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.
WATCH THE FULL REVIEW IN THIS SST CAR SHOW VIDEO
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.