Highlights of the 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe

The midsize, two-row crossover utility vehicle market is Boom City for manufacturers, as customers continue to abandon sedans for them. Hyundai is no exception as sales of its midsize Sonata sedan plunge. The good news is that customers are migrating to the Santa Fe, a capable SUV that is available in gas, conventional hybrid, and plug-in hybrid formats.

2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Front

What’s New For 2023

Following the 2022 introduction of the XRT grade and a PHEV version, the 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe arrives as a carryover model.

Hyundai Santa Fe Grades and Pricing

Hyundai offers the 2023 Santa Fe in five grades, with prices ranging from $28,200 to $42,050. Front-wheel drive is standard; all-wheel drive is a $1,700 upgrade. Add $1,295 for the destination fee.

Besides the gas model, Hyundai offers conventional hybrid and plug-in hybrid models.

The Santa Fe Hybrid is available in three grades with prices ranging from $35,660 to $41,320. The Santa Fe PHEV comes in two grades and is priced from $40,000 and $46,010, respectively. Further, eligible buyers may qualify for a $6,587 federal tax credit for the PHEV only. State and local incentives may apply as well; check with your tax advisor for guidance.

Highlights of the 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe

We’ll examine the Santa Fe with most of that look involving the gas model. The hybrid grades roughly parallel the gas models, but come with standard all-wheel drive.

Two Powertrain Combinations Available

The 2023 Santa Fe comes in two engine choices. The SE, SEL, and XRT grades feature a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 191 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque. Power routes to the wheels utilizing an 8-speed automatic transmission.

Choose the Limited or Calligraphy grades and these models come with a 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine paired with an 8-speed dual-clutch transmission. The performance numbers are significantly higher here with 281 horsepower and 311 pound-feet of torque on tap.

As a side note, the hybrids come with a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, a 6-speed automatic transmission, and a hybrid battery system. The standard model makes 227 combined horsepower to 260 horsepower with the PHEV. Both hybrids are all-wheel-drive only.

2022 Hyundai Santa Fe front seats
2022 Hyundai Santa Fe rear seats

Well Equipped, But Start With the SEL

Hyundai models come well equipped and offer excellent value for the price. Even so, most of the amenities that customers want appear or become available with the SEL ($31,900).

The SE comes with LED lights, 18-inch alloy wheels, a manual liftgate, cloth seats, and an 8-inch touchscreen display. Choose the SEL and this one makes substantial interior changes. Leather seats become optional, while heated and a power driver’s seat with lumbar support is included. A 10.25-inch screen with navigation, SiriusXM radio, HD Radio, and a wireless charging pad are added. This grade also benefits from roof side rails, heated side mirrors, and push-button start.

At the SEL level, shoppers can also opt for a $4,650 Premium Package. This package bundles an assortment of driver-assist, audio, comfort, and design features. It also represents a middle ground, at least pricewise between the SEL and Limited, yet higher than the XRT grade ($33,700). The XRT, though, has a special mission featuring dark trim, side steps, and textile seating surfaces. It is the Santa Fe’s sporty trim, but without the performance boost.

Mega Buttons in the Console

At first glance, the Santa Fe’s center console looks clean and orderly. It is, but it is not. First, the console are between the touchscreen display and the covered storage compartment is dominated by buttons. Second, one set of those buttons is for the transmission shifter.

Moving the transmission shifter to the console makes for a cleaner arrangement in the vicinity of the steering column. That said, it takes getting used to the buttons sitting near cabin and infotainment controls. If you are not familiar with the arrangement, finding the right button quickly can be frustrating.

2022 Hyundai Santa Fe dashboard

Driver-Assist Tech Galore

We are in an era where driver-assist technology is not only available, but it is expected. In the not-too-distant feature we may see fully autonomous vehicles. But for now, many of the tech features supporting them are currently included or available.

All grades come with forward collision avoidance assist, blind-spot collision avoidance assist, and rear cross-traffic collision-avoidance assist. Lane keeping assist, lane following assist, driver attention warning, and safe exit assist are also included.

Adaptive cruise control with full stop and go is standard. In some grades or with certain packages, it is bundled with highway driving assist with lane centering. A blind-spot camera, surround-view camera, and front and rear parking sensors are available. Remote smart parking assist and a head-up display are optional.

Keeping Up With Calligraphy

It has been a few years since the initial Calligraphy grade rolled out with the then all-new Hyundai Palisade. The Calligraphy represents the finest grade Hyundai offers, making these models an excellent alternative to full-blown luxury marques.

We like to believe that Hyundai’s previous marketing of luxury Equus and Genesis models for a season inspired this automaker to offer Calligraphy. After all, once customers taste a premium level at a reasonable price point, then keeping them in the Hyundai fold means being creative.

