2013 Hyundai Santa Fe vs. Santa Fe Sport

By Brandy Schaffels and edited by Christina Selter.

When shopping for a family-sized utility vehicle, the most difficult decision for some families comes down to deciding whether they need room for five or seven passengers, and whether that vehicle will fit their lifestyle. Hyundai helps make that decision a little easier by offering shoppers a choice between the long-wheelbase three-row, six/seven-passenger 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe or the slightly smaller two-row, five-passenger Santa Fe Sport.

Hyundai Santa Fe vs. Santa Fe Sport Dimensions

If you’re trying to decide which crossover utility vehicle will fit better into your garage, consider the following measurements. The smaller Santa Fe Sport rides on a 106.3-inch wheelbase, with an overall length of 184.6 inches, height of 66.1 inches and width of 74.0 inches. The wheelbase of the larger Santa Fe is 3.9 inches longer at 110.2 inches, its overall length is 193.1 inches, and it is 74.2 inches wide. The LWB Santa Fe’s overall height is 66.5 inches, which is 0.4 inches higher than Santa Fe Sport.

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe

Hyundai Santa Fe vs. Santa Fe Sport Powertrain Choices

The long-wheelbase Santa Fe utility vehicle is powered by Hyundai’s 290-horsepower/3.3-liter V-6 direct injected gasoline (GDI) engine (also found in the Hyundai Azera sedan), and offers a tow rating of up to 5,000 pounds, making it perfect for towing small boats or weekend toys. Fuel economy for the long-wheelbase Santa Fe is rated at 19-mpg city, 26-mpg city highway, and 22 mpg combined.

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport

Santa Fe Sport buyers have the choice of a 190-horsepower/2.4-liter GDI four-cylinder engine or a turbocharged 264-horsepower 2.0-liter GDI engine; both Santa Fe Sport engines have the ability to tow up to 3,500 pounds. The smaller Santa Fe Sport with 2.4-liter engine promises fuel economy of 22-mpg city, 33-mpg highway, and 26 mpg combined and of 21-mpg city, 31-mpg highway, and 25 mpg combined when equipped with the turbocharged 2.0-liter engine.

Both 2013 Santa Fe models feature Hyundai’s Hillstart Assist Control (HAC) and Downhill Brake Control (DBC) to maximize control on steep hills. HAC minimizes rolling backwards on steep ascents while DBC helps the driver maintain vehicle control and speed on steep downhill descents without having to use the brake.

For enhanced ride performance, all Santa Fe models employ a compact and light MacPherson strut front suspension and a fully independent multi-link rear suspension, as well as Hyundai’s all-new Driver Selectable Steering Mode, with three operating modes – Comfort, Normal and Sport — which allows drivers to adapt the Santa Fe’s steering characteristics to varying driving preferences and road conditions. Both the long-wheelbase Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport utility vehicles are also available in a choice of front-wheel or all-wheel-drive powertrains.

Hyundai Santa Fe vs. Santa Fe Sport Interior Features

The long-wheelbase 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe increases cargo capacity over the previous model by 5.5 cubic feet and can hold up to 80 cubic feet of cargo behind the front row, 41 cubic feet of cargo behind the second row, and 13.4 cubic feet of cargo with all three rows in use. The three-row Santa Fe features standard rear-passenger HVAC controls and vents to increase family comfort, while also offering a standard 50:50 split folding third-row bench seat with 31.5 inches of legroom. The second row is a 40/20/40 split, or the option of second-row captain’s chairs. Total passenger volume is 146.6 cubic feet.

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe

Two-row Santa Fe Sport models can hold a maximum of 71.5 cubic feet of cargo behind the front row and 35.4 cubic feet of cargo behind the second row. Total passenger volume is 108.0 cubic feet.

Both Santa Fe models include such standard stowage and storage features as an overhead console sunglass holder, two front and two rear seat cupholders, door bottle holders, cooled glovebox, enlarged central storage console, front storage bin, front seatback pockets, and an innovative cargo system offering storage under the floor boards. The Hyundai Santa Fe Sport also features sliding and reclining second-row seats.

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport

Dual-zone climate controls ensure a comfortable environment for all occupants during long journeys and automatically detect humidity levels to defog the windshield. Hyundai’s new Blue Link connectivity and telematics system combines safety, service, turn-by-turn navigation, and infotainment features to simplify owners’ lives and reduce distracted driving. Blue Link brings seamless connectivity directly into the car with technology like voice text messaging, POI web search download, turn-by-turn navigation, and monthly vehicle reporting. Hyundai Blue Link telematics is standard on all Santa Fe models with up to a one-year complimentary trial period.

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe

All Santa Fe models offer an optional multifunction eight-inch touch-screen display with navigation. This third-generation display claims to offer a simpler user interface, enhanced voice recognition commands, and improved navigation screens. The system is more intuitive to use for commonly used tasks. Simple pop-up messages now appear to help pair a phone. The voice recognition software understands street addresses and cities all in one sentence. The route screens display speed limits and details the next three maneuvers.

Deciding Between the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe and the Santa Fe Sport

When it comes to deciding between the Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport models, it is reassuring to know that all Hyundai vehicles sold in the U.S. are covered by the Hyundai Assurance program, which includes the 5-year/60,000-mile fully transferable new vehicle warranty, Hyundai’s 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, and five years of complimentary Roadside Assistance. The choice ultimately comes down to the buyer’s size and budget requirements.

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport

The base-level long-wheelbase Santa Fe utility vehicle carries a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price of $28,600* for front-wheel drive or $30,350* for all-wheel drive. The smaller base-level Hyundai Santa Fe Sport powered by 2.4-liter engine carries an MSRP of $24,700* for front-wheel drive or $26,450* for all-wheel drive, or $27,950* for front-wheel drive or $29,700* for all-wheel drive with the more-powerful 2.0-liter turbocharged engine. (*None of these prices include Hyundai’s standard destination and delivery fees of $855).

(Note: All vehicles provided by manufacturers for comparison test purposes. Photos provided by Hyundai.)