Hyundai’s most popular crossover has gone through some major changes for 2013. The biggest difference is that there are now two Santa Fes: one that seats five passengers (called the Santa Fe Sport) and one that holds seven people (simply the Santa Fe). It would have seemingly made more sense to call the long-wheelbase version the Veracruz, since that’s the three-row crossover that the bigger, new Santa Fe replaces, but apparently, “Veracruz” didn’t resonate well enough to earn its way onto a redesigned model. Anyway, the new vehicles are larger but lighter than the outgoing models, which means more space and better fuel mileage. That’s hard to criticize. The three-row Santa Fe is the same as the Sport from the B-pillars forward—with the exception of the grille—but it has a 294-hp, 3.3-liter V-6 to help move its 300 to 400 pounds of extra weight. The Sport offers a 2.4-liter four-cylinder and a 2.0-liter turbo four. The long-wheelbase model goes on sale in January. So far, we’ve driven only an all-wheel-drive turbocharged Sport, and although it’s not particularly sporty, the torque-vectoring rear differential and the turbo engine helped it handle mountain roads with no embarrassments whatsoever. New owners won’t be embarrassed to show off their Santa Fes, but they might have a hard time explaining the name.
New For 2013
Everything. The old Santa Fe and the Veracruz have been replaced by two all-new Santa Fe models, one in the same five-passenger layout as the old Santa Fe and the other a long-wheelbase, three-row version that supplants the Veracruz.
Front and front side air bags; side curtain air bags with rollover sensors; a driver’s knee air bag; ABS; traction and stability control; electronic brake-force distribution; hill-start assist; downhill brake control; and tire-pressure monitors are standard on all models.
- Five, six, or seven passengers
- In-line four, turbo four, or V-6
- Front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive
You won’t like:
- One name for two distinct models
- 4WD mileage a lot lower on the highway
Key Competitors For The 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe
- Chevrolet Equinox
- Ford Edge
- Ford Explorer
- Toyota Highlander
Extremely made over.