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2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Review

With its good horsepower, spacious seating, and respectable safety scores in both 3-row and 2-row variants, a used 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe may seem like a good choice. However, it sits toward the bottom of our rankings due to its poor reliability rating. 

Pros & Cons

  • Santa Fe Sport’s generous cargo space
  • Santa Fe Sport’s excellent fuel economy
  • Dull navigation graphics
  • Cramped third row in Santa Fe

New for 2013

  • Fully redesigned
  • Split into two models: 2-row Santa Fe Sport and 3-row Santa Fe

Rankings & Awards

The 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe's #14 ranking is based on its score within the 2013 Affordable Midsize SUVs category. It was the winner of our 2013 Best 3-Row Midsize SUV for the Money award. Currently the Hyundai Santa Fe has a score of 7.8 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 22 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.




Critics' Rating: 8.0
Performance: 7.5
Interior: 7.5
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.0
Safety: 8.8
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Overview

Is the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe a Good Used SUV?

The 2013 Santa Fe comes in two models: the Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport. Each has appealing points. The Santa Fe gets good horsepower from its three engine choices, and the Sport’s four-cylinders offer good fuel economy. Cargo space is solid in the 2-row Sport and more than acceptable in the 3-row Santa Fe. Still, a poor reliability rating means the Santa Fe cannot be considered a good used SUV.

Used 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Performance and Interior

There are three engines available across the Santa Fe lineup. The 3-row Santa Fe only has a 290-horsepower V6 engine. The base Santa Fe Sport has a direct-injected four-cylinder engine that produces 190 horsepower. You can also find Sport models with a 264-horsepower, turbocharged four-cylinder engine. All versions of the Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport come with a six-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, while all-wheel drive is available in all models. Each Santa Fe model delivers solid handling with the speed-sensing steering system, and there’s little body roll.

Fuel economy ranges from 21 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway with the base Santa Fe Sport engine and front-wheel drive down to 18/24 mpg city/highway for the Santa Fe with all-wheel drive.

Read more about Santa Fe performance »

The main difference between the Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport is that the Santa Fe seats up to seven across three rows and has a sliding 40/20/40-split second row, while the Santa Fe Sport has only two rows (seating for five). The front row on both models has ample room, even for tall drivers. Cloth seats are standard. Leather seats are available, as are first- and second-row heated seats in both the Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport. The Santa Fe also has available second-row captain’s chairs that reduce seating capacity to six. Its split-bench third row is cramped.

The Santa Fe’s wide rear pillars can affect rearward visibility. Accessing the third row in the Santa Fe can be awkward, as the second row only moves forward a few inches. Both the 2-row and 3-row Santa Fe models have complete sets of LATCH child-seat connectors in the second-row outboard seats, as well as a middle-seat tether anchor. There are no LATCH connections in the Santa Fe’s third row.

The Santa Fe includes remote keyless entry, a six-speaker stereo system, satellite radio, Bluetooth, and an auxiliary jack. It also features the Hyundai Blue Link telematics system, which gives vehicle updates and integrates apps with your smartphone. Dual-zone automatic climate control, a heated steering wheel, a proximity key, push-button start, heated rear seats, a navigation system with an 8-inch touch screen, a 10-speaker stereo system, HD Radio, and a 12-speaker stereo system are available in some models. The infotainment and navigation systems can be frustrating, as they have small controls and dull graphics.

Read more about Santa Fe interior »

Used 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Prices

The price of a used 2013 Santa Fe ranges from about $14,200 for the base Santa Fe Sport to around $19,100 for the AWD Santa Fe with three rows in the Limited trim. Prices vary depending on the vehicle's condition, mileage, features, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

We Did the Research for You: 18 Reviews Analyzed

We do not base our used car rankings and reviews on our personal opinions. Instead, we collect information like safety and reliability reports, total cost of ownership estimates, and the views of the automotive press. We analyzed 18 professional evaluations for this 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe review to help you make an informed buying decision.

Why You Can Trust Us

Our experienced team of writers, editors, and analysts has been ranking and reviewing the best cars, trucks, crossovers, and SUVs since 2007. We remain unbiased by refusing pricey gifts and trips from auto manufacturers and employing an independent agency to manage the advertising on our site.

