The 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe is a mid-size SUV and is all-new for 2013. The new crossover is built on a new lighter-weight, higher-strength platform and comes in two sizes for families. It now comes in five or seven-passenger configurations. This week, we’ll be testing the two-row, five-passenger 2013 Santa Fe Sport AWD 2.0T. It competes in the fastest growing segment in the auto industry.
On the outside, the new 2013 Santa Fe is good looking and stylish. Its styling follows Hyundai’s new fluidic sculpture design direction. Along with the new Hyundai Sonata, it has a level of boldness to it that has made a name for the Sonata in the mid-size sedan segment. Hyundai is now one of the fastest growing automakers on the planet. The Santa Fe has been a popular choice, and the newly designed model should keep it at the top of buyers lists.
Upon entering the cabin, the new interior feels modern and stylish, and features plenty of soft-touch materials with an emphasis on driver ergonomics. This Santa Fe Sport 2.0T tester features an eight-way power driver seat with four-way adjustable lumbar, heated front seats and outside mirrors, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, front fog lights, chrome twin-tip exhaust, roof side rails, proximity key entry with pushbutton start, automatic headlight control, driver-selectable steering modes (DSSM), P235/55R19 tires on 19 inch alloy wheels, an electroluminescent gauge cluster and a trailer prep package.
This Sport 2.0T AWD model came equipped with two optional packages. The Leather and Premium Equipment Package ($2,450) featured comfortable leather seats, proximity key, a power front passenger seat, sliding and reclining second-row seats, heated rear seats, dual-zone climate control, the 4.3-inch touchscreen audio display and a rearview camera. The optional Technology Package ($2,900) included satellite navigation with an eight-inch touchscreen, Dimension premium audio, a panoramic sunroof, a heated steering wheel and manual side-window sunshades.
A good cold-weather vehicle
Denver experienced a wet snowstorm and fog during the week of testing and the heated seats, heated steering wheel, windshield wiper deicer, fog lights, heated outside mirrors and AWD features worked flawlessly. The Santa Fe is a good cold climate vehicle and families will appreciate Hyundai’s attention to all these features that make driving in snow and icy conditions much easier.
The Santa Fe’s ACC all-wheel drive continuously monitors road conditions and enhances stability by managing brake and engine torque. The system sends power to individual wheels depending on where traction is needed. The result is improved cornering stability, reduced understeer or oversteer to help the driver maintain control in snow and ice conditions. The system worked flawlessly in a foot of snow that fell in the mountains west of Denver where we live.
In the back, the sliding second-row seats fold down easily and the outside seat folds forward using either levers on their sides or pull handles in the cargo area. The center section doubles as an armrest and has a release on its upper back surface. Slid fully back, they provide adequate leg- and knee-room for a six-footer to sit comfortably. With the seats slid fully forward, they maximize cargo room. The panoramic sunroof is huge, and there’s sectioned hidden storage under the load floor.
This Santa Fe Sport tester came with the 2.0-liter 264-hp turbocharged four-cylinder powerplant. The engine benefits from the latest high-pressure gasoline direct injection (GDI) and drive through six-speed automatic transmission with Shiftronic manual capability. EPA fuel economy ratings for the 2.0-liter with AWD is 19/24 city/highway. In the week of city and highway driving, we averaged a combined 21 mpg.
The 2.0-liter turbocharged engine is ideal for mountain and hilly driving and is pleasant to drive. It has the performance when needed and a ride that was smooth and controlled over most surfaces. Its handling was at least as good as most competitors in its class. The all-new 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe has made great strides in styling, quality and overall pleasability. It features major improvements over the outgoing 2012 Santa Fe and is fully competitive and worthy of consideration.