Car Review: Santa Fe redesign makes SUV near perfect

The Hyundai Santa Fe is one of the best crossover options in its class for 2013. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

DALLAS, November 4, 2013 — When considering a crossover vehicle the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe is a good choice for a number of reasons.  With a total redesign in 2013, this Hyundai really does lead the class in a list of competitors that include good company such as the Chevrolet Equinox, Ford Escape, Honda CR-V and the Kia Sorento, the latter being a bit bigger with seven person seating the norm.

The redesigned 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe.  Photos by Russell Dandridge.

The redesigned 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe. Photos by Russell Dandridge.

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For a good number of years now the Hyundai brand has stood out and with the Santa Fe you get power, comfort and a crossover that looks good and has ample space.  In fact, with a choice of either the seven-passenger option with a long-wheelbase or a sportier five-passenger option, there is something for everyone. 

Trims on this SUV include the GLS and Limited trim levels as well as the smaller size Santa Fe Sport, which has five seats and comes either in a base trim or the 2.0T option.

On the base Sport trim you get 17-inch alloy wheels, rear spoiler and cruise control, all the power accessories, cloth upholstery, 40/20/40 split-folding rear seats and Hyundai’s Blue Link telematics system as well as satellite radio and a USB/iPod integration.

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The optional additional package here is the Equipment package adding automatic headlights, fog lights, heated mirrors, roof rack rails, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated front seats and the always popular eight-way power-adjustable driver seat.

On the Sport 2.0T you get to add as well the more powerful turbocharged engine, 19-inch wheels, keyless ignition/entry and a gauge cluster.

On the Santa Fe GLS trim it comes equipped with most of the features from the base Sport with a longer wheelbase, 18-inch wheels, fog lights, a sliding second-row bench seat and 50/50 split-folding third-row seats.

At the top of the Hyundai Santa Fe game is the Limited with all the goodies from the 2.0T and GLS, but only offering a six seater option since the second-row seats are two captain’s chairs instead of a bench.  You also get a power liftgate, windshield wiper de-icers, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, heated second-row seats, driver seat memory functions, an upgraded interior, auto-dimming rearview mirror and rearview camera.

There are also some options on the various trims that are standard as you get higher in the trim level, but these are part of various bundled packages. For example, the navigation system, which is paired with an 8-inch touchscreen display might also offer a rearview camera depending on the trim or the additional package offered.  You can also choose a panoramic sunroof on any of the trims except the GLS and all the trims can have a heated steering wheel whereas the blind-spot monitoring system only comes available for the Limited trim level.

Under the hood the base 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport offers a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with 190 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque. The Santa Fe is standard with front-wheel drive, but you can opt for all-wheel drive, even so, the transmission is a six-speed automatic either way.

On the Sport 2.0T that is a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine with 264 horsepower and 269 pound feet of torque and the GLS and Limited models offer a 3.3-liter V6 engine giving the driver 290 horsepower with 252 pound feet of torque.

For safety, Hyundai offers antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front-seat side and   side curtain airbags as well as front-seat active head restraints and a hill hold and descent control. Hyundai’s Blue Link is also standard with the emergency telematics system that gives Hyundai owner’s peace of mind with remote access, emergency assistance, theft recovery and geo-fencing.

When the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe is equipped right the V6 model can tow up to 5,000 pounds and the Sport 2.0T 3,500 pounds.

Inside, you can expect quality and the cabin feels good as well as being easy to intuit the knobs and controls.  Also standout is the touchscreen, which can sometimes be hard to figure out on vehicles, but Hyundai makes it easy.

In the back seats the passengers will still maintain a comfortable ride with plenty of leg room as well as head room and in the longer wheelbase option the legroom is 31.5 inches for third row passengers. 

Since it is a SUV crossover, hauling around cargo is also important with 35.4 cubic feet of space behind the second row and on the seven-passenger you can get up to 41 cubic feet.  When the seats are flat there is 71.5 cubic feet and the larger Santa Fe version can take 80 cubic feet.  When all the seats are up and in use it’s only 13.5 cubic feet, but over all, there is plenty of room to play with depending on your needs.

Easy driving on the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe means a quiet, comfortable ride and easy to handle so depending on the engine size and trim there is indeed, a Santa Fe that fits every need.


Should You Need to Know: The 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe offers a long warranty and with all the bells and whistle on this redesigned Santa Fe it effectively replaces the outgoing Hyundai Veracruz.

Miles Per Gallon: I drove the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited AWD, which came in with 18 miles per gallon in the city and 24 miles per gallon on the highway.

Cost: The 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited AWD had a price tag of $38,740.

Rita Cook  is a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association and can be followed on Twitter at @ritacook13. She is also a 15-year veteran journalist and author, her latest book from History Press  is about Prohibition-Era cocktails in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.




This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

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Rita Cook

Rita Cook is a writer/editor with over 1000 articles to her credit in the past 10-plus years. She is the co-host of a radio show in Los Angeles; Insider Mag Radio at KPRO 1570 am and is on from midnight to 12:30 a.m. Monday mornings.  Cook is a member of the Texas Auto Writer’s Association and also writes an eco-friendly column for the Dallas Morning News.


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