The New 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport Pushes the Limits

This post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for your support! For more information, please visit our Privacy Policy.

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport Review

Looking to make a change? Well you might start with a new look and maybe shed a few pounds (or a massive 266 pounds). Then call up a few friends both old and new, and invite them over to check out the new you! That’s exactly what Hyundai has done with the new 2013 Santa Fe Sport. Last week, I was able to get up close and personal with Hyundai’s biggest re-design on its Santa Fe model since 2007.

Hyundai invited traditional press and social media outlets to stay at the gorgeous Montage Deer Valley, in Park City Utah, and perform an extended test drive of their brand new 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport.

We started our drive day intimately learning about the new Santa Fe and checking out it’s features from the ground up and inside out.

hyundai santa fe cutaway
I won’t get all geek speak on you (feel free to check out the fellow techie and guy blog reviews at the end of this post for that), but here are a few highlights that caught my attention as a mom and as a girl that likes cars:

my13 santafe 71

40/20/40 split 2nd row rear seating that slides AND reclines for greater versatility

hyundai santa fe yes fabric

The YES Essentials fabric treatment is standard all models with cloth seating, and is perfect for dads & moms. It provides soil-resistance, anti-odor and anti-static properties. Take a look – the spills just bead up for ease of clean-up, instead of being absorbed into the fabric. (Take that kids and pets!)

rear side window sunshades

Keep the kids happy and comfortable with heated rear seats and manual rear side window sunshades

hyundai santa fe brakes performance

Best brake performance in its class

img 3259
In most cases, significant weight loss, like 266 pounds, means sacrifice – but that’s not the case in the Santa Fe Sport. Hyundai actually owns their own steel plant so they are able to make great advancements towards safety. One example is that they used 30 percent more high-tensile steel in the frame to make it lighter (hence the 266 pound weight loss) and stronger.

Under the hood you’ll find a 190-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder (31 mpg), which is more powerful than the 2012. And thanks to those crafty engineers, the new Santa Fe gets 17 more HP and 3 more mpg than the previous model. Even though Hyundai is a Korean car manufacturer, I was happy to learn that they have a large manufacturing facility right here in the US (Georgia) and the short wheel base version of the Santa Fe is made there!

hyundai santa fe sport
Wondering what makes the Santa Fe Sport safe? How about the seven standard airbags, yes I said seven even though it seats five passengers!

hyundai santa fe airbags
One of the extra airbags is a new driver’s knee bag – designed to help increase main air bag effectiveness. It’s also equipped with some of the latest technology including electronic driving aids, like Active Corner control, Hillstart assist and Downhill brake control.

To get a feel of these systems in action, I test drove the 264 hp, 2.0-liter turbocharged GDI engine (31 mpg) through the gorgeous mountain elevations of Deer Valley and Park City, Utah to Robert Redford’s Famous Sundance Resort.

Many of us asked why they chose such a high altitude location and Hyundai confidently answered:

The Santa Fe launch will be based in a completely new setting for the auto industry, the Montage Deer Valley Resort in Park City. The Montage Deer Valley is a spectacular resort with many great roads nearby. However, its elevation of 8,300 ft. has apparently scared off other manufacturers as this is the first time it’s hosted a national drive program. We’re confident the Santa Fe with its high-output Theta II 2.0-liter turbocharged GDI engine, producing 264 horsepower and 31 mpg highway, will handle the thin air and mountain roads with ease.

While much of the drive was on the beautiful curvy highway, a good portion was “off road” through the Wasatch Mountain State Park.

