Car Review: 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe LTD FWD

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When Hyundai designed the all-new six and seven-passenger Sante Fe, their recipe of bold design, high-output powertrains with Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) and a host of other features to please drivers and passengers stayed intact along with high expectations for functionality, versatility and comfort. After spending a week behind the wheel of the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe LTD FWD, we can now see why sales keep going up.

EXTERIOR

The new Hyundais have accomplished fantastic reviews for styling, and the new six-passenger 2013 Hyundai Santa FE LTD FWD continues the good-looking traits of prior Santa Fes. Hyundai designers crafted Santa Fe Sport and three-row Santa Fe together, with the signature differentiating element being the sideview daylight opening (side window shape); the larger Santa Fe features a shape that highlights the increased passenger and cargo room behind the third-row seat. Santa Fe also has its own bodyside character lines from the B-pillar back, grille design, chrome-tipped dual exhaust and a flush-mounted tow hitch design. Our test model was shining in becketts black paint, and with the19-inch Euroflange alloy wheels, this was one sharp looking machine. Also adding to the overall exterior package were front fog lights, heated exterior mirrors with turn signal indicators, roof side rails and windshield wiper deicer. I will say the new front lighting system looks as sleek as any vehicle on the road.

INTERIOR

Impressive from the moment you enter the cabin! The Santa Fe trim features the same flowing interior look designed for passenger functionality and comfort. From the available heated rear seats and eight-way power driver seat with four-way lumbar support, to a standard 40:20:40 folding rear seat back, Santa Fe boasts flexibility and a pleasant cabin for all. Also new for 2013 – and standard on all Santa Fe equipped with cloth seats – is a ‘YES Essentials’ seat fabric treatment that provides soil-resistant, anti-odor and anti-static properties for added longevity and livability. Special care and attention went into other interior details, such as an optional panoramic sunroof, which allows more natural light into the cabin and rear side window sunshades. Available on Santa Fe models is a push-button starter with proximity key, Electroluminescent Gauge Cluster with color LCD trip computer and a heated steering wheel.

Our test model sported heated black leather seating surfaces with second row captain’s chairs. The three-row Santa Fe increases second-row legroom by 1.9 inches and cargo capacity 5.5 cubic feet and features standard rear-passenger HVAC controls and vents to increase family comfort, while also offering a standard 50:50 split folding third-row bench seat with 31.5 inches of legroom. This seat back is perfect for seating five passengers comfortably or accommodating four passengers plus long items like skis, golf clubs, snowboards and surfboards. Fold down two seats to seat three people and hold larger packages, or fold all rear seats to maximize cargo space. Our three-row Santa Fe also featured a power liftgate for added convenience.

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Car Review: 2013 Hyundai Azera

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One of the hottest selling sedans on the road today is the 2013 Hyundai Azera, and we had the opportunity to drive one for a week to see what all the buzz is about. We learned that Hyundai continues to take on segments of the auto industry that probably didn’t see products like the Azera approaching in their rearview mirror!

EXTERIOR

The Azera is a modern and sophisticated interpretation of Hyundai’s signature Fluidic Sculpture design language, which looks very attractive when parked or being driven. With the new Azera, Hyundai continues to offer customers the highest levels of luxury, performance and efficiency, all brought together in the praised design. Azera’s Fluidic Sculpture design takes inspiration from the mechanics of flight. The exterior of the Azera is long, light and low with a very upscale appearance. The unique, undulating beltline allows for a long, sleek roofline accented by the third window and wraparound LED taillights. A monoform side profile includes flowing lines in the rear quarter panel. The face is masculine with a powerful, winged chrome grille and HID headlamps that integrate precise details. The stance is completed by available 19-inch multi-spoke wheels that we sported on our test model. The venetian red paint looked amazingly shiny without a mar to be found.

INTERIOR

The elegant look of the 2013 Azera continues inside where Hyundai has created an upscale ambiance, thanks to a flow-through center fascia and instrument panel that creates a dual-cockpit front passenger space. These flowing surfaces complement the exterior design and wrap around the driver and passengers. The 2013 Azera offers luxurious appointments that rival the finest premium competitor brands. It offers a roomy cabin with more than 45 inches of legroom and 40 inches of headroom for front-seat passengers. Hyundai focuses heavily on other interior details, such as an optional panoramic sunroof, which allows more natural light into the cabin and 3D Carbon interior accents. Ambient lighting compliments the vehicle’s modern appearance. Other standard luxury equipment includes power front seats, power rear sunshade and manual rear side window shades. The side shades, not found on any other car in the Azera’s segment, can be inconspicuously tucked away when not in use.

