by Tony West
Hyundai keeps stepping it up, this time with the 2013 Santa Fe Sport. The stylish new CUV contends with Toyota and Ford CUV’s and leaves Mitsubishi in its dust, mainly because of its athletic powertrain and impressive interior.
Fresh new Exterior
The 2013 Santa Fe Sport stunts on the competition with the illusion of a sporty wide-body design. Along with chrome accents at the grille, exhaust tips, and door handles, the Santa Fe Sport adds sporty features. A spoiler sets off the rear and aids aerodynamics. And 19-inch alloy wheels add lightweight agility and youthful flair. Inside the 2013 Santa Fe Sport gives a premium feel. And the 2-tone leather options and tech features are more comfortable and functional than the Toyota 4-Runner and the Ford Escape. The Hyundai Santa Fe Sport got a lot of compliments from the public. Some were shocked that Hyundai had stepped their game up this far. People liked the fresh interior with the soft touch leather matched with sporty features.
Advanced in Sporty Technology
The 2013 Santa Fe Sport was a pleasure to drive because it rides and handles like an athletic sedan, with the spaciousness of a SUV. The 2013 Santa Fe Sport is wider and lower to the ground adding roominess and uncompromised performance. The Santa Fe Sport now comes with a 2.0 liter turbocharged GDI 4-cylinder engine with 264 horsepower and 256 lb-ft of torque. The Santa Fe Sport is the first Hyundai crossover to have both GDI technology and a turbocharger. This gives the 2013 Santa Fe Sport the advantage of higher horsepower than its competitors with efficient 4-cylinder output. The 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport also has the option of a 2.4 liter GDI engine with 190 horsepower and 181 lb-ft of torque. GDI direct injection allows for better fuel efficiency, lower emissions, and a higher compression ratio.
The Santa Fe Sport’s performance arsenal includes the Vehicle Stability Management system, which monitors road conditions and responds with focused Electronic Stability Control and Electric Power Steering. Drivers can also add Torque Vectoring Control and All-Wheel-Drive. These features reduce under and oversteering and can deliver additional torque or brakes to any single wheel at a time. Intelligence Control Electronics allows for greater efficiency with minimal energy use and enhances traction for varied road conditions.
Both 4-cylinder engines are matted to a 6-speed automatic transmission with manual SHIFTRONIC. I enjoyed the selectable drive modes that adjust steering response. “Normal” drive mode is for mixed road conditions. “Comfort” drive mode is for even terrains. And “Sport” mode is for highway speeds, with a 10% increase in steering effort. The 2013 Santa Fe Sport Also comes standard with MacPherson strut front suspension and independent multi-link rear suspension made with high strength steel.
Fly Interior Soars above Competitors
The interior takes the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport to a new level with standard features like a touchscreen, rear camera, and sunroof. The Leather & Premium Equipment Package adds heated seats, a clean air ionizer, a panoramic sunroof, rear sunshades, heated steering wheel, and the bangin 12-speaker Infinity Logic 7 audio system. Other cool options are the sliding rear seats and the 8-inch touchscreen with navigation.
The leather inside the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe is very comfortable, but still has the smooth feeling of tough resilient leather. The navigation was okay, but I wanted the street names to appear closer. I had to keep zooming in which is distracting. And while the audio system was off-the-chain, I wished there were more controls accessible without the touchscreen. The audio buttons on the interior control unit were sometimes confusing. Instead of there being separate buttons for “CD” and “AM/FM” controls, I had to press “Mode” a bunch of times. The “Mode” button and volume controls are also on the steering wheel.Bluetooth in the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport was on the fritz at times, auto starting stored Bluetooth navigation and media and randomly yelling out out trip routes when I plug my phone into the USB port. There should always be a prompt asking if I would like to initiate Bluetooth when I’m charging my phone. The Hyundai Santa Fe also has optional BlueLink technology that includes a ton of remote access technologies, service features, and safeguards. BlueLink also gives information about nearby gas stations, restaurants, weather, and efficiency tips.
Practical Advantages = Worthwhile Buy
With a ton of new features, the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport is worthwhile buy before I pull off. But there were more advantages I enjoyed more than the Ford Escape and the Toyota Rav4, even the Honda Pilot. The 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport isn’t a typical CUV in that it’s efficient and quick as a sedan, but spacious like a SUV. The EPA reflects this with an impressive 27 mpg highway and 20 mpg city, for a combined 23 mpg, more efficient than some CUV’s and SUV’s with no compromise to powertrain. I also enjoyed the excellent handling. The Torque Vectoring system and Intelligent All-Wheel-Drive makes for agility on the highway. I also enjoyed the clean air ionizer and the beatin sound system.
Overall the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe was one of the most enjoyable CUV’s I’ve tested because it’s sporty and stylish yet very practical- well worth its $27,700 msrp.