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In a crowded field of mid-size SUV/Crossovers, Hyundai’s 2013 Santa Fe Sport does a lot to make it stand out from the pack. On this edition of Drivetime we take a look at the the latest version of the Hyundai family hauler.

For 2013, the Santa Fe has been split in two models. The Sport that I drove is a smaller wheelbase version. A longer wheelbase version with a third seat is slated to appear soon in Hyundai showrooms.

This is easily the most attractive Santa Fe yet with Hyundai designers moving away from the boxy predecessors to a more sculpted athletic flowing design that moves it into a much more car like look. The larger greenhouse glass is gone in favor of a smaller sportier upswept rear quarter glass treatment. The front gets the Hyundai diamond grille with what I call the four eyes look…the two cat like headlamp openings with smaller fog lamp ports under them. It all makes for  a smooth attractive look. Tailgate opening is massive with rear wheel wells pushed out to give you a wide berth and plenty of cargo room with the rear seat up or down.

Inside the Santa Fe as the man says you get your moneys worth. Different textures ans sweeping curves are all drawn together by a prominent center stack and massive storage space under it. Round gauges with an information screen in the middle are easy to read for the driver and the massive Nav/Info screen highlights that well thought out center cluster. There is a lot of space in the passenger compartment. It almost feels like a class above what it is. Seats are comfortable and seating position feels good. The Santa Fe gets the Hyundai Blue Link information system which is top flight. The Santa Fe also comes with an adjustable rear seat which gives it massive rear seat leg room.  You can get heat for the rear seat as an option. Manual side rear window shades are a nice touch as is the heated steering wheel and panoramic sun roof.

The Santa Fe comes with tons of goodies, this one of my favorites!

The Santa Fe comes with tons of goodies, this one of my favorites!

The Santa Fe is powered by the 2.0 Turbo 4 cylinder that cranks out 264 horses to the 6 speed automatic. The on demand all wheel drive system is smooth. There is a sense that you want more out of the Santa Fe acceleration wise. Its no slouch but it doesn’t pop off the line either. It is torquey though, meaning you should get good pull when you attach a small trailer to it.

The Santa Fe also rides like a bigger vehicle. While not soft by any means it has a bigger car ride to it. Bumps and ruts are absorbed without disconnecting you from the road completely. One of my favorite new car toys are included in the Santa Fe…adjustable steering. Sport, comfort and normal modes let you adjust the steering for conditions or whim. While the steering isn’t as sports car like as say a Mazda it has plenty of feel for the road and never leaves you feeling disconnected.

Price range on the Santa Fe Sport can range from $28,350 to the high end of the Santa Sport 2.0 T AWD I drove with leather, premium and technology packages that stickered at $35,925. EPA mileage listings were 19 city 24 highway with a combined of 21 miles per gallon. The Hyundai Santa Fe Sport gets 5 stars in federal crash tests except for rollover where it gets 4.

santa fe 2

While Hyundai is all about giving you a lot of bang for your buck in all their vehicles…so much so I recommended my sister in law buy one and she loves it…this Santa Fe adds beauty to the bang. While being well designed, appealing to the eye and extremely functional, it rides comfortably, feels more expensive than it is, has lots of options and is head and shoulders over the vehicle it replaces in the Hyundai line up. Only one real drawback…i’d like to see that V6 in this version so that people who want a little more punch out of their car have the option. If you are in the market for a family hauler the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport should be on your list.

For more information: https://www.hyundaiusa.com/vehicles/2013/santa-fe/?

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