Family-Friendly 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe

Winner: Canadian Utility Vehicle Of The Year Award

Family-Friendly 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe

It’s the first time I’m road testing a car similar to the one I currently drive (Buick Rendezvous). We love the versatility of our SUV as it’s a 7-seater and can lug a bunch of things around. I was curious about the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe – it’s 7 years younger than my Rendezvous and I wanted to know how much has changed in terms of new car offerings. It also won the 2013 Canadian Utility Vehicle Of The Year Award. I tested the family-friendly Santa Fe Limited edition over one week and put on about 2,000kms. Overall there were a lot of good features on the Santa Fe…here’s how it measured up:

Information display: This vehicle can multi-task! Love it. I had the GPS information show up on the instrument panel’s information display while I had the radio information on the centre navigation panel.


Do you love natural sunlight? You can’t go wrong with the Santa Fe’s exceptionally large panoramic sunroof. It opens from the driver’s row all the way to the third bench (cargo area). It was so great to have that much natural light coming in the vehicle.


Sun shades: The Santa Fe comes with built-in pull-up sun shades, which is a huge plus because we always caution against using shades that are affixed to the window via suction cups. If the car is involved in a collision, those temporary shades become flying projectiles that could seriously injure someone (remember the laptop that killed the Delta, BC woman?). 

Car seat install: The centre row seats were quite flat, making it easier to get the correct angle without the use of pool noodles or towels. The UAS anchors were very accessible as was the rear tether. If you are installing a forward-facing seat, you can remove the headrests so that they won’t interfere with the child car seat.

Useful trunk: Traditionally, trunk space was just cargo space… space to hold stuff. Not much going on in the trunk, really. Well in the Santa Fe, there is an AC 115V plug-in and a latch that will allow the middle row to fold down. So instead of going to the rear passenger doors and folding down the seats from there, you can make that happen from the trunk. Being mindful that you may have passengers in the third row, there’s also a heating/air conditioning control specifically for them.


Maintenance: The oil change intervals are pretty standard (every 6,000kms) and the information display shows a countdown of when the next oil change is due based on mileage—and… date. This is especially good because engine oil deteriorates like any other fluid in the vehicle. In fact, most manufacturers’ fine print indicates that you should change your engine oil at least once per year even if you don’t drive a lot. The owner’s manual is one of the most detailed that I’ve read, lots of do-it-yourself instructions like changing light bulbs and fluid level checks. Under the hood items, such as fluid reservoirs and battery terminals, are laid out nice and high where it’s accessible by the driver.


3 things that totally spoiled me:

  • Memory seats: Given that my husband is much taller than me, it was great to have two memory positions for the Santa Fe. Whenever we switched as drivers, we pressed one button and voila — perfect seat and mirror positions.
  • Power liftgate: With the touch of a button, the rear liftgate closes on its own.
  • Cooled front seats: In terms of priority, any vehicle’s computer will almost always cut air conditioning when the situation is severe and it needs to preserve power. So all this to say that for me, air conditioning is a nice feature – though I know it comes standard on most vehicles today (I’m dating myself here). The front driver and passenger seats on the Santa Fe Limited edition are also cooled and that was a niiiiiiice feature. Especially since the leather seats could get quite hot while parked in the sun. I was spoiled.


I wasn’t used to the length of the Santa Fe, the model that I road tested has a longer wheel base. But it made up for it in the fact that I could pack a lot of stuff! The 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe starts at $26,499, Santa Fe Limited starts at $29,999. Overall, very good value for the features that come standard on this crossover.


5 Tips: Taking Care Of Your Car's Touchscreen

Can you afford to replace it?

5 Tips: Taking Care Of Your Car's Touchscreen

Car navigation panel
I'll have to admit, cars' touchscreen media/navigation units are pretty convenient. But, as you can imagine, those things are very expensive to replace! For example, a new unit for a 2011 Honda CR-V is just over $5,000 for the part alone, nevermind the cost of labour. You could get a used one online for about $600—but I'd be weary of those. You won't know if the part functions properly until after installation. Of course, you could always get an aftermarket (non-Honda) unit. Regardless, it's a big hit for most of us. 
Check your owner's manual for specific instructions. If the manual doesn't speak about this directly, here are some general tips to maintain your media/navigation touchscreen unit:
  • Avoid too much pressure when using the touchscreen. Also use your finger to tap, as opposed to your fingernail.
  • Regularly clean your touchscreen to avoid buildup of fingerprints and other unwanted residue.
  • Use microfiber cloths for cleaning. 
  • Use distilled water. Don't spray directly onto the screen, spray first on the cloth and then gently wipe the screen.
  • Wipe dry with another microfiber cloth.