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.
January 21, 2014
I don't often seek out our long-term 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe, because it has more space and seating capacity than I can regularly use. Recently, though, I spent an evening and a morning with our six-passenger Limited model. It was an unremarkable but pleasant experience.
The Santa Fe's strong V6 engine accounts for much of the pleasantness.
October 10, 2013
The Nissan Versa in front of me on the exit ramp stopped short, and I stood on the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe's brake pedal.
"Yes!" I thought as the SUV immediately responded to my abrupt request to save its front end.
August 28, 2013
Unlike my semi-esteemed Edmunds colleague, Dan Frio, I haven't found the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe's 3.3-liter V6 to be overly raspy. In fact, I think it's pretty smooth and its 290 horsepower does a decent job of moving this heavy rig down the road.
And there's an aspect of the six-speed automatic transmission that I recently noticed is a refreshing change from the norm.
August 27, 2013
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.
August 26, 2013
OK, so the fact that the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe swallows suitcases and large boxes isn't particularly noteworthy. Check the stat sheet: there's 41 cubic feet behind the second-row seats. That was enough to handle airport shuttle services for two passengers (plus driver), three large suitcases, a few smaller bags, and a box of stuff that, frankly, should never have been allowed through customs.
A couple of downsides: that additional weight only served to highlight the Santa Fe's upset over bumpier road rash. Pretty sure we hit the bumpstops over one particular uneven freeway surface enough that everyone let out one of those seasick groans in unison.
August 23, 2013
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.
August 14, 2013
The complaints started within the first 50 miles of home and I've been hearing them (and echoing them) all the way to Oregon and back. Our 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe has a habit of bobbing on its rear suspension and hammering at our backsides over swales and waves in the highway. It's bottoming out over pavement features it should absorb, and we're not even full.
This is hard for me to say because I probably know the guys who tuned the suspension. But there simply isn't enough rear suspension "bump" travel, the rear coil springs are too soft and the polyurethane bump stops come in too late and too abruptly. The as-loaded bump-stop photo above was taken with my weight out of the car, too.
Our Santa Fe is the long-wheelbase 3-row 6-passenger version, the one that should have some carrying capacity. But on this trip it's doing far worse than our long-term 2012 Honda CR-V on the same northern California and southern Oregon roads. And the CR-V also excelled when I drove it at speed over much larger swales and deeper dips on uneven dirt roads in Nevada with heavier passengers on board, to boot.
The Honda CR-V was comparatively unfazed when fully loaded, even with an added burden of a rooftop cargo box, but here in the partially-loaded Santa Fe I find myself yelling "bump!" so my passengers can brace themselves. They've replied with a chorus of "Ow!" on more than one occasion.
August 5, 2013
The drive to Big Bear Lake from Oldham HQ isn't very far. It's about 120 miles, split evenly between L.A.'s freeway system and the two-lane mountain pass that is California State Routes 330 and 18.
Still, I learned a lot about the Hyundai Santa Fe during that late night drive.
July 19, 2013
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.