Saturday, October 11, 2014

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport: Long-Term Wrap-Up

Our time with the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport is coming to an end. We're giving back our Santa Fe Sport long-term test car, which has faithfully served us for a little over a year. What did we think of our time with the recently redesigned midsize crossover? We've summed up a few of our thoughts below.

Practical and Comfortable
After only a short time with the Santa Fe Sport, we quickly realized that the crossover offers one especially important strength: practicality. It's bigger than such rivals as the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4, which makes it perfect for shoppers who need to haul around the occasional larger item, but who don't want to upgrade to a midsize or full-size SUV.

We were also highly impressed by the level of comfort in the Santa Fe Sport. Whenever new staffers spent even just a few minutes behind the wheel, they always commented on the SUV's high-end interior, its comfortable seats and its smooth, relaxed ride. More than a few people noted that they felt the Santa Fe Sport was a lot nicer inside than its $25,500 base price suggested.

Fun, Not Frugal
The Santa Fe Sport is offered with two available engines: a 190-horsepower 2.4-liter 4-cylinder and a 264-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder. Our team -- being car enthusiasts -- was eager to try out the more powerful engine, which propels the Santa Fe Sport to 60 miles per hour from a standing stop in a sports-car-quick 6.7 seconds.
We enjoyed this engine, but we probably wouldn't get it on our own Santa Fe. The reason: fuel economy. While the standard engine returns a respectable 21 miles per gallon in the city and 29 mpg on the highway (as rated by the Environmental Protection Agency), the 2.0T cuts things down to 20 mpg city/27 mpg hwy -- and the output gets even worse if you drive like we do. We really do think, however, that the base-level engine is more than acceptable for most drivers, especially those concerned with gas mileage.

Needs More Toys
The biggest gripe that we had with our long-term Santa Fe Sport related to the options of our particular test car. Specifically, we felt like we were missing a few important items that would have enriched our experience, including, most notably, a larger center touchscreen.

Indeed, the Santa Fe Sport comes standard with a 4.3-inch touchscreen, which -- especially in today's world of infotainment technology and tablet computers -- just seems a little too small. This problem is exacerbated by the fact that the screen contains a lot of information, which makes it seem a little busy. In the end, this one was our fault, so we suggest that you avoid our mistake by upgrading to the Santa Fe's more upscale, easier-to-read 8-in touchscreen.

A Great Choice
In the end, we enjoyed our 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, and we strongly recommend it to shoppers who don't need the added size of an SUV with a third-row seat. Of course, Hyundai offers that, too, in the form of the larger Santa Fe. For drivers who want a smaller SUV with reasonable pricing, a smooth ride, an upscale interior, and available powertrains that range from frugal to muscular, the Santa Fe Sport is an excellent pick.

No comments: