2003 Santa Fe New Car Test Drive
The Hyundai Santa Fe drives well on and off paved roads. It's an inexpensive, compact sport-utility with a tall seating position and generous cargo capacity. Its curvaceous body looks friendly, yet ready for the outdoors. All of this belies the Santa Fe's car-like ride and handling.
2003 Santa Fe models come standard with side-impact air bags. New interior upgrades include a revised dashboard center stack, larger air conditioning vents, and a revised overhead console, and GLS and LX versions come with a new 218-watt Monsoon stereo.
The Santa Fe is backed by Hyundai's long and comprehensive warranty, making it one of the most attractive small SUV's on the market.
Hyundai Santa Fe is available in three models: base, GLS, and LX ($21,799).
All come standard with four-wheel-disc brakes, air conditioning, power-assisted steering, power door locks and windows, power heated outside mirrors, tilt steering wheel, an AM/FM/CD stereo with four speakers, an illuminated glove box, carpeted passenger and cargo areas, three power outlets (two front, one rear), rear seat heating and air conditioning ducts, an eight-way manually adjustable driver's seat, and reclining rear seatbacks.
The base Santa Fe ($17,199) is front-wheel drive and powered by a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine rated 138 horsepower. A five-speed manual is standard; a four-speed automatic transmission ($800) is optional. An option package ($495) 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).
GLS and LX models get a 2.7-liter V6 and a four-speed automatic transmission with Hyundai's Shiftronic manual override. Both are available with front-wheel drive or full-time four-wheel drive ($1500).
GLS ($19,599) comes standard with fog lamps, heated mirrors, remote keyless entry, and color bumper accents. 2003 GLS models come with a 218-watt Monsoon AM/FM/CD/cassette system. A GLS option package ($1190) adds anti-lock brakes (ABS) and traction control and a power glass sliding sunroof.
LX comes with ABS and traction control and adds automatic air conditioning, heated front seats, a Homelink transmitter and an electrochromic rear-view mirror. The Monsoon stereo also gets an in-dash six-CD changer. Leather upholstery and brushed-stainless scuff plates bolster the LX model's up-market image.
A new power sliding glass sunroof ($595) is available for the GLS and LX.