Hyundai Santa Fe

Since being introduced into the ever-growing crossover class of vehicles in 2001, the Hyundai Santa Fe has come a long way. The warranty is one of the best in the car business, period. The list of features is impressive for its low price point, however, the Santa Fe failed to keep up with the competition when considering all of the facets of performance.

A 2007 redesign remedied that situation and the Santa Fe is once again a worthy choice in the crowded and popular crossover category. Handling like a car and offering the space and features of an SUV made crossovers so intriguing that no maker would have a fleet without at least one entry in this class. Hyundai’s entry does rather well.

More on the Hyundai Santa Fe
Hyundai Santa Fe Origins

The Hyundai Santa Fe won awards for its warranty and the vehicle itself. While it's reasonably priced, it's not lacking in value. Unlike many entries in the crossover class, this Hyundai has many options and choices that allow the buyer to further match the car to specific needs and goals. One can choose between performance and economy, or luxury and utilitarian savings.

With all of the awards and confidence inspiring backing from the maker, the Hyundai Santa Fe went from wannabe contender to one of the best in class in a relatively short period of time. This should lead consumers to believe that Hyundai will not only stand behind the Santa Fe, but it will also keep the platform relevant and high quality.

About the Hyundai Santa Fe

The Santa Fe is available in three trim levels: GLS, SE, and Limited. The GLS starts with 17-inch alloy wheels and roof rails. The SE adds crossbars to the roof rails, 18-inch wheels, and automatic headlights. The Limited has a rearview camera. Chrome handles and a body-colored spoiler are optional on the higher trim packages.

The GLS and Limited are powered by a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that produces 175 horsepower and 169 lb-ft of torque. The GLS employs a six-speed manual transmission. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard on the Limited and optional on the GLS. The SE packs a 3.5-liter V-6 that produces 276 horsepower and 248 lb-ft of torque, which is hooked up to a six-speed automatic. This system is optional on the Limited package. All-wheel drive is an option for either engine on any trim package.

The Santa Fe boasts an interior that is very comfortable and well-designed, especially for its class. The layout, material quality, and overall interior place it near the top of the midsized crossover class. This is one of the areas where Hyundai’s crossover really shines. Driving or riding in the Santa Fe and enjoying the five-seat interior will help sell this car more than anything else.

The GLS offers a lot for a base trim: a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, rear privacy glass, satellite radio, Bluetooth, and USB audio jacks. The SE gets you cloth/leather upholstery, and a power driver seat. The Limited has the luxury appointments with leather upholstery, automatic climate control, heated seats, and an upgraded stereo. A navigation system is optional on any of the packages.

Hyundai Santa Fe Features

Like most cars in this class, the Santa Fe offers a safe ride for the family with a full complement of airbags. The anti-lock brakes and electronic stability system with traction control make for a well-mannered and secure ride.

While the performance doesn’t put the Santa Fe at the top of its class, constant upgrades and re-designs make this Hyundai a respectable performer. Cornering, from a stop acceleration and ability to negotiate tight city driving, all-pass muster. This crossover isn’t as out-right performance oriented as other choices in class, but it does well enough to handle just about everything that daily driving will throw at it.

The ride with the 18-inch wheels is firm enough to feel more truck-like than most SUV buyers will be prepared for, since vehicles of this class tend to handle more like cars.

Fuel economy is better than average for a midsize SUV. Expect about 20 mpg in the city and upwards of about 28 mpg, depending on engine configuration, on the highway.

There are some cosmetic changes to the front end while hill descent control is now standard. The 17-inch wheels have low-rolling resistance tires, and two new colors, Venetian Red and Cabo Bronze, were also added.

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