Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Review: 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe 2WD & 4WD


Korean culture is taking the entire world by storm. Everything from food to pop music to soap operas is enjoying tremendous success, catapulting them to mainstream culture. The latest one to cross the oceans from Seoul to the rest of the world is PSY and his addictive song, “Gangnam Style”.

Gangnam refers to a district in Seoul where people are generally considered trendy, hip, and classy. You can liken it to their version of Beverly Hills in the US or Bonifacio Global City here. Cool and chic as the people are from Gangnam though, they never proclaim that they are, hence the comedic value of the song. In that sense, the all-new 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe is a true citizen of Gangnam. It’s not a luxury pretender. It’s cool and classy, down to its diesel-fed soul.



For starters, the all-new Santa Fe wears Hyundai’s new “Fluidic Precision” design concept—a more refined, more mature take on the original “Fluidic Sculpture” language. It isn’t as swoopy and curvaceous as say an Elantra or Sonata; rather it’s more streamlined, tauter than before. It’s a move upward from pair of Uniqlo jeans to a well-pressed Hugo Boss suit. Up front, the large hexagonal grille is more upright, flanked with large headlamp and fog lamp clusters. The headlamps feature interesting LED accent lighting while squared-off projector lights are nestled inside projecting a bluish tinge at night thanks to HID headlamps on the 4WD model.

From the side, a strong character line extends along the body from the front wheel well and tapers off just before the rear door handle, but then picks up just before the C-pillar and integrates nicely into the wraparound tail lamps. Meanwhile, the glass area themselves incorporate an upward rake in the rear communicating a sense of drama so lacking in the mid-sized crossover segment. The all-new Santa Fe ramps up the style even further by having standard 18-inches on the 2WD and then moving up to 19-inches on the 4WD.



At the back, the Santa Fe has stylized tail lamps featuring a thin line of brightwork through the lens cap. The lamps themselves are illuminated by LEDs giving the Santa Fe a unique glow at night. A strong U-shaped character line connects the far ends of the tail lamps down the middle of the tailgate which ties the Santa Fe to the rest of the Hyundai line-up.

Inside, the Santa Fe plays a very familiar tune, especially if you’re familiar with Hyundai’s newer product offerings. The hexagonal grille is mimicked front and center on the dash with large angular vents sandwiching the integrated entertainment system. Both the 2WD and 4WD models carry a multitude of connectivity options from MP3 to USB to Bluetooth, but the 4WD goes further with a 4.3-inch LCD touch screen eliminating some center stack clutter. The center stack gets narrower as it flows down towards the transmission tunnel where the dual-zone climate control (the rear occupants get an extra manual blower with vents on all rows) is housed and operated by a set of clearly organized buttons.



The materials used inside the Santa Fe don’t take a backseat with high-quality leather (cloth on the 2WD) and soft-touch plastics enveloping the entire cabin. The color scheme is a unique two-tone brown affair with a small amount of aluminum and carbon fiber dotting the cabin. As a whole, the cabin feels truly upscale; everything from the leather used on the steering wheel to the plastics on the door trim to even small details like the window switches and stalks are all top-notch. Plus, the entire look feels welcoming and warm than other mid-sized crossovers. It’s a quiet cabin too. Even with the sunshade retracted on the standard panoramic sunroof on the 4WD, there was very little wind noise to speak of. And the road noise from the tires is virtually unnoticeable.

Behind the front seats is a 40/20/40 split bench seat with ample amounts of both head- and legroom. They also fold and slide fore and aft allowing access to the third row seats which feature a 50/50 split. With all the seats up, the Santa Fe offers genuine seating for seven adults with three-point seat belts for everyone. With both rows folded, it presents a cavernous loading bay enough to fit a decent amount of balk-bayan boxes.



For the 2013 model, Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc. has simplified the engine line-up to just one: a 2.2-liter 4-cylinder common rail direct injection diesel with 197 horsepower and 428 Nm of torque. Largely carried over from the previous generation Santa Fe, this engine still manages to eclipse the competition not just in terms of power, but also in smoothness and quietness. Indeed, it shames even the Germans. It can be mated to either front-wheel or all-wheel drive architecture, but the sole transmission is a six-speed automatic with the H-matic manual override feature. The new addition is Active ECO which modifies the shift points for better fuel economy.

On the road the Santa Fe feels sweet and refined whatever the driving environment. In a more crowded setting like urban areas, the earth-shattering low-end torque is your ally in darting in and out of traffic with the 4,690 mm length feeling much smaller than it really is. As the roads open up, the Santa Fe never feels underpowered or overworked; the engine and transmission feeling well suited to each other. This shows in the Santa Fe’s remarkable fuel economy figures of 9.52 km/l in the city for the 4WD and 10.4 km/l for the 2WD. These figures easily go up to as high as 23 km/l on the highway. These figures are achieved with the Active ECO on and nothing else; no feathering of the throttle and such.



