December 2, 2012
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What everyone wants to know, is how the new Sante Fe performs on the road, and how well-suited is that 2.0L turbocharged engine to this larger Santa Fe application (versus the Genesis Coupe and Sonata platforms).
Well, first things first: the new Santa Fe looks great from the outside, and when you get in it looks great as well. Looking outside from the inside, though, is not so great. That’s a long-winded way to say visibility is just adequate in my books; the backup camera truly is a must-have, as the rear window is very high. But more importantly, the large side mirrors must be adjusted properly, because looking over your shoulder is a pointless affair, as the high belt line makes visibility out the sides basically nil.
Looking forward, the Santa Fe is okay and hopefully that is the direction you will be travelling in the most. The 2.0L engine does have some turbo lag and the six speed transmission is very quick to select the next gear. In ECO mode, the Santa Fe feels sluggish and reluctant to keep a set speed, as it requires a lot of throttle input. With the ECO mode off, this seems to be less noticeable, but I suspect if one drives in a lot of bumper-to-bumper traffic fuel economy may suffer if ECO mode is turned off.
The all-wheel drive system works great. We have had some snow and ice to deal with and the stock tires have performed flawlessly, even on my unplowed and icy street.
When I haven’t been mashing the throttle to try to get the wheels to spin, I have been cruising to work on the highway and backroads, and have noticed that this Santa Fe is a very stiff beast indeed, both in a good and bad way. The vehicle itself feels very solid, with no creaks or rattles, and the feel transmitted to the driver is that of a very solid piece of machinery. This is all great, but it also translates into a very rough ride that hits you hard in the backside over railroad tracks and harsh roads — that is the not-so-great.