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Hyundai Santa Fe and Mazda CX-5 Snag Crossover Awards

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On: Thu, May 2, 2013 at 12:21PM | By: Chris Weiss

Hyundai Santa Fe and Mazda CX-5 Snag Crossover Awards

The crossover/small SUV segment has been one of the hottest corners of the auto market for the past few years. If you plan to be one of the many that buy crossovers in the near future, you might want to consider what the professionals are picking. It was interesting to see two crossovers - the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport and the Mazda CX-5 - win very different awards on the same day. One gets a nod for what the SUV used to represent - capabilities in mud and dirt, and one gets it for what the crossover represents now - a safe, roomy way of transporting the whole family. 

The Greater Atlanta Automotive Media Association named the 2013 Mazda CX-5 its "Top Family Choice Vehicle," Mazda announced on Monday.

GAAMA President Nick Palermo said, "The CX-5 was the clear winner for the overall 'Top Family Choice Vehicle' award. It's stylish, affordable, has comfortable seating and great fuel economy and is fun to drive."

One of the only crossovers I'd be so bold as to call "stylish," the 2013 CX-5 Sport starts at $20,695 (plus $795 destination charge). Standard amenities include 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels outfitted with 225/65R17 Yokohama all-season tires, daytime running lights, automatic headlight shutoff, push-button start, cruise control and a four-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3-compatible radio with auxiliary and USB connection ports. The EPA rates the 2013 CX-5 at 29 mpg combined (28 mpg for the 4WD version) and up to 35 mpg highway

Moving from southeast to northwest, the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport took home a very different award from the Northwest Automotive Press Association. The NWAPA named it the "Best Compact CUV" after its performance in the 2013 Mudfest competition. Held at the 300-acre DirtFish Rally School site in Snoqualmie, WA, the Mudfest competition pitted a number of top crossovers against each other in demanding on-road and off-road challenges. Despite looking like the very essence of a road-centric crossover too dainty for any real off-road time, the Santa Fe Sport passed with flying colors.

"Mudfest gives our members the ability to test the top crossovers, side-by-side, in real-world conditions," said Ryan Douthit, host of Driving Sports TV and this year's event organizer. "Working with the DirtFish staff, we designed a number of test courses that really challenged the vehicles in terms of road-handling and their ability to navigate through very rugged off-road conditions. The fact that our members selected the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport for this honor speaks volumes about what it offers compared to competitive vehicles in its class."

The 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport that participated included all-wheel-drive and Hyundai's 264-hp 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder. That model is rated at 21 mpg combined. The Santa Fe Sport is also an IIHS Top Safety Pick.

Two very different awards, two winning crossovers.

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