The Hyundai Santa Fe is a midsize, two-row crossover utility vehicle, with room for five. Last fully redesigned for 2019, the current model offers standard front-wheel drive, available all-wheel drive, and two engine choices. A hybrid model is also available and marketed separately.
Hyundai’s Santa Fe operates in a hotly contested segment. Models such as the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Nissan Murano, and the Ford Edge have been around the longest. In recent years, we’ve seen new competitors arise, including the Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport, Honda Passport, and the Chevrolet Blazer. There are also more than one dozen three-row models to consider. One such vehicle is the Hyundai Palisade.
Hyundai Santa Fe Highlights
Five Trims to Consider
Hyundai offers the 2022 Santa Fe in SE, SEL, XRT, Limited, and Calligraphy trims. The XRT is new for 2022. Prices start at $27,200, then rise to $29,000 with SEL. Choose the XRT and this one retails for $32,300. The Limited comes in at $38,960, while the Calligraphy starts at $40,960.
Each trim comes with standard front-wheel drive. Opting for all-wheel drive adds $1,700. Add $1,245 for the freight (destination) charge.
The SEL trim is the only one offering packages. The features of the Convenience Package ($1,700) are included beginning with the XRT, while the Premium Package ($4,060) adds items included with the Limited edition. The first package brings in such features as a digital key, a 12.3-inch digital gauge display, dual-zone climate control, power-folding rear seats, rear sunshades, and a hands-free power liftgate. The second package includes leather-wrapped seats, a panoramic sunroof, a 10.25-inch touchscreen display, navigation, an upgraded audio system, a power-adjustable front passenger seat, and Highway Assist.
Full power accessories, a tilt-and-telescopic steering column, air conditioning, and cloth seats come standard. Move up through the trim walk and such features as heated front seats, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, and push-button start appear.
Beginning with the Limited trim, all the features of the Convenience and Premium packages come in. A heated steering wheel, ventilated front seats, and heated outboard seats are included. Finally, at the Calligraphy level, quilted leather seats take over.
Under the hood of every Santa Fe is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. It is what Hyundai does with the engine that makes a difference.
For the SE, SEL, and XRT trims, it is a naturally aspirated engine that makes 191 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque. Choose either the Limited or Calligraphy trims and Hyundai adds boosting technology featuring turbocharging. This engine makes a robust 281 horsepower and 311 pound-feet of torque.
An 8-speed automatic transmission works with the standard engine. An 8-speed “wet” dual-clutch transmission functions with the turbo. Models with the standard engine earn upward of 25/28/26 mpg city/highway/combined. The turbo model makes an EPA-estimated 22/28/25 mpg city/highway/combined.
An 8-inch color touch-screen display is included with the SE, SEL, and XRT trims. The Limited and Calligraphy models gain a 10.25-inch color display. Bluetooth, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and four USB ports. A 6-speaker audio package is standard.
Move up to the SEL trim and such features as satellite radio, wireless device charging, and connected services come in. Beginning with the Limited trim, a 12-speaker Harman/Kardon audio system and a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster take over.
Safety Features Galore
The Santa Fe comes with a long list of driver-assist safety features, including automatic high-beam headlights and driver drowsiness monitoring. Also included are blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, forward collision warning, and forward automatic emergency braking. Other features on the list include lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, rear-seat alert, and safe exit assist.
As long a list as this is, there are a few upgrades available. These include a surround-view camera system with blind-spot view, highway driving assist, front and rear parking sensors, and remote smart parking assist. A head-up display may also be taken.
Ample Cargo and Cubby Space
The Santa Fe has a generous 36.4 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second-row seat. Fold that seat down and there is 72.1 cubic feet at the ready. That is about average for the segment.
Underneath the floor is storage compartments, including a three-part sectional near the rear seat. That is exactly where you will want to hide valuables from prying eyes. It is also useful for holding wet swimwear, an emergency kit, toys, and gear.
Focus: Hyundai Santa Fe XRT
New for 2022, the XRT brings a rugged presence to the Santa Fe line. This model comes outfitted with a matte black grille, black cladding on the bumpers and side sills, black wheels, side steps, and roof rails. It also gains all the features included in the Convenience Package.
The XRT maintains the same powertrain as offered in the SE and SEL. It is no better than average for the segment. We found the XRT has the expected step-off acceleration, but it seems underpowered on the road, especially under full throttle. The transmission also seemed lazy at times, holding shifts longer than desired or simply not responding fast enough. We’ve driven Hyundai and Kia products with the turbo and found it wonderful. It is the power difference between the two that is most noticeable.
Our test model added all-wheel drive, a system that is useful on twisty roads, slick surfaces, and while cornering. Although you won’t be tempted to engage in spirited driving (or handle aggressive off-road conditions), it does its part to help keep the Santa Fe planted. We found direct steering, decent handling, firm brakes, and a comfortable ride with our test model.
Santa Fe Considerations
The Hyundai Santa Fe may be the value leader in its segment. Move away from the base model and this SUV comes well equipped. That said, we might find ourselves surveying the Limited trim both for its amenities and superior powertrain. However, that brings your price to about $40,000 with all-wheel drive. For thousands of dollars less, you can find a well-equipped Santa Fe that matches best with the competition.
At the top end of the Santa Fe price range, the three-row Palisade comes in. This one is a better model as it comes with three rows, a V6 engine, and offers more premium features. Keep this model in mind if your budget is around $40,000.
See Also — The Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid Electrifies
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