December 2, 2012
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I’ve been asked to comment about the leather steering wheel in the Santa Fe Sport, and I understand why, as in the past, Hyundai’s leather steering wheels seemed very un-leather-like, to be honest. The Santa Fe’s seems of high quality and it does feel nice in the hands, and, although still a little on the smooth side, it does not feel plasticky like some I’ve encountered before… so, it’s good.
With that out of the way, what about the rest of the interior? The rear cargo area is pretty darned large. Obviously, this platform is built to accommodate an extended seven-passenger version, so there is a large cargo area behind the rear seats. Not standard — and this is a pet peeve of mine — is a tonneau cover. You can get one thrown in, perhaps, if you are lucky, but it is a $285 accessory.
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The rear seats fold 40/20/40, allowing for maximum cargo and seating versatility, and the rear seats also slide fore and aft and the seatbacks adjust for rake, for more comfort. Leg room is good, but the rear seats are pretty firm, but let’s move out of the back and into the front seats, where I spend all of my time.
The driver’s seat is comfortable and was easy to adjust to my preference. The tilt and telescoping steering aids in driver comfort, but I’d like a little more extension on the wheel. Large buttons all around make finding features and setting functions a breeze. Right down beside the shifter are nice large heated seat buttons which I have enjoyed daily, and the heated steering wheel control is just off to the left of the wheel. The Santa Fe seems to know when I would like the heated wheel as well… it seems to turn on automatically when I leave for work in the morning.
The HVAC controls are set-it-and-forget-it, as the system has dual-zone automatic climate control. The radio dials are on the small size, and the small touch screen is a little difficult to reach. Huge props to Hyundai for adding a button to turn off the screen, although it adds to my ergomomic issues, as it is very far to reach.
The small screen does double duty as a backup camera, and it is necessary, but more on that tomorrow during my driving impressions.
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