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HEELS ON WHEELS: 2014 HYUNDAI SANTA FE REVIEW


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2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited



HEELS ON WHEELS
By Katrina Ramser
San Francisco Bureau
The Auto Channel

INTRO TO THE SANTA FE VEHICLE The Santa Fe remains one of the most versatile crossovers one the market by offering three fuel efficient engines and five, six or seven passenger seating configurations. Redesigned last year, the current model year brings more safety technologies and premium features.

I drove a 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe with the standard 290-horsepower 3.3-liter Lambda II GDI V6 engine paired to a standard six-speed automatic transmission with SHIFTRONIC and front-wheel drive. The seven-passenger model is available in two trims – GLS and Limited – with standard equipment for the Limited including: leatherette upholstery; heated front and rear rows; push-button start; a leather-wrapped steering wheel with mounted controls; Bluetooth; Blue Links telematics system; 4.3-inch audio display; XM Radio; power seating; power liftgate; fog lights; roof side rails; and nineteen-inch wheels. Price as described comes to $33,700.

The top three attributes the Santa Fe features are value, space and crossover style – the main competitor really narrows down to Mazda CX-9; and like the Santa Fe, the CX-7 is a smaller two-row version of virtually the exact crossover.

HEELS ON WHEELS REVIEW CRITERIA

Stylish But Comfortable Results: The Santa Fe’s main interior draw is a well-executed center-stack layout, intuitive for novice tech users and thorough with information. Blue Link connects your smartphone in seconds to the vivid touchscreen. There is a $4,850 Limited Tech Package that adds every feature available including Xenon headlights, navigation (including an eight-inch touchscreen), a panoramic sunroof that extends far beyond the second row, an Infinity Logic 7 audio system, manual rear side sunshades, a suite of safety technology, and heated and cooled front seats. There still is no rear DVD option for the kids with any Santa Fe.

Reliability & Safety Factor: The 2014 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: The three-row GLS trim starts at $29,900. My Limited with the Tech Package comes to $38,550. Starting price for a Mazda CX-9 in the base Sport trim is $29,985 with a fully loaded Grand Touring trim coming to $37,720 with options.

Activity & Performance Ability:The 3.3-liter delivers a smooth ride, but brakes are a tad tight with the Driver Selectable Steering Mode feature honestly not giving back any significant feedback regarding cornering and turns. Having lacked optional safety technology in the last model, the now-optional Blind Spot Detection and a rear parking assistance system with auditory sensors are very dire additions. There is a Sport version with a turbocharged 264-horsepower 2.0T or 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine.

The Green Concern: The 3.3-liter V6 engine gets 18-city and 25-highway for a combined 21 miles-per-gallon with front-wheel drive, with stats dropping to 20-combined with all-wheel drive which quite competitive for the segment – as does the 2.4-liter netting 25 combined with all-wheel drive. The 2.0T 2-liter turbo engine with on-demand all-wheel drive gets a combined 21 miles-per-gallon.

FINAL PARTING WORDS
The three-row 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe adds safety technology and more premium features – for the price and competitive fuel economy, this crossover could very likely be your next family car.

©2014 Katrina Ramser