SantaFeWhen I get behind the wheel of a new car, I’m not thinking about the size of the engine or where the oil goes. Obviously, as a mom, safety comes first. Secondly, as a busy and traveling mom, the amount of space the car is going to give me comes in at a close second. I have to consider the amount of room I’ll have leftover as I pack it with two growing boys, my 6’2″ husband, a minimum of 3 suitcases, one stroller, and a shih tzu (who thinks she needs her own seat). So let’s just say that our little 2006 Hyundai Sonata is getting a little tight when it comes to traveling.

While my toddler and preschooler haven’t quite outgrown our Sonata … they’re getting dang near close. But I’m not quite ready to succumb to the minivan Gods just yet. Every car has a personality. But I want a vehicle that not only has a personality … but will turn heads while I’m in it. So when Hyundai dropped off their new 2013 Santa Fe Sport CUV in my driveway, I couldn’t help but feel a little snooty as my neighbors peeked out their windows when I got behind the wheel for the first time.

The five-passenger Sport model I reviewed is pretty much the same size as the 2012 model and is available at dealerships across the US. But by the time you read this article, a longer seven-passenger model (sans Sport), with a third row of seating, will be rolled out to dealerships as well.


Let’s get real though. Safety sells. Safety features can mean the difference between skidding and stopping in time to avoid an accident. So with Hyundai’s Advanced Safety Technology … you can rest easier knowing this CUV is outfitted with some of the best safety technology features out there. My preschooler gives the new Santa Fe Sport’s safety features a thumbs up! Features like:SantaFe2

  • A Vehicle Stability Management (VSM) w/Electronic Stability Control (ESC): A system that uses sensors in the steering system and at each wheel to compare where you want to go with where the car is heading. If a difference between the two is detected, the Electronic Stability Control slows the appropriate wheel to redirect the car and help keep you on course.
  • ABS w/Electronic Brake-Force Distribution & Brake Assist: ABS helps prevent the possibility of wheel lockup under hard braking by pulsing the brakes to help you retain steering control as you come to a stop.
  • Downhill Brake Control & Hillstart Assist Control: Offered as options or upgrades by some competitors, Santa Fe’s standard Hillstart Assist Control (HAC) minimizes backward roll when stopped on steep hills, while the Downhill Brake Control (DBC) helps you maintain control when you’re headed down steep hills.
  • This CUV has more airbags than a crazy person’s padded cell. Not one, not two, not three or even four. The new Santa Fe Sport provides a full complement of seven airbags, which includes a driver’s knee airbag. This added level of safety is usually found on more expensive premium vehicles. I hope a feature I never have to find out that works. But it’s nice to know that they’re there.
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System
  • Front Seatbelt Pre-tensioners: Seatbelt pretensioners automatically tighten seatbelts to place the occupant in the optimal seating position during a collision. Again … something everyone hopes to never have to find out how it works. But we’ll all get better rest knowing it’s in place.

So what other features coaxed me into loading up my family of four for a mini roadtrip? It’s more like … what DIDN’T this swanky little CUV have.

  • A preschool + a toddler = drips, spills and stains. However, the cloth seating in the Santa Fe is treated with “YES Essentials” giving the fabric a soil-resistant, anti-odor, and anti-static material.
  • It handles like a luxury car but looks like an SUV.
  • It is extremely fuel-efficient. At 24 mpg combined city/hwy and an annual fuel cost of $2,200 … you can save over $600.00 in fuel costs over five years!SantaFe interior2
  • AM/FM/SiriusXM/CD/MP3 w/iPod jacks so we can get our groove on. Although … having SiriusXM just means more arguments between me and the mister of what station to listen to. But I always win … sooooo ….
  • Hyundai Blue Link Telematics System (90-day free trial). So this app thing is pretty much the mamma jamma of technology if you have a Smartphone and a Hyundai. The system utilizes mobile apps to provide the driver with information from Hyundai’s in-house developed systems along with weather, traffic, fuel information (location and price), stocks, news and sports. In other words, the platform gives you more things to twiddle with while you’re stopped at the red light or stuck in traffic. It also has the ability to do several things remotely like starting the car or immobilizing it in times of it being carjacked. Or if there’s a teen in the home, a way to check his speed and location. Helicopter mom? Maybe.
  • Anyway, nothing is more embarrassing then holding up the acceleration lane on the freeway. And with a 4-cylindar … sometimes that happens. However, since the new CUV is a lower weight vehicle and has a little more torque (without giving up the safety), getting up to 65pmh on the ramp is no problemo.
  • The new Santa Fe Sport comes with a 5 year 60,000 warranty along with a 10 year 100,000 mile powertrain protection warranty and a few others too (see the site because there’s a lot to read there). Just know that with Hyundai’s warranty gives you certainty in uncertain times.

But you want to know the feature that SOLD ME the 2013 Santa Fe Sport? :::drum roll::: The trunk space!! The seats have a 40/20/40 fold meaning they fold virtually flat. And even when they were upright, I had enough room for two travel strollers, two kids, and enough space to still fit our luggage. There’s even a hidden storage area in the cargo (trunk) so you can leave your electronics and whatnot “under” the floor. As a sports mom, traveling mom, working mom, and an organizing mom – this innovation blew my mind. It is retractable and can be easily removed with its spring-loaded ends and installation was a breeze. Just pop up the cover from each side of the rear cargo area and install. It’s that easy! Keep unwanted and curious eyes from seeing what you have in your vehicle.SantaFeCargoCollageSantaFe cargo3

All in all, the new 2013 Santa Fe Sport has every luxury that a crossover can have. And with a lower pricepoint than most in it’s class, a longer warranty, a fuel efficient engine, and trunk space that I could hide from my children in if I needed to … it seems like a no brainer.

Amanda is a freelance writer and blog owner of: “The Procrastinating Mommy” – a PR friendly family blog. You can also follow her on Twitter at: @Amanda_aka_Mom.

Disclosure: I was allowed to borrow the 2013 Santa Fe Sport for a week for review purposes. I was not compensated in any other way. My opinions are my own, my husbands, and my children of course … who thoroughly enjoyed the trunk space as well.