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March 9, 2014

Hyundai Santa Fe asks less, gives a lot

Just the other day, a friend asked for advice about choosing a car. He and his wife have a baby son. They want a vehicle with easy access, good hauling capacity, and the assurance of four-wheel traction. When looking at medium-sized wagons, he noticed that the Hyundai Santa Fe earns consistently good reviews and wins high ratings from independent agencies. His big question about the Santa Fe concerned its price. It seemed too good to be true. The model is priced noticeably lower than similar crossover sport-utilities, especially when he compared all the features and equipment that Hyundai bundles into the Santa Fe – items other manufacturers charge extra for.

“Am I missing something?” he wondered.

No, he’s not.

Hyundai has been buffing its reputation and attracting new customers with a strategy that appears to have three main parts. First, it hits on the fundamentals, making vehicles that contain good measures of safety, comfort, ease, dependability, usefulness and other qualities that people desire in an auto. Second, Hyundai wraps those characteristics in contemporary looking, dramatically styled bodies that can make you turn your head to look twice.

But it was the third part of Hyundai’s strategy that really caught my young friend’s eye: more vehicle for less money.

With the Santa Fe sport-utility vehicle, that dollar-stretching value accounts for a lot of the model’s booming popularity, explained David Silvia, Hyundai sales manager at Salem Ford Hyundai in Salem, N.H.

“When you compare it dollar for dollar, you can see that you’re getting more for your money,” he said. “The amount of equipment that comes even on the base model is much more significant.”

All Santa Fe models come with Bluetooth technology for connecting phones and other communication and entertainment gear to the car, he illustrated. All have heated seats, he noted, another nicety you typically pay extra to get on another model.

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