2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Long-Term Road Test

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2013 Hyundai Santa Fe: I Like It

April 21, 2014

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe

I like our long-term 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe.

I look at a car as a shopper would, and that probably comes from spending so much time on car lots with car shoppers over the past decade. I think car shoppers look for ease of use, space, gas mileage, ride quality, and the like. In my opinion, the Hyundai does well on the normal stuff normal folks are looking for. And it looks pretty good.

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2013 Hyundai Santa Fe: My Brother-in-Law Bought One

April 18, 2014

2014 Mazda 3

This is not a photo of our long-term 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe. Nope. It's a pic of my sister-in-law's new car.

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2013 Hyundai Santa Fe: Loose Rearview Mirror

April 10, 2014

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe

The rearview mirror on our 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe is loose. Not sure how long it's been like this, but when you grab the mirror to make an adjustment, it rocks back and forth slightly in your hand, without actually changing the adjustment.

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2013 Hyundai Santa Fe: Style, Space and Power? Check, Check and Check

March 19, 2014

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe

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.

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2013 Hyundai Santa Fe: Poor Ride Quality

March 10, 2014

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe

I hadn't driven our long-term 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe until somewhat recently, when I took it on a trip from Los Angeles to Sonoma and back.

Now, Dan Edmunds took it on a road trip with the family last year and heard (and felt) some complaints about the crossover's ride quality.

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2013 Hyundai Santa Fe: Heated Steering Wheel

March 3, 2014

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe

Ever take a pair of jeans out of the wash and discover a five-dollar bill in the pocket you forgot about? That's how I felt when I discovered the button in our long-term 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe you see above.

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2013 Hyundai Santa Fe: Cargo Area AC Outlet

February 7 , 2014

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe

So last night it was my turn to cook. I'm a fan of sugar meat so I made pulled pork for sandwiches. Took the slow cooker to the dinner spot knowing full well that the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe has an AC outlet in its cargo area. Figured I could use that combo to warm dinner before it was time to eat.

No such luck.

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2013 Hyundai Santa Fe: Overlapping Doors at Curbside

January 29, 2014

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe

In the past we've stated the benefits of the rockerless, narrow-sill overlapping doors on our 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe. Their many advantages include: always-clean sills that won't transfer winter slush or spring mud onto your pant leg upon entry or exit; easier entry for those who aren't as flexible as they once were because they can stand a couple inches closer to the seat; and just plain good looks.

There is a downside, and it can crop up when taking on passengers at the curb. If the curb is very high the passenger door may make outright contact as it swings open. This isn't exclusive to this door design, but there can be no doubt these bottom edges are lower. There's a greater chance of curbside interference.

The mild damage shown above came from a lesser version of this scenario in which the curb itself is low enough to clear but not the lawn behind, which is oftentimes mounded higher. High-crowned roads don't help because they add in a dose of vehicle lean that tips the opening door toward the waiting grass.

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2013 Hyundai Santa Fe: How To Adjust the Headlights

January 13, 2014

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe

Kelly wasn't exaggerating, the headlights in our long-term 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe seem to be horribly mis-aimed. They throw a puddle of illumination in front of the nose that extends only fifteen feet, I'd say. I drove our Santa Fe at night recently and had to use the high beams to see road signs. They're bad.

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2013 Hyundai Santa Fe: Goodbye, Welcome Sound

January 3, 2014

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe

This is the only way to roll in our long-term 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe: Welcome Sound, unchecked.

Is there anyone that actually wants to hear an unrelentingly cheesy, synthesized jingle every time they start their car?

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2013 Hyundai Santa Fe: Hidden Trailer Hitch

December 24, 2013

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe

Our particular 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited isn't equipped with a trailer hitch, an option we could have had for just $350 more. But it wouldn't look any different even if we had checked that box because the rear bumper comes standard with an integrated hitch cover.

Towing is a real possibility with the Santa Fe Limited because the 3.3-liter V6 is officially rated to pull 5,000 pounds. The short-wheelbase Santa Fe Sport and its 2.0-liter Turbo is good up to 3,500 pounds.

I haven't spent much time in the Sport, but my experience with the rear suspension of the long-wheelbase Limited makes it hard for me to recommend going as far as 5,000 pounds. Still, there are plenty of lighter towing jobs out there. And a receiver-style trailer hitch makes a handy place to hang a bike rack.

