2013 Hyundai Santa Fe XL
2013 Hyundai Santa Fe XL. Click image to enlarge

Review and photos by Jonathan Yarkony

Odometer at pick-up: 1,599 km
Odometer current: 3,712 km (2112 km by Autos.ca)
Observed Fuel Consumption: 10.5 L/100 km
Costs: $282.94 (Gas)

One month into our long-term test and our Hyundai Santa Fe XL is earning its keep. We’ve so far run up over 2,000 km and fuel consumption is 10.5 L/100 km – a very good rating considering our mostly city cycle driving and somewhat heavy foot. Typically we manage no better 12 or 13 L/100 km in V6 mid-size SUVs, so that is a welcome relief. Contributor Lesley Wimbush spent a week in it and brought it back showing an impressive 8.5 L/100 km in mostly highway driving. However, it is frustrating that the fuel consumption meter resets after every fill-up even as the trip meter continues racking up kilometres until reset manually.

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe XL2013 Hyundai Santa Fe XL2013 Hyundai Santa Fe XL2013 Hyundai Santa Fe XL
2013 Hyundai Santa Fe XL. Click image to enlarge

As mentioned in our first report, it was quickly put to use as an airport shuttle, in five-seat configuration offering a wide deep cargo area for plenty of luggage. In seven-seat mode, however, it won’t quite squeeze in my hockey bag, but it did manage quite a collection of beer and wine bottles for a recycling run to the beer store. There is some storage space under the rearmost floor panel, but not as much as the clever five-seat Santa Fe Sport.

While my daughter wants to have her seat installed in the third row, I prefer installing her child seat in the second row, where we have ISOFIX anchors and an anchor for the tether in the back of the seat. The third row has no anchors. I have, on occasion, installed child seats using just the seatbelts in third rows, but won’t do it if the second row is available with convenient and more secure anchors.

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe XL
2013 Hyundai Santa Fe XL
2013 Hyundai Santa Fe XL
2013 Hyundai Santa Fe XL. Click image to enlarge

As with most SUVs, the height of the seats makes it easy to install our children into said seats. The step-in is a bit high for my four-year-old daughter, but she likes climbing in and refuses help. This might get a bit messy if the sills become prone to collecting slush – we’ll see about that as the weather deteriorates. My wife isn’t such a huge fan of that step-in height.

Accessing the third row was also a somewhat acrobatic affair even with the seat tilted and slid as far forward as it would go (it will only slide if a full child seat is installed), but this again is par for the course in this segment. The Nissan Pathfinder’s innovative flip and slide means you gain greater access to the third row even with a seat installed. Also because of the high floor, the third row seats are only a few inches above the floor, meaning anyone taller than four feet will have their knees in their chest ­– a shame because there was sufficient head and legroom otherwise in fairly decent third row seats with their own cupholders and storage trays. The third row splits 50/50 to fold down into a flat cargo floor.

The second row is wide enough to easily accommodate smaller people (like my wife or an average child or adolescent) between the two bulky child seats. The second row seats are split 40/20/40, so you can fold only the middle portion down as a pass-through for long items, or fold either side independently. The middle portion even has a fold-down armrest with cupholders.

All the seats are cloth covered, and the front seats are heated, wide and comfortable. Only the driver’s seat is power adjustable. Hyundai seems to have managed a better seat than Kia in their Sorento, as a brief trip in that SUV displayed some odd lumps and discomforts in the seat construction. No such imperfections mar the Santa Fe’s thrones.

Connect with Autos.ca