Hey everyone. First post here to the forum. I actually just purchased the new Santa Fe on Thursday, so hopefully I can help with any questions you guys might have on it.
I wasn't specifically looking for the Santa Fe, but rather a crossover/SUV in the 25k-30k range. I narrowed it down to the following cars (all 2013 models):
1. Ford Escape
2. Honda CR-V
3. Kia Sorento
4. Hyundai Santa Fe
They all were brand new cars in the same price range, but were all drastically different.
Ford - Tiny SUV for what you pay. Very narrow, and the stereo layout was really odd to use. The body rolls heavily in turns as well.
Honda - Wasn't a huge fan of the new body style, but the reputation of Honda led me to try it out. The front dash is absolutely awful. It's was one of the worst I've ever seen. The shifter on the dash was awkward as well and didn't create much more space in the center column. The seats recline and the rest of the interior was very nice.
Kia - Exterior isn't bad, but is a bit vanilla. Looks like the car is already a couple years old. Interior is well laid out, but the plastic is hard and feels cheap. Has 3 row, which was a plus. Comes with the same warranty as Hyundai.
Hyundai - Came with heated, sliding, and reclining rear seats. Leather seats and steering wheel. Backup camera, IIHS top pick safety rating, bluetooth, XM, HD radio, proximity key and push button start, power heated front seats, and plenty of other features. Looks great both inside and out, dash is well organized, with hard buttons for the main functions and shallow menus for those that require soft buttons.
In summation, the Santa Fe had so much more value for the money paid. It was one of the largest cars of the group with the best features.
So yes, it's still a value car in the fact that it's nearly competing in the Explorer/Highlander/Pilot category, but at the CR-V/Rav4/Escape price.
Please let me know if you have any specific questions about the car, want pics, etc. I'd be glad to share.