The 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe, even though it is still basically the same as the 2013 model, took the Consumer Reports Award for Best Mid-Sized SUV. Having to compete with strong names like the Ford Explorer, Nissan Pathfinder and Honda Pilot, this is quite an achievement for the Santa Fe. Offering up the most powerful V6 engine in the class, seven passenger seating as an option, and the choice of either front or all-wheel drive it’s pretty easy to see why the Santa Fe won the Consumer Reports award for this class.
To set the 2014 model apart from the 2013, Hyundai equipped the Santa Fe with a Blind Spot Detection System, rear parking assistance, and new HID headlights and LED taillights. All these add ons give the newer model quite a bit more safety features to brag to their non-award winning competitors.
With the expectations of an SUV to be heavy handed and to handle like a truck on the road, the Santa Fe is surprisingly agile and responds very quickly and easily to even the slightest of steering adjustments. Outside noise is not a factor either as the insulation and sound deadening technology takes care of business in a big way offering a quiet ride to all inhabitants of the vehicle.
The Santa Fe is one of the easiest SUV ‘s to shop at car dealerships offering only one engine so there isn’t really any “options” here. The vehicle is powered by a 3.3 liter V6 engine paired with a six speed automatic transmission bringing 290 horsepower and 252 lb.-ft. or torque. Not huge numbers for an SUV, but the fuel economy is pretty substantial at 18 city/25 hwy mpg for the FWD and 18 city/24 hwy mpg on the AWD version. Even with this supposed lack of power in this SUV the Santa Fe is rated to allow up to 5,000 pounds of towing, enough for just about anything except the biggest jobs out there.
With a huge amount of interior space and a panoramic front view the Santa Fe offers a fantastic view from inside the vehicle and lots of leg room. The controls are easily accessible and smartly placed where the driver needs them for complete and easy control of the vehicle, climate, and audio of the interior. Utilizing a nice array of fabrics and materials inside, Hyundai has made an impressive although not gaudy interior design for the Santa Fe. Equipped with three rows of seating there is space for seven comfortably as long as the third row is occupied by children.
On the outside the Santa Fe offers a sloping roof line, extended wheel base, geometric shaped headlights and fog lights and a horizontally angry grill screaming for other cars to get out of the way as the Santa Fe comes hauling through. Offering body colored mirrors and bumpers on all models, Hyundai really won big with the Santa Fe. The Limited model is equipped with integrated fog lights, roof rails and 19-inch aluminum alloy wheels while another big win is the fact the base GLS model still has 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels; not a bad “standard” feature at all.
The standard features offered on the Santa Fe GLS base model include multi-adjustable front bucket seats with power-adjustable lumbar support and rear air conditioning and heating controls to offer comfort and control for all passengers especially on long journeys. The Limited model incudes leather seating, power-adjustable and heated front seats, push button starting and heated captain’s chairs in the second row. The audio system on the limited includes a 4.3 inch color display and a rear view camera.
Adding some options to the Santa Fe is easy and offered on a plentiful list to include a heated steering wheel, navigation system, premium audio, a Panoramic Sunroof, rear backup sensors, and manual rear-side-window sunshades. The list gets much longer, however the most impressive of these options is the Panoramic Sunroof opening up and offering a full view of the sky to all three rows of seats in the car. The only option really missing from the Santa Fe is a rear entertainment system for those really long trips.
Starting out around $30,000 for the base model the Santa Fe is very affordable for almost anyone and a great buy as a n alternative from a minivan. Moving up to the Limited model the price tag goes north to around $35,000 which is still not a bad deal at all. Once fully loaded up and adding the AWD to the Limited model the price comes in around $40,000 which still keeps it in most ball parks for a lot of SUV shoppers making the Santa Fe a very affordable and excellent choice.
Overall, the Consumer Reports Award Winner for Mid-Sized SUV’s is a great buy and offers the owner and passengers a glorious ride in spacious almost luxury. With the most powerful V6 in its class the 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe offers a decent fuel economy with the power enough to pull the workload or the play toys, whichever is needed.