What’s Hot in the SUV/CUV Market for 2013

Let’s face it – the family car is truly the equivalent of a second home in more ways than one.  Primarily, most parents spend a good amount of time in the family car shuttling kids from home to school to classes to sports to play-dates to tutoring to band practice…  Secondly,  SUVs(Sports Utility Vehicle) and CUVs (Crossover Utility Vehicle) are not usually the cheapest cars in the lot.  When you realize that you are virtually living in your car half the time and it is carrying your most precious cargo, it puts the importance of choosing the right car into a very clear perspective.



The Hyundai Santa Fe 2013

This is the first review in the SUV Class series.

Huyandai !2

I had the opportunity to test many cars, at Heels & Wheels, a recent event held for women automotive journalists a couple of weeks ago in Oregon.  Three of the cars in the SUV/CUV category were: the Hyundai Santa Fe, the Mitsubishi 2014 Outlander and the 2014 Grand Jeep Cherokee.


The Drive

We drove our first leg of the journey from Portland airport to Brasada Ranch, a sophisticated rustic ranch resort in the high desert of Oregon in the Hyundai’s 2014 Santa Fe.  My driving partner, Nicole Wakelin, tests cars weekly and reviews them for The Fast Lane Car.com. As a car savvy gal and New Hampshire driving Mom, she was looking to see how the Hyundai Santa Fe could handle rough road conditions. The weather was rainy, the roads sleek and muddy and Nicole maneuvered very sharp, hair-pins curves with the Santa Fe taking them effortlessly. I tested my seat belt to make sure it was secure while I simultaneously asked the Hyundai rep, who was sitting in the back seat, about the airbags –  7, an additional one near the driver’s knees.

We came to the end of the first leg of the trip and I got behind the wheel.  Let me preface this by saying I drive one of the largest SUV’s out there- a Suburban.   I like the spaciousness of a large car and the Santa Fe surprised me by possessing that feeling.  The car drove with a great sense of control and the dash was designed very intuitively. The more I drove, the more I liked the Santa Fe.  It was a total comfort drive.


What I Loved

Most SUV’s you will be looking at today will be making an effort to have as many bells and whistles available as possible.  This car had them all.  It has all the comforts of home plus more.  My favorites include:

  • The panoramic sunroof which opens up the entire center of the car to the sky above.  Even in the rain, I loved having all of that natural light beaming down.
  • Connected via your smart phone, Blue Link  is a navigation, connect and discovery system.  Blue Link offers; remote access, roadside emergency assistance, route & traffic guidance, car care alerts and even access from your computer at home to tell your car about points of interest on your next road trip.
  • I felt in total control of this car- the steering was responsive and tight.  I later found out that it has a choice of three steering mode from which you may chose; comfort, normal and sport.  I must have been in the sport when I drove it- it handled beautifully.
  • Stopped on a dime.  I can vouch for that.  I had just come over a  hill and out of curve when I saw the barn is the photo above. I was going a good 50mph and stopped pretty quickly.  After all, I saw the gorgeous setting and knew I had to have this shot.



The dash and controls are intuitive and the interior is definitely a high end quality boasting tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel, illuminated vanity mirrors with extensions and a multifunction trip computer.

anta Fe offers a suite of available premium features including a panoramic sunroof, Proximity Key with electronic push button start, leather seating surfaces, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, a heated steering wheel and dual-zone automatic temperature control with CleanAir Ionizer.

The Santa Fe offers premium features including a panoramic sunroof, Proximity Key with electronic push button start, leather seating, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, a heated steering wheel

Sight and sound enhancements include an 8-inch touchscreen plus a navigation system, or a 4.3-inch touchscreen color display with rearview camera. A premium Infinity Logic 7 550-watt audio system with 12 speakers and a digital external amp is also available. Bluetooth®, YES Essentials®

The 8-inch color display touchscreen has a navigation system with rearview camera. It had a great sound system and of course, was  Bluetooth® compatible



Absolutely loved this panoramic sunroof – two panels open up fully or partially. It brings in great light and feels open and airy.

. .

There are so many great details in this car. For more in depth information, hop onto their website.  You might also want to read other reviews from:

Kelley’s Blue Book

The Car Connection

Her Highway

Bottom Line:

You will be happily surprised to see that Hyundai is offering a really fabulous vehicle at a great starting price of $26,000. If you want this baby fully loaded, you’re looking at about $36,000.

Best news?  It gets 21 mpg around town and 29 mpg on the highway.  Not bad for a family car.

Recommendation:  Take it for a test drive and judge for yourself.