The Dad’s perspective:
The wife and I are always on the lookout for a way to upgrade our family experience. During our recent vacation to the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, the opportunity to evaluate the 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited was presented and we accepted. With our two daughters and son, we loaded up the Santa Fe for a week in the mountains and an escape from reality. On the color, Jen and I had flashbacks immediately to her first car a white convertible VW Rabbit. The Santa Fe was nice looking in Monaco White and definitely an upgrade from the family “truckster” but could it handle 7 days of or family of 5 essentially living out of it?
The first test for the Santa Fe was in the cargo department. With big luggage for the girls, backpacks for the boy and I, finding space for all can be a challenge in any vehicle. The 50/50 third row bench seat provided a solution our current car does not have. We had one of the seats down for extra luggage space and one up for the 8-year old who needed the “extra personal space” from the older siblings. The Santa Fe included a second row with two luxurious captain’s chairs for the big kids with plenty of foot space and our front row seats included both heated and cooled seats. Summertime means shorts and bare legs on hot leather, Jen appreciated those ventilated seats! With all the cargo and leg room anyone could ask for, the space felt like a mini-van, no climbing over the seats to get to the middle or back, no footprints or damage to the interior. We set off on our voyage.
A cool July morning departure allowed for the panoramic sunroof to be opened wide for a breath of cool air and a view for days extending through the wisps of fog to the sun. Again we’re reminded of Jen’s convertible, so much open sky but without the hair flailing about our faces! As we left our coastal valley home and entered the central valley we promptly closed the sunroof in favor of the Santa Fe’s climate control bliss. Special features enjoyed by those on the sun side of the car were the integrated sun shades which I personally have not experienced in any other SUV. Two hours through the valley with no complaints from the peanut gallery means the Santa Fe has already exceeded my expectations. The Limited Technology Package (+ $4850.00) gave us amazing sound with the Infinity Logic Surround Sound Audio System, and our youngest in the back politely asked us to keep our music to the front of the car so she could still enjoy her DVD player plugged securely into the bonus 115 volt power outlet. Along those lines, the engine and drive train were remarkably quiet and efficient. From a driver’s perspective the Santa Fe’s performance was exceptional whether cruising along the freeway or flying over mountain passes.
Upon reaching our vacation cabin, the Santa Fe transformed into a six passenger shuttle. As a vacation taxi providing luxury transport the Santa Fe was easy to maneuver back and forth to the pool, fishing hole, wine tasting and sightseeing. Even in the mountains, we were happy to see all the roads and directions we had to find our destinations were easily found on the navigation system. Having blind spot detection is something my wife appreciates when exploring new areas, and I’m happy to see it in so many new cars with my oldest only weeks away from her driver’s license.Thankfully, the airbags, traction control system, electronic stability control, vehicle stability management and electronic brake-force distribution safety systems were not tested on this trip yet it is nice to see that they were all ready to assist if necessary. In the mountains and hills of our cabin, there are no streetlights and pitch dark at night, we used the Xenon headlights and LED taillights to their fullest potential.
Our days with the 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe flew by and I feel the car and family grew together. As we left our cabin we quietly wound our way out of the mountains and tearfully separated from our week with the Santa Fe. Hyundai has provided a great SUV fully capable of providing a family of five with all the comfort and features that could be dreamed of. One wish I had was that there was a slightly better gas mileage with the cost of fuel these days, we may have gotten 20 mpg during our trip. Also, is there any way my wife can get those seats with such great lumbar support comfort and heat/cooling as a desk chair model? Just asking.
For more information about the Hyundai Santa Fe, visit https://www.hyundaiusa.com/santa-fe/comparison.aspx.
Car was on loan for a week, all opinions our own.