• Car Review

Driven: 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe & Santa Fe Hybrid Review

By Chris Teague | October 5, 2021

Pros:

  • Plush and comfy front seats
  • Upscale cabin feel
  • Good features for the money

Cons:

  • Back-seat space lacking
  • Nice ride quality
  • Non-hybrid Santa Fe models aren’t all that efficient

Vehicle Type: The Hyundai Santa Fe is a midsize crossover SUV with seating for up to five people.

Price Range: The 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe ranges in price from $28,425 to $46,585, which includes destination, but is before options or taxes.

Powertrain: Three powertrain configurations are available for the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe.

The base engine is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that produces 191 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque.

A turbocharged 2.5-liter is available, rated at 277 horsepower and 311 pound-feet of torque.

The Santa Fe Hybrid gets a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine and a 66.9-kWh electric motor that combine to produce 261 horsepower and 224 pound-feet of torque.

An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard for the base engine, while an eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox comes with the turbocharged engine.

Santa Fe Hybrid models get a six-speed automatic transmission and standard AWD.


More Photos:

See more 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe & Santa Fe Hybrid Photos.


Overview:

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With over two decades of history, the two-row Hyundai Santa Fe was Hyundai’s first SUV and remains a popular model in the automaker’s catalog today. Now in its fourth generation, the new Hyundai Santa Fe was last fully redesigned for the 2019 model year. Upgrades for 2022 are less substantial, but Hyundai did add a new plug-in hybrid powertrain option, which will be sold initially in eleven states with elevated emissions laws before being released to buyers across the country.

The Hyundai Santa Fe is aimed at new car buyers that want the space and styling of a midsize SUV, but don’t need third-row seating. The Santa Fe competes in a vicious class of vehicles that includes the Kia Telluride, Nissan Murano, Kia Sorento, Honda Passport, Toyota 4Runner, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Ford Explorer, Mazda CX-9, and Hyundai Palisade.

Hyundai is reworking its SUV lineup, which is bringing sharper style and a more grown-up look to its catalog. Following the success of the midsize Palisade SUV, Hyundai has announced a restyled Tucson and an all-new Santa Cruz lifestyle vehicle. The Santa Fe fits right in, borrowing all the right elements from the larger Palisade.


Overall Score: 8/10

Safety Features: 9/10

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The 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe earned a Top Safety Pick + award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The vehicle earned Good scores in all crashworthiness categories, Superior scores for its front crash-prevention systems, and a Good/Acceptable/Poor rating for its headlights. Variance in the score is based on trim level. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has not yet rated the Santa Fe.

Standard features include a blind spot collision avoidance system, automatic emergency braking, rear cross-traffic alerts, a driver attention warning system, a rear occupant alert system, forward collision avoidance assist with pedestrian/cyclist/junction turning detection, lane-keeping assist, safe exit assist, and lane following assist.

The Santa Fe can be upgraded with a parking distance sensor system for the front/rear, a remote smart parking assist system, and a highway driving assist system that works with the vehicle’s adaptive cruise control system to provide a simple, semi-autonomous driving assistant.


Value: 8/10

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Hyundai packs so much into all Santa Fe trims that it’s hard to ask for more. Every model gets a load of advanced driver aids and most get desirable features without having to add options or step up trim levels. Hyundai continued to bump the Santa Fe’s value credentials after its release, as it has added additional new safety tech to the SUV mid-model year.

The Santa Fe in its mid-range configurations. The top models can reach deep into the $40,000 range, but staying around the SEL and XRT trim levels keeps the price tag reasonable without sacrificing the best features. The SEL model gets heated seats, SiriusXM radio, and more with a price tag that barely crests $30,000.

Hyundai’s warranty is one of the best in the business. Every model the brand sells is covered by a five-year/60,000-mile limited warranty and a ten-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. Complimentary maintenance is also included for up to three years or 36,000 miles.


Tech Features: 8/10

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The Santa Fe comes standard with an eight-inch touchscreen, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, three USB ports, a rear-seat quiet mode, HD radio, and a rearview camera.

Available features include a 10.25-inch widescreen infotainment system, navigation, traffic flow information, Bluetooth, a Harman Kardon premium audio system, a surround-view monitor system, wireless device charging, a head-up display, wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster.

Hyundai’s infotainment software is straightforward and easy to use, and never seems to require more than a couple of touches to achieve a settings change or input. Some lament Hyundai’s infotainment system for its simplicity, but it’s that unlayered approach to the software that makes it so easy to use.


Practicality: 10/10

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The Santa Fe offers 36.4 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second-row seats and up to 72.1 cubic feet when the second row is folded flat. That’s plenty of space for a family’s worth of road trip gear, and removable floor panels in the cargo area open up the ability to carry taller cargo, such as potted plants.

