2002 Santa Fe New Car Test Drive
Hyundai sure has changed. Today, Hyundai produces the eye-popping Tiburon sportster, the elegantly handsome XG350 and, not least, one of the curviest compact SUVs on the market, the Santa Fe.
The Santa Fe has what Hyundai Motor America's president calls a very high gawk factor. We think it's a good description. A year after its introduction, the Santa Fe never fails to draw our attention. But rather than gawk, we drove. And we liked how the Santa Fe drove, both on and off paved roads.
For 2002, Hyundai has beefed up Santa Fe's standard-equipment list.
As before, the Hyundai Santa Fe comes in three flavors: base ($17,199), GLS ($19,599), and LX ($21,799).
The base model is offered with front-wheel drive only, and a 2.4-liter, 149-horsepower four-cylinder engine driving either a five-speed manual or (for $800 more) four-speed automatic transmission.
For 2002, even base models have four-wheel-disc brakes, power door locks, body cladding, and separate front tweeters for the stereo. Standard features include cloth seating, power-assisted steering, power door locks and windows, power heated outside mirrors, tilt steering wheel, AM/FM/CD stereo with six speakers, illuminated glove box, air conditioning, carpeted passenger and cargo areas, three power outlets (two front, one rear), a digital clock in an overhead console, rear seat heating and air conditioning ducts, eight-way manually adjustable driver's seat, and reclining rear seatbacks.
A $495 option package adds cruise control, remote keyless entry, a rear-window wiper-washer, cargo convenience net, retractable cargo cover and a first aid kit (comprising sunscreen, poison ivy balm, bandages and a thermal blanket).
The GLS model comes with all that, plus fog lamps, deluxe upholstery, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
LX has leather upholstery and brushed stainless scuff plates. For 2002, the top-of-the-line LX also boasts ABS, traction control, automatic air conditioning, heated front seats, CD and cassette capability and an electrochromic rear-view mirror.
Powering the GLS and LX is a 2.7-liter V6, backed by a four-speed automatic transmission. Both up-market models are available with front-wheel drive or, for $1500 more, full-time four-wheel drive. All Santa Fe automatics come with Hyundai's Shiftronic manual override.
ABS with traction control is standard on the LX, optional on base and GLS.
All Hyundais come with one of the best warranty/service coverages in the business: 10 years/100,000 miles on the powertrain; five-years/60,000 miles bumper-to-bumper; five-years/60,000 miles on corrosion; and 24-hour roadside assistance for five-years with unlimited mileage.