When I was invited to take a trip to Coronado Island in San Diego, and give the new Hyundai Santa Fe a test drive, I was so excited. As I shared the news with a close friend, her reaction threw me for a loop, “I totally want a Santa Fe” she said. Thinking she was confusing the new 6/7 passenger Santa Fe for its little brother the Santa Fe Sport, I said no, this is the “new Santa Fe.”
“Yeah, I know, I’ve seen the Hyundai commercials, and if I could talk my husband into trading our Traverse, then we’re getting one.” Hmmm, really? I wasn’t sold on the vehicle, from seeing the commercials. Ready to find out what all the buzz was about, my driving companion, Jeana from SurfandSunshine , and I decided to see if we could have our own epic day in the Santa Fe Limited.
After walking around the vehicle and checking out the space behind the third row seating, and squealing in delight at the 115V power outlet in the back that I can charge my laptop and camera on, we were ready to get this baby on the open roads. Over the bay across the Coronado bridge, onto the freeway, and through the woods we drove, to winding country roads through small towns to Julian, CA.
The folks at Hyundai created a scenic route, full of curvy roads, to give us a feel for how the Santa Fe handles everything from the crowded freeways to the back country roads. The drive offered the perfect conditions to switch from the three Driver Selectable Steering Modes (DSSM), comfort, normal and sport. I couldn’t detect much difference between comfort and normal, but found sport to be my preferred mode for handling the curves. I did however, have the chance to experience the maneuverability, with its 36 inch turning diameter, and was impressed with how easy it is to get in and out of tight spaces.
Our primary mission was to drive the vehicle and experience its features, but our experience was about much more than just the drive. It was an adventure. Instead of stopping to smell the roses, we stopped and fed wildflowers to a friendly horse, that was much more interested in eating, than our stylish wheels.
Even these Paris Hawks were impressed with the panoramic sunroof on the Santa Fe.
As we passed a lot of cyclists and wondered why they chose to spend their time huffing and puffing, while we were cruising, we found a few guys taking a break.
Curious as to the storage space in the Santa Fe, we put it to the test when they allowed us to see if all three of their bikes would fit in the cargo space. Not only did the bikes fit with some room to spare, but the guys were impressed with the interior and panoramic sunroof. What kid of car is this, they asked, admiring it both inside and out.
While the way a vehicle drives and feels is important to me, its not my first priority these days. As the parent of a four year old daughter and a two and a half year old son, my priorities include safety, ample leg room, cargo room for all the gear that comes with two kids, and some cool technology, so I don’t feel like I’m driving a boring Mom mobile. Hyundai must be reading my mind because the Sante Fe is equipped with seven airbags including one for the driver’s knee; Hillstart Assist Control (HAC) and Downhill Brake Control (DBC); Blue Link® which notifies me of mechanical issues, allows me to call for help in an emergency, and start the vehicle remotely if needed.
Also on my list: a rear-view camera so I can be positive there are no children, pets, or toys behind the vehicle; and rear HVAC system so the kids stay cool in the sweltering Houston heat. The new Santa Fe’s camera made it easy for me to back-up, an area I have a lot of difficulty with, and is also equipped with HVAC vents and controls in the third row.
Dual-zone climate controls, are a must in our vehicles, since my husband likes his side in the 60s and I prefer mine somewhere in the 70s. On the Santa Fe, the climate control also has an automatic defogging system. The system uses sensors to monitor humidity levels, and removes it from the windshield when needed. (a feature I know I’d appreciate with the humidity here in Houston)
When I’m driving the kids around town, we’re usually listening to the “Wheels on the Bus” or something along those lines, but when I’m riding solo, I want to crank up the system and enjoy the sound. The Infinity Logic 7 Surround Sound Audio System with 12 speakers, and inputs for my iPod®, is perfect for listening to everything from “The Imagination Movers” to “Flo-Rida.”
Sound is important to me, but my husband is focused more on the horsepower and towing capacity. (even though at the moment, we have nothing to tow, must be a guy thing) He’ll be happy to learn that the Santa Fe has plenty of get up and go with 290 HP@6400 RPM averaing 18/25 mpg. This CUV is a beast in disguise with the ability to tow 5,000 lbs, a new benchmark for Hyundai.
What may be one of the most convenient features of the vehicle isn’t just the ability for the seats to fold flat for additional cargo, but the ability to lower the 2nd and 3rd row easily. While standing behind the vehicle, loading your groceries, gear, stroller etc., with just the pull of a strap, and a handle both the 3rd and 2nd row seats can be lowered. There are so many awesome features in the Santa Fe, its hard to pick a favorite. Although, it is super cool how the navigation system shows the speed limit for the road you’re on, and when your phone is synced with the car the display also shows your battery and signal strength.
They almost thought of everything. A few features I’d love to see added: seat memory, cooled seats (heated seats are an option, but not something I use often in Houston), and a side view camera to help me with my depth perception challenges when parking.
Hyundai New Santa Fe
Santa Fe’s competitors include the Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, Nissan Pathfinder,Ford Explorer, and Mazda CX-9. Prior to this weekend, the Hyundai Santa Fe wasn’t even on my radar. Although, after I learned Hyundai is the #2 brand in maintaining residual value, they grabbed my attention. After driving the Santa Fe Limited, and experiencing the sleek, stylish feel, and awesome features packed into an affordable price range, its now a legitimate contender for our next vehicle.
There were many bloggers invited to Coronado by Hyundai, from guys to fellow Moms, here are some of their thoughts on the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe :
2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited-Gunaxin
Hyundai #NewSantaFe 7 Passenger CUV Driving Experience- Southern Bella’s Ways to Save
2013 Hyundai Santa Fe: Top Family Choice– Simply Real Moms
Car Review: 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe- Sasaki Time
Hyundai Santa Fe 2013 Review-Man Tripping
Driving The New Hyundai #SantaFe-Just Short of Crazy
This review was written by a Makobi Scribe staff member Kristin Barclay.