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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have a 2013 Chevy Equinox - 3.6 V6, loaded LTZ.

I like a 'lot' about it.... yet there are a few things that annoy me; one of them being the size of the cargo area.

I am thinking about selling it next year and looking at something a tad bit larger. The Enclave/Traverse/Acadia are a bit too large, so was contemplating a good long look at the 2014 toyota Highlander when it arrives as well as the Hyundai Santa Fe LWB.

I initially test drove the 2013 Santa Fe Sport when it first came out - thought that would be the SUV for me... but ended up with the Equinox because I thought the seat support sucked in the SF Sport.... and the electronic steering was God-Awful. Couldn't track it straight down the road if you tried, it was so 'busy.' Plus, the feedback from the steering wheel felt like the wheel wasn't even attached to the vehicle it was so bad.

Anyway - many sites and reviews corroborate the poor steering - so I am hoping that Hyundai will tweak that for next year??

Ok... on to my questions.

Those of you who have the SF LWB - would you buy one again?

What do you:
1) Love about the vehicle
2.) Hate about the vehicle
3) Wish the vehicle had that it doesn't
4) Wish it could have done better
5) How do you like the 3.3 litre engine? Is it proving to be reliable and quiet? How is the power factor? I like power baby, yeah!

and what kind of real world mpg do you get strictly highway? I am currently getting 30 mpg on my NOX 301 hp V6 if I put the cruise on 70 mph..... this, even though it's only rated for 24 mpg. THAT, I do like about the Equinox. I have done hand calculations to verify this.

Also - any problems with materials/hardware/etc going bad, breaking, or worse?

Did they fix the wobbly seats, creaking dash/windshield, inaccurate fuel gauges, etc?

And what do you think of the Nav system?

I don't need to hear about how a Garmin is cheaper, etc. I get that - I prefer to have the in-dash unit instead of something stuck on my windshield.

Thanks! And happy trails.
 

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I remember that long thread and the arguments back and forth about the SFS vs the nox. Kinda funny to see you back here now after you adamantly felt the Nox was the better choice.

Anyway, all I can say is that I still love my SF XL. So far perfect for me except for darned accessories (remote start and cross bars). I personally would not consider any of the vehicles you are considering, or the Nox, because they simply do not appeal to me aesthetically, whatsoever. I cannot justify spending that kind of money and then seeing another vehicle on the road that I like much better than mine, and as result, regretting my purchase.

As a previous Highlander owner (2009), all I can say about the 2014....fugly. Not sure what they were thinking with that front end design. Interior does not appeal either. I would take a 2013 before they were all gone before going 2014. Also, although I liked my Highlander, I can honestly say that I had more problems with it by this length of ownership than I do with my SF XL. And those problems were not "unique" to me.

About the steering. There have been updates to the SFS that have seemed to improve the issue, but you already know that the SFS sub forum already has a thread on this that you can peruse at your convenience. I have no issues with the steering on the XL. If I recall, my Highlander had electronic steering and it never bothered me. I had no issue with the few test drives of the Sport, and never had an issue with my XL.

Lot of the issues you raise were with the Sport...because it was first production run. Seats....well that is your call. I love my XL seats. More firm than my Highlander, but way more supportive.

Have you tried the XL / LWB? Taking it for a test drive help you make up your own mind and may provide answers to many of your questions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi Luck11 -

Darnit... I was hoping you wouldn't remember me from those earlier threads. ^_^ haha

I like my NOX a LOT, accept for about three niggling issues:

1) I have this odd 'droning/humming' noise that emanates from the rear cargo/rear wheel well area. I don't recall hearing any noise like that when I test drove a 13' Ford Escape (very quiet), or any of the other SUV's I tested including the SFS. On certain road surfaces, it sounds like someone blowing over the top of an empty Coke bottle. Really aggravating sound.

2.) Wish it was a bit larger.... which is why I am starting to think about alternatives such as the SF LWB - and Highlander.

3.) When I plug my iPod into the USB port... I often get a list of 4 copies showing on my dash screen of every song. Nice....

Other than that - I like the looks of the NOX, and the 3.6 V6 is a heck of an engine. I can get almost the same mpg as most competitive 4 cylinders get with this thing.

