2010 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited with Navigation Road Test Review

Alexandra Straub - CAP staff
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What makes the 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe such a desirable midsized CUV? Is it the fact that it has amazing safety features like six airbags, Electronic Stability Control (ESC), 4-wheel disc brakes, ABS and more on even the base model? How about the newly styled exterior with a cool new bumper, front and rear fascias, rear lights, side mouldings, front grille? Maybe. Or is it the fact that even though Hyundai produces very reliable vehicles, it still offers its driver's one of Canada's best warranties? Well, it's all of the above. And if you haven't been behind the wheel of the Santa Fe yet, what are you waiting for?

Along with the above list of updated features, perhaps the most significant improvement happens under the hood. For 2010, the midsized SUV now drops the previous 2.7-litre four-cylinder and 3.3-litre V6 from the 2009 model year and replaces them with even more efficient 2.4-litre four-cylinder and 3.5-litre V6 engine. The engine equipped on the Limited AWD trim comes with the 3.5L, 24-valve, DOHC, V6 that produces 276 horsepower and 248 lb-ft of torque. I definitely wasn't disappointed with the power the V6 generated. Acceleration was prompt whether I was starting from an idle position or cruising at highway speeds.

In addition to the increased horsepower, fuel economy is also improved to an estimated 10.5L/100km in the city and 7.7L/100km on the highway. And for those vehicles equipped with the 6-speed automatic transmission, which are all models except base GL trim, there is now an Eco indicator, which encourages fuel-efficient driving.

I'm not trying to sound crass, but when my passengers entered the Santa Fe and commented on how nice it was, I couldn't say I was surprised. This is a reaction that I've come to expect when driving a Hyundai, any Hyundai that is. Indeed, the interior's look and finish is quite astounding. It is crafted with elegance and simplicity from the base model GL to the top-of-the-line Limited with Navigation which I had the pleasure of testing. And for the 2010 model year, all Santa Fes now include standard Bluetooth connectivity, audio and cruise controls on the steering wheel, and an auto up/down driver's window.

As for myself, I felt quite comfortable nestled into the leather seating surfaces. I didn't feel cramped and I had a generous amount of legroom whether I was sitting in the front or back. This, unfortunately, was not the case for my 6'3" husband. He felt as though he needed more legroom when behind the wheel. While he wasn't necessarily uncomfortable, he felt a "little cramped" and wished the seat would go back further. Then again, if the seat went further back, the person sitting in the rear would have their legroom compromised. The solution? Perhaps a bigger vehicle like the Veracruz would suit us better since it is an equally impressive crossover with loads of goodies inside, and once again without a daunting price tag.

Where I found the Santa Fe's personality shone brightest was while traveling out to a provincial park to go hiking for the day. My husband, his friend and I commuted over an hour and a half long (each way) and experienced both paved and gravel roads. While traveling at highway speeds, the Santa Fe felt comfortable and stable and didn't lack ability when passing on hills. Its front twin-tube gas-filled MacPherson struts and rear multi-link suspension combined with a direct sub-frame on frame mounting to create a comfortable traveling experience. Also the noise at highway speeds was minimal. In fact, it was so quiet that we were able to enjoy the premium sound system, complete with a subwoofer and amplifier, without having to crank up the volume. This made for an entertaining trip as we listened to the various channels on XM radio. I also found that on the slippery gravel roads, the Santa Fe managed to keep it together thanks to its AWD system and grippy P235/65R18 tires with 18" alloy wheels, not to mention the aforementioned stability control, which integrates traction control as well.

Since we would only be gone for the day on our hiking excursion, there was plenty of trunk space to facilitate all our gear, 969 litres (34.2 cu ft) behind the second row seats to be exact. Although there was no cargo cover to hide our goodies, there was a spacious covered storage bin beneath the floor that did an ok job. Granted, the covered bin did not fully cover our cooler but it was better than nothing.

Overall, if it's a good time you're looking for, the 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited with Navi is a great vehicle to find it with. It proved to be an excellent crossover for everyday driving and it will likely not break the bank, especially when opting for all the amazing features it comes with. The top-of-the-line Limited AWD with Navi has an MSRP of $37,599, but the Santa Fe can go as low as $25,999 for base GL trim. The Santa Fe is not a vehicle to disappoint, no matter what angle it is looked at from.

©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Crossover, Hyundai, 2010, Santa Fe, $20,000 - $29,999,

Organizations: Hyundai

Geographic location: Santa Fe

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