First Impressions - 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Long-Term Road Test

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Long-Term Road Test

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe: First Impressions

July 19, 2013

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe

On most weekends, my 2011 Nissan Leaf SL keeps me tethered to my electric charger. But when I heard the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe was available, and I would be one of the first drivers, I began thinking of all the places I wanted to explore. I drove down to San Diego and then visited a few new areas in Los Angeles racking up about 280 miles of driving. I even took advantage of the cavernous cargo area and hauled home an Eames chair and ottoman. Here are a few impressions of this impressive mid-sized SUV.

The Hyundai Santa Fe is a highly refined, well-built SUV that was a real pleasure to take on a road trip. The higher view of the road and the exceptionally comfortable and widely adjustable front seats were a real bonus, as was the four-way adjustable lumbar support. I experimented with using the different steering settings (sport, normal and comfort) but didn't feel a huge difference. The 3.3-liter, 290-horsepower V6 delivers plenty of power and has a nice snarl when you punch it. The six-speed transmission downshifts easily, even at speeds up to 80 mph, and always puts you in the power band.

This baby is loaded with features and has a luxury feel overall. The busy center console could use better organization and my first reaction to the nav system was less than enthusiastic. The graphics were plain and I kept finding myself hunting for commonly used features such as cancelling the route before reaching the destination.

Once we bought the Eames chair I had to fold down all the rear seats to fit it in. Pull straps make it easy to drop the third-row seats and the head rests fold down automatically. The center-row seats fold into place easily allowing more than enough carrying capacity for our purchase.

Overall, this SUV was impressive. And, with an average of about 20 mpg, it seemed adequately fuel efficient for a relatively large vehicle.

Philip Reed, Senior Consumer Advice Editor @ 1,190 miles


  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    Huh. So why do you own a Leaf, again? Makes an excellent second car, but in an area with lousy public transportation and long average drives and commutes, a Leaf is not an ideal only car.

  • throwback throwback Posts:

    If i recall correctly Phil can use the HOV lane and it cuts his commute time significantly. By the way, an update on your year(?) with the Leaf would be interesting

  • nissan leaf story:

  • noburgers noburgers Posts:

    saw one at the dealer, it has a quality look to it even in multiple trim levels. Kind of a huge grll, though. I'm not in the market for this type of vehicle, but it caught my eye. I could say the same about the BRZ I saw (hardly ever see them).

  • stovt001_ stovt001_ Posts:

    I assume that when you're an editor with the entire LT fleet at your disposal, your "only car" could very well be anything from a GEM electric golf cart to an Ariel Atom, and you just check out a LT car if you need something more.

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