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2013 Hyundai Santa Fe: Getting the Christmas Tree

December 20, 2013

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe

We motivated this year and went tree shopping just a few days after Thanksgiving.

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2013 Hyundai Santa Fe: I Think We're a Hyundai Family

December 18, 2013

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe

Being a Hyundai family is not something we planned, but it's quickly going in that direction.

Back in 2009 when Hyundai introduced its Genesis sedan, my mother-in-law was looking for a change from the Mercedes R-Class she had been driving for a few years. The lease was up on the Benz and while she appreciated its seating for seven and big cargo volume she was ready to switch back to a traditional sedan. Before the Mercedes, her list of vehicles included a Camry, an Avalon and an Audi Cabriolet. All leased and all returned in 36 months.

I suggested the new Genesis, which had impressed me. She leased one, a loaded silver V6, and fell so madly for it she purchased it at the end of the lease and continues to drive it today. In fact, it is in the photo behind the closed garage door.

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2013 Hyundai Santa Fe: Sticky Doorsill No More

November 20, 2013

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe

A couple of weeks ago I noted that our 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe's passenger side door was sticky. I looked at the sill in the dimly lit parking garage, and didn't notice anything amiss.

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2014 Hyundai Santa Fe: No Problem With First 10K Miles

November 18, 2013

2014 Hyundai Santa Fe

We blew past the 10K mark in our 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe recently. Seems like we got it just yesterday. Actually, it's been four months, but that's still a pretty quick run to 10,000 miles.

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2013 Hyundai Santa Fe: Easy Entry Through Overlapping Doors

November 6, 2013

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe

I'm not aware of an agreed-upon term for the door design employed by the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe. And even if there was one I think some explanation would still be necessary.

You could call them any number of things: overlapping doors, rockerless doors, narrow-sill doors. These terms all apply, but what do they mean?

Most doors are cut into the body. By that I mean the opening doesn't go all the way to the bottom. There's a visible cut-line with a rocker panel just below. The doors open to reveal a full-width sill.

The Santa Fe doesn't have any of that. It's got rockerless narrow-sill overlapping doors that offer many practical advantages.

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2013 Hyundai Santa Fe: Sticky Doorsill

October 29, 2013

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe

One of the doors on our 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe has gotten oddly sticky. Every time I open the door, it sounds like the door's lower rubber trim is peeling away from the doorsill.

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2013 Hyundai Santa Fe: Cabin Smell

October 28, 2013

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe

Cabin stink seems to be contagious. Last week Managing Editor Donna DeRosa noted that our long-term 2013 Cadillac ATS was blowing stinky air, and now our 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe smells a little offensive.

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2013 Hyundai Santa Fe: Onboard Computer

October 25, 2013

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe

I've had our 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe in my possession for approximately 48 hours, which means a couple of round trips to the office, and a few other minor errands. The onboard computer was cleared when I took the Santa Fe, so the current calculations are all mine.

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2013 Hyundai Santa Fe: Headlight Adjustment Needed

September 18, 2013

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe

I don't do much night driving anymore, especially during daylight savings. So when I took our 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe out after dark, at first I wasn't sure if the headlights were the issue, or if it was my middle-aged eyes.

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2013 Hyundai Santa Fe: A Crossover I'd Consider Buying

September 13, 2013

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe

If I were shopping for a new three-row family hauler, the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe is one I'd consider.

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2013 Hyundai Santa Fe: Big Side Mirrors Provide an Expansive View

September 10, 2013

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe

One of the design aspects I like about our 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe is the large size of the side mirrors. (Yeah, I know, insert your "bigger is better" joke here.) It seems like many automakers go with smaller mirrors these days (whether for wind resistance or styling). But the Santa Fe's are larger than the norm, and that in turn gives you a wider and more detailed view of what's behind you.

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2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited AWD: A Minivan Alternative

August 30, 2013

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited AWD

A lot of American families desire the versatility of a minivan but not the stigma that typically comes along it. A common solution for some people is a three-row crossover SUV.

Ah, but which one? Well, the new 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe could be an appealing choice.

