2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Long-Term Road Test - Wrap-Up

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Long-Term Road Test

  • Full Review
  • Pricing & Specs
  • Road Tests (2)
  • Comparison
  • Long-Term

Read the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe's introduction of this vehicle to our long-term fleet.

See all of the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe's long-term updates.

What We Got
We had a few choices to make when ordering our 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited AWD.

First, we had to decide which version to get. The Santa Fe Sport is a five-passenger model, while the standard Santa Fe is larger and features standard third-row seating. Since we wanted maximum utility we opted for the larger, three-row Santa Fe.

It comes standard with a 290-horsepower 3.3-liter V6 mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. There are two levels of trim: the base GLS and the upper-level Limited. We went with the Limited and a few stand-alone options. The MSRP was $34,850 to start.

Stand-alone options included the Technology package ($2,900) which adds a panoramic sunroof, 12-speaker Infinity audio system, heated steering wheel, rear side window shades and navigation with Blue Link infotaintment. Carpeted floor mats ($135) and a cargo net ($50) rounded out the options. All told, the MSRP on our Santa Fe Limited AWD was $38,790.

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe


  • "Its direct-injected 3.3-liter V6 generates plenty of torque to satisfy my passing requests and general lead-footedness, and the transmission is quick to drop down a gear when needed. I also like the steering in our Hyundai Santa Fe. Not because it feels sporty, of course, but because it's precise and quick enough that you can guide the big crossover around turns and into parking spots with minimal effort." — Erin Riches

  • "The Santa Fe is a crossover that will never ever see the midway campground on the Rubicon Trail unless dropped in by helicopter. But its 4WD lock button and hill descent control does distinguish it from many other crossovers out there. It's a soft-roader, but there's a wee bit of a hard edge to it." — Dan Edmunds

  • "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." — Donna DeRosa


  • "Over the course of this trip, we covered about 500 miles, with the all-wheel-drive Santa Fe averaging 22.5 miles per gallon. Of those miles, 350 or so were highway miles. The other 150 miles were in and around the park. Considering the Santa Fe was either full of passengers or cargo most of the time, our earned mileage bettered the EPA estimate of 20 mpg for combined driving." — Travis Langness

  • "I'd like our long-term Santa Fe to have more range. It's there on paper. With its 18.8-gallon gas tank and an EPA fuel economy rating of 18 city and 24 highway, the Santa Fe could go 338.4 miles around town and 470 miles on the interstate if you run her dry. But in the real world the numbers are much different." — Scott Oldham


  • "Our 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." — Dan Edmunds

  • "I was a bit worried about the Santa Fe's uncomfortable ride with passengers before we arrived, but inside the park, those concerns were unnecessary. We drove to and from a few cool rock formations and even bounced around on a few dirt roads, which were easy work for the Santa Fe. The roads inside Joshua Tree are nearly perfect and the passengers had no complaints. If we had to drive several hundred miles on corrugated metal, things would be different, but inside in the park, we were all happy and comfortable." — Travis Langness

  • "Access to the third row is good when you slide the second-row captain's chairs in our Limited model forward. There's also plenty of legroom in the third row, even when the second-row passengers scoot their seats back on the adjustable tracks." — Erin Riches

  • "They're simple, but our 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe has ventilation controls in its third row. Mode, fan speed and temperature can be adjusted all the way in the back. Nice." — Josh Jacquot

Cargo Space

  • "Hauling two re-stuffed 1969 Camaro bucket seats isn't as easy as it looks. Car seats are big. Bigger than you'd think. They're also kind of cumbersome and difficult to handle. Our long-term 2013 Santa Fe didn't even flinch." — Scott Oldham

  • "As nice as it is to have that third row, I don't think most people realize how much it cuts into cargo space. With the rearmost seats up, there's not much room for anything else. Most of the time this isn't a problem, as you either need the extra seats or you fold them down for more cargo." — Ed Hellwig

  • "OK, so the fact that the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe swallows suitcases and large boxes isn't particularly noteworthy. Check the stat sheet: There are 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." — Dan Frio


  • "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. I was stuck in a nasty construction-induced traffic jam when I rolled down the window to briefly give directions to the person in the car next to me. That's when I noticed how noisy it was outside and how serene the ride was. As traffic freed up and I moved along at a good clip, the quiet remained. No wind noise bouncing over the side mirrors, no bumpy road noise, no growling engine noise. It was peaceful." — Donna DeRosa