The engine isn’t the only part of the Santa Fe that deserves praise. The revised suspension with MacPherson struts upfront and multi-links at the back give this crossover excellent road manners. The overall ride is comfortable yet confident. The 4WD shows impeccable balance and control through any sort of terrain, while the 2WD just manages to chirp its front tires due to torque steer, but the addition of standard traction control limits this. The Santa Fe is also the first locally-available Hyundai to offer the company’s new driver-selectable three-mode steering dubbed “Flex Steering”. This on-the-fly rack adjuster is a nice touch enabling you to set the desired effort level. Most of the time, it will be left in “Normal” mode, but “Sport” is excellent for tackling twisty roads while “Comfort” is perfect for those with less than ample arm strength.

Compared to other mid-sized crossovers, the Santa Fe is far more maneuverable in tight spots thanks to more manageable exterior dimensions and excellent visibility. Plus, parking assist sensors is standard in all models with the 4WD getting a standard back-up camera with built-in guide lines as an added bonus.



Priced at P 1,768,000 for the 2WD and a cool P 2,228,000 for the 4WD, the 2013 Santa Fe is more expensive than the previous model. But before you balk at the price increase, you have to go beyond the mere sticker price to appreciate the all-new Santa Fe. In what could be a killer move, Hyundai has priced and equipped the Santa Fe to battle on two fronts. The 2WD is destined to steal sales from the ubiquitous Montero Sport and Fortuner thanks to a solid range of standard features from Smart Key keyless entry with engine start/stop to a full range of safety features. Plus, the ride is plusher and more car-like. Meanwhile, the 4WD does battle against the Explorer and comes with much more standard tech such as 19-inch rims, a panoramic sunroof, power front seats, and even an electronic parking brake with auto hold as standard. And the real world fuel consumption is much better than a gasoline-fed engine. In short, the Santa Fe comes in with guns blazing, ready to outdraw the competition.

The all-new Hyundai Santa Fe is exciting, revolutionary, and ready to take on the world. In just three generations, it has managed to catapult itself from obscurity to the mainstream. While the song “Gangnam Style” talks about pretenders and wannabes, the Santa Fe is nothing like that. This is one crossover that exudes class and refinement from the inside out. It truly is a well-engineered, well-designed, and well-priced product. It seems that the Korean cultural invasion has finally crossed over to automobiles as well.

28 comments:

  1. According to PSY, the mindset behind the dance "Gangnam Style" is "'Dress classy, dance cheesy"
    I hope the New Santa Fe doesn't just look classy but perform cheesy. lol

    -AM

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    1. 2nd gen. santa fe (2006-2009) has 150hp and 2010 (still 2nd gen. but has gone to the gym) santa fe has 190hp and its got real head snapping power...ngayon pa kaya...

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  2. Sasakyan ng mga Politicians, Lawyers, Doctors, etc.

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  3. i don't know about this pricing strategy...
    hyundai's selling point is their cheaper price vs competition (or value for money for having the same price as competition but with all the bells and whistles accessories). but this santafe is more expensive than either monterosport or fortuner.

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    1. who told you that hyundai's selling point is their cheaper price?...dude, we have an entry level 2009 santa fe and is priced over 1,500,000.00...while entry levels of montero and fortuner at that time is just over 1,300,000.00...may i remind you that they were among the first to use CRDi and VGTurbo...dude embrace the new world...don't live like its still the '90s just as montero/strada engine...

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  4. tama, masyadong mahal..and ndi true 7 seater..ang sikip sa 3rd row..ang explorer ay true 7 seater, plus the Gasoline Direct Injected matipid nadn..ndi tulad ng dating mga gasoline.. so mahihirapan mabenta ang 4wd..ang 2wd pwede pa..pero stretch budget ndn sa 2wd, ilabas na sana manual version para dadami ang sales mo hari sa 2013 sta fe..ksi pwede pa ang 1.506m if yan pdn ang price kpg release ng manual version..

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    1. nasakyan mo na ba ang montero o fortuner?..tingin ko mas msikip sila kesa sa santa fe..kahit sa 2nd row..kaya lg mas mhaba ang lg ng kaunti ang montero plus ang pangit ng plastic materials na ginagamit sa montero..it looks really CHEAP unlike in santa fe and fortuner..

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    2. Obviously you don't know what you're talking about, I own both a Montero and a Hi-Lux and the plastics used in the interiors of those vehicles are far more better than what's used in the Santa Fe. The Santa Fe's build quality is also suspect, I tried feeling the doors and they seem far too light and more importantly the Montero is far, far more reliable than any Hyundai SUV hands down, that alone should be the main decision point. FYI, my brother's Tucson has an aircon defect and it is barely 3 mos old!!!!

