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|2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport AWD 2.0T Review & Test Drive||
The all-new 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe gets a complete redesign inside and out placing it in a better position to duke it out with the growing competitive crossover SUV segment. The new 2013 Santa Fe brings forth a unrestrained demeanor yet a civilized ride and the exceptional versatility in the 5-passenger Sport model and 6/7-passenger GLS and Limited trims (due out at a later date).
The new 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe begins life with a sleek new body transformed by its larger front grill and visually rearward sweeping sheet metal lines. Distinctive styling attributes add to the Santa Fe’s originality from its squared projector beam headlights to a sporty silhouette.
For 2013, the new Hyundai Santa Fe is offered in a 5-passenger Sport version with two different trims and engine options, while a GLS and Limited trims gets 6 or 7 passenger seating from its 3rd row of seats made available from a longer wheelbase. The Santa Fe Sport gets a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine with 190 horsepower and 181 ft-lbs of torque yielding 21 mpg city and 29 mpg city. My 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 2.0 Turbo gets a 2.0-liter twin-scroll turbocharged 4-cylinder engine good for 264 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 269 lb-ft of torque at a low 1,750 rpm. You will expect to get an EPA estimated 20 mpg city and 27 mpg highway out of the new Santa Fe 2.0T all-wheel-drive model, which nearly matches the less-powerful 2.4-liter engine. I observed a consistent 22 mpg in the city and about 24 mpg highway on my loaded-up Santa Fe Sport 2.0T all-wheel-drive model.
Driving the new 2013 Santa Fe 2.0T is quite rewarding for a crossover that has grown into its largest skin yet. Hyundai engineers were able to reduce body weight by an amazing 333 pounds when compared to the outgoing Santa Fe V6. That weight reduction, however, did not compromise rigidity. In fact, rigidity was increased by 16% allowing the re-tuned suspension system to take on the brunt of the work to smooth out the ride instead of transmitting harshness through a flexing chassis.
Combined with the smooth 2.0-liter turbocharged engine and competent 6-speed automatic transmission, the Santa Fe Sport 2.0T is no pushover when it comes time to move 5 passengers quickly. 0-60 mpg times come in a respectable 6.5 seconds. Though, I tended to be annoyed from a split second of turbo lag when accelerating from a dead stop. The slight hesitation eventually became expected but took some getting used to before the engine starts to hit its sweet torque spot around 1750 rpm.
The new 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.0T remains to be civilized in its handling abilities. While the 6-speed automatic transmission does a good job at keeping the 2.0-liter 4-banger in its power band, the remarkable all-wheel-drive system does a lot to manage wheel spin and traction. The optional all-wheel-drive system continually monitors each wheel and reacts with a brake-activated torque-vectoring function along with the stability control system. With all systems working in sync, the AWD management is a seamless wonder proving to be hardly intrusive when you suspect a wheel losing traction. The system, in a way, anticipates traction needs based on previous driving conditions data. Basically, output from each wheel can vary on a continuous basis to provide the optimal grip, even when the axel is locked through a dashboard “diff lock” button.
My only qualms about the new Santa Fe’s performance would be the numb steering feel and slight turbo lag from a dead stop, as mentioned previously. The steering has a set of 3 different settings, comfort, normal and sport. Though all settings are notably different by adding degrees of weight to the steering effort, sport mode fails to add any real sport to the equation. Sure the sport mode may add needed weight to the electric-steering effort, it does not add any extra bit of communication from the road. To sum it up, the steering wheel, every bit of comfortable and versatile as it is, just lacks any real road interaction.
In all, when it comes to a crossover with the right about of road-going prowes for enthusiasts, the Santa Fe Sport 2.0T is the only way to go provided the extra $3,350 is not a deciding factor. For that extra pricing, you will be greatly rewarded with a decent performing crossover SUV, much more capable than the Santa Fe Sport with the underwhelming 2.4-liter engine.
The interior of the new 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe takes on a new language expressed by new Hyundai vehicles. This language is easily read and deciphered through soft-touch plastics and excellent fit and finish. All controls are brightly lit and user friendly. The center high-resolution touch-LCD screen is easy to navigate, as well as the optional GPS navigation system. Though, the LCD screen does tend to get washed out somewhat in direct sunlight – either shining through the optional panoramic sunroof or from the front windshield.
Hyundai’s new Blue link telematics is a nice standard touch to the Santa Fe Sport 2.0T. The Santa Fe Sport’s 5-passenger configuration features a good amount of interior room and rear seats that recline and slide forward and aft. Of course in the longer wheelbase Santa Fe GLS or Limited’s 6/7 passenger configurations the middle row will have a bit more leg room.
