The Santa Fe is a midsize crossover from Hyundai, fitting in between the compact Tucson and the larger and more opulent Palisade. The Santa Fe provides a lot of bang for your buck, especially if you’re shopping for a good family hauler. The Santa Fe is loaded with features and tech, and has plenty of space for passengers and cargo, and has decent fuel efficiency. However, it’s not the liveliest performer of the class.
Base Price: $34,000
As Tested: $35,380
Mileage: 22 mpg city/25 mpg highway/24 mpg combined
The five-passenger Santa Fe got a makeover for the 2019 model year. It got refreshed for 2021 and the Calligraphy trim was added. For 2022, a new trim, XRT, joins the line-up. Hyundai says this new trim is “designed to convey an outdoor lifestyle.”
The Santa Fe comes in five trims: SE, SEL, XRT, Limited, and Calligraphy. The SE has the lowest starting price among midsize SUVs at $27,200. The top-of-the-line Calligraphy starts at $40,960 which is relatively low for a high-end trim in the class. The Santa Fe is also available as a hybrid with starting prices from $33,900 to $45,510.
Front-wheel drive is standard on the gas-powered models and all-wheel drive is available on all trims. AWD is standard on the hybrid.
Two engines are available in the gas-powered Santa Fe. The SE, SEL and XRT trims get a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 191 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque, paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The higher trims get a 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that makes 281 horses and 311 pound-feet. This engine is mated to an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic.
The standard powertrain is okay most of the time, especially if you’re driving around town. But it can feel underpowered, especially when the Santa Fe is loaded with passengers and cargo. It can also feel sluggish when you want to quickly accelerate for merging and passing on the freeway. The eight-speed shifts quickly and smoothly. Steering and brakes are responsive, and the Santa Fe feels planted around corners. The ride is fairly firm so you will notice some bumps. All in all, the Santa Fe is a pleasant daily driver. No, it’s not exciting to drive but we don’t really expect that in a family vehicle.
Models with the base engine can tow up to 2,000 pounds while models with the turbocharged engine can tow up to 3,500 pounds.
Fuel efficiency is good for the class. EPA ratings for my AWD tester are 22 mpg city and 25 mpg highway with a combined rating of 24. I got 25 mpg during my week with a mix of city and highway driving. Front-wheel drive models get slightly better mileage.
The interior is nice on the lower trims and quite upscale on the higher trims. The design is modern with quality materials with lots of soft-touch surfaces. There are some hard plastics but they’re not obvious. Front seats are comfortable and supportive with good leg- and headroom even for taller passengers. The rear seats have a little less cushioning but still have plenty of room for two adults or three kids. The rear seats recline and have adjustable head restraints.
Standard features include remote keyless entry, rearview camera, cloth upholstery, six-way manually adjustable front seats, 4.2-inch color multi-information display, infotainment system with eight-inch touchscreen, HD Radio, wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth, four USB ports, two 12-volt outlets, cabin air filter and automatic high-beam headlights
Available features include proximity key entry with push button start, Hyundai digital key, surround-view camera system with blind spot view, head-up display, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather-trimmed seats, premium Nappa leather upholstery, eight-way power-adjustable front seats, heated and ventilated front seats, memory setting for driver seat, heated and power-folding rear seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated steering wheel, 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, infotainment system with 10.25-inch touchscreen, navigation, satellite radio, 12-speaker Harman Kardon premium audio system, wired Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, Blue Link connected car system, wireless device charging, panoramic sunroof, ambient lighting, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and roof rails.
Standard driver assistance technologies include forward collision warning, forward automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring, pedestrian and cyclist detection, rear cross traffic alert, driver drowsiness monitoring, rear seat alert (reminds you to check the rear seats for kids and pets) and safe exit assist (warns you if it’s not safe to open the rear doors).
Available driver assistance technologies include Highway Driving Assist (advanced adaptive cruise control with lane centering), front and rear parking sensors, and Remote Smart Parking Assist (you can use the key fob to park or exit a parking spot while you’re outside the vehicle).
The infotainment system is mounted above the dashboard, making it easy for the driver to see. Below are a lot of controls for climate and other settings. They can look a bit daunting at first but become easy to use with a little practice. Graphics on the infotainment system look sharp and the system responds quickly to touch and voice commands.
Cargo space is average for the class. There are 36.4 cubic feet with both rows of seating in place and 72.1 cubes with the second row folded. The 60/40 split fold-flat rear seats give you flexibility in hauling passengers and gear. A manual liftgate is standard while a hands-free smart liftgate with automatic open and adjustable height setting is available.
Great value for the money
Relatively low starting prices
Roomy, upscale interior
Lots of standard and available features and tech
Good fuel efficiency
Standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
Lackluster performance with base engine
Ride can be firm
My tester starts at $34,000. Carpeted floor mats are $195. Destination fee is $1,185 bringing the grand total to $35,380.
The 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe is a very good midsize SUV that gives you a lot of vehicle for the money. It has an upscale interior, tons of features and tech, plenty of space for passengers and cargo, and has lower starting prices than most rivals. The only drawback is that the Santa Fe is not the peppiest performer of the bunch. Check it out if you’re looking for a two-row crossover.