Used 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe SUV Review & Ratings | Edmunds

Used 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe SUV Review

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Edmunds Expert Review of the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe SUV

  • B Edmunds Rating
  • The redesigned 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe has what it takes to unseat the class-leading crossovers, with quality, power, comfort and style.

  • Pros

    Spacious interior; Sport model's strong and relatively economical turbo engine; available third-row seating; lengthy warranty.

  • Cons

    Weak base engine with little fuel economy benefit; poor rearward visibility.

  • What's New for 2013

    The Hyundai Santa Fe has been redesigned for 2013, with both a seven-passenger, long-wheelbase model and a five-passenger Sport version.

Full 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Review

What's New for 2013

The Hyundai Santa Fe has been redesigned for 2013, with both a seven-passenger, long-wheelbase model and a five-passenger Sport version.


If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Whether it's a friendly Nigerian prince offering you the deal of a lifetime, a free Apple iPad or a delicious zero-calorie dessert, these opportunities are illusions. But if someone tells you about a crossover utility that offers a decent amount of luxury, tons of features, surprising amounts of performance, and also does so without breaking the bank, you can actually take them at their word. Well, if they're talking about the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe, that is.

Capping off what has been an epic march up the rankings for Hyundai, the redesigned 2013 Santa Fe adopts the company's "fluidic sculpture" design with favorable results. For the first time, Hyundai is also offering two models of this crossover. The Santa Fe GLS and Limited now feature a third row of seats, increasing the passenger count to seven (or six in the case of the Limited) and effectively replacing the outgoing Hyundai Veracruz. But if you see little need for that sort of capacity, you're in luck, as Hyundai also offers the slightly shorter, five-passenger Santa Fe Sport with two rows of seats.

Under the hood, Santa Fe Sport buyers have the choice of either a 2.4-liter four-cylinder or a more powerful, turbocharged 2.0-liter four. Given the choice between a marginal gain in fuel economy versus a significant boost in output, the turbo is our engine of choice. The three-row Santa Fe models come standard with a 3.3-liter V6.

Whichever version you choose, you'll no doubt appreciate the cabin's clean and modern design, intuitive controls and extensive number of standard and optional features. Furthermore, passengers in the first two rows will enjoy spacious accommodations that are suitable for taller adults.

There are some very desirable choices for a crossover SUV this year. The Chevrolet Equinox, Ford Escape and Honda CR-V are all excellent choices for a five-passenger model, while the slightly bigger Kia Sorento is a standout for seven-passenger seating. If you can spend a bit more and want more room, the slightly larger Nissan Pathfinder is worth a look. Overall, though, the Santa Fe is a top-tier choice in any of its available seating and trim configurations.

In the case of the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe, you really can believe the hype.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe is a six- or seven-passenger SUV that is available in GLS and Limited trim levels. The smaller Santa Fe Sport seats five and is offered in base and 2.0T trims.

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

To this, the optional Popular Equipment package can be added, which includes automatic headlights, foglights, heated mirrors, roof rack rails, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated front seats and an eight-way power-adjustable driver seat (with power lumbar support).

The Sport 2.0T adds all of the above, along with a more powerful turbocharged engine, 19-inch wheels, an upgraded gauge cluster and information display and keyless ignition/entry.

The Santa Fe GLS is similar in feature content to the base Sport model, but gains a longer wheelbase, a V6 engine and 50/50 split-folding third-row seats. Also added are 18-inch wheels, foglights and a sliding feature for the second-row bench seat.

The range-topping Limited essentially includes all off the 2.0T and GLS features, but seating is reduced to six, as the second-row seats are replaced with two captain's chairs. Other additions include a power liftgate, windshield wiper de-icers, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, heated second-row seats, driver seat memory functions, a power passenger seat, upgraded interior trim elements, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a 4.3-inch touchscreen audio display and a rearview camera.

Some features are offered as options on supporting trims as part of bundled packages. Most notably, a navigation system is offered on all trims and is also paired with an 8-inch touchscreen display, a rearview camera and a premium sound system (a Dimension system for the Sport and GLS or a 12-speaker surround-sound Infinity system for the Sport 2.0T and Limited). A panoramic sunroof is available on all but the GLS. All trims can be optioned with a heated steering wheel. Finally, a blind-spot monitoring system is only available on the Limited.

Powertrains and Performance

Powering the base 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 190 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque. As with all other Santa Fe models, front-wheel drive is standard, while all-wheel drive is optional. The only available transmission is a six-speed automatic. Fuel economy estimates are quite good, with an EPA-rated 21 mpg city/29 mpg highway and 24 mpg in combined driving for the front-drive and 20/26/22 mpg for the AWD.

The Santa Fe Sport 2.0T receives a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine that increases output to 264 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy drops only slightly; the EPA estimates 20/27/23 mpg for the front-drive and 19/24/21 mpg for the AWD. In Edmunds performance testing, an AWD 2.0T Santa Fe accelerated from a standstill to 60 mph in 8.1 seconds, which is on the quick side for this class of crossover.