Comfortable front seating positions can easily be found through a wide angle of recline with more than enough head and leg room. The leather appointed seats in my new Santa Fe Sport 2.0T proved to be comfy on long hauls. Rear storage space is on par with the Santa Fe’s competition with just over 70 cubic-feet when the rear seats are folded down. The only option that I found missing on my test vehicle, more as a creature comfort or show-off item, is the power rear liftgate.
A new enormous sliding and tilt panoramic roof, optional on the new Santa Fe Sport, has more glass than the Atlanta Georgia Aquarium. In a way this is a good thing to give occupants an added value of entertainment or fresh air. On the other hand, let’s hope it does not break as easy as an iPhone dropped on pavement from the 5th floor of a building.
The all-new 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport once again reiterates Hyundai’s forward momentum in the automotive industry along with their unparalleled recognition. The styling alone of the new Santa Fe makes a bold statement but never overshadows what Hyundai is attempting to communicate to those who are in the market for a well-built crossover SUV. The Santa Fe combines efficiency, value, advanced safety, and versatility in an affordable package. Fundamentally, you can have your cake and eat it, too.
The new 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport starts at reasonable $24,450 while the front-wheel-drive Sport 2.0T trim starts at just $27,700. Expect to pay around $36,000 for a loaded-up AWD Sport 2.0T with all of your favorite bells and whistles. My 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport AWD 2.0T included the $2,450 Leather & Premium Equipment Package (side mirror turn signals; leather seating surfaces; powered passenger seat; sliding & reclining rear seats; dual automatic climate control; rearview camera; auto-dimming rearview mirror with integrated Homelink and compass; premium sill plates), the $2,900 Technology Package (panoramic sunroof with tilt & slide; navigation system with 8-inch display; XM NavTraffic; Infinity audio system; heated steering wheel; manual rear window sunshades), the $100 Carpeted Floor Mats, the $50 Cargo Net and the $150 Cargo Cover, for an as-tested price of $35,925 including an $825 destination charge.
Copyright: 2012 AutomotiveAddicts.com
- Price: BASE Santa Fe Sport 2.0T $27,700 / As-Tested Sport AWD 2.oT $35,925
- Engine: 2.0-liter DOHC Turbocharged Inline 4-cylinder 264 horsepower @ 6000 rpm / 269 ft-lbs. torque @ 1750 rpm
- Wheelbase: 106.3 in.
- Total length: 184.6 in.
- Total width: 74 in.
- Total height: 66.5 in.
- Track: f/r-64.1/64.5 in.
- Headroom: f/r-39.6/39.1 in.
- Legroom: f/r-41.3/39.4 in.
- Turning circle: 35.8 ft.
- Fuel tank: 17.4 gallons
- Curb weight: 3,706 lbs.
- EPA Fuel mileage estimates: 20 mpg city / 27 mpg highway
|2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport: First Drive||
If you want to be taken seriously as an automaker these days, building a competitive compact crossover is an absolute necessity. Vehicles like the Honda CR-V and the Toyota RAV4 contribute significantly to their respective monthly sales, and even the all-new Mazda CX-5 has done a great job of bringing customers into showrooms. If you need further proof of how important the segment is, consider this: even Audi, BMW and Porsche are designing vehicles to compete in this segment.
Hyundai has been in the segment for a while now, with its Santa Fe compact crossover debuting in 2001. While sales have grown over the years, Hyundai still sells a fraction of the volume enjoyed by other segment competitors. Through July, Honda sold some 167,236 CR-Vs, and Toyota moved 104,686 RAV4s. Hyundai, on the other hand, has delivered just 39,059 Santa Fes this year.
To increase its competitiveness in-segment, Hyundai is launching an all-new Santa Fe line for the the 2013 model year. The new five-seat Santa Fe Sport will be the most comparable to the current Santa Fe, while a longer wheelbase 2013 Santa Fe (with three row seating) will replace the outgoing Hyundai Veracruz. Both the new Santa Fe Sport and the new Santa Fe share similar styling inside and out, with the biggest differences being in seating configuration and available engines.
The Santa Fe Sport has begun appearing at local Hyundai dealers, and Hyundai recently flew us out to Park City, Utah, to drive the new model at (relatively) high altitude. Elevation is the enemy of performance, so Hyundai wanted to showcase that its new 2.0-liter turbocharged Santa Fe was more than up for the challenge. While the cars we drove all came with the higher-output engine and all-wheel-drive, Hyundai’s Santa Fe range will begin with a normally-aspirated 2.4-liter engine and front wheel drive.
While we didn’t sample this configuration, it sounds promising on paper. The 2.4-liter engine makes 190 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque, and still manages to deliver an estimated 33 mpg highway and 22 mpg city in front-drive configuration. Opt for all-wheel-drive, and fuel economy drops a bit to 28 mpg highway and 20 mpg around town.
