2013 All –new Hyundai Santa XL: Extended third row seat SUV impresses

The new third-generation Hyundai Santa Fe SUV was restyled in 2012 and takes its styling from a different direction according to the Korean company. Taking inspiration from the strong, dynamic images created by nature during the formation of a storm, designers say they have expanded on Hyundai’s signature “Fluidic Sculpture” design language to invoke the impression of irrepressible motion. It certainly works on couple of different levels with its sophisticated lines, working in harmony with bold surfaces, yet give the Santa Fe a more classic, softer edge with a hint more aggressiveness than its predecessor. The Santa Fe was introduced last spring and has been an overwhelming success, dominating the mid-size segment for 2012.

For 2013 a new XL version arrives with an extended wheelbase 100 mm longer than the ‘normal’ Santa Fe and the overall length increase of 21.5 cm. The extra length allows for a third row of seats suitable for teenagers or small adults. There are two distinct external differences in addition to size between the “normal” Santa Fe and the XL — Namely two chromed asymmetrical exhaust outlets and a trailer hitch integrated into the rear bumper.

The XL interior is the same as the five-passenger Santa Fe and standard equipment includes heated front seats, six-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, tilt and telescope steering wheel with audio and cruise control. The luxuries and features increase as you specify higher trim levels with features such heated and ventilated leather seats, panoramic sunroofs, heated steering wheel and rear seat and a power rear liftgate. Also in the mix are features such as heated power mirrors 12-way, power-adjustable driver’s seat, sliding and reclining second seat, side window sunshades automatic climate control, 115-volt power outlet and a rear-view camera.

Interior room is good with large comfortable front buckets seats and a middle row comprising of a split bench or pair of captain’s chairs — which depending on the trim level, offers both a capacity to tilt or slide. The XL offers a taller roof and 50 mm more legroom than the Santa Fe and the split third row seat compartment has its own HVAC controls, storage crannies and cup holders.

With all three rows in place the Santa Fe XL has 383 litres of cargo space; with the seatbacks down, it offers a creditable 2,265 litres.

Inside, the Santa Fe offers a neat, spacious front and rear cabin offering comfortable room Cubby holes abound for the numerous flotsam and jetsam of modern day life. Also neat is the above and below floor rear cargo room. Fine cabin materials, fit and finish are rapidly becoming a hallmark for Hyundai and the Santa Fe is no exception.

The XL also offers the newest generation 3.3-litre Lambda II V6, boasting direct injection offering 290 horsepower. This fuel efficient engine is teamed with a six-speed automatic transmission. To compete with the other third row offering SUV’s, the XL is the first Hyundai to offer a 5,000-lb towing capacity and the standard hitch and pre wiring if you want to tow boats or trailers.

On the road the Santa Fe tracks well and there are no issues with this well- performing competent SUV. Fuel consumption for the 3.3 liter V6 engine four cylinder is: 8.0 L/100km on the highway and 11.7 in th city.

To sum up, the Santa Fe XL is a competent new player in the large three row seating SUV game and offers: versatility, plenty of space, a solid warranty, affordable lease rates and stylish good looks. Highly recommended if you have a family who like long road trips or haul toys such as boat or trailer.

This new Hyundai should do very well indeed.

Auto review by Veeno Dewan

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe XL Priced from $30,000 base – $39,199