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  5. The piece should be a review of the Sta Fe, which should cover both the positive and negative aspects of the vehicle.

    For a while, I thought Mr Ang is a Hyundai publicist. His piece reads like a promotional material for Hyundai. I hope in the future, when a piece is entiled a review, it will really come out as an honest to goodness review of a vehicle.

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  6. For P2.2M+, I think they should be selling the LWB model (which replaces the slow-selling VeraCruz).

    -AM

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  7. I usually consider uly's review as fair comment, but not this one. At Php 1.768 for the 4x2, I doubt if it would really "steal sales from the ubiquitous Montero Sport and Fortuner". Cmon guys, at this price points Mitsubishi and Toyota is already offering a 4x4. Honda even. I project this will flop.

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  8. Yeah,this piece sounds more like a press release than a review. There seems to be no dislikes. The stated 'genuine' seating for seven adults is not true. i.e. the third row headroom is ridiculously low, I'm a only 5'5" and it still touches my head.

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  9. It's pretty, but would anyone buy it? NO! 1.78M for a Montero Sport is already a 4 x 4 with Touch Navi screen with paddle shifters whilst a Santa Fe at the same price is just a mere 4 x 2 with no Touch Navi screen bohoo!

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    1. now this is where design and REAL tech beats functionality...wondering why montero is cheaper?..because materials used in it is cheap..look at the plastics used in montero..and the engine..dude it still carries the 90s engine that's why it lacks fuel effeciency plus it has that black smoky emmissions and a noisy engine..those are just enough to choose SF over montero...if you really are a car enthusiast then you would know what i mean...(right mr.Ang?)...

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  10. I test drove this car. Its amazing, it drives like a car and the acceleration is off the charts. The CRDi feature gives you its fuel economy, it burns the gas before it could inject some more in the engine. I just dont know if it could carry heavy loads, its kinda low compared to the Fortuner and Montero. But with all the features and the amazing ride, id buy this rather than the Fortuner or the Montero.

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  11. In other markets, they have:
    -an SWB version with 5 seats
    and
    -an LWB version with 7 seats

    Yung dinala ng HARI is: SWB with 7 seats (toink toink). Haha so yeah any person above 5'0 should stand clear of those third row seats.

    Other than that, it's light-years better than the current model in every single possible aspect.

    Still:
    I wouldn't consider it (the LWB version) to be a replacement for the Veracruz. For instance, the Veracruz CRDI uses a 3.0 V6 diesel engine that still produces more power than the new 2.2 in the Santa Fe.

    So yeah, I wouldn't consider it as a replacement to the Veracruz (which personally was the first-ever vehicle that personally convinced me to like Korean cars and acknowledge that they are world-class)

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    Replies
    1. Yung LWB sa ibang bansa ay 6 seater lang din

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  12. Hi Ulysees, can we have a comparison review of both 2013 hyundai sta fe vs. subaru forester since I am planning to buy a new car next month. Thanks.

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    1. I think it's fairly hard to compare the Hyundai Santa Fe and the Subaru Forester since one's a diesel-powered 7-seater and the other is a gasoline 5-seater.

      At the end of the day, if you don't need the 7-seater capacity, I'd recommend the Subaru Forester. It's much more car-like to drive and has surprisingly ample space.

      That said, if you're the in market for a 7-seater, the Hyundai Santa Fe's a good (albeit pricey) choice next to the Fortuner, Montero Sport, and Trailblazer.

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  13. I'd been waiting since june 15 Santa Fe 2013 4x4 Red Merlot in any dealers in Metro Manila but there were only 3 colors available in some Hyundai Dealers for a Santa Fe 2013 4x4 and does not include Red Merlot color. Maybe next month.(I hope so).

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    1. If you really want that color, then buy a Santa Fe and have it repainted. ;)

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    2. Re paint ba ika mo!? di na kailangan tsong kasi dumating na rin yun 4x4 Santa Fe DM ko at last!

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  14. Hi Uly,
    If you would rate all the 7-seaters from best, how would you rank them considering all factors? Appreciate your input as I am planning to replace my X-Trail with a 7-seater SUV to accommodate my relatives...

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  15. The previous model i've heard has an engine overheat problems. I believe its still the same one on the SWB (too pricey) & on the new LWB ( exaggerated price). oh c'monn HARI ,,,,,,we are not that stupid to bite that price! hohohoho......

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    Replies
    1. No overheating issues with the new 2013 Santa Fe. We have one.

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  16. No its not overheating

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  17. any updates about this car?

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  18. Saan kaya hinugot nito na sinasabi na nag-ooverheat ang Santa Fe DM? Hindi ka kaya fans ng isuzo gapang suv truck?

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