After driving the optional 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, however, we can tell you that this is our preferred pick, especially in all-wheel drive. The forced-induction engine makes an impressive 264 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque, producing spirited acceleration even at an altitude of 8,400 feet. There isn’t a huge penalty in fuel economy, either, with the FWD 2.0T returning 31 mpg on the highway and 21 mpg in the city, and the AWD version delivering 27 mpg highway and 20 mpg city. Unless your budget simply can’t handle the increase in price, there’s no reason to shop anything but the 2.0T AWD models.
Speaking of all-wheel-drive, the Santa Fe Sport (and Santa Fe) will utilize a system developed by Magna Powertrain called Dynamax. Without going into too much engineering detail, it uses an electro-hydraulic coupling to split torque front to rear based upon driving conditions. It’s predictive, based upon information delivered by vehicle sensors, and can provide both torque vectoring and individual wheel braking for the maximum amount of traction. Systems like this always sound good on paper, but we can tell you that this one works at an impressive level in the wild. On a dirt and gravel fire road, there was virtually no wheelspin even under hard acceleration from a standing start. Turn off the stability control, however, and the system still allows a driver to enjoy a bit of tail-out fun in corners, though this is probably not a key requirement for most customers shopping a compact crossover. Perhaps it’s just best to say that we were very impressed with the Santa Fe Sport’s handling and composure on low-traction surfaces.
We were also impressed that the AWD Santa Fe Sport comes with features like an electronic differential lock for maximum traction on loose surfaces, and a hill descent control for tackling steep and slippery grades. That doesn’t mean the Santa Fe Sport 2.0T (which comes with 19-inch wheels and 55-series tires) is intended for hard-core off-roading, but it does mean that it will stand up to a winter weekend in the mountains or a summer drive on the beach. Fire roads and easy trails won’t cause much drama, but the lack of skid plates would give us cause for concern if the trail got too rough.
Outside, the Santa Fe Sport carries on with Hyundai’s latest “Fluidic Sculpture” styling, now in its “Storm Edge” phase. We’re not designers, but we can appreciate the sense of motion that it conveys, and would be the first to tell you that it’s the best looking Santa Fe that Hyundai has ever penned. In fact, we find it to be one of the best looking crossovers on the market today, thanks in part to design touches like the low daylight opening and rising beltline, as well as the flowing headlights (with LED accents) and wrap-around taillights. While customers may have shopped the 2012 Santa Fe in spite of its styling, there’s no doubt that some will shop the new model because of its lines.
That sense of style carries over to the cabin as well, and were suitably impressed with the Santa Fe’s attention to detail. The rear of the armrest, for example, carries a metallic Santa Fe logo badge. You see this when opening the door, but not while seated inside; if Hyundai obsessed on this styling flourish, how much did they sweat the rest of the interior details? We can’t answer that, other than to say the perforated and power adjustable front seats were all-day-long comfortable, the Infinity Logic 7 audio system was superb, the driver-selectable steering function provided noticeable variations in steering effort and the cabin was the quietest we’ve experienced in a compact crossover to date.
In fact, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were driving a luxury crossover, since the Santa Fe Sport really is that good. On pavement, the ride is on the firm side, but never harsh, even over broken pavement. Carry speed into a corner and you’ll get noticeable body roll, but this just reminds you that you’re driving a crossover and not a sport sedan. Thanks in part to the torque-vectoring AWD, cornering limits are higher than any sane person will test on the street, and there’s enough capability to keep things interesting for those of us who love to drive but need the capabilities of a crossover for day to day living. If we had to state a few gripes, throttle response could be better and transmission kick-down could be quicker, but both of these are minor points that don’t really detract from the driving experience.
There’s something else about the Santa Fe Sport, and Hyundai in general, that’s a bit harder to define. We’ve seen the evolution of Hyundai’s vehicles in recent years, with each new model carrying the Korean automaker one step further in refinement. From that perspective, the Santa Fe Sport is a home run, as it feels like the most polished non-luxury model that Hyundai has ever turned out. We like the direction it’s going in, and we believe that its new Santa Fe Sport has the goods to challenge any other compact crossover on the market today.
Santa Fe Sport models are arriving at dealerships now, priced from $25,275 including a destination charge of $825. The AWD 2.0T we drove had a base price of $30,275 and came with the $2,450 Leather & Premium Equipment Package (side mirror turn signals; leather seating surfaces; powered passenger seat; sliding & reclining rear seats; dual automatic climate control; rearview camera; auto-dimming rearview mirror with integrated Homelink and compass; premium sill plates), the $2,900 Technology Package (panoramic sunroof with tilt & slide; navigation system with 8-inch display; XM NavTraffic; Infinity audio system; heated steering wheel; manual rear window sunshades), the $100 Carpeted Floor Mats, the $50 Cargo Net and the $150 Cargo Cover, for a total sticker price of $35,925.