2022 Hyundai Santa Fe profile

That creativity has yielded one of the finest cabins we’ve seen in the segment. After the Palisade, the Santa Fe received the Calligraphy, a model endowed with 20-inch designer alloy wheels. Inside, the quilted Nappa leather seats seems straight out of Genesis, matching the materials found in far more expensive models from BMW, Lexus, and Cadillac.

Other features exclusive to the Calligraphy – or at least offered as standard equipment – are a full-color head-up display, premium door trim, an eco-suede headliner, ambient lighting, and a dark chrome grille.

Competitive Set

The midsize, two-row crossover utility vehicle segment was dominated by the Nissan Murano and Ford Edge for several years. These models effectively launched the segment, although including the Jeep Grand Cherokee here makes sense.

Other models to consider include the Volkswagen Atlas Sport, Honda Passport, Chevrolet Blazer, and the Toyota Venza.

On the Road

We like the Hyundai Santa Fe for several reasons, including the powertrain options. Although we paid scant attention to the hybrid models, each one has us intrigued because of the turbocharged engine combined with decent power and efficiency. Typically, hybrids are not turbocharged but Hyundai pursued that path here and the results are strong.

There are stark differences though between the naturally aspirated and turbocharged engines. The standard power output yields more than a 50-percent boost with the turbo. But those numbers only rise when torque is considered. Thus, the turbo not only offers solid step-off acceleration, but excellent passing power.

We also need to address one issue we heard about concerning the turbos transmission, specifically its dual clutch unit. Although not experienced by us, we have heard people comment about its sluggishness and odd shifting habits. A DCT effectively combines a pair of manual transmissions with two clutches and then automates them. When working as designed, they shift incredibly fast. But in some instances they tend to be clunky, but that may have to do with software mapping more than engineering. Once again, that was not our issue. We were happy to experience quick shifts and relatively smooth ones at that.

The Santa Fe rides quietly for the most part. It is well insulated and absorbs most road insults with ease. This SUV also won’t be mistaken for a performance model, even with the turbo. It doesn’t hug the road as well as some performance models, although it holds its own. You’ll notice some body roll while pressing into turns. It doesn’t lose its composure, yet still leans noticeably. Remember, the Santa Fe is a crossover, not a grand tourer.

2022 Hyundai Santa Fe rear three-quarter view

Hyundai Santa Fe: Our Recommendation

Start your search with the SEL grade and most of the amenities you want are included or available. That said, we might also consider the plug-in hybrid model for its 261 horsepower and 30 miles of all-electric range. Add in a sizable federal tax credit and the appeal for one only grows stronger.

2023 Hyundai Santa Fe Specifications

Hyundai 2023 Santa Fe
Segment Midsize Two-Row SUV
Price Range $28,200 to $42,050
Destination Charge $1,295
Engine No. 1 2.5-liter turbo I4
Horsepower 191 @ 6,100 rpm
Torque (lb.-ft.) 181 @ 4,000 rpm
Transmission 8-speed automatic
Engine No. 2 2.5-liter, Turbo I4
Horsepower 281 @ 5,800 rpm
Torque (lb.-ft.) 311 @ 4,000 rpm
Transmission 8-speed dual-clutch
Engine No. 3 1.6-liter, Turbo I4 (PHEV)
Horsepower 178 @ 5,500
Torque (lb.-ft.) 195 @ 1,500 to 4,500 rpm
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Seating 5
Curb Weight (pounds) 3,649 to 3,960
Wheelbase (inches) 108.9
Length (inches) 188.4
Width (inches) 74.8
Height (inches) 66.3
Headroom (f,r…inches) 41.2/39.0
Legroom (f,r…inches) 44.1, 41.7
Shoulder room (f,r…inches) 59.1, 58.3
Hip room (f,r…inches) 57.5, 56.3
Cargo Storage 36.4/72.1
Gross vehicle weight (pounds) N/A
Towing (pounds) 1,650/2,000/3,500
Payload (pounds) N/A
Fuel regular
Fuel Tank (gallons) 12.4/17.7/18.8
EPA Fuel MPG (city/highway/combined) 21/28/24 (turbo)
Manufacturing Plant San Jose Chiapa, Mexico

Specifications supplied by the manufacturer. Compiled by Tom Keegan.

See AlsoBreaking Down the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe

Photos copyright Stumpwater Media Group, LLC. All rights reserved.

Matt Keegan
Author: Matthew Keegan
Matt Keegan is a journalist, media professional, and owner of this website. He has an extensive writing background and has covered the automotive sector continuously since 2004. When not driving and evaluating new vehicles, Matt enjoys spending his time outdoors.

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