THE SELL: A cargo-hauling crossover.
THE TEST: Yes, the Santa Fe’s two-liter, four-cylinder turbo engine is on the small side. But this five-passenger SUV is designed more for hauling families around comfortably than for hauling ass up fire roads. The rear seats can be locked vertical and slid forward, to open up the back, or split three ways to accommodate a mix of passengers and gear. Underneath the rear deck, Hyundai surrounded the spare tire with a surprisingly spacious assortment of trays that are big enough for emergency equipment, wet boots and waders, or a rack of climbing gear.
THE VERDICT: The Santa Fe’s power and off-road chops are merely adequate, but as a creative gear hauler it’s in a class by itself. 19mpg city/24 hwy
Big brood? The Santa Fe comes in a seven-passenger version.