“All winter long it has been the go-to vehicle,” he stated.
While dollar-stretching value accounts for a lot of its popularity, the Santa Fe also embodies the other elements of Hyundai’s three-part success strategy.
Its appearance is distinctive, with a bold chin and a forward striving, rounded front face that bends smartly toward the front fenders and sweeps upward to the sloping hood, windshield and roof. The sides are streaked with crisp body creases that give the model a fast, forward slant.
Santa Fe’s satisfaction of motoring fundamentals starts with the engines available in the vehicle. The Santa Fe Sport comes with a four-cylinder motor that provides an ample, 190 horsepower. For an additional $5,700, an optional turbocharged four cylinder lifts the Sport’s horsepower to 264. The long-version Santa Fe uses a larger, V6 engine that puts out 290 horsepower. The three-row model needs the added oomph, because it weighs about 400 pounds more than the fleeter Santa Fe Sport.
The three engines use an advanced approach to fuel management called direct gas injection, aiming to maximize power while also increasing fuel economy. The engines connect to a six-speed automatic transmission. Another standard feature in Santa Fe is a driver-selectable “Eco” mode that sets up engine and transmission to operate at top efficiency, cutting gas consumption by five to seven percent from the normal operating mode, according to Hyundai.
Families make up the biggest share of buyers by far for the longer, three-row Santa Fe, said Silvia. But the Santa Fe Sport extends the appeal of the model to a wider variety of people, he explained.
“It crosses all demographics, from empty-nesters to urban trend-setters,” Silvia said.
Apparently people of all stripes like value wrapped in an appealing package.
Jeffrey Zygmont is an author of fiction and non-fiction books, and a long-time auto writer. Contact him at www.jeffreyzygmont.com.
2014 Hyundai Santa Fe
Vehicle type: 4-door, 5- or 7-passenger, front- and all-wheel-drive mid-size SUV
Price range: $24,950 to $36,205 (plus options)
Warranty: 5 years/60,000 miles basic warranty; 10 years/100,000 miles powertrain warranty; 5 years roadside assistance
Engine: 3.3-liter V6
Power: 290 horsepower at 6,400 rpm; 252 lb.-ft. torque at 5,200 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Fuel economy: 18 mpg city; 25 mpg highway
Wheelbase: 110 inches
Length: 193 inches
Width: 72 inches
Height: 66 inches
Weight: 5,512 pounds
Fuel capacity: 18.8 gallons
Turning circle: 36.9 feet