Overview

Overview

The 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe, completely redesigned, does double duty in the hotly-competitive crossover SUV segment. It's split into a five-passenger, two-row, midsize Santa Fe Sport model and larger, three-row seven-passenger Santa Fe, replacing the outgoing Hyundai Veracruz. Attractive styling, good fuel economy and performance for the price, easy-to-use infotainment system and outstanding warranty are pluses for small to larger families.

What Experts Think

Within the automotive press, opinions are often fairly well divided over various features, technology, comfort, ride and handling, performance, style and value. Perhaps nowhere is this more apparent than in the hot crossover segment, whether that be midsize five-passenger or larger, three-row, seven-passenger versions.

Edmunds editors say the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe crossover utility has a "decent amount of luxury, tons of features, surprising amounts of performance, and also does so without breaking the bank."  The publication notes that there are other excellent choices for five-passenger utilities, namely the Chevrolet Equinox, Honda CR-V and Ford Escape, and the Kia Sorento is slightly bigger and highly regarded for a seven-passenger utility. Still, the Santa Fe decidedly earns its spot among these stellar competitors.

"Good power, agreeable ride quality, and a comfortable, practical interior" are just a few of the accolades that Consumer Guide gives the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe. They do nitpick about the Sport's steep price, especially if costly option packages are added.

Car and Driver refers to the Santa Fe as "a compelling family bus, even as what it offers is pretty standard fare," while saying the Santa Fe Sport has much of what shoppers for crossovers want: "quality, refinement and utility."

"Hyundai's redesigned midsize SUV is now roomy, stylish and comfortable." (Consumer Reports)

Cars.com finds the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport has gone "from ho-hum to head of the class." While also hailing the crossover's "newfound style and impressive powertrain," editors note the appealing price - as long as packages are wisely chosen.

Checking out the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe, Kelley Blue Book remarks that the crossover is "a few hundred-dollar notches below the competition while delivering a stylish exterior and a high-quality interior with plenty of huggable comfort and convenience."

What Owners Say

Combing through owner reviews on sites such as Edmunds, Kelley Blue Book, Yahoo Autos, MSN Autos, Cars.com and AOL Autos leaves the definite impression that consumers find a lot to like and a lot not to about the all-new 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport.

Among the positive comments from owners of the five-passenger Santa Fe Sport: great interior and exterior design, lots of pep, roomy, comfortable ride, AWD is great in the snow, terrific upgraded sound system, hardly any turbo lag, lots of updated electronics, panoramic moon roof and push button start.

Negatives include blind spots, quality problems fuel gauge issues, no rear heat, passenger side leak, failed to start, noise in the steering column, rearview camera recall, chrome wheels not available, no running lights, and a few more.

Not as many owners have commented yet on the three-row, seven-passenger Santa Fe, but the ones who have seem to be mostly quite impressed.

Model/Trim Lineup

The 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe is a six- or seven-passenger SUV that comes in GLS and Limited trim levels, or as a five-passenger Santa Fe Sport available in base or 2.0T trim.

Starting with the smaller Santa Fe Sport, standard features include a rear spoiler, 17-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, air conditioning, full power accessories, a trip computer, cloth seating, 40/20/40 split-folding rear seats, Bluetooth connectivity, Hyundai's Blue Link telematics system, a six-speaker audio system with CD player, satellite radio and USB/iPod integration.

Optional equipment in the Popular equipment package adds roof rack rails, automatic headlights, fog lights, heated mirrors, heated front seats, an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat with power lumbar support, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

In the Santa Fe Sport 2.0T, besides all of the above, swaps out the 17-inche wheels for 19-inchers, adds an upgraded gauge cluster and information display, keyless ignition/entry, and a more powerful turbocharged engine.

Moving on to the three-row Santa Fe GLS, the standard equipment list is much like that in the five-passenger base Sport model. Along with the V6 engine and longer wheelbase, the Santa Fe GLS includes 50/50 split-folding third-row seats, 18-inch wheels, fog lights and sliding second-row seats.

Top-of-the-line Santa Fe Limited has nearly all of the features of the 2.0T and GLS, although an important distinction here is that seating is six, not seven. That's because the second-row seats are swapped out for two captain's chairs. The Limited also includes dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, heated second-row seats, driver's seat memory functions, power passenger seat, upgraded interior trim, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a 4.3-inch touchscreen audio display, a rearview camera, windshield wiper de-icers and a power liftgate.

Some options are offered as part of bundled packages on certain trims. For example, all trims can add a navigation system paired with an eight-inch touchscreen display, a premium sound system (Dimension in Sport and GLS, or 12-speaker Infinity surround-sound in Sport 2.0T and Limited), and a rearview camera. All except the GLS have an available sunroof. But a blind-spot monitoring system is only available on the Limited.

