I had an occasion to carry six people recently. Real people. As in six adults.
Hyundai’s Santa Fe rose to the challenge quite nicely.
Now….there’s a number of SUVs on the market that have third-row seating and claim to be able to carry 6 or 7 passengers. Hyundai’s Santa Fe is one that actually can….in some degree of comfort.
The Santa Fe LTD is Hyundai’s top-of-the-line SUV…powered by a 3.3 liter, 290 HP V-6 running through a 6-speed automatic….rated at 18 MPG city and 25 hwy. We seemed to get 22-23 regardless as to how or where we drove….and that’s on regular.
Hyundai has quite a few SUV bases covered these days. The Tucson is their “baby”….starting in the low $20’s….with the “Mama Bear” Santa Fe “Sport” next in line….and the 6 or 7 seat Santa Fe LTD topping the line.
And it’s that third row that gives the Santa Fe it’s point of distinction. It’s actually useable.
Now, admittedly, our test LTD had second-row captains’ chairs….which made access to the third row much easier. But once back there, your third-row occupants won’t necessarily feel like second-citizens. I wouldn’t put a basketball team back there, but spry folks under 6 feet should feel quite comfortable.
Yet, the Santa Fe can still fit in the average garage quite nicely…..still leaving room for all your garage stuff.
And inside or out, most people liked the way the Santa Fe looked. Ours came in basic white with a heated black leather interior.
There are quite a few extras included in the LTD’s under 35K list price, including those second-row captains’ chairs, 18” alloys, heated side mirrors, power liftgate, roof side rails, windshield wiper defrosters, rear side-window shades, and quite a bit more.
We had a $4,850 technology package that upgraded those alloys to 19”, plus got us HID Xenon headlights, LED taillights, a huge panoramic sunroof, rear parking assistance, heated steering wheel, ventilated front seats and heated second-row seating, nav with 8” touchscreen and a 550-watt Infinity Surround-Sound system….which brought the sticker to just under $40K.
If you have the need to occasionally carry more than 5 people in reasonable comfort…you want to travel in style and still get mileage in the 20’s…..and have a little room left over in your garage, Hyundai’s Santa Fe deserves a good look!