Driving the Tour of California #1: On the way to San Diego in a Hyundai Santa Fe

James Raia

Hyundai’s expanded lineup in recent years has received vast praise for its value, warranty and workmanship. It all adds up to increased visibility and sales for the South Korean manufacturer in the madness of the ever-complex auto industry.

Arguably the most competitive auto segment is the growing SUV and crossover market, where Hyundai’s Santa Fe is an emerging option. I’ll be reviewing the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe (Limited) for the next two weeks during the Tour of California.

The professional bike race is now in its eighth year and features Tour de France-caliber riders, Olympians and world titlists from many countries. It begins May 12 in Escondido, California, and will progress north through more than a dozen starting and finishing cities to its May 19 conclusion in Santa Rosa.

The newly designed 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe
2013 Hyundai Santa Fe . . . Images © James Raia/2013

I’ll likely drive about 1,500 miles during the trip, which began this morning in Sacramento. I’m only 2 1/2 hours into what, with stops, will be more than a nine-hour trek to San Diego.

Driving the Tour of California #1: On the way to San Diego in a Hyundai Santa Fe 1Like most SUVs, the Santa Fe isn’t known for its superior gas mileage, but the drive so far, about 115 miles to Santa Nella, has already showcased the Santa Fe at its best. It’s been a smooth, comfortable drive. I set the cruise control at 75 mph (the speed limit is 70 mph) and I cruised along while often passing 18-wheelers and while often being passed by motorists on speedy missions.

A quality navigation system is important for a long-haul trip, and Hyundai offers one of the best. The screen is large, clear and its functions are intuitive. And unlike some manufacturers’ systems, the Hyundai navigation system features a split screen, the larger of which features freeway sign numbers, a clear route map and plenty of details of the trip. Instructions are firm and given with plenty of advance notice and yet not too often like some navigation systems.

My first stop today was a shaded, gravel parking lot of a tomato processing plant along Interstate 5. It looked like a quiet respite from the freeway, and it was until a foreman or a manager or the owner asked me if I needed any help.

We exchanged pleasantries, but I was politely told I was on private property (despite no signage sharing the plant’s preferences) and I left after a few minutes and without further incident.

Tour of California trip to date: 116 miles (primarily freeway at about 75 mph), fuel economy, 23.8 mpg.

Article Last Updated: July 29, 2023.

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