Hyundai's product assault has been incessant over the past few years. In rolling out the new third-generation 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe, the company completes a product overhaul as comprehensive and logistically complex as the recent Mars rover landing.
The launch of Hyundai's new midsize tall wagon-cum-CUV is, appropriately, no less convoluted. After all, this compact SUV will serve double duty in the automaker's lineup, poised to do battle with roughly a dozen competitors. Here's how the Santa Fe plans to do it.
Several Variants The 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, seating five, replaces the current Santa Fe. In a few months, a longer-wheelbase version of the Santa Fe with three rows of seating will replace the larger Hyundai Veracruz.
Like the existing Santa Fe, the new Santa Fe Sport will be available with two engines. A 2.4-liter normally aspirated direct-injected four is the base engine, while a turbocharged and direct-injected 2.0-liter four replaces the V6. Either engine can be had with front- or all-wheel drive, while a six-speed automatic is the only transmission offered. The long-wheelbase version of the new vehicle — known simply as the 2013 Santa Fe, sans Sport designation — will be available only with a 3.3-liter V6. Clear as mud?
Generating 264 horsepower at 6,000 rpm, the 2.0T cranks out 10 fewer ponies than this same engine in the Hyundai Sonata. The difference is chalked up to revised intake and exhaust routing and a unique engine calibration. More importantly, the Santa Fe delivers 269 pound-feet of torque between 1,750 and 3,000 rpm, so the shove is in the right place for a family hauler such as this one. In fact, the turbo engine generates more torque than the outgoing V6.
Though the new Santa Fe Sport carries nearly the same dimensions as the outgoing trucklet, it's stiffer and weighs considerably less — some 266 pounds were shaved by sweating the details of the chassis' design and expanded use of high-strength steels. Struts underpin the front end and a compact multilink suspension is found at the rear so as not to intrude on cabin space.
No Shortness of Breath We drove a 2.0T-equipped AWD Sport through woodsy, hilly Park City, Utah, notable for its power-sapping 8,300-foot elevation. The thin air didn't faze the Santa Fe. Turbocharged engines generate their own atmosphere, so there was plenty of reserve thrust and immediate response any time the car was in motion. The 2.0T is a capable engine, doing its business without a lick of fuss or noise, convincingly nailing the coffin shut on the idea that a V6 is a requirement. As for the 2.4-liter engine, well, we didn't get to drive one of those, or a front-drive 2.0T.
On our drive, the Santa Fe was notable for its quietness. Aside from a faint wind rustle at the A-pillars, little noise comes between you and a conversation with passengers while at freeway speeds. The new chassis feels solid on the road, though the wide C- and D-pillars form a blind spot the size of Oklahoma. A caveat — the roads in this area are generally smooth, so we'll withhold final judgments on ride and noise suppression until we've wheeled this new CUV locally.
Curiously, the electric power steering has three calibrations that can be selected via a button on the steering wheel, all of which are fairly numb. While it could be argued that steering feel isn't high on the priority list of shoppers in the Santa Fe's bread-and-butter segment, we'll point out that the steering-feel-havin' Mazda CX-5 exists and feels considerably more precise from behind the wheel.
Part of our drive route included a loose gravel dirt road to show off the Santa Fe's new more capable AWD hardware. It operates transparently, aiding corner entry and exit by adjusting the amount of torque apportioned to the rear wheels. Still, like most modern crossovers, the Santa Fe is pavement-biased and will be found almost exclusively on freeways and in parking lots. It's no rock crawler, and that's OK.
More Efficient Fuel economy is the payoff of the lighter chassis, improved aerodynamics and engines. Base 2.4-liter models return 22/33 city/highway mpg (21/28 with AWD), while the 2.0T models deliver 21/31 mpg (20/27 mpg with AWD).
The 4-5 mpg drop for AWD models in freeway conditions is odd, as the AWD system can completely disconnect power to the rear wheels in such conditions and adds just 137 pounds over the front-drive model. Nevertheless, the fuel economy of the new Santa Fe improves on that of the outgoing model in every guise and is among the more frugal in its class.
More Than Clever Math Inside, the cabin is similarly sharply styled, with improved appointments. There's plenty of space in either row of seating, and the front seats offer respectable long-haul comfort, though the sliding, tilting backseat is on the flat side to accommodate its 40/20/40 folding ability.
In typical Hyundai fashion, features abound. Beyond the long list of standard equipment, options include navigation, a heated steering wheel, panoramic sunroof, dual-zone climate control, a rearview camera, even heated rear seats.
Prices with destination start at $25,275 for a base 2.4 and $28,525 for the 2.0T — add $1,750 for AWD — and rise quickly from there. Adding navigation or the panoramic sunroof to a 2.4-liter model requires three packages totaling $6,600 (or two packages totaling $5,350 on 2.0T variants). There are a lot of other features included in the packages, but flexibility is not one of them.
At this price point, the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport lines up directly with segment leaders like the Ford Escape and Honda CR-V. The former also offers a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, while the latter simply does everything well. The newer, cleverer 2013 Santa Fe measures up favorably to both. If it can deliver on its excellent mileage numbers and remain as quiet as it did on the roads of rural Utah, this Santa Fe could be yet another well-executed piece of Hyundai's grand plan to compete head on with its foreign and domestic rivals.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.
2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Overview Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2013 Santa Fe featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.
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Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2013 Santa Fe 4.1 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2013 Santa Fe.
