2013 Hyundai Santa Fe is available in two versions
-- a six-seat Limited with a two-seat second row
and a seven-seat-GLS with a second-row bench seat
who vacuum fossilized french fries and scrub — vainly
— to remove grape juice spills from their cars’ seat
cushions are likely to appreciate the stain-resistant
interior of Hyundai’s new seven-passenger Santa Fe.
who unwittingly commit these childhood crimes,
meanwhile, could very well appreciate the duplication of
front-row amenities in the seats just behind their
parents, most notably heated and reclinable captain’s
all part of Hyundai’s bid for price-minded families
who yearn for a midsize crossover to haul the boogie
boards, the bicycles and the suitcases without cramping
their or their wee ones’ style. The larger Santa Fe,
which went on sale in March, starts at $29,195,
including freight and handling.
replacement for Hyundai’s Veracruz, which is being put
out to pasture because of the difficulty of marketing a
separate crossover nameplate, the longer Santa Fe is
available in two versions — a six-seat Limited with a
two-seat second row and a seven-seat GLS with a
second-row bench seat for three. Both vehicles scavenge
their front halves from the recently updated
five-passenger Santa Fe Sport but stretch its wheelbase
to accommodate more seats and an additional 38.6 cubic
feet of passenger volume.
a good amount of leg room in the second row, even with a
tall driver in front. But the third row will only be
comfortable for children who haven’t reached puberty.
The floor of the longer Santa Fe is taller in the third
row, which brings the seats lower to the ground and, as
a result, makes adult knees angle upward.
are the third row will spend most of its time collapsed.
That, at least, is done easily with the tug of a strap
on the back of each seat that flips the head rest
forward and nestles the seat into a flat and spacious
help move this larger load, there’s a new
direct-injection 3.3-liter V-6 tweaked for greater
efficiency and fuel economy with chromium nitrate
coatings on its sliding surfaces. The longer Santa Fe is
the only V-6 midsize crossover to weigh less than two
tons. Still, its EPA estimated fuel economy is just 20
mpg combined for the all-wheel drive version I tested
during a daylong Hyundai drive event in San Diego last
week. The front-wheel drive version gets an additional 1
mpg in highway or combined driving.
the Limited, it didn’t feel like a car that could
carry an entire peewee football team. It angled into
parking spaces without the drama of a five-point turn.
It had good power off the line, and its six-speed
automatic transmission was unobtrusive.
impressive was its customizable electronic power
steering. At the press of a button, the steering effort
can be softened or hardened by 10 percent with
distinctly different comfort and sport modes that,
according to Hyundai, appeal to women and men,
steering wheel controls include Bluetooth and audio,
which can also be operated with the Santa Fe’s
standard 4.3-inch touch screen. An optional technology
package included in the Limited that I tested upgrades
the car with a larger 8-inch touch screen, 12-speaker
surround sound, built-in sun shades for the rear side
windows and a panoramic sunroof, which elevated the
price to $38,730.
that kind of money, Hyundai lacks some of the safety
technologies that are now standard on less-expensive
vehicles, such as blind-spot monitoring and adaptive
cruise control that keeps the car at a safe following
distance. Both technologies are no-brainers for parent
drivers who may be distracted while negotiating backseat
bicker battles, but Hyundai opted against including
them, even as options, to keep the price more
HYUNDAI SANTA FE:
Direct-injection, 3.3-liter, V-6, six-speed automatic
horsepower: 290 at 6,400 rpm
torque: 252 pound-feet at 5,200 rpm
weight: 3,933 pounds
capacity: 5,000 pounds
estimated fuel economy: 18 city, 24 highway, 20 combined
as tested: $38,730
include destination charges.