brainer.

There was a slew of great writers on this trip so here’s a wrap up of their stories:

Better in Bulk  Hyundai Introduces the New 2013 Santa Fe in Park City

Gadget Review Hands On: A Day in the Utah Mountains With the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport (Video/Pics)

Gear Diary Hyundai Takes Us up the Mountain to Discover the New Santa Fe!

Gunaxin 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport

Surf and Sunshine The New 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport Pushes the Limits #NewSantaFe

Southern Bella’s Way to Save Hyundai #NewSantaFe Driving Experience

Just Short of Crazy 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Test Drive

Makobi Scribe What A Mom Thinks About The All #NewSantaFe Sport

Discovery First Drive: All-New 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe

The Vacation Gals 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Review

HighTechDad Hyundai Does it Right Introducing the New 2013 Santa Fe CUV

If you’re like me you’re looking for numbers and not an explanation, here are the specs. Decide for yourself.

ENGINE
 

Santa Fe Sport

Santa Fe

2.4L

2.0L Turbo

3.3L

Type

2.4L GDI DOHC 16-valve Inline 4-cylinder

2.0L Turbo GDI DOHC 16-valve Inline 4-cylinder

3.3L GDI DOHC 24-valve V6

Materials

Aluminum block/aluminum cylinder heads

Aluminum block/aluminum cylinder heads

Aluminum block/aluminum cylinder heads

Bore & stroke

88.0 mm x 97.0 mm

86.0 mm x 86.0 mm

92.0 mm x 83.8 mm

Displacement

2.4L / 2,359 cc

2.0 L / 1,998 cc

3.3L / 3,342 cc

Horsepower

190 @ 6,300 rpm

264 @ 6,000 rpm

294 @ 6,400 rpm

Torque

181 lb-ft @ 4,250 rpm

269 lb-ft @ 1,750~ 3,000 rpm

252 lb-ft @ 5,200 rpm

Valves per cylinder

4

4

4

Compression Ratio

11.3

9.5

11.5

TRANSMISSION
6-speed electronic automatic

Santa Fe Sport

Santa Fe

Gear ratios

2.4L

2.0T

3.3L

First

4.639

4.651

TBD

Second

2.826

2.831

Third

1.841

1.842

Fourth

1,386

1.386

Fifth

1.000

1.000

Sixth

0.772

0.772

Reverse

3.385

3.393

Final Gear Ratio

3.648

3.510

SUSPENSION
FrontMacPherson strut with twin-tube gas filled damper and 26-mm stabilizer bar
RearMulti-link with gas shock absorber and (FWD 21 mm AWD 19 mm) stabilizer bar
STEERING
TypeMotor Driven Power Steering (MDPS)
Overall Ratio15.03 : 1
Turns, lock to lock2.95
Turning circle (curb to curb)35.8 ft (Santa Fe Sport), 36.7 ft (Santa Fe)
BRAKES/TIRES/WHEELS
FrontVentilated single piston disc, 12.6 in. x 1.1 in. (320mm x 28mm)
RearSolid single piston disc, 11.9 in. X 0.4 in. (302mm x 11mm)
ABS4-wheel, 4-channel, 4-sensors with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist
Wheels17 x 7.0 aluminum alloy18 x 7.5 aluminum alloy19 x 7.5 aluminum alloy
TiresP235/65 R17P235/60 R18P235/55 R19
EXTERIOR DIMENSIONS

Santa Fe Sport

Santa Fe

Wheelbase

106.3 in

110.2 in.

Overall length

184.6 in

193.1 in.

Overall width

74.0 in.

74.2 in.

Overall height (w/ roof rack)

66.1 in. (66.5 in.)

66.5 in. (66.9)

Wheel Tread, front

64.3 / 64.1 in. (17”/19”)

64.1/64.1 in.(18″/19″)

Wheel Tread, rear

64.7 / 64.5 in. (17”/19”)

64.5/64.5 in.(18″/19″)

INTERIOR DIMENSIONS

Santa Fe Sport

Santa Fe

Head room(w/ sunroof)Front

39.6 in. (38.2 in.)

39.6 in. (38.2 in.)

2nd row

39.1 in. (37.4 in.)

39.4 in. (38.3 in.)

3rd row

N/A

35.7 in. (35.7 in.)

Leg roomFront (MAX)

41.3 in. (44.1 in.)