How Reliable Is the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe?

The 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe has a J.D. Power reliability score of two out of five. That’s the lowest possible score for the auto industry as a whole.

See Santa Fe reliability scores »

How Safe Is the Santa Fe?

The 2013 Santa Fe Sport earned five out of five stars in overall safety from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, with five stars in the side and frontal crash tests. It received four stars in the rollover crash test. The NHTSA did not crash test the 3-row Santa Fe. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the 2013 Santa Fe and the 2013 Santa Fe Sport Top Safety Picks. Both earned a rating of Good, the highest offered, in the moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and rear crash tests. Each has a Marginal rating, the second lowest, in the small overlap front crash test. A rearview camera is available in some models. 

See Santa Fe safety scores »

Is the 2013 Santa Fe the Best Model Year to Buy?

For 2013, the Santa Fe was redesigned and split into two models: a 2-row Santa Fe Sport and a 3-row Santa Fe. Used 2012 Santa Fe models lack a third row, but they should cost you less money. The 2012 model also doesn’t have the turbocharged, four-cylinder engine found in the 2013 Sport. The 2014 Santa Fe offers blind spot monitoring and rear parking sensors in all models, but it will cost more than the 2013 model. If these features aren’t important to you, stick with the 2013 Santa Fe. 

Compare the 2012, 2013, and 2014 Santa Fe » 

Which Used Hyundai Santa Fe Is Right for Me?

The 2013 Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport both come in two trim levels. The Santa Fe comes in the GLS (base) and the Limited, while the Santa Fe Sport comes in base and 2.0T trim levels. The base Hyundai Santa Fe GLS includes a six-speaker stereo system, USB and auxiliary jacks, Bluetooth for phone and audio, and Hyundai Blue Link. The Santa Fe Limited adds power-adjustable front-row seats, first- and second-row heated seats, leather seats, second-row captain's chairs, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 115-volt power outlet, a rearview camera, and a power tailgate. The seven-seat Santa Fe Limited is the better choice, thanks to additional comfort features like push-button start, heated and leather seats, and a power-adjustable front seat. The Santa Fe Sport base trim is similar to the GLS. The Santa Fe Sport 2.0T adds a power-adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats, a proximity key, push-button start, and the trailer prep towing package. Unless you desire heated seats, the base Santa Fe Sport is a fine choice – and it has better fuel economy.

With the Santa Fe’s lowest-possible reliability rating, you might want to consider a certified pre-owned model. Certified pre-owned Hyundai vehicles receive the balance of the original new-car 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. Hyundai CPO vehicles must pass a 150-point inspection. Additional benefits like towing and roadside assistance may be available, so read Hyundai’s warranty page carefully. The model's original sale date determines whether or not it is eligible for the CPO program.

Read more about certified pre-owned vehicles »

Read more about the Hyundai certified pre-owned program » 

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe and Other SUVs to Consider

The Hyundai Santa Fe has three rows and seven seats, while the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport has two rows and five seats.

Which Is Better: 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe or 2013 Chevrolet Traverse?

The 2013 Chevrolet Traverse is the better choice over the comparable 3-row Santa Fe. The Traverse has standard seating for eight compared with the Santa Fe’s maximum capacity of seven. The Santa Fe has more second-row legroom, but the Traverse has more third-row space. The Traverse has 116.3 cubic feet of overall cargo space, while the Santa Fe has a lower 80 cubic feet. With all three rows of seats in use, the Traverse has 24 cubic feet of cargo room, versus 13.5 cubic feet in the Santa Fe. In the end, the Chevy is better at hauling people and cargo.

Which Is Better: 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe or 2013 Kia Sorento?

The 2013 Kia Sorento is a corporate relative of the Santa Fe. Like the Hyundai, it offers two or three rows of seating. The similarities end there, though. The Santa Fe has more powerful V6 and four-cylinder engines, as well as an available turbocharged engine. The Santa Fe also has more second-row room, but the Sorento has a lower average price and a better reliability rating. While both are considered below-average, the Sorento makes more sense for those on a budget seeking a long-wheelbase SUV.

Compare the Santa Fe, Sorento, and Traverse »

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