My transition from a 2000 Grand Am GT to a 2005 Hyundai Santa Fe is the reflection from a single guy to a family man. That said, the transition from a "Sports-like Car" to "Family Vehicle" was relatively painless when going to a Santa Fe.
My review is very much a comparison between what I know best.. GM and the new Hyundai Santa Fe.
My marks for the vehicle overall are still high, but I thought I would give a balanced comparison.
-Lots of features for the money.
-Not really a rocket on the road.
-But getting around 19 MPG
-Miss some of the basic features from my GM
-Terrible choice in seat color (too light!)
The 4WD GL handles VERY, VERY well. I have driven through a few snow storms already and the car held the road beautifully. The overall feeling is solid. In Canada the idea of getting a 4WD anything for less than 30,000 Canadian just doesn't seem possible. The Santa Fe IS the cheapest 4WD you can get and it drives well. I was really impressed to find that the Santa Fe had finally added ABS and Traction Control (TC) to models other than the GLS. Both ABS and TC are features I wanted to get in my new vehicle. Also included is a car alarm system. Which isn't spectacular, but it is great to see it included at no extra cost. Lastly, I enjoy the MP3 quite a bit. The truth is, with the MP3 player I see no benefit to having a multidisk player now. The MP3 player can play more music AND displays the song title.
I have to start with seat color. It is far too light for a seat that you sit in everyday. It shows the dirt far too easily. Otherwise the seats are nice.
Going from a Grand Am GT was noticable. The Santa Fe weights a lot more than the Grand Am and you can feel it. That said, I don't miss the "torque steer" I use to get from my Grand Am.
Now about the basic features. I just for the life of me cannot understand why they are not included. Features like:
Doors automatically lock when you put the car in gear.
Headlights come on automatically at dark.
Doors unlock when you turn the car off.
Not all the buttons are lit up at night (the Power Window lockout and Cruise control buttons).
I still miss these features and they do not add much to the cost of the vehicle. Perhaps we will see these features in years to come.
Lastly, I will see in time, but the fuel economy for all highway driving is not as good as stated. I am getting only around 19 MPG. Time will tell if this number gets higher as the engine gets broken in.
Overall, at over 2000 Miles (2900 Km) I am still happy with my Santa Fe.