SUV Challenge: Family Lauds Hyundai, Scorns Honda

3RowSUVFamily

By Chris Woodyard, USA Today

He focuses on technology, acceleration and steering. She looks for style and practicality.

Together, Ed and LadyAnn Sabalburo, along with daughter LeaRose, 2, covered the bases when it came to evaluating the seven candidates in the Cars.com/USA TODAY/MotorWeek $40,000 Three-row SUV Challenge.

What's the Best 3-Row SUV for $40,000

Together, the pair went over every detail of the crossovers SUVs lined up in a hotel parking lot while LeaRose happily scampered through their respective cabins. Then, Ed took each for a test drive.

The Sabalburos, from nearby Baldwin Park, east of Los Angeles, are casually looking for new family hauler that might replace LadyAnn's 2008 Acura MDX. They have another baby on the way.

By David Thomas | April 28, 2014 | Comments (7)

$40,000 3-Row SUV Challenge: Squeezing Into the Third Row

Third-row-main

By Chris Woodyard, USA TODAY

Let's face it: Most of us older than 10 will never ride in the third row of a three-row crossover SUV.

Why would you? First, it requires a lesson in how to move the second-row seats out of the way in order to clamber back there. Usually done in frustration, you just wriggle and crawl to the third row.

What's the Best 3-Row SUV for $40,000

Then there is the seat itself: less legroom than on the worst airline. Your knees almost reach mid-chest. You're so far removed from the driver that one model tested, the Toyota Highlander, had an intercom for the driver. Yes, an intercom.

For the Cars.com/USA Today/"MotorWeek" $40,000 3-Row SUV Challenge, your reporter, all six-feet-two, took each test drive in each SUV from the third row. Here are my notes:

By David Thomas | April 25, 2014 | Comments (0)

$40,000 3-Row SUV Car Seat Challenge: the Highs and Lows

IMG_4729

Large families basically have two choices when it comes to what to drive: a three-row SUV or a minivan. Both have their merits and handle cargo and passenger room differently. During Cars.com's recent $40,000 3-Row SUV Challenge, I spent a few days getting to know seven of the contenders in the midsize crossover class, driving them, climbing in and out of them, and installing car seats in their second and third rows.

Read the Full $40,000 3-Row SUV Challenge

Although they all have to offer a large amount of room in order to fit that third row, it's obvious that not all SUVs are created equal. When it comes to car seats, there were some very clear winners and losers, with the Honda Pilot and Hyundai Santa Fe leading the pack, and the Chevrolet Traverse and Mazda CX-9 bringing up the rear.

By Jennifer Geiger | April 9, 2014 | Comments (1)

$40,000 3-Row SUV Challenge: What the Judges Said

Chris Woodyard and Joe Bruzek

Here are our judges for this Challenge:

  • Joe Bruzek, Road Test Editor, Cars.com
  • Jennifer Geiger, Assistant Managing Editor, Cars.com
  • Kelsey Mays, Consumer Affairs Editor, Cars.com
  • Chris Woodyard, L.A. Bureau Chief, USA Today
  • Brian Robinson, Producer, "MotorWeek"
  • LadyAnn and Ed Sabalburo, a Southern California couple with a young daughter and a second child on the way; they own an Acura MDX currently and are thinking about moving up to a bigger SUV.

We set a maximum price of $40,000, including a destination charge, and a minimum EPA combined city/highway mileage rating of 19 mpg. There were eight SUVs that met our criteria:

By Patrick Olsen | April 6, 2014 | Comments (15)

Which 3-Row SUV Gets the Best Mileage?

$40,000 3-Row SUV Challenge Mileage Results

Squeezing fuel economy out of the three-row SUVs tested for Cars.com's $40,000 3-Row SUV Challenge is no easy task for automakers. Large people-and-cargo haulers capable of carrying eight and towing up to 5,000 pounds or more aren't really conducive for saving gas.

$40,000 3-Row SUV Challenge
Index | ResultsWhat the Judges Said

Efforts to raise fuel-economy numbers mean there are a variety of fuel-saving technologies in the seven SUVs we tested. Our mileage drive put these features — including efficient transmissions, cylinder deactivation, Eco modes, sleek aerodynamics and weight savings — to the test.

By Joe Bruzek | April 6, 2014 | Comments (3)

What's the Best 3-Row SUV for $40,000?

$40,000 3-Row SUV Challenge

Family-friendly SUVs are still a big business: There are plenty of kids to cart around, groceries and sports equipment for kids of all ages to carry.

$40,000 3-Row SUV Challenge
Index | What the Judges Said | Mileage Drive

We focused this Challenge on three-row SUVs that cost less than $40,000, including a destination charge, and achieved at least 19 mpg in EPA combined city/highway fuel-economy ratings. We picked the price based on Cars.com's listings for SUVs that came with the features we know are popular with families. After four days of testing by experts from Cars.com, USA Today, "MotorWeek" and a real-life, in-market family, here's how the results broke down:

By David Thomas | April 6, 2014 | Comments (21)

2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Photo Gallery

2014HyundaiSantaFe

The 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe finished first in our $40,000 3-Row SUV Challenge. "Loads of features, a premium cabin and pleasant road manners. Just make sure you pack wisely," said one of our judges. Check out our gallery below to inspect the Santa Fe's styling, interior and family-friendliness.

By David Thomas | April 6, 2014 | Comments (1)

Cars.com Announces Its Best of 2014 Nominees

Awards2014_badge

Whenever we give out our Best of Award, we focus on quality, innovation and value, and all six of these nominees performed well in all three of those arenas. It's never easy to pick this award; the voting this year was particularly contentious. I can personally vouch for that. Here are this year's nominees:

The nominees for the Best of 2014 are (in alphabetical order):

  • Acura MDX
  • Chevrolet Impala
  • Hyundai Santa Fe
  • Kia Forte
  • Mazda3
  • Mazda6

We will reveal the winner at our annual awards event on Jan. 14 in Detroit during the North American International Auto Show, and of course, here on Cars.com.

By Patrick Olsen | December 9, 2013 | Comments (4)

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Video

Cars.com Editor-in-Chief Patrick Olsen says that compared with the three-row SUV it replaces — the Veracruz — the spacious 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe is a considerable upgrade, but there's still room for improvement. Aggressive, non-family-like exterior design and driving dynamics nicely contrast a full-on family-friendly interior with abundant cargo space and a multitude of convenience features for passengers in every row. However, the firm ride could get old on longer drives, and the absence of blind spot monitoring feels like a cheap-out. Watch the video above.

Related
Cars.com Reviews the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe
2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport: Photo Gallery
More Hyundai Santa Fe News on Cars.com

By Matt Schmitz | November 19, 2013 | Comments (1)

What is Hyundai's Blue Link 'Community Average'?

Hyundai_blue_link

Like many telematics systems, Hyundai's Blue Link is chock-full of features. One of them, dubbed Eco Coach, is sure to interest efficiency-conscious drivers. It shows recent mileage and uses a point system dubbed Eco Rewards to incentivize efficient driving. Automakers from Ford to Toyota have similar systems (including Ford's dashboard shrubbery), but Blue Link also reports something called a Community Average of mpg.

We noticed it in an Equus sedan and Santa Fe SUV in the press fleet, so we asked Hyundai to explain. Is it some sort of average based on owners of the same Hyundai model? It's plausible, given the automaker could collect mileage data via telematics.

By Kelsey Mays | November 11, 2013 | Comments (0)

Search Results

KickingTires Search Results for

Search Kicking Tires

KickingTires iPhone App
Ask.cars.com