By The Car Family
for more reviews go to
http://www.motorists.org/carfamily/

Hyundai’s Santa Fe is a pleasant surprise with excellent interior components, a host of technology helpers, the availability of a third row of seats, and low long term costs making this an ideal family vehicle. The CUV category of vehicles is one of the most competitive in the industry as companies as diverse as Porsche and Fiat offer alternatives to tempt consumers. Hyundai has done well in this segment and the new Santa Fe is extremely competitive in both price and features. Indeed, it has been rated very highly in head to head competitions with only more expensive models rated higher.

2015 SANTA FE AND SANTA FE SPORT

2015 SANTA FE AND SANTA FE SPORT

Dad’s view: The base four-cylinder engine is adequate, but we much prefer the turbocharged four-cylinder engine’s acceleration, although the gas mileage isn’t stellar with 20 mpg in mixed driving being our average. The six-speed automatic transmission is standard and is excellent. The ride is compliant, steering feel is quite good and the brakes have a satisfying feel. Scores for Korean made cars have improved dramatically in recent owner quality reviews and the significant warranty provides comfort for those who have been reluctant to try this marque’s offerings. This model is going to be a concern for the competition with exceptional pricing and value. With it performance and equipment it is nearly unbeatable save for the humdrum fuel mileage. Even with the abundance of players in the crossover utility class (CUV), the Santa Fe is a standout and the turbochared 265-hp, 2.0-liter inline-four is quite capable. The 3.3-liter V6 engine that produces 290 horsepower is a worthwhile consideration for those that use the 5000 pound towing package. All wheel drive is an option. This Hyundai is compelling choice as it offers the ability to travel to the mountains, seashore, desert or just go shopping in quiet luxury that one does not expect in a vehicle with a starting price in the mid-$20,000 range. Adding to that allure is that way it easily handles chores whether it be dropping of the kids at school, bringing home do-it-yourself items, or going out to dinner.

Mom’s view: An impressive interior with easy to decipher controls, good forward visibility, and comfortable seats make the Santa Fe very user friendly. The position of the sideview mirrors, however, can block your view of pedestrians. The second row seats are ample, but the third row is quite small as it is for most SUVs in this class. Cargo space is limited and so it is good that the Santa Fe’s seats are easy to fold down to carry larger items. I would highly recommend the rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring and navigation with an eight-inch touch screen. You can open the power liftgate with the key fob making it much easier to use as part of the must have Premium package that even includes lane change assist and rear cross-traffic alert, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and rear window shades among other goodies. Safety wise you the Santa Fe standard equipment includes a vehicle stability system, traction control, seven airbags including a driver’s knee airbag, four-wheel disc brakes and ABS with electronic brake-force distribution, brake assist, hill-start assist control, downhill brake control and a tire pressure monitoring system. Crash scores were very good, but from a mommy standpoint the Santa Fe is a vehicle I would want to carry my family as it does not shortchange safety.

Young woman’s view: You must order the $4,350 Ultimate with heated and cooled front seats, parking sensors, memory seats, and a larger touchscreen display screen. The center stack is well organized and the ride is much improved over previous models. However, this isn’t a canyon runner. There are faster compact utility vehicles, but none really have offer the combination of ride, performance, and value. It is quiet, conventional looking, and doesn’t attract unwanted attention. Getting in and out when wearing a dress is not a problem and the controls are easy to reach and activate even if you have longer fingernails. The rear liftover is a bit high for me, but the automatic rear hatch negates any problem related to reach.

Young man’s view: Bluetooth and a USB port are standard as well as a very clear rearview camera. Other standard features include alloy wheels, foglights, a windshield wiper de-icers, cruise control, heated front seats, a 40/20/40-split sliding and reclining second-row seat and a 50/50-split flat-folding third-row seat. Also standard are Hyundai’s telematics system and a six-speaker audio system with CD player, satellite radio, HD radio, USB/iPod integration and a 4.3-inch touchscreen display. I would recommend a close look at the many technology options available on the Santa Fe including the really nice 12-speaker Infinity audio system. This vehicle is surprisingly interesting even if it isn’t the sexiest CUE on the block.

Family conference: If you are looking for a lot of car for the money, the Santa Fe and smaller Santa Fe Sport are must drives. The cabin is very nice, almost elegant, and the menus and functions are intuitive and fast reacting. Putting these traits together in a price range that is thousands under most competitors makes for a persuasive argument. No doubt Hyundai has put safety first with its Santa Fe models.

