Why The Hyundai Santa Fe Is Bigger Than It Used To Be

2014 Hyundai Santa Fe
The 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe.
For all its rapid advancement in the automotive world, the one place where Hyundai hasn't been able to score and score fairly big is in the 7-passenger crossover category.  The Veracruz, on sale from 2007-2012, was decent and competent, but in that incredibly competitive segment, those are less selling points than they are damning with faint praise.

But now, Hyundai appears to have hit on a strategy.  Take the strong-selling 5-passenger Santa Fe, give it the name Santa Fe Sport, and then put the Santa Fe badge on an all-new 7-passenger crossover.

2014 Hyundai Santa Fe
Rear view of the 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe.

That strategy only works, of course, if the product is as good as the name.  And it is.  We put a chunk of miles (more than 600) on a new Santa Fe over the course of a week and found it to be stylish, comfortable and capable.

A base price of $33,700 for the Limited front-wheel drive model (the base GLS front-wheel drive begins at $29,800) gets you a 3.3-liter, 290 horsepower V6, a six-speed automatic transmission, electronic stability control, traction control, anti-lock braking with brake assist, 19-inch wheels and a list of standard equipment so long, it's simpler just to send you to Hyundai's website to check it out there.  It was so fully loaded that the press fleet folks could add only two options: The Technology Package ($2,900 for a moonroof, navigation system with an 8-inch touchscreen, 12-speaker, 500 watt Infinity Logic 7 surround sound audio system with HD Radio and a heated steering wheel) and carpeted floor mats ($135).

Total price, with destination charges, $37,680.  At which point, especially with Hyundai's world-beating 10 year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty, the Santa Fe represents impressive value.

2014 Hyundai Santa Fe interior
Inside the 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe.

Fold down the rear seats and you've got remarkable cargo room.  Keep them upright, and you and six of your close personal friends can go places.  And mileage isn't bad, either, given the size of the vehicle and the fact that it's a V6 under the hood...an EPA estimated 18 city/25 highway.

All in all, an impressive effort and one that's sure to make Hyundai a serious competitor in the 7-passenger crossover SUV battle.