The Truth About Cars » 2013 hyundai santa fe The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sun, 20 Jul 2014 16:00:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » 2013 hyundai santa fe Capsule Review: 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Wed, 20 Mar 2013 16:05:19 +0000

I can’t say I ever envisioned myself getting excited about reviewing a three-row crossover, but Hyundai’s latest tall wagon holds a special place in my heart. From 2007-2011, a Hyundai Santa Fe Limited was my main mode of transportation, and despite all miles it racked up on road trips, beer runs and even a couple of extralegal time trials on gravel roads (sorry, Mum and Dad), nobody bothered to take a single picture of it for me to include in this review. I guess it really was that boring.

Like the previous generation car, it will go about its business in quiet competence, faithfully ferrying young children to soccer practice and older children to the beer store, and then to the lake house and back before they have to work at 8:30 AM on Sunday morning (ask me how I know). The new Santa Fe will likely fade into the same sort of stoic anonymity, living out its days as a faithful servant to yet another middle-class family.  The big difference is, that family will be driving a much nicer car than I drove.

It’s difficult to fathom that my old Santa Fe and the new version have anything in common. The old Santa Fe was a utilitarian CUV with a few nice touches, like cup holders and gauges illuminated in blue, ala VW, and a bit of decent leather trim on the seats. The V6 engine thrashed and hummed at even moderate loads. The styling was attractive but generic. It was great value for the money – and that’s about it.

The new long wheelbase version of the Santa Fe has one thing in common with the old car – both employ V6 engines that displaces 3.3L. That’s it. Step inside the new car,and the dour black plastic is replaced by a wholly modern dashboard with all the modern trappings. Navigation, Bluetooth, a touch screen system that doesn’t take a UI specialist to discern. It’s hard to believe that a generation ago, there was a tinny sound system and yards of awful black faux-wood trim slathered wantonly over the IP. Now, there are clean lines, a dash of faux wood and a compact pod of buttons for those Luddites who think touch screens are the devil.

Hyundai’s drive route was better suited for a Genesis Coupe or an Elantra GT – a strange choice given that nobody will ever drive a three-row crossover in anger – but again, it was easy to notice improvements in the Santa Fe’s dynamics. The previous generation car had an atrocious ride, with non-existent damping and bump stops made of week-old English muffins. The new Santa Fe was unflappable. Even after going over a bump that required more braking on my part, there was no crashing or harshness. Everything was well controlled and suitably isolated. Even Hyundai’s trademark A-pillar wind noise at highway speeds has been banished, giving the car Lexus-like silence at speed.

Kudos to the powertrain engineers as well, for banishing the agricultural feel of the old 3.3 Lambda engine. The new direct-injection variant, pulled from the Azera, is an exponential improvement, and the 6-speed automatic gearbox makes the most out of the 290 horses and 252 lb-ft of torque. Not that the previous car was short on power – just some road manners.

It’s all well and good to talk about performance figures and weight savings, but what about the real life tasks that I used the Santa Fe for over those four years? For most auto journalists, the horsepower numbers are the amount of air miles they collect on a trip are what really matters. But I know first hand that the previous generation Santa Fe’s superiority in areas that made up the dull grind of daily existence were what ultimately sold my parents on buying one over some much more expensive options. It did everything that its more expensive competitors did for less money, though you had to put up with a few compromises in exchange. The newest generation banishes those trade-offs in refinement from a driving dynamics and refinement standpoint. But what about practicality?

If I want to go shopping at Costco, how many bags can fit behind the third row before I have to fold it down? How high is the cargo floor and what impact does that have on a buyer who has to load heavy groceries into the back of the car? Is it easy to parallel park? Can three adults comfortably fit across the third row? Is the turning circle tight enough for a quick U-Turn on a busy street?

The winding roads and daunting elevation changes on the Santa Fe’s drive route may have delighted the Piloti wearers on the various waves, but they provided little feedback on how the Santa Fe performed in everyday situations relevant to consumers. For more on that, you’ll have to wait until Alex or one of the other writers gets their hands on one. Maybe my Mom can make a guest appearance? When’s the last time you were privy to a review from someone who bought a brand new example of the previous generation car?

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Capsule Review: 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 2.0T AWD Tue, 28 Aug 2012 14:34:49 +0000

Anyone can write a world-class review of an interesting car. Something like a McLaren M4-12C or a Ferrari 458 lends itself well to Clarksonian prose, full of overwrought similies and hyperbolic commentary on the driving experience. Writing a great review of an utterly boring, utilitarian car that captures the reader’s attention? Now that takes work.

And then, there’s an even bigger challenge when trying to review something like the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe. It’s a crossover, which means 98% of the readership is pre-disposed to hating it right off the bat. Outside of planet TTAC, a lot of people really care about crossovers. You, the station wagon/hatchback loyalist may not be able to fathom this, but there is a reason the Honda CR-V is one of the best selling vehicles in the country. It just works. Every other automaker in the industry tries different formulas to knock the Comfort Runabout Vehicle (yes, that’s what CR-V stands for) off of its comfortable perch, but nobody has succeeded thus far. Not with fancy tech features (Ford Escape), great handling (Mazda CX-5), great fuel economy (erm…Mazda CX-5) or simply another flavor of vanilla (Toyota RAV4). With this car, Hyundai will be marketing a car that looks and feels nicer than everything else out there.

