2013 Hyundai Sante Fe Review

Nice one for the larger families

By Shahzad Sheikh

Hyundai Sante Fe

You can have a good-looking, reasonably equipped, reliable SUV with spacious cabin featuring 7 seats for just AED82,900 ($22,500). With that you get 18-inch alloy wheels, ABS, dual front airbags, front and rear aircon, rear spoiler, electric lumber support for the driver, front fog lamps, Bluetooth connectivity, rear parking sensors, cruise control, steering wheel-mounted remote controls, a six-speaker sound system and keyless entry.

That’s the headline news here quite frankly. Having said that, this would only be a front wheel drive car. So for a four-wheel drive Hyundai Sante Fe in its vastly improved 3rd generation guise, you’d pay AED87,900 ($24k). And you get what’s called a ‘self leveliser’ – which we guess is self-levelling suspension.

Hyundai Sante Fe

But you’d be stuck with the 2.4-litre 175bhp four-cylinder engine giving you a 0-100kph time of 11.6 seconds and top speed of 190kph – which actually is the limited Vmax for the whole range. And that includes cars equipped with the 3.3-litre V6 that puts out 270bhp and accelerates to 100 in a lively 8.5 seconds.

The entry-level to that motor will need an outlay of AED96,900 ($26,300). For that you get climate control and electric folding mirrors. But even if you go for the range-topper like the car we tested, you’re talking about a maximum price of AED122,900 ($33,400), still quite palatable.

Thrown in for the money are 19-inch rims, 8 speakers for its sat-nav system with 8-inch LCD touchscreen, rain sensor, cornering lights, compass (complete with Kibla direction!), leather upholstery, powered front seats with memory, heated seats, start button, reversing camera, electric parking brake and stability control.

Hyundai Sante Fe

Looks and comfort

Typically Hyundai’s done a masterful job with new design. There are definite hints of Honda CR-V around the front particularly with the headlights and grille, but this is a handsome machine, emphasising the new-found boldness and confidence that now permeates throughout the Hyundai and Kia ranges.

Inside things are even more impressive, with cues borrowed from Infiniti and Lexus. The materials aren’t the best in the business, but it certainly doesn’t look too cheap in here, and actually there has been some aesthetic thought gone into the dashboard, particularly with the deeply embedded instrument dials. The controls are all intuitive and very easy to understand and use.

There’s decent seating space in the second row, even for adults, but the two third row seats are for children only, plus they’re perilously close to the back window. With the third row folded flat, however, there is massive luggage space. Even with the third row up there will be room for most of your shopping.

Hyundai Sante Fe

The Drive

One thing we’ll dismiss immediately is any pretention of sportiness, because the Sante Fe does the same. Even if the chassis is quite tidy and the handling not too bad for an SUV, the tyres squeal excessively the moment there’s even a suggestion of eager turn-in and body-roll and understeer would put you off pushing this car too hard.

That said, there is nothing fundamentally wrong with the way the car responds dynamically, and most drivers will be perfectly happy with its abilities, particularly as the performance on tap from the 3.3 is astonishingly strong.

Most importantly it’s an easy, stress-free drive with light controls, and the whole experience has been designed to be simple, comfortable and accommodating – which for many buyers is precisely what they’re looking for.

Hyundai Sante Fe


It looks good on the outside, boasts a feel-good factor inside, is laden with equipment and toys, will undoubtedly come with a sweet incentive or two from the dealer ensuring sky-high showroom appeal and drives pretty well with more than adequate performance if you opt for the 3.3.

We heartily recommend it for growing families that want a stylish but fuss-free motoring experience.

Hyundai Santa Fe

2.4 2WD
How much? AED82,900-85,900 ($22,500-23,350)
Engine: 2.4-litre, four-cylinder, 176bhp @ 6000rpm, 167lb ft @ 3750rpm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Fuel Economy: 7.1L/100km
Performance: 0-100kph 10.9 seconds, Top speed 190kph
Weight: 1569kg

2.4 4WD
How much? AED87,900-91,900 ($23,900-25,000)
Engine: 2.4-litre, four-cylinder, 176bhp @ 6000rpm, 167lb ft @ 3750rpm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Fuel Economy: 7.1L/100km
Performance: 0-100kph 11.6 seconds, Top speed 190kph
Weight: 1640kg

3.3 V6 4WD
How much? AED96,900-122,900 ($26,300-33,400)
Engine: 3.3-litre, V6, 270bhp @ 6400rpm, 234lb ft @ 5300rpm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Fuel Economy: 9.5L/100km
Performance: 0-100kph 8.5 seconds, Top speed 190kph
Weight: 1750kg


5 responses to “2013 Hyundai Sante Fe Review”

  1. vikram says:

    Hey guys,

    I have been wanting to know the santa fe offroad capability. Im sure it cant do the high dunes, but cruising in sand?

  2. ALI AL-BAHAR says:

    I have a problem with the car, from time to time the car is soddenly reduce the speed and it give lamp (ESP OFF), I need to know from were coming this problem. Hyundai Santafe 2007

    • admin says:

      [Imthishan] Sounds like your traction control system might have an issue. Best thing would be to take your car immediately to your dealer and get it thoroughly checked.

  3. Kamal Idris says:

    We looking for hundai cars specially buses and luxury buses , 60 persones , 26 persones and minies buses , for companies
    thanks for your help
    Kamal Idris

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