The comfort level is very nice.

Anyway - that's where I am at.

Personally, I am 'alright' with the looks of the new Highlander. I do agree that the front end could have been treated a little differently, but I think the rest of the vehicle seems nice. Maybe I'll see it in person at the end of the year and change my mind.

I am surprised that you had issues with your Highlander..... Consumer Reports ranks the Highlander it's top pick for several years and owners/subscribers detailed questionaires rates it Excellent in every category for many years running including: Engine, trans, hardware, etc.

Maybe you got the one lemon?

Frankly, I like the looks of the SFS better than the SF XL. I think the rear-most upper style line on the XL fights with the upper style line between the wheel wells - the middle and rear upper style lines are very close, yet not aligned.... weird. Whereas the SFS rear style line arches decidedly over the top of the middle style line.

That kind of bugs me a 'little.' And, I like the grille better and the rear end treatment better on the SFS.... I think the XL looks a little stretched and moderately drab from the side.

That said... what are the other choices??? The larger GM product has some decent units but you're talking mid $40's for a comparably equipped unit. Plus, the gas mileage sucks.

The Pathfinder is 'ok' looking, but has had horrible and unresolved issues with the newly updated CVT tranny. It kind of looks too rounded like a bar of soap or the past model Santa Fe.... kind of a step back in styling.

Pilot? Fugly box and noisy by most reports.

Ford Edge? Old styling... and drives like crap. Horribly driving position too.

I've been in them all! lol

Kia Sorento? No 2nd row leg room..... my knees jam right into the back of the driver's seat. I'm 5' 11''.

So... maybe the SF XL will fit the bill.

I still think the Highlander might be the better purchase. More costly, yes. But perennially excellent resale value.

What kind of problems did you have with yours? And you did say it was an '08, right?
 

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I am surprised that you had issues with your Highlander..... Consumer Reports ranks the Highlander it's top pick for several years and owners/subscribers detailed questionaires rates it Excellent in every category for many years running including: Engine, trans, hardware, etc.
Obviously, CR did not read forums online, where the HL had a crappy oil line that left a few stranded in the middle of no where. Not minor in my book. Quite frankly there were tons of complaints by HL owners that I personally never experienced. So, Toyota is hardly impervious to quality issues.

Maybe you got the one lemon?
Nope... hardly. My HL issues were not major components, but still, compared to my XL that has had no issues (well, except for connectivity via bluetooth, but think that is my phone), it is still more. All my HL issues were experienced by many others. From day one, I had a ticking in the dash that sounded like some tapping the edge of coin on the glass. Dealer tried but never solved...had it for 4 yrs. Whole dash ripped out to replace evaporator coil due to "smelly" air. Many complained of soft and thin paint...chipped and scratched very easily...my front end was dimpled with hundreds of chips after 4 yrs and 45K kms. My seat need to be replaced due to breakdown of foam (not sure if this one was common). Rear hatch struts had to be replaced because hatch would not lift last 6-8 inches. Had a inconsistent rattle and noise in the rear, which ended up being a socket for a wrench left under the 3rd row by the factory in Japan. There are probably others, but I frankly, I have long since forgotten my HL since having my XL.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Luck -

So, how would you rate the interior 'noise' level of the Hyundai Santa Fe XL verses the Toyota Highlander?

And, thank you for your candor. I hadn't heard about these Highlander issues.

How would you compare the quality of the materials of the SF XL to the Highlander, or other competitive SUV's?

I have read a few reviews where people have said that 'Hyundai' in general has a good initial impression, but after you drive the vehicle a while you begin to realize the cost saving measures by cutting corners on quality of materials to save $$ on the MSRP.

These were a few guys talking in the NOX forum, mind you.... but were previous Hyundai owners. They felt the NOX was far better built than the Hyundai.

One thing I can say: Although I haven't driven an XL.... I did sit in one and look one over at the local dealer. Great room! But, I did notice that when I went around to the rear hatch and pulled the rip cord to lower the 3rd row seats to get a feel for the cargo room, the seatbacks were very flimsy feeling and flexed laterally like they were very cheap.

That said... the seats laid flat and made for a huge cargo hold, which is how I would use the vehicle anyway. The 3rd row seats would be mostly useless to me. But, the super flat cargo with them down was impressive.