The old car was bland on the outside and durable on the inside, if we’re being charitable. This generation is a different story, with the most striking difference being the size-XL Tucson styling that works better on the larger crossover. The interior is an incredible leap forward from the previous car. Whereas the old one was durable and simple, with a couple premium touches (like blue back lighting) thrown in for good measure, the new car makes a solid attempt at appearing upscale.

All the switch gear and interior materials are well above the previous car – they’re even better than the bits and pieces used in the Genesis. The layout is similar to the Elantra GT’s dashboard and instrument panel, so this is likely Hyundai’s future interior design direction. With all cars so close in quality, interior and exterior design is an important selling point for new cars – Hyundai has leveraged that with cars like the Elantra and Sonata, but the priorities of buyers in this segment aren’t always so superficial.

All press trips are carefully planned in order to maximize the car’s benefits and minimize its flaws; in this case, we were driving the new Santa Fe in Park City, Utah, with elevations approaching 9,000 feet at some points. The only variants available to test were the five-passenger Santa Fe Sport models with the 2.0T engine and all-wheel drive. Next year, the three-row Santa Fe will arrive, with a longer wheelbase and 6 or 7 passenger seating, as a replacement for the Veracruz. None were on hand to drive.

At altitude, the 2.0T performed admirably, but the lack of any of the base model 2.4L naturally aspirated cars was telling; we’ll wait until we’re back at sea-level to make a final judgement call. Even with our foot to the floor, the 2.0T barely broke a sweat, while the six-speed automatic did its best to minimize its presence. The absence of the agricultural 3.3L V6 in the previous model is a welcome one, though three-row models get a revised 3.3L identical to the unit featured in the Azera. Credit for the improved performance can’t rest entirely with the engine alone. Hyundai managed to trim 266 pounds out of the new car versus last year’s model.

The new Santa Fe’s road manners are similar to the old one. The steering is heavier but not entirely communicative. The Driver Selectable Steering Modes (just like the Elantra GT) increase the steering heft, but doesn’t help with tactile sensation. In this segment, it’s not like most buyers really care, and it’s a marked improvement from the Xanax-laden system in the previous model. Like the old car, the ride isn’t completely sorted; the shocks “jack” up and down a fair bit over uneven pavement (something that will be explored in future Suspension Truth column), lending a bit of a pogo stick feel to the car. Again, it’s much improved over the old car (which, after a couple of years in the Kreindler fleet, had a pretty harsh ride), but not quite class leading. NVH is greatly improved, and it truly is a quiet car, allowing you to enjoy the Infinity sound system that came with our tester. The system sounded great, but the rest of the package, including the navigation screen and the multi-layered menus, were a bit frustrating to use. At one point, it refused to accept the destination address listed in the Hyundai supplied map book – the site of the 2002 Olympic skiing events. Not exactly a shack in the middle of nowhere.

To get all this you’ll have to take the $30,270 Santa Fe Sport AWD and drop another $2450 for the Leather and Premium Package, as well as $2900 for the Technology Package that also adds a panoramic sunroof and a backup camera, among other items. Even at that price, the 2013 Santa Fe is tempting – it’s much more interesting both visually and mechanically than something like a Toyota Venza, is devoid of the annoying MyFord Touch system that plagues upper trim levels of the Blue Oval cars and offers up fuel economy numbers that are at the top of the segment; 2.0T cars can return 21/31 mpg city/highway with front drive and 20/27 with all-wheel drive, while the 2.4L front-driver can return as high as 33 mpg on the highway.

The fly in the ointment here is, you guessed it, the CR-V. For all it lacks in tech features and avant-garde styling and turbocharged engines, the CR-V has three key advantages that are powerful enough to sell people on the product. The cargo floor is extremely low, making it easy to load groceries and strollers into the back. The “one-touch” rear seats are so simple and so efficient that they seem designed with a showroom floor demo in mind. And a back-up camera with multiple angles (including a downward view for looking at poles and solid objects) comes standard on every model. Chances are, many of you are scoffing at the idea of an dated-looking, dated-feeling, low-tech, dull-to-drive Honda reigning supreme over Hyundai’s upscale crossover (or the Escape, or the CX-5), but for people who don’t spend time reading about cars on the internet, the little features that make their day-to-day existence easier – which are plentiful in the CR-V, that end up selling cars in this segment.

Hyundai provided travel, accomodations, flights, meals and a 2013 Santa Fe for the launch event. 

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Pour One Out For The Hyundai Veracruz Thu, 05 Apr 2012 18:24:20 +0000

The Hyundai Veracruz is no more. Hyundai’s oft-ignored big crossover will depart from the marketplace later this year, with the addition of a three-row 2013 Santa Fe. A three-row version of the previous Santa Fe was offered for a short time, but the third row compromised cargo space and offered minimal space for its occupants. The previous Santa Fe had a long life, perhaps too long. The new car should rectify the fact that the current model lagged far behind the level of overall quality and engineering that exists in current Hyundais.

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2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Rendered Mon, 12 Mar 2012 15:31:42 +0000

Hyundai’s Santa Fe crossover is long overdue for a re-design, and when pressed for details, all that CEO John Krafcik would tell me was that it looked like a larger Tucson. He was right.

The new car uses an evolution of Hyundai’s “Fluidic Sculpture” design language, now dubbed “Storm Edge”. At least the first name made some kind of sense. “Storm Edge” sounds like an ill-fated mission to kill Bin Laden. The Santa Fe appears to be a two-row crossover (after the optional third row was canned in 2009). Powertrain details remain murky – when asked, Krafcik said that “we’re saving the rest for the NY show…”, so you’ll have to wait another few weeks to find out more.

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