TEST DRIVE AND REVIEW BY: RICK WALKER
Hyundai continues to take it to the competition with vehicles that offer incredible value. Case in point the new Hyundai Santa Fe.
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The Santa Fe is a mid size crossover that was given a makeover in 2021. Not a lot has changed for 2022, but there are few difference and more options. For starters there is now a plug-in-hybrid version, that offers up 260-horsepower, and 31-miles of electric only range.
There is also a new XRT Trim level. The XRT offers a more rugged off-road appearance. It has side step running boards, skid plates, and a unique wheel design. The XRT trim level adds black exterior molding on the body, black bumper fascias black roof rails and cross rails.
You can now choose from four different powertrains with the Santa Fe. The standard engine is a 2.5-litre four cylinder, which produces 191 horsepower. There is a 2.5 -litre turbocharged option that produces a much more robust 277-horsepower. Both of the gasoline engines are mated to an eight speed automatic transmission. Front wheel drive is standard. All wheel drive is an option. The hybrid version comes with a six speed automatic, and uses a 1.6-litre gasoline engine along with two-electric-motors, producing 266-horsepower total. The hyrbid Santa Fe comes standard with all-wheel-drive. There is also a plug-in-hyrbid Santa Fe.
Most people will obviously still choose one of the gasoline only versions of the Santa Fe at this point, and for those who do, fuel economy is right in line with the competition from Toyota and Honda. Those who choose the base model can expect to get about 25 mpg in the city, and 28 mpg on the highway. The 2.5-litre turbo charged engine will deliver about 22-miles per gallon in the city and about 28-miles per gallon on the highway, and that is just about what we experienced with our test vehicle which was equipped with the turbcharged 2.5-litre engine. The Hybrid Santa Fe should deliver about 36 mpg city, and 31 mpg highway.
Overall the Santa Fe surprised me! The chassis was much stiffer than I through it would be. It feels nimble, especially in city traffic. It feels much ligher than I expected in a very good way, because it's easy to park and it makes its way through congested traffic easily because the handling is so good. This is no off-road warrior, but around town it really gets the job done and it you will be riding in comfort. It's designed to do battle on city streets and has the power and driver assistance tools you will need for safe highway trips.
The available standard tech includes, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, forward collision alert and automated emergency braking.
There is no third row seating available, but for its size a third row might not have been practical because the third row would have been cramped. Yet, inside the new Santa Fe is surprisingly spacious.
The instrument panel and centre console is now logically laid out. The interior quality comes close to it's European rivals and in some cases it even matches its competitors for a lower price. Again, we are talking about true value here. Depending on the trim package your choose there is either an eight inch, or a 10.3 inche touch screen infotainment display, and it is intuitive.
I also love the turn signal cameras, which are mounted on both the driver and passenger side of the vehicle. It's a Hyundai thing really, and other automakers are catching on to this finally as well. Having a camera mounted on each side of the vehicle with video monitors on the instrument cluster available at a glance enhances safety by eliminating blind spots when you hit your turn signal to change lanes. It's really awesome and Hyundai has been a leader with this feature!
The digital gauge cluster on the Santa Fe is attactive and logically laid out. Our test Santa Fe came with a head-up-display which I always like in a vehicle because it helps you keep your eyes on the road with important information like your speed available at a glance reflecting at you right on the windshield.
You can also get heated rear seats, heated and venitllated front seats, The improvements that were introduced in the 2021 model, and were carried over into 2022, have brought with them a more refined, higher quality interior with fine stitching, and better overall fit and finish inside. Like all vehicles in this price range you will find ample use of plastics, but really overall Hyundai has done a splendid job with the Santa Fe and it looks and feels like you get a lot more for your money than you actually pay for. Once again when it comes to the interior Hyuundai delivers true value.
The interior is laid out in a very efficient manner. There is lots of leg room, and head room for rear seat passengers. I am six feet tall and I was comfortable in the back seat. There is also lots of cargo space in the rear, expecially with the fold down rear seats.
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The Hyundai Santa Fe fills a gap between the compact Tucson and the midsize Palisade in Hyundai's SUV lineup. The Santa Fe seats five passengers. The Santa Fe provides more room than the Tucson and it's more affordable and maneuverable than the larger Palisade.
The Santa Fe come in five main trim levels: SE, SEL, XRT, Limited and Calligraphy. There isn't much of a price difference between the SE and the SEL, and you get the heated rear seats so the SEL is probably worth the extra money.
I found the 2.5-litre turbo charged engine mated to the eight-speed transmission to be very, very peppy and responsive. It revs up smoothly and delivers power fairly evenly across the power band. On the highway the turbocharged engine kicks in and delivers ample passing power. It's much better than I expected.
