2013 Hyundai Santa Fe XL came along as a stroke of luck for test driving purposes and I was thrilled to get behind its wheels, that too for a week!
Falling in love was very easy with the Santa Fe XL due to its agility in movement. The steering was sharp and the suspension it offered was really commendable as it provided a good balance between the ride and the handling of the vehicle.
I am always paranoid about parking larger vehicles in tight parking spots. I worry constantly that I might hit a curb or trespass on the next parking space due to the wide berth of the vehicle I am in. But Santa Fe proved to be comparatively better than I thought. As long as I adjust my mirrors to get the best possible visual of my blind spots as I normally do, parking Santa Fe turned out to be easy in spite of its size.
Smooth maneuvering was part of the package of this due to its amazing design and sleek shape.
I felt at home with Santa Fe’s quiet interior in a matter of few hours of driving it and some of the features (out of many) that attracted my attention immediately are as follows:
1. Back up sensors (your best friend for ‘reverse/back parking situations- my favorite pet peeves )
2. Satellite Radio (Awesome! So many radio stations! Loved it)
3. Heated Steering wheel (Excellent feature for this price tag but didn’t use this that much since the weather didn’t warrant it. Not that I am complaining or anything)
4. Another feature of the steering wheel was the three levels of operating modes that you could play with while on the road- Comfort, Normal and Sport. This is a feature you could certainly live without but it’s nice to try out different levels of driving and enjoying while you are at it.
5. Power driver seat and automatic climate control.
6. Heated first and second row seats. (Again, didn’t get to use it that much. But I can tell this will greatly help during our travels in deep winter weathers)
7. Bluetooth (of course!)
8. Rear Door blinds/sunshades! It came really handy when the sun was strong in my baby girls’ side and all I needed to do to protect her from the sunlight was to lift up the shade and tada! Problem solved!
I thought of it as pretty awesome since it neatly eliminated the task of buying separate shades which could pose serious hazards of its own in an accident.
I was very surprised at the spaciousness that the Santa Fe offered in the front seats, middle part and in the back. I was truly blown away by the leg room in the midsection which smartly met my toddler’s needs of having a space of his own for his one -man soccer matches among other things that unfailingly takes place during those awfully long trips.
There were cup holders and pouches to store things (even in the third row) and it was positioned to be easily accessible depending on where you are seated. I know no spilled juice accidents or snacks gone disarray are gonna happen with Santa Fe while my kids are in the car! I so don’t want to clean up the mess after them this time.
The climate control knobs were placed judiciously in the midsection and even in the rear highlighting enhanced convenience. I also loved the stylish design of the chrome wheels and the excellent power tailgate.
More Specs of the Santa Fe XL- specific to the one I test-drove
Model Tested: Premium AWD
Engine: 3.3L GDI V6
HP: 290@6,400 rpm ( Allows Santa Fe XL to tow up to 5,000 pounds/2,268 kgms. Great to tow your camper, trailer etc)
Torque (lb-ft)- 252@5,200 rpm
Fuel Consumption (City/Hwy/Comb)- 11.7/8.0/10.0
Seven Passenger Seats (third row folds down for a HUGE trunk space)
Ford Explorer, Nissan Pathfinder and Toyota Highlander are considered as the primary competitors of Santa Fe XL.
The fuel economy of Santa Fe is best in its class, thanks to its ‘Active Eco technology’. Usually most of the crossovers out there are cursed with the exorbitant amount of gas that they need, rightfully due to their larger size. By far, Santa Fe XL is free from that and is considered as impressively fuel efficient.
Now, since all is said that is there to say about this amazingly stylish and incredibly fuel smart crossover, there is really no reason for you not to consider buying the Hyundai Santa Fe as your next family vehicle, is there?
****Disclosure: This vehicle was provided to me for free for test driving for a week. All opinions expressed here are my own and they are honest*****