My NOX... when I put the second row seats down to expand the cargo hold.... they don't lie flat... they angle up... and to me, that is not a well thought out thing. Should be flat.

Thanks for your insights Luck11.
 

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Hi Luck11 -

Darnit... I was hoping you wouldn't remember me from those earlier threads. ^_^ haha

I like my NOX a LOT, accept for about three niggling issues:

1) I have this odd 'droning/humming' noise that emanates from the rear cargo/rear wheel well area. I don't recall hearing any noise like that when I test drove a 13' Ford Escape (very quiet), or any of the other SUV's I tested including the SFS. On certain road surfaces, it sounds like someone blowing over the top of an empty Coke bottle. Really aggravating sound.

2.) Wish it was a bit larger.... which is why I am starting to think about alternatives such as the SF LWB - and Highlander.

3.) When I plug my iPod into the USB port... I often get a list of 4 copies showing on my dash screen of every song. Nice....

Other than that - I like the looks of the NOX, and the 3.6 V6 is a heck of an engine. I can get almost the same mpg as most competitive 4 cylinders get with this thing.

The comfort level is very nice.

Anyway - that's where I am at.

Personally, I am 'alright' with the looks of the new Highlander. I do agree that the front end could have been treated a little differently, but I think the rest of the vehicle seems nice. Maybe I'll see it in person at the end of the year and change my mind.

I am surprised that you had issues with your Highlander..... Consumer Reports ranks the Highlander it's top pick for several years and owners/subscribers detailed questionaires rates it Excellent in every category for many years running including: Engine, trans, hardware, etc.

Maybe you got the one lemon?

Frankly, I like the looks of the SFS better than the SF XL. I think the rear-most upper style line on the XL fights with the upper style line between the wheel wells - the middle and rear upper style lines are very close, yet not aligned.... weird. Whereas the SFS rear style line arches decidedly over the top of the middle style line.

That kind of bugs me a 'little.' And, I like the grille better and the rear end treatment better on the SFS.... I think the XL looks a little stretched and moderately drab from the side.

That said... what are the other choices??? The larger GM product has some decent units but you're talking mid $40's for a comparably equipped unit. Plus, the gas mileage sucks.

The Pathfinder is 'ok' looking, but has had horrible and unresolved issues with the newly updated CVT tranny. It kind of looks too rounded like a bar of soap or the past model Santa Fe.... kind of a step back in styling.

Pilot? Fugly box and noisy by most reports.

Ford Edge? Old styling... and drives like crap. Horribly driving position too.

I've been in them all! lol

Kia Sorento? No 2nd row leg room..... my knees jam right into the back of the driver's seat. I'm 5' 11''.

So... maybe the SF XL will fit the bill.

I still think the Highlander might be the better purchase. More costly, yes. But perennially excellent resale value.

What kind of problems did you have with yours? And you did say it was an '08, right?

You should read the September issue of consumer report magazine. I caught it at the doctors office the other day. The santa fe xl trumped the highlander this year, although they wouldn't recommend it yet because it's too new.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
You should read the September issue of consumer report magazine. I caught it at the doctors office the other day. The santa fe xl trumped the highlander this year, although they wouldn't recommend it yet because it's too new.
Wow... that's pretty impressive.

I think someone mentioned the SF XL didn't have blind spot detection/collision avoidance or memory seats - - - is that true? I really like those features on my NOX. I'd like to get them in whatever I end up with.
 

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So you want a car that will drive itself? Those all seem like useless features to me.

Not directed at you, but this is the problem with cars nowadays. Unlike abs traction control etc that help the driver control the car, this blind spot monitor collision avoidance bs all adds up to features that are creating poor performing, inattentive drivers. Ooohhh a car that parallel parks itself, for **** sakes wasn't that part of your driving test? Not to mention you are relying on a computer, and we all know they don't mess up right?

Sorry for the rant, again totally not directed at you. But to answer your questions, no I don't believe any of that is available in the santa fe Lwb.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
So you want a car that will drive itself? Those all seem like useless features to me.