41.3 in. (44.1 in.)

2nd row

39.4 in

41.3 in

3rd row

N/A

31.5 in

Shoulder roomFront

59.4 in.

59.4 in.

2nd row

58.3 in

58.6 in.

3rd row

N/A

53.9 in.

Hip roomFront

56.7 in.

56.7 in.

2nd row

55.4 in.

55.4 in.

3rd row

N/A

44.1 in

SAE passenger volume

108.0 cubic ft.

146.6 cubic ft.

SAE cargo volume – Behind front seats (est.)

71.5 cubic ft.

80.0 cubic ft.

SAE cargo volume – Behind 2nd row seats (est.)

35.4 cubic ft.

41.0 cubic ft.

SAE cargo volume – Behind 3rd row seats (est.)

N/A

13.4 cubic ft.

CAPACITIES

Santa Fe Sport

Santa Fe

2.4L

2.0T

3.3L

Fuel

17.4 gallons

17.4 gallons

18.0 gallons

Oil

5.8 quarts

(5.5 liter)

5.8 quarts

(5.5 liter)

6.9 quarts

(6.5 liters)

Coolant

2.7 quarts

(2.55 liter)

2.7 quarts

(2.55 liter)

4.6 quarts

(4.4 liters)

CURB WEIGHT

Santa Fe Sport 

Santa Fe

2.4L

2.0T

3.3L

FWD

3,459 lbs.

3,569 lbs.

3,869 lbs.

AWD

3,616 lbs.

3,706 lbs.

4,012 lbs.


FUEL ECONOMY

Santa Fe Sport

Santa Fe

2.4L

2.0T

3.3L

FWD A/T (EPA)
City

22 mpg

21 mpg

26 mpg

(Internal est.)

Highway

33 mpg

31 mpg

19 mpg

(Internal est.)

Combined

26 mpg

25 mpg

22 mpg

(Internal est.)

AWD A/T (EPA)
City

21 mpg

20 mpg

TBD

Highway

28 mpg

27 mpg

TBD

Combined

23 mpg

22 mpg

TBD

 Hyundai provided me with a trip to Utah to experience the new 2013 Santa Fe at altitude. 
 

Facebook Comments

Comments 19

  1. What is with all of the minivan hate? I have no children. What I do have is a lot of road bikes. My two minivans were the best things we ever owned. Eject the middle seat, put the bikes in there, store all of the bike clothes in the back and there you go. We had covered storage and a changing room with tinted windows. Same goes for alpine skiing. Minivans are a very efficient use of space, and not a Cheerio to be seen.

        1. for sure. Wife said to me – No MiniVan and No Volkswagen! ;-) MiniVans look great on paper for price vs hauling kids and gear… but often are not fuel friendly but there are other ways around this.. ie. a smaller motor in a smaller vehicle.. and then use a Cargo Box on roof for camping gear and skis etc! That’s probably the best plan.. unfortunately I love sunroofs too.. and the Santa Fe with sunroof doesn’t have roof rails for a cargo box.

  2. Again, a surprisingly appealing car by Hyundai – they’ve been pretty darn successful at re-branding themselves. Can you do a review of the Genesis next? I’m curious to know if it’s as luxurious as all of the ads purport. Make them send you another car! ;)

  3. I actually love the idea of a crossover. They hold a lot, but don’t take up as much space as a standard suv. My lease is up in the next couple of months & this one looks worth a look! Thanks Jessica!

  4. We are in the market for a new car and I will definitely check this out. Fuel efficiency and space are key, but luxury and “sexiness” are important too. Thanks for the thorough review!

  5. Thanks for a great post Jessica! I had no idea that Hyundai made a crossover or that there was so much room in the backseat with a tall driver. Leg room as a passenger in the back seat is a struggle in our current vehicle!

  6. Love cars that seat 7! With 2 kids and all of their friends, I have to have something that seats 7. Very nice looking and sounds like a dream to drive.

  7. I love that Hyundai is invested in making affordable cars with a luxe feel — there’s no reason a design shouldn’t be stylish. Plus, their cars always seem to be the best bang for the buck. I often mistake the Genesis for higher-end luxury models on the road. Well played (and made), Hyundai!

  8. Pingback: Hyundai 2013 Santa Fe: Made with Love for Your Family | Jessica Gottlieb A Los Angeles Mom

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