It's getting difficult to find new ways to gush over a Hyundai. Everything in the 2013 Santa Fe Sport crossover was just so … wonderful.
Families who value style, convenience and comfort will find plenty to love in the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport. My family sure did.
The Santa Fe Sport is a two-row crossover and replaces the previous-generation Santa Fe. A larger version of the 2013 Santa Fe Sport is the 2013 Santa Fe — yes, it's getting confusing on the name front — which has a third row and seating for seven.
Driving the Santa Fe Sport is smooth and easy. However, if it's not to your liking, the power steering can be altered to improve feedback or reduce effort with three modes: Comfort, Normal and Sport. At times it seemed that my test car's base 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine was a little underpowered, but never enough to cause me a problem. There is an optional turbocharged engine for those who seek more power.
The 2013 Santa Fe Sport starts at $25,295, including an $845 destination charge. My base level test car had several optional packages that boosted its price to $32,175.
The Santa Fe Sport is all-new for 2013, and it certainly got quite a makeover. It looks sleeker and much edgier than the previous Santa Fe, and it maintains the Hyundai family resemblance, taking many styling cues from the smaller Tucson crossover.
While I'm a fan of its looks, the Santa Fe Sport's visibility is compromised due to the sloping roofline and its high belt line. The Santa Fe isn't the only crossover with this problem. Vehicles like the Santa Fe Sport are designed for families, and visibility issues due to design drives me a little crazy. A backup camera is available, but I'd like to see a blind spot warning system offered for safer lane changes.
As expected, the Santa Fe Sport's step-in height means wee ones will need help getting in and out of it.
I was impressed by the cargo area. The space is large at 35.4 cubic feet, and there are two storage cutouts under the cargo area's floor. The cutouts aren't just fluff, either; I was able to stash a 20-pound container of cat litter in one of the compartments. They're that big! In the cargo area, I had room for my stroller, three grocery bags, a large box of 100 diapers and room to spare.
The Santa Fe Sport has a base 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 190 horsepower. It wasn't necessarily bucking with power, but it wasn't a problem for me. It gets an EPA-estimated 21/29 mpg city/highway with front-wheel drive and 20/26 mpg with all-wheel drive. The available 264-hp, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder gets 20/27 mpg with front-wheel drive and 19/24 with all-wheel drive. Both engines are paired to a six-speed automatic transmission and use regular unleaded gasoline.
SENSE AND STYLE
Family Friendly (Not Really, Fair, Great, Excellent): Great
Fun-Factor (None, Some, Good Times, Groove-On): Some
The Santa Fe Sport's interior is both upscale and family friendly, which is no easy combination. It's got all the tech inside a gadget-loving mom or dad could ask for, attractive finishes for the design aficionado and even heated rear seats for the kids. Hyundai clearly had families in mind with this interior, and the more time you spend inside of one, the more it shows.
There were so many things I loved about the Santa Fe Sport's interior. Everything seemed so luxurious, and I felt so comfortable and pampered inside the car. I loved that when I got low on gas the optional navigation system would ask if I needed to locate the nearest gas station. I loved that I didn't have to worry about my daughter kicking and scuffing the optional leather upholstery because there was a hard plastic "shield" on the seatbacks to protect it; the standard cloth upholstery is stain-resistant, which is pretty magical if you've got a 2-year-old addicted to sippy cups. I loved the multimedia system and found it easy to use. I loved seeing the open sky through the optional panoramic sunroof. Even the ergonomics were spot on.
The Santa Fe Sport is a five-seater, and families of four or five should fit comfortably (unless you've got child-safety seats to contend with then you're looking at seating for just four). Bottleholders can be found in the door cutouts; a place to stash your smartphone lives in the center stack, and there's a decent-sized storage bin under the armrest providing plenty of storage.
The second row can slide back and forth — part of the optional Leather and Premium Package ($2,950) — allowing for even more cargo space while still accommodating rear passengers, and the 60/40-split seatback folds easily when you need to haul even more. It seemed that no matter what situation we put the Santa Fe Sport in, my family remained happy and comfortable inside of it.
IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT COUNT
Storage Compartments (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Ample
Cargo/Trunk Space (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Ample
The Santa Fe Sport can accommodate two child-safety seats across its backseat. There are two sets of easily accessible Latch anchors in the outboard seats. Now that my daughter is in a forward-facing convertible seat many interiors seem roomier; a rear-facing seat in the Santa Fe Sport can eat up significant space for the front seat passenger. Get more detailed information on how the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport handled all types of child-safety seats in our Car Seat Check.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has named the 2013 Santa Fe Sport a Top Safety Pick, its second highest award. And the crossover received an overall safety score of five stars of five from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport has standard front-wheel drive, four-wheel-disc antilock brakes with brake assist, an electronic stability system with traction control, active front head restraints and seven airbags, including side curtains for both rows and a driver's knee airbag. All-wheel drive, a backup camera with rear parking sensors and Hyundai's BlueLink system are optional.
BlueLink, which is similar to GM's OnStar, can be appealing to families with teen drivers because it offers some high-tech ways to keep tabs on them. I had the chance to try out some of BlueLink's more telling features such as text alerts that report when the vehicle exceeded the speed limit and when the car was being driven after a designated curfew. Parents can download the BlueLink app for their smartphones and set up these alerts. Although I did not test it, BlueLink even has geo-fencing, as well. BlueLink isn't just a tattletale. It can also provide peace of mind because it can call emergency services for teen or adult drivers if roadside assistance is needed or if there's a crash.
Get more safety information on the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport.
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