Not directed at you, but this is the problem with cars nowadays. Unlike abs traction control etc that help the driver control the car, this blind spot monitor collision avoidance bs all adds up to features that are creating poor performing, inattentive drivers. Ooohhh a car that parallel parks itself, for **** sakes wasn't that part of your driving test? Not to mention you are relying on a computer, and we all know they don't mess up right?

Sorry for the rant, again totally not directed at you. But to answer your questions, no I don't believe any of that is available in the santa fe Lwb.
No, don't want a car that drives itself. However, features such as airbags, ABS, Collision avoidance, lane departure, and blind side alert all enhance and add a measure of backup safety to driving.

I *always" head check before I make a lane change, however, humans being human... on a rare occasion or in a split second need to change lanes people sometimes forget - which could be deadly. So , What is wrong with employing additional methods to reduce human failure?

I can't tell you how many times I started to make a lane change and head checked as I began to do so, and just caught a glimpse of a vehicle in my blind spot and jerked the car back into my lane....
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Consumer Reports testing shows the Santa Fe LWB getting a real world 14 mpg strictly city, and 29 mpg strictly highway with the AWD model. That seems outstanding to me.

I would guess you might be able to bump those mpg numbers up another 1 mpg if you got the Front Wheel Drive?

What kind of MPG are you experiencing with your Santa Fe ?
 

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I never do all city. But metric imperial calculations, I see 22-29 Mpg actual driving experience with a 2wd. I am going to Pennsylvania in October, I'll update after.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks Mysecondimport.

Sorry for all the questions - but I'm a research kinda guy.

How would you rate the quality of the paint ? Consumer Reports shows the 2011 and 2012 model years being excellent.... but show the years prior being abysmal for the most part. Would you say the 'paint' quality, thickness, etc is good?
 

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I research the **** out of everything as well, so no worries . I'll sum it up for you. I was a gm tech for 15 years, so it goes without saying that I had some brand loyalty. I've since moved on to pursue a career as a truck and coach technician and the best part of that was I had the ability to explore other options.

I'll preface this by saying, in all honesty I have barely batted an eyelash at a gm product in the past 7 years, so I'll speak from the experience that I have. You can read all the reviews in the world about any manufacturer you like, and none of those reviews pertain to real world experience. Yes they all look pretty and drive and handle well and with the modern advancements there are a slew of great and useful options out there some model specific, many industry wide. What I find when shopping for a car is the quality is much deeper than a tire kick and a test drive. I tend to look underneath the vehicle, pay attention to door jambs, fit and finish of body and interior panels. Where many imports excel over gm and/or any other domestic vehicles, is in the attention to the welds, body seams, how the brake and fuel lines are run, how smooth the seam sealer was applied. Gm tends to look like a blind spider on ice skates put it together. To the average driver, no this won't matter and probably will never affect them. But to an automotive enthusiast and technician it does.

As a matter of fact I have a colleague here who bought a brand new 2011 Chevrolet equinox Ltz loaded and two of the doors have been repaired twice for rotting at the welds. Its now in for the third time, but they refuse to replace them and the body shop doesn't seem too optimistic this repair will last either.

When friends ask me about buying a new car my advice is always the same. If possible, go look at a used 3 year old model of the vehicle you are looking for. Check for rust, odd noises and drive it. It will give a good indication of how your new car will be in a few years time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I research the **** out of everything as well, so no worries . I'll sum it up for you. I was a gm tech for 15 years, so it goes without saying that I had some brand loyalty. I've since moved on to pursue a career as a truck and coach technician and the best part of that was I had the ability to explore other options.

I'll preface this by saying, in all honesty I have barely batted an eyelash at a gm product in the past 7 years, so I'll speak from the experience that I have. You can read all the reviews in the world about any manufacturer you like, and none of those reviews pertain to real world experience. Yes they all look pretty and drive and handle well and with the modern advancements there are a slew of great and useful options out there some model specific, many industry wide. What I find when shopping for a car is the quality is much deeper than a tire kick and a test drive. I tend to look underneath the vehicle, pay attention to door jambs, fit and finish of body and interior panels. Where many imports excel over gm and/or any other domestic vehicles, is in the attention to the welds, body seams, how the brake and fuel lines are run, how smooth the seam sealer was applied. Gm tends to look like a blind spider on ice skates put it together. To the average driver, no this won't matter and probably will never affect them. But to an automotive enthusiast and technician it does.

