Hyundai offers the Santa Fe in a range of trims and seating capacities. There is the five-seater Santa Fe Sport, measuring 185 inches in length. Then there is the three-row, 193.1-inch-long Santa Fe, which offers you the opportunity to carry more people and more gear with more flexibility.
The third row can be easily accessed, thanks to 40/20/40-split second-row seats with a longer slide range. The large cargo space is also easy to get to because of the hands-free smart power liftgate. Just keep your keys close at hand for three seconds and the lid automatically opens.
The Santa Fe can hold up to seven passengers, but if you opt to go with a pair of leather-clad captain chairs in the middle then the maximum seating capacity goes down to six.
The Drive Mode Select performance feature of the Sante Fe tailors the engine, transmission, and steering to fit the driving situations. You can choose from Eco, Normal, or Sport to suit your mood.
Drive Mode Select works in tandem with the Active Cornering Control and the all-wheel-drive system.
The steering system has been refined, giving a commanding feel that is smooth and balanced with your driving skills.
Santa Fe Limited has a 3.3 L direct-injection gasoline V6 engine that delivers 290 horsepower and 252 pounds-feet of torque. The engine is married to a six-speed automatic transmission with Shiftronic, while Drive Mode Select allows you to become more involved in the driving experience.
The engine delivers an EPA-estimated 17 mpg city and 23 mpg highway for a 20 mpg combined fuel consumption rating. Over my week of driving I got just a little less than 20 mpg.
The Santa Fe tows up to 5,000 pounds with the standard trailer package. It features a flush-mounted tow-hitch design.
In terms of safety features, a rear-view camera is standard across the line. As soon as you move up from the base SE, active features like Blind Spot Detection, Rear Cross Traffic Alert (helps to warn the driver of vehicles approaching from the side), and Lane Change Assist become standard. Lane Departure Warning and Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection are available as options on the SE Ultimate and Limited Ultimate trims.
Outside, the Santa Fe is easily identified by a unique five-bar grille. It features a premium rear fascia with chrome-tipped dual exhaust, complemented by 19-inch alloy wheels.
We took the Santa Fe on a road trip to the hill country of Texas. The seats were heated and cooled to keep us comfortable, and the seat fabric was stain-resistant and infused with antibacterial features to control odors. The air inside the cabin was automatically set to my ideal temperature and cleaned by an ionizer.
However, there was a situation that was challenging. The eight-inch touchscreen navigation did not work well. It would have helped if the screen was larger, because around the edges numerous help icons took up valuable real estate in the viewing area. This left insufficient room for the map.
Quite frankly, numerous streets and even some highways and roads were not named. These would not even show on the map regardless of how close or far away I zoomed in or out. I am not sure whether it was an anomaly or just a general problem with the Hyundai Navigation System.
Overall the drive was pleasant. Even though the distance was a trip of over 400 miles, we arrived at our destination fresh and in good spirits. The Infinity Premium Audio with Quantum Logic Surround and Clari-Fi Music Restoration Technology added to the quality of the sound and overall ride atmosphere.
The manufacturer’s suggested retail price was $39,680.
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5-year/60,000-mile New Vehicle Warranty
10-year/100,000-mile Powertrain Warranty
7-year/100,000-mile Anti-Perforation Warranty
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Durhl Caussey writes a car column read around the world. He may be reached at this newspaper or at email@example.com