Recently Driven: The 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport and Volvo S60 T5

The 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe offers amazing standard features, exceptional safety and comfort, and a driving experience that is extraordinary.

The 2013 Volvo S60 T5 AWD combines style, comfort, and performance.

Hyundai Santa Fe Sport and Volvo S60 T5 combine AWD safety with performance

    

The 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe, which is without doubt one of our favorite vehicles tested, offers excellent usability and superb driving characteristics.

 

Our test Santa Fe Sport AWD unit had virtually everything we require on a CUV, including such desirables as Electronic Stability Control (ESC) with Traction Control (TCS), Vehicle Stability Management (VSM), Downhill Brake Control, Hill-start Assist Control, and ABS with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution. Along with its all-wheel-drive (AWD) system, those are important features for driving anywhere, especially in the winter road conditions we experienced while testing the Santa Fe.

 

The ESC, TCS, VSM, and other systems do what Hyundai said they would – help avoid accidents. The quality and proven systems make driving in ice-, snow-, and rain-covered roadways safer. The Santa Fe reacted well while driving in snow, handled with the ease of a luxury sedan, and provided an amazing ride both on dry roads and those filled with winter muck.

 

The ESC and TCS systems kept the wheels on course and stopped wheelspin when needed. And the 19-inch tires (17- and 18-inch tires on other models) gripped the road nicely.

 

We loved the 2.0-L GDI turbo engine that provided decent fuel economy (we averaged 24.1 combined city/highway mileage), offered plentiful boost with 264-HP and 269 lbs.-ft. of torque,  and is mated with a six-speed automatic transmission with Shiftronic. We were highly pleased with the shifting capabilities and overall performance of this powertrain package.

 

With generous head, leg, and shoulder room for the driver and passengers, the Santa Fe also provides 35.4 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats up and 71.5 cubic feet with the rear seats folded. For a vehicle this size, that is plentiful space for hauling any cargo.

 

Beyond that, our tested Sport model had features we now like to see in any vehicle, including an eight-inch touchscreen navigation system, rear-view camera, tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS), heated front seats, and seven airbags (it has a 5-Star government safety rating). We also liked the comfort items that included a heated and leather-wrapped steering wheel, the exceptional Infinity Logic 7 surround-sound audio system with 12 speakers, SiriusXM radio, steering wheel-mounted Bluetooth connectivity, Blue Link telematics system, tilt and telescoping steering wheel, lots of power outlets, and so much more.

 

The Santa Fe is simply a usable, safe, and amazing CUV that offers dozens of standard features and a driving experience that is second to none, with a starting price of just more than $24,000. Our AWD 2.0-T Sport model had an MSRP of $29,450 and a final price, with options, of just over $35,000. In our estimation, it’s worth every nickel!

 

Volvo series S60 T5 is loaded with standard equipment

 

Synonymous with safety and performance, Volvos have often set the mark in these two arenas. Our recently tested 2013 Volvo S60 T5 AWD provided bountiful safety and an outstanding performance found in few sedans.

 

The S60 has an overall 5-Star NHTSA that includes front crash, side crash, and rollover ratings. It has side-impact and driver and passenger dual-stage airbags, inflatable curtain side-impact head protection, and the Volvo whiplash protection system, all encompassed in a unibody high-strength safety cage that also has an energy-absorbing front structure.

 

The City Safety system on the S60 has the world’s first pedestrian detection system, a lane-departure warning system, a Driver Alert Control system that avoids unnecessary distractions, and daytime running lights among its list of more than 20 total safety features. Included in that list is an incredible Dynamic Stability & Traction Control system that provides advance stability control and corner traction control.

 

Beyond being safe, the S60 is a gem to drive and, with its electronically controlled AWD system, maneuvered on snow and ice quite well. In fact, this Volvo drove as well in snow and ice conditions as some SUVs we tested in the same environment.

 

Powered by a best-in-class 2.5-L turbocharged engine that purred, the automatic transmission that it’s married to was the winner in our book. The six-speed Geartronic offered a Sportmode that made driving easy and shifting for various road conditions comfortable. We averaged about 30 MPG combined during mostly highway driving.

 

While the S60 T5 is the “starter” model in this Volvo series, it is loaded with standard equipment including the Volvo Sensus Driver Control Interface that provides all the tech and driving data needed.

 

Well styled, comfortable, and performance-oriented, the S60 was safe and enjoyable to drive. The T5 we tested had an MSRP of $31,750 and a final price with options of $37,275.