As a matter of fact I have a colleague here who bought a brand new 2011 Chevrolet equinox Ltz loaded and two of the doors have been repaired twice for rotting at the welds. Its now in for the third time, but they refuse to replace them and the body shop doesn't seem too optimistic this repair will last either.

When friends ask me about buying a new car my advice is always the same. If possible, go look at a used 3 year old model of the vehicle you are looking for. Check for rust, odd noises and drive it. It will give a good indication of how your new car will be in a few years time.
That's some great advice.... on checking out a vehicle that's a few years old.

So... as an 'ex' GM guy.... you feel like the door panel welds, engineering layout, etc are better on the Hyundai Santa Fe, than say... an Equinox?

I have read a few posts on the Equinox site which talk about the 'pinch' weld seams at the bottom of the doors rusting.

In fact, I had that same problem with the front doors only of a 2004 Silverado Crew Cab Z71 I owned.... after just a few years I noticed the paint bubbling along that 'seam' on the inside / bottom edge of the door.

I understand that is a problem with more brands than GM though, isn't it?
 

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I'm sure it is. Again I can't speak on gm vehicles past 2006, but if 2011 gm vehicles are rotting already, I'm sure not much engineering wise has changed. I haven't experienced it though, I oil spray my cars yearly. Rust is never a problem for me. Some manufacturers also zinc coat their body panels, I don't believe gm does.
 

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Luck -

So, how would you rate the interior 'noise' level of the Hyundai Santa Fe XL verses the Toyota Highlander?

And, thank you for your candor. I hadn't heard about these Highlander issues.

How would you compare the quality of the materials of the SF XL to the Highlander, or other competitive SUV's?

I have read a few reviews where people have said that 'Hyundai' in general has a good initial impression, but after you drive the vehicle a while you begin to realize the cost saving measures by cutting corners on quality of materials to save $$ on the MSRP.

These were a few guys talking in the NOX forum, mind you.... but were previous Hyundai owners. They felt the NOX was far better built than the Hyundai.

One thing I can say: Although I haven't driven an XL.... I did sit in one and look one over at the local dealer. Great room! But, I did notice that when I went around to the rear hatch and pulled the rip cord to lower the 3rd row seats to get a feel for the cargo room, the seatbacks were very flimsy feeling and flexed laterally like they were very cheap.

That said... the seats laid flat and made for a huge cargo hold, which is how I would use the vehicle anyway. The 3rd row seats would be mostly useless to me. But, the super flat cargo with them down was impressive.

My NOX... when I put the second row seats down to expand the cargo hold.... they don't lie flat... they angle up... and to me, that is not a well thought out thing. Should be flat.

Thanks for your insights Luck11.
Noise, to be honest, not sure. Hard to tell side by side. I could tell you the XL is quieter but that would not be based on fact. i can tell you that the Highlander hood deflector had a horrendous whistle at highway speed.

Interior materials are night and day. Highlander was renowned for cheap plastic dash and interiors that scratched super easily and looked cheap. That is the one thing I really hated about my HL. XL is much more upscale although, lower door panels do scratch. Don't know any that don't though.

Seat backs flimsy? I haven't noticed this and have used 3rd row. But even if they are, they do the job just fine, so who cares?? Not going to sway me.

Anyway, that was 2009 and you're looking at 2014, which I have not seen in person. So I cannot comment on what they are now. All I am saying is Toyota, as much as liked my Highlander (it was very spacious), is not the be all and end all for quality. Having been on Toyota forums for 4 years, I can say this with confidence.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks Luck11 - great info.

What version of the Santa Fe LWB do you have, AWD or FWD? Did you mention what kind of city/highway mileage your'e getting? Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
Ok.... I just got back from an extended test drive of the Santa Fe LWB.

My impressions:

1.) Droning / Humming noise similar to my Chevy Equinox - only more pronounced and consistent - annoying. Not sure how all the reviews I read tout this vehicle as 'very quiet'.... it's not. Droning noise from rear cargo area is persistent - road noise is louder than my NOX and also persistent at highway speeds.

