2013 Hyundai Santa Fe: Style, Space and Power? Check, Check and Check
March 19, 2014
Large three-row crossovers exist to meet a need: Families need affordable space, and for whatever reason, it's still not totally culturally acceptable to get that in a minivan. So you have vehicles like our 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe, which even in Limited trim with all-wheel drive and the Technology package, still comes in comfortably under $40,000.
Although I don't disagree with my colleagues' assessments of our Santa Fe's ride quality, I think this crossover has enough other redeeming traits that you could potentially get past this issue. At least I think I could. I'll give you three reasons.
One, just look at it. It's attractive in my estimation. I could look at the Santa Fe's mug every single day and feel satisfied that I'm adding to the property value of my late 1950s tract house. Then again, maybe I'm a poor judge of aesthetics. I could park a Nissan Quest in the driveway and still feel right as rain.
Two, there's useful space inside this thing. True, our Hyundai Santa Fe is only a six-seater because of the captain's chairs in its second row, but that's easily remedied by getting a different configuration. I don't have kids yet, but whenever I drive around in the Santa Fe with my husband or friends, there's a nice sense of separation between us. Shoulder room and legroom feel ample, certainly in the first two rows. Plus, when you're driving something this large, impromptu purchases of household items can just happen. You don't need to strategize. The stuff always fits.
Three, I really like the combination of this 3.3-liter V6 engine and six-speed automatic transmission. When I need to accelerate with authority in cutthroat traffic, I never have a problem. And the engine delivers the power in a pretty smooth, unobtrusive manner. We're not doing stellar in the fuel economy department, as our current 19.4 mpg lifetime average is shy of the vehicle's 20 mpg EPA combined rating. I suppose there's reason to be slightly disappointed with that given that the engine is direct-injected and paired with a transmission that has six forward gears. But after driving minivans and big, light-duty crossovers around Los Angeles for more than a decade, I really don't expect much more than 19 or 20 mpg out of them. That's just what they do in these conditions...with these drivers.
Erin Riches, Deputy Editor