The larger GLS and Limited models benefit from a 3.3-liter V6 that produces 290 hp and 252 lb-ft of torque. EPA estimates are 18/25/21 with front-drive and 18/24/20 with AWD. In Edmunds testing, an AWD Santa Fe Limited went from zero to 60 mph in 7.7 seconds, a good time for a seven-passenger vehicle.

Properly equipped, the V6 Santa Fe models can tow up to 5,000 pounds, while the Sport 2.0T tops out at 3,500.


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

In government crash testing, the Santa Fe Sport earned a top five-star rating for overall crash protection, with five stars for total frontal-impact safety and five stars for side-impact safety. Top scores have also been awarded by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which gave the Santa Fe a top "Good" rating in moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength tests.

In Edmunds brake testing, a Santa Fe 2.0T AWD came to a stop from 60 mph in a class-average 127 feet. The heavier Santa Fe Limited actually stopped a bit shorter in 125 feet.

Interior Design and Special Features

Among the numerous competing crossover SUVs in its class, the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe has one of the nicer cabins of the bunch. This is thanks in no small part to its quality of materials, thoughtful placement of controls and overall spaciousness. As we've come to expect from Hyundai, the Santa Fe's cockpit could serve as a benchmark for elegant simplicity in the segment. Switchgear is well organized and legible, while the touchscreen menus and functions are as intuitive as it gets. Build quality in our test car, however, was mediocre.

The front seats are pretty comfortable for longer drives, with enough adjustments to accommodate drivers of all sizes. Second-row passengers will also find the quarters to their liking, with a wide range of recline angle and plenty of head- and legroom for the average adult, even with the optional panoramic sunroof. The longer-wheelbase Santa Fe further enhances second-row comfort with a bit more legroom and a spacious 31.5 inches of legroom for those in the third row, which is competitive with the third-row accommodations in the larger Nissan Pathfinder. Headroom in the Santa Fe's third row is a little pinched, but nonetheless acceptable.

Its ability to haul gear also is an important asset in the Santa Fe Sport, as it boasts a healthy 35.4 cubic feet of cargo behind the second row of seats, while the seven-passenger Santa Fe can hold up to 41 cubes. Bulky items are also loaded with ease, as the second-row seats fold flat to accept 71.5 cubes, putting the two-row Sport right up there with the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. The larger Santa Fe can hold up to 80 cubic feet, but if all the seats are in use, you only have 13.5 cubic feet behind the third row.

Driving Impressions

On either side of the driving spectrum, the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe has the potential to impress. As a leisurely commuter and kid shuttle, the ride is luxuriously compliant and the cabin remains whisper-quiet, even at highway speeds. On winding mountain passes, the Santa Fe feels fairly light and sporty for this class of car. There are a couple demerits, however. The steering has a tendency to wander on the highway, and rear visibility is poor due to the Santa Fe's thick rear roof pillars.

We found the Santa Fe Sport's 2.0T engine equally impressive, with a smooth delivery of power that is on par with some V6 engines. As a result, this Santa Fe gets up to highway speeds with authority. Gearchanges can be a bit delayed, but they're so smooth that they'll likely go unnoticed.

With nearly 300 hp on tap, the V6-powered Santa Fe GLS and Limited accelerate with even more authority and minimize the frequent gearshifts that sometimes come with the four-cylinder models. Particularly when compared with the Santa Fe Sport's base 2.4-liter engine, the V6 makes for more relaxed highway travel and a quieter cabin.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Average Consumer Rating (See all 80 reviews) Write a Review

New owner :)

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 6A)

Very happy with my purchase. I really wanted an SUV that accelerated a little slower to keep me out of trouble. :) Im averaging about 28.3 MPG, very quiet car even with eco on. I love how this vehicle handles - I feel more in control! Brakes handle nicely, I use comfort steering which is fantastic, turn is great, parking is super easy. Had a smaller SUV (Escape 4cyl) before this one and it did not handle like this - that car sucks compared to this (personal opinion). Though there are some rear blind spots, the rear view camera makes up for it. The heated front and rear seats, heated steering wheel, bluetooth audio and panoramic sunroof are definitely a HUGE bonus. I feel safe, comfortable and can make it to and from work with ease. EXTREMELY HAPPY!