2.) Driving Position - horrible. I am 5' 11".... and the footwell area is too short, forcing your knees to be bent more than desirable, which gives you the feeling of not having enough leg room and feeling 'scrunched'.... combine this with the short travel of the telescopic steering wheel, which makes you 'reach for the wheel - even at full extension - while your legroom is too short to the pedals gives a very 'odd' unbalanced driving position. I read this complaint on consumer reports and another review but I didn't believe it would be an issue until I experienced it myself.

3.) Interior - Still feels 'cheap' to me. Even though my NOX has hard plastic everything - it is well designed, and well executed. The Santa Fe seems low-end in materials to me.

4.) Driver's arm rest - has more space to put my arm compared to my NOX's horribly designed armrest which is so narrow you'd have to be an Ethiopian to use it. However, the 'roundness' of the arm rest combined with the vinyl composition makes this almost as bad.... I found my arm wanting to 'slide down the hill' and off the arm rest. It needs to have more of a 'flat' surface in my opinion. Plus - the arm rest stops way to short aft... a lot of my arm from the elbow forward can't naturally rest on it without me twisting my body forward on the door side - again, lending to more unnatural driving position.

5.) 2nd Row Seats - lots of legroom and I like the reclining handle at the side of the seat where it should be. My Equinox has a reclining feature on the top outboard edge of the seat backs - which makes you go through contortions to tip your seat back. +1 for the Santa Fe in that regard. I probably have as much or more 2nd row legroom in my smaller Equinox as the Santa Fe LWB.

6.) Engine Perfomance - No complaint there - seems pretty peppy, and I like the +/- manual shift feature except it is very slow to respond to manual shift inputs - too much of a lag.

7.) Ride Quality - sucks. Riding down the interstate I noticed my vision was literally 'jolted' as I crossed over each expansion joint. I could see this vehicle tearing a retina. Actually made me feel a little motion sick. Every expansion joint resulted in a jarring, punching ride. It was smooth on completely flawless sections of the road - which is the exception on US roadways, not the rule.

8.) Steering - they tweaked the electronic steering somehow on the LWB verses the Sport model - because it steered without the Sport's back and forth wandering. I drove a Sport too, because it had the Nav and Panoramic sunroof, and I wanted to see if the flopping sunroof material would be noisy down bumpy roads (which is wasn't).... and I see that my first impressions driving the sport when it first arrived in showrooms still stands - God awful - horrible steering setup. You adjust 'left' and adjust 'right' every second of driving. Steering straight down the highway in a relaxed, easy motion manner is virtually non-existent in the Santa Fe Sport. That alone would be a deal killer for me, I found it to be so bad. But somehow they modified this to the better on the LWB - they should immediately do the same for the Sport.

9.) Cargo Room - excellent - no complaints. Lots of it, and easy to modify seats.

10.) Navigation - (as tested on the Sport - because the LWB didn't have one).... Ok, but not as smooth as my Equinox. The 'arrow' indicating the vehicle's movement 'jumps' in 1/8" increments as you drive along, giving the visual feeling of it being 'jerky' whereas the Navigation on my Equinox has the vehicle position arrow smoothly moving along without the stop/start motion I experienced in the Santa Fe (Sport).

11.) Steering Wheel Controls - not impressed with the layout. The myriad of buttons on the lower / vertical portions of the wheel are way too low, and way too tiny. They take your attention off the road as you try and look down and under to make a selection.

Overall Impression: I give it a 6 out of 10 rating - 10 being the best. I was disappointed. Dang-it.... I was hoping I'd fall in love and get into a little bigger vehicle for a reasonable price.... but as it stands, I'd rather deal with the few niggling annoyances of my Equinox over the many annoying aspects of the Santa Fe LWB.

I will bide my time and wait for the 2014 Toyota Highlander to come out and see what I think of that. Also, Ford is supposed to release a new Edge redesign - possibly in 2014. Also hear that the Nissan Murano might be coming out with a redesign in 2014.

I drove from the Hyundai lot over to the GM lot and checked out the GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave, which are even larger. Good Lord Almighty - to get a comparably equipped vehicle to my Equinox LTZ configuratioin - you are talking $47 large. Even with my Family Member GM Discount - that's still highway robbery.