Given the functionality and design of the Azera, seat quality and comfort is of extreme importance to the feel of the car. The 2013 Azera offers first-class seating for all passengers, with leather seating as standard equipment. A ten-way power driver and eight-way front passenger seat are also included. The driver’s seat has an optional cushion extension and an integrated memory system for the seat, steering wheel and side mirrors, while the Azera’s climate and seat temperature controls keep occupants in total comfort. Our 2013 Hyundai Azera also boasted ventilated front seats, heated front and rear seats standard, dual automatic climate control standard, second row air vents standard and cooled glove box standard.

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Car Review: 2013 Hyundai Sonata Limited

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When Hyundai released the latest Sonata a few years ago, the design was cutting edge, and now that the current design is running close to the end of its cycle, the design still holds true to this day. For 2013, Sonata built on its trailblazing recipe of high-design and high fuel efficiency with more features, higher value and better residual value than ever before. That’s important, as the midsize segment is more competitive than ever, with new competitors borrowing pages from the Sonata playbook with improved fuel economy and design.

EXTERIOR

First and foremost, you can’t help but notice the panoramic sunroof which is now part of the Limited Premium Package for 2013 as tested. Fluidic Sculpture is a consistent, cohesive design language that is used throughout the entire Hyundai showroom. It considers the interplay of natural, fluid elements with more rigid surfaces and structures to create the illusion of constant motion.

The exterior of the Sonata is long, light and low. The high beltline allows for a long, sleek roofline accented by a third window. A monoform side profile includes flowing lines highlighted by a Hyundai signature chrome accent that spans the length of the car. Normally, this type of trim is only found around the windows. On the Sonata, this trim extends out from the headlamps, juts up along the hood and through the beltline. The face is bold with a large powerful chrome grille and headlamps that integrate precise details. The stance is completed by 17-inch alloy wheels on our Limited edition. It’s amazing how the Sonata design has influenced competitors and reshaped the midsize sedan marketplace.

INTERIOR

The sleek design, combined with Hyundai’s expertise in interior packaging, delivers class-leading interior comfort, functionality and practicality. A sleek roofline typically compromises headroom and interior volume, but at 120.2 cubic feet, the Sonata has more interior volume than many of its key competitors. It is so spacious that Sonata continues to be classified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a large car, truly a “class above” other categorized midsize cars. The Sonata shines even in trunk volume, with 16.4 cu. ft. of trunk space that gives it a 6.1 percent advantage over direct rivals. Our test model was upscale and loaded with features, including leather seating surfaces with heated front and rear seats, power driver seat with power lumbar support, leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, XM Satellite radio, Dimension AM/FM/CD-MP3 with iPod/USB input, HD Radio technology with multicasting, integrated Bluetooth hands free phone system, navigation with high resolution touchscreen display, rear backup camera, and a booming and crystal clear Infinity premium audio system with subwoofer and amplifier.

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First Drive: 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe

The folks at Hyundai are so proud of the new turbo engine in their all-new 2013 Santa Fe that they invited us to test drive the redesigned vehicle in the thin air around Park City Utah at 8,500 feet above sea level. The altitude provided a real test for the crossover’s performance and it passed with flying colors.

The third-generation Santa Fe comes in two versions, with a five-passenger Sport model that we tested along with a longer wheelbase seven-passenger model with three-rows. The Sport model arrives in showrooms in this month and the seven-passenger model will arrive in January 2013.

Exterior

Hyundai keeps putting out great-looking vehicles and the Santa Fe is no exception. With the new Santa Fe, Hyundai continues to implement its “Fluidic Sculpture” design principles that have given Hyundai vehicles a bold and distinctive look. Specifically, the Santa Fe features a new design concept called Storm Edge, which captures the strong and dynamic images created by nature during the formation of a storm. This design language works well on the new Santa Fe as you can see from the photos of the Sport model. The vehicle looks great from all angles. The seven-passenger version looks very similar, though some of the lines like the rear side windows are softened in the larger model.

Interior

The interior of the Santa Fe is very roomy and comfortable, and the model we drove was loaded with features, including a Panoramic sunroof, heated steering wheel, heated rear seats and manual rear side window sunshades, power driver seat with four-way lumbar control and front passenger seats, and sliding and reclining second row seating with 40:20:40 folding seat back. All of the controls were conveniently positioned and were easy to use. On the safety front, the Santa Fe has seven standard airbags, including driver’s knee airbag. I sat in the back seat and there’s plenty of room.

