To their credit, designers equipped the Santa Fe with simple, well-labeled, intuitive buttons and dials for the climate control system, the optional Inﬁnity audio package with excellent sound quality, and an eight-inch navigation screen displaying directions based on speci- ﬁed coordinates, a designated highway exit or intersection, or selected areas to avoid.
On the other hand, placement of the rear climate controls left me scratching my noggin. They’re located in the third row, which is odd and inconvenient since it’s the second row that will be used much more often. Also, an available 115-volt outlet, perfect for charging iPads and portable DVD players, is found in the cargo area behind the third-row seat, well out of the reach of kids who, again, will most often be seated in the second row. File this all under “room for improvement.”
Nitpicks aside, the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe makes a bold, positive impression with looks that paint the competition in a dull light by comparison, a reﬁned and comfortable ride, and a powertrain offering signiﬁcantly more power coupled with impressive fuel economy. Mix in one of the lowest base prices in the segment, lots of standard features, and an IIHSTop Safety Pick award for good measure, and you haveafamily hauler that trades“good enough”and“smart enough”for“better”and “best.”
Thom Blackett is a freelance writer.