The front seats are deep and plush, with plenty of padding and support for long-haul trips. The back-seat legroom is a little tight, but the seats themselves are nicely padded and supportive, especially compared to the Santa Fe’s rivals, many of which come with hard, flat bench seats.

Though it lacks an extra row of seats, the Santa Fe’s interior space should be more than plenty for the vast majority of drivers. Generous cargo space, plentiful headroom, and comfortable accommodations for all people can’t be ignored.


Styling & Design: 8/10

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The Santa Fe was redesigned in 2019, which brought stronger lines and a more muscular appearance to the once-frumpy family hauler. The styling updates brought it closer in line with the clean, attractive shape of the Kia Telluride and the sleep Hyundai Palisade.

Inside, the Santa Fe’s cabin screams high-end and premium, with upscale finishes that are at odds with the SUV’s middle-of-the-road price tag. The floating center console houses a clean and nicely styled control panel, a cupholder, and a wireless smartphone charging box. The attractive panel also holds the Santa Fe’s push-button transmission shifter, which is a unique take on the traditional gear shift lever. It also requires a bit of a learning curve, which may be frustrating to learn.

The Santa Fe’s interior feels special and carries a level of detail not often seen in similarly priced vehicles. The materials are solid and the SUV’s cabin has a quality feel with no squeaks or rattles to be found.


Driving Experience: 7/10

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The Santa Fe’s base engine provides a decent 191 horsepower that most will find adequate, but nobody will be thrilled by the specs. It comes with a smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. Though it’s far from the most powerful combination, the base engine provides acceptable fuel economy and remains quiet in most driving scenarios.

The turbocharged four-cylinder engine is much more engaging, and provides effortless power for cruising, Acceleration is much stronger, thanks to the turbo engine’s 277 horsepower.


Fuel Efficiency: 6/10

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EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings for the base Santa Fe land at 25/28/26 mpg city/hwy/combined. Adding all-wheel drive changes that rating to 22/25/24 mpg.

The turbocharged 2.5-liter engine returns 22/28/25 mpg with front-wheel drive and 21/28/24 mpg with all-wheel drive.

The Hyundai Santa Fe PHEV gets up to 76 MPGe combined and the Santa Fe Hybrid achieves up to 34 mpg combined in certain configurations.


What’s it Going to Cost Me?

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The base $28,425 Hyundai Santa Fe SE comes with 18-inch wheels, LED headlights and daytime running lights, a rear spoiler, cloth upholstery, a six-way manual driver’s seat, 60/40 folding rear seats, an eight-inch touchscreen, HD radio, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, three USB ports, Bluetooth, and a rear-seat quiet mode. Standard safety gear includes blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alerts, a rear occupant alert system, forward-collision warnings with pedestrian/cyclist/junction turning detection, driver attention warnings, lane following assist, and a rearview camera.

The Santa Fe SEL has an MSRP that starts at $30,225 and comes with 18-inch wheels, silver roof rails, an eight-way power driver’s seat, heated front seats, SiriusXM radio, and a proximity key system with a push-button start. A similarly-equipped Blue hybrid model starts at $34,975.

The $33,525 Santa Fe XRT adds rugged 18-inch alloy wheels, a dark grille, dark exterior trim, a dark silver painted skid plate, a black lower fascia and trim, black roof rails, and power-folding second-row seats.

The $40,185 Santa Fe Limited gets 19-inch wheels, projector-type LED headlights, LED interior lighting, power-folding side mirrors, chrome exterior trim, rain-sensing wipers, leather upholstery, an eight-way power driver’s seat with lumbar and leg cushion extensions, ventilated front seats, memory functions, heated rear seats, a 10.25-inch touchscreen, wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a surround-view monitor, navigation-based smart cruise control, a front/rear parking distance system, and Hyundai highway driving assist. The Limited Hybrid starts at $41,385 and the Limited PHEV starts at $46,585.

The range-topping Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy trim starts at $42,585 and comes with 20-inch wheels, Nappa leather upholstery, quilted interior accents, a head-up display, a panoramic sunroof, an Eco-suede headliner, a perforated leather-wrapped steering wheel, and ambient interior lighting.

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe can be configured as a plush family utility with space and style to spare, but most people will be happy with mid-level Santa Fe trims. The automaker has packed so many standard entertainment and convenience features into the SUV that buyers won’t feel compelled to pony up for the top trims to get them. Even at the SEL trim level, the Hyundai Santa Fe feels and looks premium, and comes with several tech safety features that would cost hundreds or thousands more in a comparable premium mode.


More Photos:

See more 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe & Santa Fe Hybrid Photos.