You definitely feel like you’re driving a crossover as you’re sitting a little higher than a car but not as high as an SUV. The overall driving experience will likely appeal to both drivers in a family with a nice blend of comfort and handling.

Performance

We had the opportunity to drive the 2.0L Turbo AWD version of the five-passenger Sport model through the mountain roads surrounding Park City. Performance of any vehicle declines in high altitude settings, but the power and performance of the Santa Fe turbos were very impressive. The Santa Fe easily accelerated as we climbed the mountain roads and handled the curves nicely. The overall handling was fine given that we pushed the vehicle pretty hard, so family buyers will be more than happy with the overall performance.

The Santa Fe Sport has two four-cylinder options, with the Theta II 2.4-liter Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) engine that achieves 190 horsepower with an estimated 33 mpg EPA on the highway, which is the highest of any CUV/SUV equipped with an automatic transmission. We drove vehicles with the high-output Theta II 2.0-liter turbocharged GDI engine that achieves 264 horsepower with an estimated 31 mpg (FWD A/T) on the highway. A Lambda II 3.3-liter GDI V6 engine with 290 horsepower is available on the larger wheelbase Santa Fe.

Hyundai has emphasized weight savings across all of their new models in order to achieve the gas mileage numbers, and the new Santa Fe is 266 lbs. lighter than the 2012 model. The engineers accomplish this with the use of high tensile steel, as the new Santa Fe features a high tensile steel ratio of 37.7% vs. 7.8% for outgoing model along with improved torsional stiffness by 15.7%.

Overview

Like every automaker, Hyundai is eager to service the market of young families, and the Santa Fe is a huge key to their strategy of targeting what they call “core families.” Buyers in this segment are interest in practical vehicles but also want cool styling as well. Hyundai has achieved a nice mix of these aspects in the new Santa Fe with very competitive pricing, and we recommend adding this to your test drive list.

  

First Drive: 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo

When I tested the Veloster a last year I was very impressed with the styling and handling. Hyundai had created a truly unique coupe with a hidden third door that quickly became a hit. Now with the introduction of the 2013 Veloster Turbo, Hyundai now has a version where the performance is just as impressive as the styling. I had the opportunity to drive the new Veloster Turbo through the winding canyon roads surrounding San Diego, and frankly the car was a joy to drive.

Exterior

The Veloster is a great-looking vehicle. Hyundai developed an excellent design and they didn’t mess around with it. The 2013 Turbo version carries over the aggressive styling from the 2012 model. They’ll have no trouble attracting younger buyers with this car. For the turbo, LED accents have been added to the front and rear lights, and a panoramic sunroof and body color spoiler are also available. It also features 18-inch wheels with chrome accents.

One option available for the new Turbo Veloster is the matte gray paint. Usually we only see this type of paint option on far more expensive vehicles but Hyundai decided to offer it on the Veloster and it looks great. Hyundai officials stressed that owners of this color option need to take special care of the vehicle in order to preserve the matte finish.

Interior

The interior for the Turbo Veloster includes a number of standard upgrades, including, heated front seats, aluminum pedals, Blue Link, electroluminescent gauge cluster and push-button start. And this sporty vehicle is also practical with the third door and the hatch. Veloster Turbo has best-in-class cargo volume and more interior volume than Civic, Mini, Beetle and Fiat 500.

Performance

We were looking forward to this new Turbo and we included it on our list of 20 cars to look forward to in 2012. The results did not disappoint us. We had the perfect setting to test this car as Hyundai crafted some great driving routes through the SoCal canyon roads. I was able to push this car very hard through tight turns as we went up and down that various mountain roads. The power and acceleration was excellent and the 6-speed was very responsive. Anyone who likes to drive will have fun with this car. While we would definitely choose the manual transmission, we should note that the automatic transmission version comes with standard Sport mode.

This new Veloster is powered by a Hyundai-first 1.6L Turbo delivering 201 horsepower and 195 lb-ft. of torque with regular fuel. The fuel economy remains excellent. The non-turbo model gets 40 MPG on the highway while the Turbo achieves 26/38 MPG for the manual and 25/34 for the automatic. The engineers at Hyundai have focused on reducing weight through high-strength steel which has helped them achieve their impressive fuel economy numbers across the lineup.

Overview

The pricing for the Veloster Turbo ranges from $21,950 to $25,450. That’s an impressive value for a car that looks this good and has the performance to go with it. You have to test drive this car to truly appreciate the value here. It’s fun as hell, and you certainly have to be a younger buyer to appreciate it. Just young at heart!

  

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