Alamo – Tacoma Hyundai SantaFe

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Alamo – Tacoma Hyundai SantaFe

Car Rental Company: Alamo
Company for Purchase: Priceline
Location: SEA – Seattle Tacoma Airport

Despite Priceline saying “Airport” for my car option at Alamo (others it didn’t), all car hire places are offsite about 10 minutes-drive away via the shuttle bus. All car hire companies are there and you have to wait in line for the same shared bus which I waited about 15 minutes for.
Alamo is well seen inside the car rental Centre and a few kiosks and 3 counters. My check-in was very quick, with a very friendly female staff whom explained to me I should upgrade to an SUV from my booking since I mentioned I was driving thru Mount Rainer (my original booking was with a mid size car like a Toyota Corolla). She offered it for $20 then I said its out of budget and got it down to $12.5 for the upgrade. She also upsold the different protections to avoid damage and liability costs. I don’t recall the amount but it was around $10-15 or so. This means if you damage car or it gets stolen you have no liability. I always go with this to avoid any future hassles. I asked her about what car is more comfortable and ones to avoid, she suggested a higher wheel car and to avoid one type of Jeep.
After this you go to the lot downstairs where I had the choice of line of SUV’s. Overall very good & helpful service and upgrade was after negotiation, very good and was worth it.

Car Selection

The SUV’s on offer including about 8 kinds, mainly Jeeps, Kia and my choice which was a Hyundai Santa Fe Sport.

Car Review – Hyundai Santa Fe Sport

The Hyundai Sante Fe was a great option for driving around the wilderness of Mount Rainer national park, a decent yet comfortable and powerful mid size SUV. Not specifically a luxury vehicle but did have some great enhancements to make driving a comfort, this included a decent rear view reverse camera as well front warning system. The car’s had some power especially on hills and straight line but not a car for accelerating around windy roads. The interior was nice though with comfortable seating and some functional power sockets and storage areas. Overall a great car for driving in the back country but not a vehicle to say have seriously fun driving at the same it was comfortable and long distance driving would be enjoyable. However its main purpose is to climb those hills at ease and making driving smooth in all terrain conditions.
For the one day price paid (£58 /$73 ) it was worth the upgrade but obviously was not so petrol efficient. 250 miles cost me around (£20 / $25 )


Seating was automatic and easily adjustable. Comfort levels were very good due to both sides having arm rest and curative was good. Especially the very one of the most softest head rest, almost memory foam it felt great on the neck.


The controls very easy were fairly easy to use, simple console monitor with media, radio, phone, clock, radio scan and set up. Bluetooth was very easy to connect to. Reversing also showed a good standard of screen view plus lines to indicate where wheels are, very helpful for reversing in parking lots. The touch screen format was easy to use for selecting music etc.
THE AC was quite simple and basic, with dial format for fan and simply up/down for temperature button- not individual to each side but still easy to find buttons and fan speed etc.

In terms of power there are two car power sockets underneath the console, a USB and AUX slots- plus room for your mobile phone.
Gear stick was automatic and comfortable at ease to change gear say to reverse which some cars can be annoying but very clear on the Sante Fe.

In terms, of the steering wheel this was slight weakness of car, whilst ergonomically comfortable, the controls were not set out easily and cruise control located on right hand side seemed unnatural to almost every other car I have driven with it being on opposite. I also struggled to figure this out to work, it certainly was not clear. On opposite side is the volume and media modes, this worked well. Below though is phone buttons and opposite side is the controls for the dash – this was not very easy to locate or user friendly. The digital display behind steering wheel simply showed temperature, mileage, speed but also can show music playing, maintenance of vehicle such as tyres and customizable settings.

Another area that was weak is behind the steering wheel on right hand side below vent, barely noticeable is drive mode button for settings as well as turning anti skid. I believe the drive modes are all terrain, sport, economy etc- but since I only noticed this on the later day of my 24 hour car hire I did not test these functions. Another weakness is the window wipers, if like me you are used to auto function this was annoying to use but you can control the strength of the speed easily. I found the back wipers particular not easy to figure initially.

Speed and Rev counters all displayed clearly but digital display of MPH on central hud between them. This was well lit when dark, also lighting was a high point of the car, very clear and easily adjustable. Overall simple controls to some cars with strengths and weakness but actually when actually driving these the simple format of this vehicle such as the touch displays made it easy to control while driving.

Space and Storage

Storage obviously is very much a strong point of this car with a large boot with cover for privacy plus the back part of the car both rear second door windows and boot windows all blacked out. Therefore putting a suitcase seemed very secure. You could easily fit two large suitcases and possibly hand luggage so a family of 4 with children would just about be fine as a rental.

Other aspects of storage I liked was the console central area had a large box that can contain sat nav etc plus a smaller tray inside for say change etc.

Above as well was a reading/sun glasses storage box. There was also a dash area for other items – seen below, like say your wallet or purse.

There is also the standard cup holders and plenty of room on inside of door for documents.


Driving is best described as comfortable, smooth and easy to climb up hills and through forests etc. Slightly boring though on the interstate but then acceleration was generally ok. As mostly with SUV wide corners at speed can be a little edgy. Overall though I could quite happily drive for 500km in this vehicle as it is a comfortable drive. However its more ideal for mountains and wilderness places like my drive through Mount Rainer.


The audio had the following options: AM, FM, CD, USB, Line In and Bluetooth. Bluetooth was fairly easy to connect making the touch screen controls able to use from the HUD display. Sound control does have ability to position the sound in the car which was nice and seen on a Jeep previously. Treble, Mids and Bass are all bar based functions that you stretch along. Sound wise was actually fairly good though you did have to fine tune it to certain music types. However had no issues and enjoyed listening to some techno, classical and drum and bass music.

Fuel Efficiency
I drove around 250 miles and it cost me (£20 / $25 )therefore fuel efficiency is fairly good for the US on winding hill roads in a SUV. Mount Rainer is not a straight road, very much lots of curves and slow roads. So kind of hard to tell.


The cost was £58 /$73 for 24 hours. The Santa Fe sport was a comfortable and simple car to drive with overall decent sound and functional for power with great storage options. It is not a vehicle to have fun but great for say skiers and hikers that want to venture out into the wilderness of Washington state. A vehicle I definitely would consider again.


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