Since its 2001 introduction, the Santa Fe has been a hit for Hyundai. So, naturally, the company decided to make two of them. For 2013, we have the shorter-wheelbase five-passenger Santa Fe Sport. Taking aim at blue chip crossovers such as the Toyota RAV4, the new Santa Fe Sport features fresh styling, a welcoming interior, and newly focused mechanicals that deliver solid performance and achieve solid fuel efficiency.
Our day-long stint behind the wheel included dirt trails, winding two-lane back roads, and plenty of highways, but the crossover’s quiet and nicely assembled cabin kept the ride comfortable. With more than sufficient passing power, the 2,0-litre turbo is our engine of choice; the thriftier 2,4-litre mill has the best highway fuel economy of any automatic-equipped crossover.
The electric steering system provides vague feedback, but the Santa Fe offers three driving settings, with the middle having the best balance between ease of use and resistance. Weighing 121 kg less than the last-gen Santa Fe, the Sport is trim. The longer-wheelbase seven-passenger Santa Fe (due to have been launched in South Africa mid-January) weighs nearly 200 kg less than the model it replaces. – BASEM WASEF