Texas Auto Writers Association name Hyundai Santa Fe Compact CUV of Texas
In a stunning upset, the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) held a Texas Truck Rodeo and have awarded the Hyundai Santa Fe the top award in its segment. The compact sport utility market is red hot and makes up one of the largest segments in the crossover world. Hyundai has been steadily and consistently improving the Santa Fe since its introduction. The work the company has done has resulted in an award winning vehicle that has mass appeal.
Without characterizing the TAWA unfairly, it is fair to say that Texans in general prefer “American” trucks. Whatever that is. Italian company Fiat’s Jeeps and Ram trucks took home most of the prizes in the rodeo. The new RAM is a breakthrough vehicle for Fiat's Chrysler Group, and it is has upped the ante for both Ford’s F150 and the Chevy Silverado. These vehicles drive the profits at their respective companies and are critically important to their financial success. Hyundai wisely looked closely at the “light truck” market in American and decided to skip the pickup truck segment all together. In my home town we call that “wickid smaat.” Sometimes it is better to pick fights you can win (Hear that Floyd Mayweather Jr.?).
Hyundai had a US hit on its hands from the first 2001 Santa Fe. The vehicle did well and helped move the focus away from its entry level econoboxes. In 2007 the Santa Fe grew up. Hyundai knew the Toyota Highlander was the segment leader then and simply copied the vehicle all the way down the specifications sheet. Hyundai even copied the oddball displacement of the 3.3 liter engine Toyota offered. Toyota then supersized the Highlander, moved it to the Avalon platform from the Camry platform resulting in a wheelbase stretch. The result was the Highlander’s appeal was diminished. The Santa Fe soldiered on in the “just right” size it was granted by the Highlander to the delight of fans. TAWA president Michael Herzing paid this compliment to the Santa Fe; “TAWA members overwhelmingly selected the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport as the Compact Crossover of Texas. Crossovers are important to Texans as they need vehicles that deliver on comfort, functionality and reliability. Hyundai exceeded those expectations and had the best product in the category.”