Truckish performance

Interior noise aside, the Santa Fe performed well on the road.

The ride is feels more truckish than carlike. The bumps are hard, and on the highway, I never felt confident in this vehicle. The power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering was fine in city driving, with a nice taut feel, but on the highway, it was too sensitive, which leads to lots of overcorrecting.

There's nothing bad to say about the powertrains. The 3.5-liter V-6 matched to a six-speed automatic transmission was excellent. Unlike many crossovers, which have transmissions that race to sixth gear to improve mileage by sacrificing performance, the Santa Fe seemed to pace itself, providing good acceleration, highway cruising and everything in between.

It also gets good gas mileage, hitting 20 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. A 2.4-liter powertrain that produces 175 horsepower will get you two more miles per gallon on the highway, which makes it almost irrelevant. Why get the four-banger when the six provides 111 more horsepower and gets the same city mileage?

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