Subaru XV Crosstrek: Athletic, Adorable, and Affordable
by The Car Family
for more reviews go to http://www.motorists.org/carfamily/

The Subaru XV Crosstrek is a CUE mighty mite of a vehicle with a plethora of useful features that make it both handy and fun. The hatchback offers all wheel drive, over eight inches of ground clearance, an EyeSight active safety option that uses cameras and sensors to provide active cruise control, lane-departure warnings, and pre-collision braking. Essentially, what Subaru created a mini Forester. The smaller Crosstrek cost less, starting at $22,000 and gets an estimated 34 highway mpg. This handy CUE opens up access to the desert, beach, and mountains while still retaining its creature comforts. Want to test your endurance, with good driving habits you could make a 400 mile round trip without refueling. The Subaru has the ability to go off-road, handle inclement weather (it could happen) and still park in the smallest space. It is both affordable and athletic. Adding to that appeal are a variety of features for those who enjoy the outdoors with bike and ski racks, roof-mounted cargo carriers, electric outlets and handy dog hauling options.

Subaru_XV_Crosstrek-ft

Mom’s view: An interesting offering, the Crosstrek is ideal for the young at heart in terms of cost and utility. The ride is very compliant and stable with a nice heft to the steering. The engine creates 148-horsepower and Subaru uses a continuously variable automatic transmission to maximize the powerplant’s potential. A five speed manual is also offered. Although smooth and economical to operate, the four cylinder engine isn’t designed with high speed driving in mind. Safetywise, Subaru offers its EyeSight safety package with adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, lane departure warning and more. Very worthwhile. Overall, a very cute, comfortable and capable CUV for the young at heart. Well priced and cute.

Subaru_XV_Crosstrekint

Dad’s view: Subaru’s Symmetrical all-wheel drive provides reassuring grip at all times with very little fuel cost. The body makes no apologizes to it big brother, the Forester, even copying the lower body panels that help protect the exterior when traversing unpaved roads. There are three Crosstrek versions; the base, Premium, and Limited. Each model each adds a little more to the mix. Subaru offers two versions of Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive in the XV Crosstrek. With the 5-speed manual transmission, the AWD system uses a viscous-coupling locking center differential to distribute torque. The Crosstrek is very car-like to drive and is quick on its feet thanks to an aggressive accelerator pedal.. The electric steering is responsive, headroom quite good, and the overall impression is one of being in a very comfortable and capable vehicle with excellent visibility. It may not be fast, but using the paddle shifters to keep the engine on boil is entertaining.

Young working male’s view: The Starlink infomainment is user friendly and makes the Subaru the equal to others in its class. New this year is the STARLINK Multimedia system that provide an array of music and information sources and a seven inch touch screen display. Sound, phone, and information are all handled with this application. If you live in the mountains or frequent colder climates, I would order the All Weather Package that includes heated seats and outside mirrors, plus a windshield de-icer. Other options worth considering are the safety laden EyeSight program, a moonroof, touch-screen navigation, and keyless entry and start. Since I haul a lot of equipment I would opt for the Crosstrek’s big brother, the Forester.
Subaru_XV_Crosstrekback

Young working woman’s view: A low entry height is appreciated when wearing a dress and the seats are quite comfortable. The Crosstrek can hold four adults and, when the rear 60/40-split rear seatbacks are folded, the Subaru yields a flat load floor with nearly 52 cubic feet of cargo space. There are some clever storage compartments that can hold a variety of small items, including a cell phone, and the rear hatch opens easily. Entry and exit are a little tight due to the size of the door openings, but once inside there is room to stretch out. The tilt/telescoping steering makes it easy to find a good driving posit ion. Subaru even has door pockets designed to hold drink bottles. The Crosstrek received good crash test scores and wraps you in a cushioned cocoon with a driver’s knee airbag, standard front side pelvis/torso airbags and side curtain airbags that offer front and rear outboard seat coverage. The airbags have sensors to determine front air bag deployment strength as well. Subaru claims that the roof is strong enough to hold at least four times the vehicle’s own weight should that be worth a bar bet. Interestingly, the Crosstrek has a brake assist system that detects how quickly the driver has pressed the pedal, and if pedal velocity exceeds a certain threshold, it applies pressure to increase braking effectiveness. Subaru even offers a system that cuts engine power when the brake and accelerator are pressed simultaneously. The Crosstek is for the young at heart.

Family conference: We have recommend Subaru products for several years for many reasons. First, the cost is very reasonable for all wheel drive vehicle. Secondly, the hatchback design makes it easy to load and very dog friendly with a low hop-in height. Thirdly, the gas mileage is excellent compared to similar vehicles. Finally, it is ideally suited to so many outdoor activities while still being a comfortable and frugal daily driver with an adorable, love me look.