Audio and Technology

  • "I like everything about this (rearview) camera and find it very useful for seeing what's behind me when I'm backing up in the Santa Fe. The 8-inch touchscreen display is bright and has crisp graphics. The camera is also of high resolution and has a wide field of view. This means it's easy to identify cars or objects that might be in my path. The "Warning! Check surroundings for safety" text on the top of the display is unobtrusive. As a caveat, though, my comments only apply to Santa Fe models with the optional navigation system and 8-inch screen. I haven't driven a Santa Fe with the smaller, base touchscreen 4.3-inch display." — Brent Romans

  • "Back country off-road travel. 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." — Dan Edmunds

  • "I think the multimedia touchscreen is one of the better interfaces out there, manipulating a pretty intuitive menu structure through simple icon-based recognition. I find the Santa Fe one of the least distracting units to work with when it comes to placing a call or searching a smartphone music library." — Dan Frio

  • "Also part of that package is the upgraded 12-speaker, 550-watt Infinity audio system. So how does this system sound? To my ears, the speakers are clear at full volume, and there's no significant distortion of the sound quality. Simple adjustments to bass, mids and treble are easy to find and fiddle with when you need them. Some tracks seem a bit flat at first, but after a few tweaks and recentering the sound, the music becomes much sharper. In short, the Santa Fe's Infinity system is a great stereo. Along with the other equipment in the Technology package, I'd say it's worth the price." — Travis Langness


  • "So what about the (15,000-mile) service? Our concerns included some routine items: oil and filter change, new cabin air filter and tire rotation. Two outstanding service bulletins were on our list as well. One involved an inspection of the overhead sunglasses holder (TSB-13-01-023) and the other replaced the air-conditioning blower module (TSB-13-01-032). The overhead console checked out fine, but the blower module had to be special-ordered. Also ordered during this visit was a replacement trim piece for the front passenger door." — Mike Schmidt


  • "After more than 22,000 miles, our 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe still feels solid. A year-old car should feel tight, but usually by this time most vehicles start to develop small rattles and a general looseness to their suspensions. After various errands around town over a weekend, I didn't notice much of either. The interior still looks and feels well screwed together. The panel gaps are straight and there are no rattles over bumps. — Ed Hellwig

  • "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." — Dan Edmunds

  • "Big V6 has plenty of power, even at 7,000-foot elevation.... Driver seat and seating position are right on. Very comfortable... Big V6 drinks regular gas instead of more expensive premium.... The third row could not be easier to fold or flip up.... I love the way it looks. " — Scott Oldham

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe

Maintenance & Repairs

Regular Maintenance:
Our Santa Fe requested routine service at 7,500-mile intervals. The 7,500 and 22,500 were of the minor service variety, namely oil changes and tire rotations. There was a bit more involvement at the 15,000-mile visit. At this stop we also addressed an open recall for the air-conditioning blower motor and an exterior trim piece that popped loose. Both were repaired at a later date, as they required special order parts.

Service Campaigns:
The A/C blower motor TSB noted above was the only recall affecting our Santa Fe.

Fuel Economy and Resale Value

Observed Fuel Economy:
EPA estimates for the Santa Fe were 20 mpg combined (18 city/24 highway). Over the course of the past year we averaged 19 mpg. Our best single tank returned a hair shy of 26 mpg and covered 425 miles. But it was the only tank to break the 400-mile mark.

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe

Resale and Depreciation:
Our moderately equipped Santa Fe Limited AWD had an MSRP of $38,790. After 22,441 miles, Edmunds' TMV® Calculator valued the Hyundai at $29,678 based on a private-party sale. This equated to a respectable 23 percent depreciation.

Summing Up

Pros: Solid power from standard V6; quick-shifting transmission; strong, easy-to-modulate brakes; user-friendly navigation system; sizable cargo capacity; quiet on the highway.

Cons: Choppy ride quality when fully loaded; could use more range; overall mileage was slightly less than advertised; not much cargo room with all seats in place.

Bottom Line: This is a sharp-looking, reliable SUV with a strong V6, ample passenger room and every creature comfort you could want. Other than its firm ride when fully loaded, we found few reasons not to consider the Santa Fe when shopping in this category.

Total Body Repair Costs: None
Total Routine Maintenance Costs: $235.11 (over 12 months)
Additional Maintenance Costs: None
Warranty Repairs: Replace A/C blower motor, replace exterior front door trim piece.
Non-Warranty Repairs: None
Scheduled Dealer Visits: 3
Unscheduled Dealer Visits: 1 to install special-order A/C blower motor
Days Out of Service: None
Breakdowns Stranding Driver: None
Best Fuel Economy: 25.7 mpg
Worst Fuel Economy: 14.1 mpg
Average Fuel Economy: 19.4 mpg
True Market Value at service end: $29,678 (private-party sale)
Depreciation: $9,112 (23% of original MSRP)
Final Odometer Reading: 22,441 miles

The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.

Leave a Comment

Past Long-Term Road Tests