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2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Heels on Wheels Review By Katrina Ramser

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2013 Hyundai Santa Fe


…perfectly executed inside and out, there isn’t a feature the Santa Fe has missed in its quest to serve up a well-rounded mid-size CUV

By Katrina Ramser
San Francisco Bureau
The Auto Channel


The 2013 Santa Fe has come up with a clever redesign concept hard to ignore: There are two of them to contend with now, the familiar two-row five-passenger crossover and a new longer wheelbase three-row seven-passenger model.

I drove a 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe available in one model trim – Sport –(see all trim levels below) with the optional 2.0T or the higher output 264-horsepower Theta II 2-liter turbocharged gasoline direct injection engine paired to a six-speed automatic transmission with SHIFTRONIC manual control. Standard equipment includes: push-button start; a leather-wrapped steering wheel; fog lights; heated side mirrors; roof side rails; nineteen-inch wheels; and twin-tip chrome exhaust. Additional features included a $2,450 Leather & Premium Package (leather upholstery, front power seating, 4.3-inch audio display, rearview camera), a $2,900 Technology Package (sunroof, 8-inch touchscreen navigation system, upgraded 12-speaker Infinity audio system) and $100 manual side window sunshades. Total vehicle price came to $35,100.

Main competitors to the five-passenger Santa Fe include such popular choices as the Ford Escape, Nissan Murano, Chevrolet Equinox, Honda CR-V – the list goes on and on. However, the Mazda C-7 and Mazda C-9 are the closest competitors, as essential like the Santa Fe these two are virtually the same crossover available in two sizes.


Stylish But Comfortable Results: Every Santa Fe model also comes with steering-wheel mounted controls, a six-speaker audio system, XM radio, USB port and auxiliary input jacks, Blue Link telematics system, and underfloor cargo storage. Additional noticeable features include well-lit door handles, a unique and ventilated design on the leather upholstery, a massive moonroof, and steering modes – all of this is enough to sink the mid-size crossover competition, and Hyundai knows it. It’s also surprisingly roomy inside for all five passengers and extra cargo, causing more prominent nameplates like the Volvo XC60 to feel a little small in comparison.

Reliability & Safety Factor: The 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe is a Top Safety Pick with The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) for ratings of “Good” in every crash test area. The vehicle has a 5-Star overall rating with The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Standard safety equipment includes a comprehensive airbag system, anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, and hill-start assist control.

Cost Issues: A Hyundai Santa Fe Sport with a smaller four-cylinder engine starts at $24,450. The Ford Escape starts at $22,470 but doesn’t offer anywhere near the amount of standard equipment found in the Santa Fe. The 2013 Honda CR-V starts at $22,695 and does have a nice list that includes a rearview camera, Multi-Information Display, four-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, Pandora Internet Radio, and a text messaging function that reads smartphone texts aloud through the audio system.

Activity & Performance Ability: The turbo four-cylinder alleviates any desire for a larger V6, as this powertrain is precise, responsive and commanding in every driving situation. The cabin is quite with minimal blind spots and roomy for child seats. All Santa Fe models use the Active ECO System for smoothing out throttle response. If you want to hold out for the three-row seven-passenger Santa Fe model, it features the only gasoline direct injection V6 engine in it is class: a Lambda II 3.3-liter toting a quick 290 horsepower and competitive fuel economy.

The Green Concern: The 2.0T 2-liter turbo engine with on-demand all-wheel drive gets 19-city and 24-highway for a combined fuel economy of 21 miles-per-gallon. The standard Theta II 2.4-liter gasoline direct injection four-cylinder engine with front-wheel drive gets 21 miles-per-gallon city and 29 highway.

Perfectly executed inside and out, there isn’t a feature the Santa Fe has missed in its quest to serve up a well-rounded mid-size – and now three-row seven-passenger – crossover. Straightforward engines, trims, safety results and prices showcase Hyundai’s confidence about offering consumers a truly value-based utility experience.

2013 Katrina Ramser