I have to hand it to Hyundai, every single time they re-do a vehicle, the new one is inherently better than the last. The all-new 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport is perhaps the best example of this to date.
2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport
My review vehicle is the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport all-wheel drive and it has the 2.0-liter turbo 4-cylinder that is rated at 264-horses. The engine is strong when accelerating and the turbo has zero lag. There is also a regular non-turbo version available in the Santa Fe, but there is only one mile per gallon difference in the ratings, so I would recommend the turbo, it is smooth.
The new Santa Fe is equipped for the first time with a 6-speed automatic transmission, something that has been needed for several years. It shifts smoothly when accelerating and when decelerating both. There is no harshness in it whatsoever.
This 3rd-generation Santa Fe is 266-pounds lighter than the 2012, and you can feel the difference in the handling and nimbleness. The ride was not sacrificed by the lighter weight; you just don’t feel many of the bumps in the road as in previous versions. The interior of the SUV is really nice. My tester has leather that looks OK, but not nearly as nice as some of the others I’ve tested.
This model comes with an impressive list of standard features. Included in the base price is `19” wheels, proximity key with pushbutton start, power heated seats, steering wheel controls, and Hyundai Blue Link with 3 months of free service, and all the power equipment you would expect.
The rear seats fold down and are adjustable either toward the front or rear, a nice touch. Add the Premium package and you get leather seats, power front passenger seat, rearview camera, a color display in the dash, and premium door sill plates for $2450. For another $2900 you get a panoramic sunroof, navigation system, a terrific 12-speaker stereo and a heated steering wheel.
Overall Great SUV
The exterior changes for 2013 make this Hyundai look terrific, even Lexus-like, but for me the big change is the ride, handling, and the interior quietness. It is as quiet as any SUV I have had, period. Although my evaluation car is a 5-passenger, there is a 7-passenger version coming in a few months that will essentially replace the Veracruz.
The new 2013 Santa Fe Sport is an awesome SUV and will be high on my list of mid-sized SUVs.
- What I liked most: Ride and handling and overall value.
- What I would change: I think they could have done a better job with the leather seats.
- MSRP: $29450 base price, $35,925 as tested.
- Fuel Economy: 20 in town, 27 on the highway.
- Warranty: 5 year/60000 bumper-to-bumper, 10 year/100,000 on the powertrain, with roadside assistance for 5 years.
- 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport in a few words: An outstanding value proposition.