Santa Fe customers will feel the benefits of the optional Active Cornering Control All-Wheel-Drive (ACC AWD) system that cooperatively controls engine torque and braking in conjunction with the Vehicle Stability Management System. This system can anticipate traction requirements and deliver additional stability through braking via continuous monitoring of driving conditions compared with other AWD systems, which can only react to conditions after they occur. – Hyundai

To summarize the drive and how I feel about the ACC AWD systems, I drove like a nut – kicking up rocks and dirt and avoiding perilous cliffs with ease. I (and my passenger) survived. I was impressed with how responsive the vehicle was and in its performance at the hands of a novice off road driver, acting like there was no tomorrow. It was a ton of fun and Vincent over at SlashGear even caught some of our drive on video!

hyundai santa fe front
Stylish on the outside and smooth on the inside with 71.5 cubic feet of cargo room and premium elements, the Santa Fe Sport makes a polished first impression. The Hyundai Santa Fe’s interior is best described as “art meets technology”.

my13 santafe 46
I instantly fell in love with the striking meters on the dash, cooled glove box, push button start (no more digging through your purse with baby on hip, while your other two kids chase each other around the car), panoramic sunroof, extra trunk storage/organizer compartment and the Blue Link system.

hyundai santa fe trunk compartment

For the tech junkies, Hyundai offers the Blue Link system, similar to GM’s OnStar, capable of providing the driver with a plethora of convenience, safety and just plain nifty features like:

  • Remote Door Lock/Unlock
  • Remote Horn and Lights
  • Panic Notification
  • Remote Engine Start
  • Alarm Notification
  • Location Sharing
  • Voice Text Messaging
  • Stolen Vehicle Recovery
  • Stolen Vehicle Slowdown
  • Vehicle Immobilization
  • Geofence
  • Speed Alert
  • Curfew Alert
  • Turn-by-Turn Navigation Service
  • Daily Route Guidance with Traffic Condition
  • Traffic
  • Gas Station Locations and Gas Prices
  • Eco-Coach
  • Weather

hyundai santa fe rear
Given the size and features on the Santa Fe Sport, its able to target several of its competitors like the smaller Ford Escape and Honda CR-V, as well as some of the larger CUV’s like the Ford Edge and Chevy Equinox.

hyundai santa fe door jamb
hyundai santa fe signal mirror
At $24,450, the base model is almost mocking its competitors by offering the most standard features of its class. A fully loaded, blinged out top-of-the-line model will only cost you $34,800 – a STEAL, if you ask me!

While I loved the Santa Fe Sport, I think I need something with a bit more cargo room for the toys and kid. Luckily, in an effort to acknowledge one size doesn’t fit all, Hyundai will introduce the “long wheel base” version in January 2013 – offering seating for 6 or 7 depending on the trim and a 3.3-liter GDI V6 engine with 290 horsepower. Can’t wait to give that one a go!

Every 36 minutes in the U.S. a child is diagnosed with cancer.


Hyundai has been fighting childhood cancer for 14 years with their Hope On Wheels program. To date they have donated a whopping over $57M to the fight, including establishing the Hyundai Cancer Institute at Children’s Hospital of Orange County. Continuing their legacy of charity, Hyundai will dedicate half it’s September national advertising to help fight this terrible disease in honor of Childhood Cancer Month. Find out more about their amazing efforts and see how you can help, visit and follow @hopeonwheels on Twitter.

img 4554 snapseed

See what the other bloggers on this trip thought about the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport

Thank you to Hyundai for covering my travel expenses to attend this event. No additional compensation was received and as always, all thoughts and opinions are mine, all mine.

15 thoughts on “The New 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport Pushes the Limits”

  1. Looks good enough, but I’m sure it’ll be just like every other Hyundai built to date. Just beucsae you get a couple of German designers, you can’t make up for years of Automotive engineering so easily. CRV is a much better car than this. The new Mazda CX5 is also much better overall. As for it competing with the Highlander and the Pilot? All I’m gonna say is good luck with that, Hyundai

  2. Awesome review of the new Santa Fe SUV!!

    I must admit each of their new cars is more impressive. I also drive a Hyundai, the small Accent is perfect car for me, especially during these days when fuel costs are on the rise.

    Did you write any reviews on new Accent perhaps?




Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.