Well, I am sorry to report negative findings. Sounds like many here are perfectly happy with their Santa Fe's and I am glad for that - but as described above, I have to pass on consideration of one of these for now.

This review may be more pertinent to the 'driving impressions' thread, so I will post it there too.

Thanks for all your help, information people. Have a great day.
 

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Ok.... I just got back from an extended test drive of the Santa Fe LWB.

My impressions:

1.) Droning / Humming noise similar to my Chevy Equinox - only more pronounced and consistent - annoying. Not sure how all the reviews I read tout this vehicle as 'very quiet'.... it's not. Droning noise from rear cargo area is persistent - road noise is louder than my NOX and also persistent at highway speeds.
Huh? I have yet to hear a droning, and have driven at speeds up to 135 Kms per hour.

2.) Driving Position - horrible. I am 5' 11".... and the footwell area is too short, forcing your knees to be bent more than desirable, which gives you the feeling of not having enough leg room and feeling 'scrunched'.... combine this with the short travel of the telescopic steering wheel, which makes you 'reach for the wheel - even at full extension - while your legroom is too short to the pedals gives a very 'odd' unbalanced driving position. I read this complaint on consumer reports and another review but I didn't believe it would be an issue until I experienced it myself.
Again...huh? I am 6'4" and I have yet to find a vehicle in this class where my knees are not against the dash. Seat fully back, my knees are a good 3-4" further from the dash than my previous Highlander. I couldn't disagree more in this regard. Steering wheel could telescope more, but fine for me. Maybe not defined for your body build?

3.) Interior - Still feels 'cheap' to me. Even though my NOX has hard plastic everything - it is well designed, and well executed. The Santa Fe seems low-end in materials to me.
Sorry, again, I just don't get your comments here. Better materials but feels cheap...sorry what? Sounds like you're out to trash this vehicle. Compared to the multitude of tiny equal sized buttons on the equinox, I would take the SF layout in a heartbeat.

4.) Driver's arm rest - has more space to put my arm compared to my NOX's horribly designed armrest which is so narrow you'd have to be an Ethiopian to use it. However, the 'roundness' of the arm rest combined with the vinyl composition makes this almost as bad.... I found my arm wanting to 'slide down the hill' and off the arm rest. It needs to have more of a 'flat' surface in my opinion. Plus - the arm rest stops way to short aft... a lot of my arm from the elbow forward can't naturally rest on it without me twisting my body forward on the door side - again, lending to more unnatural driving position.
Ok, again, perhaps personal thing, but I actually find everything about the driving position of this vehicle just perfect. Perhaps the point is that this vehicle does not fit YOU. No vehicle is going to fit everyone perfectly. I have driven my SF XL on 6 hour drives without issue and been very comfortable.

5.) 2nd Row Seats - lots of legroom and I like the reclining handle at the side of the seat where it should be. My Equinox has a reclining feature on the top outboard edge of the seat backs - which makes you go through contortions to tip your seat back. +1 for the Santa Fe in that regard. I probably have as much or more 2nd row legroom in my smaller Equinox as the Santa Fe LWB.
I agree, lots of legroom. But I would also admit that I think my Highlander was a touch more spacious in the 2nd row. I do find that the 3rd row allows more room than my HL though.

6.) Engine Perfomance - No complaint there - seems pretty peppy, and I like the +/- manual shift feature except it is very slow to respond to manual shift inputs - too much of a lag.
No issue with lag here. You may have had it in ECO mode, which does (purposely) produce some lag. Otherwise, this engine rocks. I was on the highway going 110 and gunned it to get by some guy who decided to coast in the fast lane, and I was shocked how much get up and go it had even at that speed. I would say though, that the engine in my HL shifted a bit more smoothly than my SF. I find that the SF kicks up the RPMs a bit too soon when accelerating.

7.) Ride Quality - sucks. Riding down the interstate I noticed my vision was literally 'jolted' as I crossed over each expansion joint. I could see this vehicle tearing a retina. Actually made me feel a little motion sick. Every expansion joint resulted in a jarring, punching ride. It was smooth on completely flawless sections of the road - which is the exception on US roadways, not the rule.
Really...tearing a retina...motion sick? Ok, now you've lost any credibility I may have held for you. I will admit it is a bit stiffer than my HL (mind you, I have 20" aftermarket wheels on mine), but my HL had horrible handling and the body roll going on an on or off ramp was nuts compared to my SF. My SF is much more planted and secure.