Performance

Automotive reviewers are split when it comes to their views on the performance and driving excitement for the 2013 Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport. While the Sport promises and looks to deliver sprightly handling, it's no enthusiast's vehicle, for sure. One review said the Sport isn't a machine you'd look forward to "hammering" when you've got a clear road ahead. Another found it to be a "sprightly performer," but mostly in terms of the midsize crossover SUV's overall refinement. Most agree that the turbocharged four-cylinder engine offers surprisingly smooth acceleration, has plenty of power even at higher elevations, although acceleration could be more linear.

Front-wheel drive (FWD) is standard in all Santa Fe models, while all-wheel drive (AWD) is optional.

Looking closer at the powertrain offerings in the smaller Santa Fe Sport, the base model comes with a 190-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, whereas the Sport 2.0T is equipped with a 264-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. The three-row Santa Fe, in both trims, is powered by a 294-horsepower 3.3-liter V6 engine. All three engines are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.

Fuel economy is EPA-estimated at 21 mpg city/29 mpg highway/24 mpg combined for the FWD and 20/26/22 mpg for the AWD Santa Fe Sport with the base engine. In the Sport 2.0T, fuel economy with the turbocharged 2.0-liter engine is EPA-estimated at 20/27/23 mpg (FWD) and 19/24/21 mpg (AWD).

The larger Santa Fe, both GLS and Limited models, achieve an estimated 18/25/21 mpg (FWD) and 18/24/20 (AWD).

Interior

Among the motoring press, the consensus is that the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport have some of the nicest cabins in their respective classes. This is due largely to well-placed controls, overall spaciousness of the interior, quality materials and well-executed design.

Often noted by auto critics is the fact that the touchscreen menus and controls are about as intuitive as it gets.

Seat comfort matters in a crossover SUV of any size, but especially those for family use or long-distance driving. Here the Santa Fe Sport gets kudos for its comfortable front seats with enough adjustment to satisfy most every size driver. As for the second-row of seats, there's a wide range of recline angle, plenty of headroom and legroom for adults of average stature, even with the optional panoramic sunroof. Second-row comfort in the longer wheelbase Santa Fe benefits passengers with even more legroom.

Most testers also hail the quietness of the cabin, saying it feels and looks more expensive than it is.

Cargo and storage capacity is more than adequate in the Santa Fe Sport with 35.4 cubic feet of cargo behind second-row seats. Its larger sibling, the Santa Fe, can hold up to 41 cubic feet of cargo. Fold down flat the second-row seats in the Sport and the capacity to hold gear ratchets up to 71.5 cubic feet, while the seven-passenger Santa Fe with second row folded holds up to 80 cubic feet.

Safety & Reliability

Safety is a paramount consideration for any crossover SUV, whether midsize or larger, and especially when the vehicle is used for the family. Here, the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport, in the view of most of the automotive press, acquit themselves nicely.

For example, standard safety features on all 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe models include antilock disc brakes, stability control, traction control, front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags, front seat active head restraints, hill hold and descent control. Hyundai's Blue Link emergency telematics system is also standard and provides services such as emergency, vehicle recovery, geo-fencing and remote access.

The 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport (the five-passenger) earned the top five-star overall rating for crash protection from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). This includes five stars for frontal-impact and five stars for side impact safety. The Santa Fe earned the top "Good" rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) for frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength tests.

In terms of reliability, the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe is rated among "the rest," receiving a two-circle rating in the J.D. Power Predicted Reliability rating.

 

Trim Style Engine Drive Train MSRP
SUV - AWD
Sport AWD 4dr Sport 4 Cylinder AWD 26450
2.0T Sport AWD 4dr 2.0T Sport 4 Cylinder AWD 29700
2.0T Sport w/Saddle Int AWD 4dr 2.0T Sport w/Saddle Int 4 Cylinder AWD 29700
GLS AWD 4dr GLS V6 AWD 30350
Limited AWD 4dr Limited V6 AWD 35100
Limited w/Saddle Int AWD 4dr Limited w/Saddle Int V6 AWD 35100
SUV - FWD
Sport FWD 4dr Sport 4 Cylinder FWD 24700
2.0T Sport FWD 4dr 2.0T Sport 4 Cylinder FWD 27950
2.0T Sport w/Saddle Int FWD 4dr 2.0T Sport w/Saddle Int 4 Cylinder FWD 27950
GLS FWD 4dr GLS V6 FWD 28600
Limited FWD 4dr Limited V6 FWD 33350
Limited w/Saddle Int FWD 4dr Limited w/Saddle Int V6 FWD 33350

Car Rankings

Interested to see how the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe ranks against similar cars in terms of key attributes? Here are the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe rankings for MPG, horsepower, torque, leg room, head room, shoulder room, hip room and so forth.

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