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2013 Hyundai Santa Fe: Climbing and Descending a Very Steep and Slippery Grade

August 27, 2013

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe

Regular followers of our long-term update pages may remember past stories of the Wall of Death, a particularly steep climb near my dad's place on the Oregon coast. It leads up to the top of "The Dog," a nearby summit that provides a spectacular 360-degree view of the coastline and the inland countryside behind this initial ridge of coastal mountains.

The place names are my father's own personal joke. You'd have to know his sense of humor to understand that the climb up this abandoned caterpillar track is not really a Jackass stunt of Steve-O proportions. It is, however, steep and covered with leaf litter and ball bearing-sized pebbles that make it quite hard to walk down without landing on your keester more than once.

Two-wheel drive is no good here. All four wheels need to participate. Good thing our 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe is the all-wheel-drive model.

The Dog is so named because, well, it looks like one.

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2013 Hyundai Santa Fe: 5,000 Miles

August 23, 2013

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe

We were somewhere around Cabazon, in the middle of the desert, when our 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe turned over 5,000 miles. With just under two months in the long-term fleet, our six-passenger SUV won't have any problem accruing 20,000 miles in a year. Granted, editor and chief vehicle disciplinarian Dan Edmunds put on most of those miles during an Oregon road trip, but that's likely the beginning of the Santa Fe's service as an interstate adventurer.

I sampled about 300 miles last weekend. I liked the Santa Fe more after this recent seat time than when I first drove it at a Hyundai event a few months ago. During those events, you're lucky to get 100 miles behind the wheel while taking mental snapshots, speaking with engineers and digesting a spreadsheet of specs. But a good handful of long drives and around-town daily uses create a better picture.

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2013 Hyundai Santa Fe: Off-Road Navigation

August 22, 2013

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe

Our Hyundai Santa Fe's navigation system got under my skin in the first part of my Oregon vacation because it tried to route me on dirt roads across private land with locked gates and "Keep Out" signs.

But the dirt roads weren't the problem because I had designs on a little back country off-road travel while I was up there. A few days later dad and I found ourselves heading out on some Forest Service fire and logging roads to visit Snow Camp lookout and Game Lake near the Kalmiopsis Wilderness in southern Oregon.

The dirt road wasn't hard to follow at first, but soon enough unmarked spurs and branches went off in numerous directions. The rule of thumb in such cases is to stay on the biggest one, but there was a time or two where that was a coin toss.

This is where the Santa Fe's navigation system was a real help. It had the area's major national forest roads in its database, with the main ones labeled with their forest service designations. We felt comfortable pressing on into unfamiliar territory because the moving map could always guide us back out the way we came.

I'm usually good at using landmarks instead, but heavy morning fog and dense trees made that a bit tough. For its part the Google Maps app on my smartphone was worthless out here in the land of "No Service."

After a couple of hours we rolled up to the fork in the road we were expecting. A much narrower track went on up to Snow Camp Lookout while the main "road" continued on to Game Lake. We decided to take the side road up to the lookout first.

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2013 Hyundai Santa Fe: Panoramic Sunroof Test

August 12, 2013

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe

You might say our 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe has a humungous glass sunroof. So much so that if Seinfeld were still on they might write a whole episode around The Big Sunroof.

The Panoramic Sunroof, as it is officially known, is available only on the Santa Fe Limited where it comes as part of the $2,900 Technology Package, which also includes navigation, an Infinity 12-speaker stereo, a heated steering wheel and rear side-window sunshades.

Here on the Oregon coast we have the perfect conditions for a performance test.

Step 1: Park atop the Gold Beach jetty, south shore by the airport. Step 2: Open the electric-powered sunshade fully, but leave the glass panel shut. Step 3: Sprinkle a liberal coating of bread chunks across the surface of the roof. Step 4: Climb inside and wait.

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2013 Hyundai Santa Fe: Selected for Oregon Road Trip

August 7, 2013

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe

It's time for my family to head north to Oregon to see my folks. A few of our long-term cars were in the running, but in the end out new 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe won out.

For one, the third row is nice for going into town (25 miles each way) for dinner. The six of us can ride in the same car.

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2013 Hyundai Santa Fe: Quiet Ride

July 29, 2013

Hyundai Santa Fe

Our long-term 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe offers a nicely insulated cabin that keeps most road and wind noise from interfering with your conversations/music/podcasts/singing or whatever you do in your car for entertainment.

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Edmunds Insurance Estimator

The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe in WA is:

$141 per month*
* Explanation
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