8.) Steering - they tweaked the electronic steering somehow on the LWB verses the Sport model - because it steered without the Sport's back and forth wandering. I drove a Sport too, because it had the Nav and Panoramic sunroof, and I wanted to see if the flopping sunroof material would be noisy down bumpy roads (which is wasn't).... and I see that my first impressions driving the sport when it first arrived in showrooms still stands - God awful - horrible steering setup. You adjust 'left' and adjust 'right' every second of driving. Steering straight down the highway in a relaxed, easy motion manner is virtually non-existent in the Santa Fe Sport. That alone would be a deal killer for me, I found it to be so bad. But somehow they modified this to the better on the LWB - they should immediately do the same for the Sport.
All I can say is that in the several test drives of the Sport, I never experienced the wandering problem. Perhaps I was used to electronic steering from my Highlander. BTW, '14 HL has electronic steering as well.

9.) Cargo Room - excellent - no complaints. Lots of it, and easy to modify seats.

10.) Navigation - (as tested on the Sport - because the LWB didn't have one).... Ok, but not as smooth as my Equinox. The 'arrow' indicating the vehicle's movement 'jumps' in 1/8" increments as you drive along, giving the visual feeling of it being 'jerky' whereas the Navigation on my Equinox has the vehicle position arrow smoothly moving along without the stop/start motion I experienced in the Santa Fe (Sport).
Have not noticed this but will pay more attention. Regardless, obviously it hasn't been an issue, because someone as anal as me would have been bothered by it. Even if progress is not perfectly continuous, 1/8" increments on a 8" screen seems a bit of an exaggeration.

11.) Steering Wheel Controls - not impressed with the layout. The myriad of buttons on the lower / vertical portions of the wheel are way too low, and way too tiny. They take your attention off the road as you try and look down and under to make a selection.
Again, personal preference. Just like any vehicle, you get used to different configurations. I can use mine without looking down at all.

Overall Impression: I give it a 6 out of 10 rating - 10 being the best. I was disappointed.
Bizarre, 'cause your rating seems to fly in the face of most reviews out there.


Dang-it.... I was hoping I'd fall in love and get into a little bigger vehicle for a reasonable price.... but as it stands, I'd rather deal with the few niggling annoyances of my Equinox over the many annoying aspects of the Santa Fe LWB.

I will bide my time and wait for the 2014 Toyota Highlander to come out and see what I think of that. Also, Ford is supposed to release a new Edge redesign - possibly in 2014. Also hear that the Nissan Murano might be coming out with a redesign in 2014.

I drove from the Hyundai lot over to the GM lot and checked out the GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave, which are even larger. Good Lord Almighty - to get a comparably equipped vehicle to my Equinox LTZ configuratioin - you are talking $47 large. Even with my Family Member GM Discount - that's still highway robbery.

Well, I am sorry to report negative findings. Sounds like many here are perfectly happy with their Santa Fe's and I am glad for that - but as described above, I have to pass on consideration of one of these for now.

This review may be more pertinent to the 'driving impressions' thread, so I will post it there too.

Thanks for all your help, information people. Have a great day.
Murano is not redesigned for 2014, and would argue that price point doesn't even compare, at least here in CAnada it doesn't. Be prepared to pay thousands more for close to the same features, and much less space. Edge? Are you sure you know what you want? Comparing apples to oranges. And Ford quality? Geez, before I bought my SF, I researched the Ford Explorer for many, many months. Whoa! Talk about quality issues! I like the Ford styling on many of their vehicles, but would shy away simply because of quality concerns.

I guess one thing I would add here even though beauty is in the eye of the beholder, is aesthetics. Frankly, the SF XL is one of the best looking SUVs out there in this price range and class. I would admit that the Edge is a sharp looking vehicle (at least the Sport), but again, not the same class. With all due respect, I absolutely do not like, nor could I ever see myself driving, an Equinox, unless it was a rental. It just has no appeal to me.

Anyway, obviously the SF is still not the vehicle for you.
 
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