Disclosure: TMC was not paid for this post. Products received are for review purposes only. Opinions are TMC’s only. Car provided by STI Drive.
2013 Hyundai Santa Fe LTD AWD
Let me start off by saying that I have driven four Hyundai’s in my lifetime. A Hyundai Accent and Elantra, both rental cars and last in October I had the opportunity to drive the Equus, which is just flat-out amazing. The Santa Fe I had I only knew from seeing it on the road since its debut and never gave it much thought.
That all changed when this model arrived at my front door earlier this month. Lower to the ground than I expected this SUV is a great alternative to a minivan. I instantly fell in love, as did my kids, with captain style chairs in the middle row and the full third row with bench seating (50/50 split) with ample room for even adults. I kept waiting for the doors to slide open like a standard minivan each time we climbed inside. The Hyundai Santa Fe LTD comes standard with leather-covered seating, a navigation system, Bluetooth hands-free technology, heated first and second row seats and interior sun shades in the second row.
The Santa Fe is roomy and provides a nice sense of interior style. It may feel like a minivan on the inside but it doesn’t drive like one. It runs smooth, offers a lot of comfort to passengers (dual climate control) and the driver (push to start, steering controls and an easy to navigate dashboard) while still offering power on acceleration and not feeling like you are hauling around a lot of backend weight. That weight is something I feel heavily when driving many minivans. Whether it is just too wide or sluggish, minivans offer nothing but cargo space in my book and not a lot else to get enthusiastic about. I get excited when an SUV can combine that sense of space in a practical, stylish way without compromising power thanks to a strong V6 engine.
Yes, it does remind me of a Chevy Traverse on the outside to some degree, but it doesn’t have the interior cheapness of a Traverse and the ride is more enjoyable. Gas mileage is about 18 mpg city/24 highway with 20 combined. I found some blind spots in the back due to the third row head rests and had to boost my seat up to accommodate my view that was sometimes obstructed by the wide interior windshield bar on the driver and passenger side. That is all I can complain about with this car. It competes with my own Nissan Pathfinder, which I adore, but found that the whole family was sad to see the Santa Fe leave us.
The Santa Fe is a great option for larger families who want need to haul lots of people like a minivan but don’t want to be caught dead actually driving one. That would be me and my crew. Fully loaded with a panoramic sunroof, HD radio and 12 speaker Infinity sound system and 8″display screen the car has an MSRP of $38, 730 or $34, 850 without them. A good buy in my book. I would definitely recommend it to others.