Here is the rundown on trim optios for the gasoline variants of the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe:
2.5-liter four cylinder engine (191 horsepower, 181 lb-ft)
Eight-speed automatic transmission
18-inch alloy wheels
Stain-resistant cloth upholstery
60/40-split folding rear seat
8-inch infotainment touchscreen
Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration (with wireless connectivity)
Four USB ports (two front and two rear)
Every Santa Fe comes standard with a variety of advanced driver assistance features:
Forward collision mitigation (warns you of an impending collision and applies the brakes in certain scenarios)
Lane keeping assist (steers the Santa Fe back into its lane if it begins to drift over the lane marker)
Driver attention warning (issues an alert if sensors determine you are becoming fatigued)
Adaptive cruise control (adjusts speed to maintain a constant distance between the Santa Fe and the car in front)
SEL Adds even more features:
Blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert (warns you if a vehicle is in your blind spot during a lane change or while reversing)
Rear-passenger safe exit system (can prevent a rear passenger from opening a door into traffic approaching from behind)
Keyless entry and push-button ignition
Power-adjustable driver's seat
Heated front seats
Heated side mirrors
Wireless smartphone charging pad
Hyundai's Blue Link connected services
Two option packages are available for the SEL trim. Convenience package Includes upgrades including:
Hands-free power liftgate
Noise-reducing front side windows
Digital key (allows select phones to be used as a vehicle key)
Dual-zone climate control
Leather-wrapped steering wheel
Rear passenger window sunshades
Digital instrument panel
Power-folding rear seats
Rear seat reminder (alerts you to check the rear seat before exiting the vehicle and sounds the horn if motion is detected after the vehicle is locked)
Premium package Requires the Convenience package and adds:
Power-adjustable front passenger seat
Upgraded 12-speaker Harman Kardon audio system
10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen
Lane keeping system (makes minor steering corrections to help keep the vehicle centered in its lane)
XRT Offers rugged "off road" exterior styling:
XRT-specific dark exterior trim
Unique 18-inch wheels
XRT side steps
Roof rack cross rails
Body-colored door handles
Limited Adds the Convenience and Premium packages plus:
More powerful turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder (281 hp, 311 lb-ft)
Upgraded LED headlights
Parking sensors (alert you to obstacles that may not be visible in front of or behind the vehicle when parking)
Upgraded driver's seat with memory settings
Ventilated front seats
Heated steering wheel
Heated rear seats
Surround-view camera system (gives you a top-down view of the Santa Fe and its surroundings for tight parking situations)
Blind-spot camera (displays a live camera view of the Santa Fe's blind spot in the instrument panel when changing lanes)
Automated parking system (steers into a parking spot with little or no driver intervention)
Calligraphy Adds luxury with:
Unique exterior trim
Premium leather seating with quilted stitching
Ambient interior lighting
Faux suede headliner
Head-up display (displays important information in your sight line on the windshield)
Dimensions The Santa Fe's overall length is 188.4 inches, on a 108.9-inch wheelbase. The width is 74.8 inches, and it's 66.3 to 67.4 inches tall. Those dimensions give the Santa Fe a lot of passenger and cargo space. Vehicle rates depends greatly on the engine chosen. An entry-level SE with the naturally aspirated engine and FWD weighs in at 3,649 pounds, while a top-of-the-line hybrid with AWD weighs 4,226 lbs.
Max Width74.8 in
Front Width64.8 in
Rear Width65.2 in The Santa Fe's towing capacity comes up short when compared to the competition. The naturally-aspirated 2.5-liter and the hybrid can tow a maximum of 2,000 lbs. The turbocharged Santa Fe can pull up to 3,500 lbs. Compare to the Honda Passport which can tow 5,000 lbs in AWD format and you can see that the emphasis with the Santa Fe is not on towing. Or compare to the bigger Ford Explorer, and in base format, which can tow 5,300 lbs. However, we still really like the Santa Fe and we don't think the target market for the Santa Fe will be worried too much about towing capacity. The Santa Fe is well equipped to deal with daily family driving duties, hauling around soccer kids, and has plenty of space in the back for kids hockey equipment and groceries. The Santa Fe is practical. The Santa Fe packs a lot of punch because it offers so much value, especially when you look at the complimentary maintenance package, which covers three years of 36-thousand miles. That's much better than anything being offered by the Santa Fe's rivals including Toyota. The Santa Fe is 2021, and 2022 has gone through a few minor recalls for leaky fuel lines, but when looking at the Santa Fee overall from 2020 ( no recalls ), 2021, and 2022 the issues have been very minor so far, so reliablity is looking good. The basic warranty is for five years/60,000 miles ( 100-thousand kms ), while the powertrain is covered by a ten-year/100,000-mile warranty. Roadside assistance is in force for five years regardless of kms / miles driven. The anti-perforation warranty is also unlimited by mileage and is good for seven full years. The hybrid/electric battery comes with a ten-year/100,000-mile warranty. With that kind of track record, robust performance, and best in class warranty we would say the Santa Fe offers up superior value when compared to competitors like the Toyota Rav4, and considering how compeititive this segment is that's saying alot. There are pluses and minues to be sure, but overall the 2021 / 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe is a tough act to beat.