We've recently added a new car to our long-term fleet. Many of our long-term cars are smaller vehicles, such as the 2013 Dodge Dart, the 2012 Subaru Impreza and the 2013 MINI Cooper S Coupe. So we decided this time to add a larger, family-friendly model: the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport.

What's New?

The Hyundai Santa Fe is completely redesigned for the 2013 model year. Now, there are two versions of the popular crossover. There's a long-wheelbase model, which offers 3-row seating and a V6. The Sport is a little smaller and spunkier, with seating for five and two available 4-cylinder engines.

In addition to all-new styling, the Santa Fe Sport boasts a new powerplant. Last year's 2.4-liter engine remains standard, but Hyundai dropped the V6 (at least for the smaller Sport model) and replaced it with a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine -- we're hoping that means plenty of power and compact-sedan-like fuel economy. New features include Hyundai's Blue Link telematics system and a panoramic sunroof. Both features grace the Santa Fe's redesigned interior, which is far more stylish than that of the previous Santa Fe.

Why We Chose the Santa Fe Sport

We're certainly eager to try out the brand's new 2.0T powertrain. Most important, we want to know if it's powerful enough to replace the V6, and to see Hyundai's take on the midsize crossover following the brand's recent product blitz, which has injected its cars with more stylish interiors and exteriors. There's a lot of buzz around the new Santa Fe, and we want to see what all the fuss is about.

The Santa Fe Sport offers only two trim levels: The base model comes with the regular 4-cylinder, while the 2.0T model uses a turbocharged engine. We opted for an all-wheel-drive 2.0T, which starts at $29,450. Our new long-term car also has carpeted floor mats ($110), a cargo mat ($95) and a cargo cover ($150), as well as the optional Leather and Equipment Package. At $2,450, the package includes heated rear seats, leather upholstery, a rearview camera, auto-dimming mirrors and dual-zone automatic climate control.

Our goal was to stay under $35,000, since we figure most midsize crossover shoppers are looking for a decent value above all. Therefore, we did not opt for the optional navigation system, which is part of the $2,900 Technology Package. That means we won't have the 12-speaker Infinity sound system, large panoramic sunroof or heated steering wheel. The retail price for our 2013 Santa Fe Sport is $32,255.

If you're thinking that's steep for a Santa Fe or that those features sound too fancy for this SUV, you should know that the new Santa Fe is more like a Ford Edge and less like a Honda CR-V. The pricing is similar to a Ford Edge, as well. A 2013 Ford Edge SE starts at about $28,000, and a 2014 Kia Sorento starts at about $24,950. Base price for a Santa Fe Sport is $24,700.

Compare the 2013 Santa Fe to a Honda CR-V or Toyota RAV4 and you're not giving the Hyundai enough credit. The interior feels roomier, and the SUV simply feels more substantial overall compared to those compact SUVs.

Our test car was delivered brand-new, and we plan to add miles to the odometer quickly. Some will be spent driving quickly on back roads to see if the 2.0T is up to the task of hauling around the crossover. But many more miles will be spent loading the Santa Fe with kids and their accessories, courtesy of staffers with families.

Stay tuned for our long-term reports on the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport.

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Doug DeMuro has a wide range of automotive industry experience, from work at a Ferrari dealership to a manager for Porsche North America. A lifelong car enthusiast, Doug's eclectic vehicle purchases include a Porsche 911 Turbo, an E63 AMG wagon, an old Range Rover and a Mercedes Benz G-wagen.

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