In Wheel Time – Spring into an SUV

By Don Armstrong

Spring has to be one of the most popular times of the year in the Bay Area. The weather gets warm enough to clean up the watercraft and head out to Clear Lake and Galveston Bay for the first time since Halloween. With this annual renewal come pangs for a new vehicle, so we grabbed a couple of SUV’s from popular manufacturers and took them for a spin.

GMCTerrainDenaliTC045.jpgGMC Terrain Denali

The squared shoulders and stout lines of the GMC Terrain are a departure from the aero-look of many SUV’s driving off dealer lots this year and we like it. We also approve of the new for 2013, more powerful V-6 engine option as well as the Denali trim level.

The Terrain is slightly larger than a compact, but not big enough to place it in the midsize category. Let’s call it a “tweener.” For most of us that want just a little more room, especially in the second row, here it is.

The Denali's sleek interior.

The Denali’s sleek interior.

The Denali trim level is top-of-the-line opulence for the GMC and now one of the nicest in the near-luxury category. It combines almost all of options that the lower trim levels offer.

The optional 3.6-liter V-6 engine delivers 301 HP, gets 17 MPG-city and 24-highway, which puts it in the class of the Lexus RX.

Pricing starts at $34,925.

Detractors include Honda CR-V, Kia Sorento and Ford Escape.

MY13 Hyundai Santa FeHyundai Sante Fe Sport

Not that many years ago, the Hyundai brand lacked direction and had very questionable design philosophies. Fast forward to 2013 and you’ll find the Hyundai brand well represented in most parking lots in the Bay Area.

The Hyundai Sante Fe has been around for a number of years and has become synonymous with value, dependability and now good looks, both inside and out.

The new-from-the-ground-up 2013 Sante Fe Sport is a five-passenger crossover that incorporates Hyundai’s “fluidic design” sculpture. From nose to tail, this is one sharp dresser.

Inside you find abundant soft touch materials, a richness to the dash and intuitive controls.

Interior of the Santa Fe Sport.

Interior of the Santa Fe Sport.

Hyundai Sante Fe comes in the 6 or 7-passenger “stretched” version or the 5 passenger Sport.

The capable base engine is a 2.4-liter inline 4 that delivers 190 horsepower and get 21 MPG-city and 29-highway. A turbo and V-6 are also available.

Pricing begins at $24,450 for the Sport and $28,350 for the larger Sante Fe.

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