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

Beware if buying for your kids to ride in

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Vehicle: 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 2.0T 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A)

I first bought a Hyundai sonata 2011 which was fair in function considering the cost so I decided to change to the Santa Fe 2.0T I bought this Santa Fe for my wife and our two girls then 4 and 5yrs old. First problem was when one of the rare seat beat got locked up in my daughter's car seat as she tried to unlock the seal belt so she could get out of the car while we were in the garage no matter how hard we tried we could not get it released and in fact it got more tightened across her belly to the point she started foaming. Eventually we had to do the inevitable, cut the seat belt to free our daughter. When we took it to the dealership ,they played it down until I told them I was not as stupid as they may think. After fixing it for us the problem persisted when I took it back they were trying to force me to believe that was how a seat belt was suppose to work. For heaven sake, I have own 12 yr old VW and the belt worked better. As a result we had to place a scissors in the car and for 6 months my 4yr old did not want to sit in that car. The winter was the worse periods because I had to pull on the seat belt and adjust it several times before getting it to work in the cold freezing winter. I paid over $ 550 monthly as lease payment to endure such brutality from Hyundai. There were so many other customer service problems with this vehicle from Hyundai America to the local dealership including transmission breakdown that the least said the better. I decided to add a little more $200 to get an Acura MDX and I feel liberated. NEVER again will I spend my hard earned dollars on a Hyundai. The cost savings is not worth the dangerous risk . What if we were at a shopping mall parking lot and my little darling got stuck and foamed to death as she was choking.

Lost at the bakery!!

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 2.0T 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A)

OMG! Hyundai should be sued over their PATHETIC navigation package, this thing sucks like you wouldn't believe!!! But... with this car, it's almost required because without the use of the back-up camera you can't see behind you AT ALL!! I bought my car in August 2013 and the maps were horrible then; completely outdated! I was told by Roger Beasley Hyundai in Kyle, TX says that I would be able to upgrade my maps anytime for $79, apparently up until now there was NO map upgrade!! It's now October 2015 and the dealer McLoughlin Hyundai in Milwaukie, OR says I have to pay $300 to get the maps upgraded and there is NO way for them to download any of my markers I've loaded into maps, so the 50 or so plus sites I've marked in the navigation package will be lost forever!! I mean this is pathetic people! So I'm to believe that Hyundai is so completely technically inept that they cannot figure out how to upgrade the maps without erasing all your data. And to top it off the original Nav package just sucked so utterly, it was pathetic! I'm worried about other things now, if they can't figure out a Nav package, what else did they screw up!! I like the rest of the car, but the Nav package is such an important part of the car, it just ruins everything that would have been good about this car!!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

2013 sport

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 2.0T 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A)

As with the Edmunds review, we too found the steering to wander slightly on the highway. Engine is strong and peppy for a 4 cylinder. Quiet interior. We didn't like the hard, textured steering wheel - became uncomfortable on long drives. Opted for a steering wheel cover for more comfort. Third Santa Fe we've owned (2001, 2006 and 2013). 2001 and 2006 easily went above and beyond 100k without any extra effort but routine maintenance. 2013 worlds apart from previous models with design and features inside. Front seats could be a little more comfortable.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

Leasing a hyundai? buyer beware!

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Vehicle: 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe GLS 4dr SUV AWD (3.3L 6cyl 6A)

I leased my Hyundai Santa Fe in 2013 and I am overall happy with the vehicle. There were some issues early on, one of which was taken care of by the dealer. My Santa Fe had the "sqeaking in the dashboard" issue which apparently a lot of other owners shared. It was a piece of insulation left out of the production process. The dealer initially balked at acknowledging the issue but eventually fixed it after having to completely remove the dashboard. The ride is adequate but tire and road noise is above average for a vehicle in this class. The 2013 Santa Fe's also have an issue with "wandering". At highway speeds the car will not hold it's lane and requires constant steering corrections which is very tiring on long trips. In the forums I read where later model years also experience this problem. The Infotainment System has many bright spots in comparison to other vehicles I've owned and from reviews of other vehicles. One downside is the inability of Hyundai to update it's software relating to the "shuffle" option for the stereo and the salesperson stating the system would play a DVD movie through the touchscreen - which it will not. Apparently it's common for Hyundai leases to include a $400.00 Disposition Fee which is charged to you upon returning the vehicle at the end of the lease. Granted, this fee is listed on the lease agreement but neither the sales person nor the lease manager pointed it out to me when reviewing the document. Frankly, I wasn't expecting this additional cost as none of my prior leases ever included such a charge. I've leased from Lexus, Lincoln, Nissan, Infiniti and Ford and have NEVER been charged a disposition fee upon return of the vehicle - even if not leasing another vehicle of the same type which is the only way Hyundai will waive the fee. I would never lease another vehicle from Hyundai as long as a Disposition fee is charged and would highly suggest anyone considering a Hyundai lease to carefully review their lease documents.

7 of 11 people found this review helpful

Don't buy one!

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Vehicle: 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 2.0T 4dr SUV w/Saddle Interior (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A)

I feel I'm stuck with a defect of a car and an even worse dealership that does not call, confirm or even care. Radio went out, backpack up camera went out. Engine noise (knocking sound) continues even after they said they fixed it! Everyone from service advisor to service manager just doesn't seem to care, in fact they talk to me like I am a bother more than anything else. Called to reschedule another visit after the knocking sound obviously wasn't fixed, they lied about having a loaner available, in fact the guy that took my call did t even care to pass my message along! Estimated mileage is an absolute lie, had to manually raise the headlights, because they come adjusted so low.

Talk About The 2013 Santa Fe

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Gas Mileage


  • 20
  • cty
  • 26
  • highway
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The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Suv in VA is:

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