Review We have owned a new 2013 Santa Fe Sport for one month now. We have traveled from Chicago to Mackinac down thru Wisconsin and a week later from Chicago to Branson, Memphis, Nashville, Gatlinburg and back. Approx. 3000miles all together. On the low side we got 22.5 mpg to 28 mpg on the high side. This was done in moderately hilly terrain and a tight new engine. My wife loves it. The standard 4 cyl engine has good pep and 6 speed transmission works well. A VERY quiet ride for a SUV. Leather seats are comfortable with good adjustments. Handles and brakes with good feel. While the steering is on the light side with not a lot of feel, I personally wouldn't call it dangerous.
Edmunds Value Edmunds has deep data on over 6 million new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles, including rich, trim-level features and specs information like: MSRP, average price paid, warranty information (basic, drivetrain, and maintenance), features (upholstery, bluetooth, navigation, heated seating, cooled seating, cruise control, parking assistance, keyless ignition, satellite radio, folding rears seats ,run flat tires, wheel type, tire size, wheel tire, sunroof, etc.), vehicle specifications (engine cylinder count, drivetrain, engine power, engine torque, engine displacement, transmission), fuel economy (city, highway, combined, fuel capacity, range), vehicle dimensions (length, width, seating capacity, cargo space), car safety, true cost to own. Edmunds also provides tools to allow shopper to compare vehicles to similar models of their choosing by warranty, interior features, exterior features, specifications, fuel economy, vehicle dimensions, consumer rating, edmunds rating, and color
The 2013 Hyundai Santa-fe earned a 5-star overall safety rating from NHTSA and "GOOD" ratings from the IIHS in the following caregories: Side Impact Test, Roof Strength Test, Moderate Overlap Front Test Results, and a JD POWER overall quality rating of 4.0 out of 5. Among Edmunds' many tools and resources for finding your perfect car are detailed safety ratings and analysis from NHTSA, IIHS, and JD Power, including overall ratings, frontal barrier crash ratings, side impact tests and crash ratings, rollover test results, roof strength tests, rear crash protection and head restraint ratings, side barrier ratings, combined side barrier and pole ratings, and more.
Available Hyundai Santa Fe 2013 Submodel Types: SUV
Available Trims: SE, GLS, Limited, Sport, Ultimate, Limited Ultimate, Sport 2.0T, Base, LX, SE Ultimate, GL
Exterior Colors: Monaco White, Becketts Black, Circuit Silver, Iron Frost, Moonstone Silver, Mineral Gray, Regal Red Pearl, Java Espresso, Twilight Black, Frost White Pearl, Night Sky Pearl, Storm Blue, Pacific Blue Pearl, Phantom Black Metallic, Glacier White, Pewter/Cool Gray Cladding, Black Obsidian/Cool Gray Cladding, Bright Silver, Cabo Bronze, Deepwater Blue, Ebony Black, Marlin Blue, Nordic White/Light Silver Cladding, Serrano Red, Moonlit Blue/Cool Gray Cladding, Slate Blue, Frosted Mocha, Black Forest Green, Natural Khaki, Radiant Silver, Canyon Red/Light Silver Cladding, Dark Cherry Red, Harbor Gray Metallic, Silver Blue, Steel Gray, Willow Gray, Canyon Copper, Juniper Green, Espresso Brown, Radiant Silver (Late Availability), Bright Silver (Limited Availability), Medium Silver Blue, Nautical Blue/Cool Gray Cladding, Nordic White, Pearl White (Late Availability), Sierra Red, Sonoran Red, Artic Blue, Black Obsidian, Black Obsidian , Merlot/Cool Gray Cladding, Nordic White , Pearl White, Pine Green, Arctic Blue/Light Silver Cladding, Crystal Blue, Crystalline Blue Pearl, Dark Emerald Green/Cool Gray Cladding, Golden Beige, Indigo Blue Pearl, Merlot, Mocha Frost/Mauve Gray, Obsidian Black, Pewter, Platinum Sage, Powder White Pearl, Powder White Pearl (Limited Availability), Sandstone/Warm Gray Cladding, Venetian Red
Interior Colors: Gray cloth, Gray leather, Beige cloth, Beige leather, Black leather, Gray, Gray premium cloth, Saddle leather, Beige, Beige leather/cloth, Gray leather/cloth, Coca Black leather/cloth, Cocoa Black leather, Coca Black premium cloth, Beige premium cloth, Coca Black cloth
Popular Features: Fold Flat Rear Seats, Rear Bench Seats, Alarm, Audio and cruise controls on steering wheel, Stability Control, Tire Pressure Warning, Trip Computer, Aux Audio Inputs, USB Inputs, Bluetooth, Power Driver Seat, AWD/4WD, Auto Climate Control, Multi-Zone Climate Control, 5000lb Towing Capacity, Third-row seating, Heated seats, Leather Seats, Post-collision safety system, Back-up camera, Power Liftgate/Trunk, Sunroof/Moonroof, Blind Spot Monitoring, 3500lb Towing Capacity, Keyless Entry/Start, 2nd Row Bucket Seats, Navigation, Cooled Seats, Parking sensors, 360-degree camera, 2500lb Towing Capacity, Towing Hitch, Remote Start, Apple Carplay/Android Auto, Lane Departure Warning, Upgraded Headlights, Adaptive Cruise Control, Pre-collision safety system, Upgraded Stereo