2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Review: Comfortable, Efficient, Questionable Styling

The Hyundai Santa Fe made its debut in 2001 as the Korean brand’s first sport utility vehicle. Hyundai now has a slew of people carriers smaller and larger than the Santa Fe (whose long-wheelbase version has been replaced by the Telluride), with hybrid powertrains to match.

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) comes standard with four-wheel drive and offers an all-electric range of 30 miles. Unlike the Tucson PHEV, it takes about 3.5 hours to charge on a Level 2 charger (the Tucson only takes about 2 hours).

The Santa Fe was all-new for 2019, but received a quick facelift for 2020 of the now-unveiled front end. The SUV features a wider three-dimensional grille than the previous model with new T-shaped LED lights embedded in the headlights. The front end is busy, but it looks great at night with just the headlights lit.

The Santa Fe has a long hood and jagged doors along with sharply folded character lines. The windows are trimmed in satin, while new 20-inch wheels round out the package on the PHEV models. The roof rails have also been redesigned; power folding mirrors with turn signals and puddle lights are now offered.

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A 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system centers in the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe’s cabin, with plenty of physical buttons to provide haptic feedback when pressed. They’re much easier to press while driving, although the push-button transmission takes a bit of getting used to. The driving mode dial is located on the center console and invites you to switch from sport to smart mode.

It feels more upscale than Hyundai’s previous vehicles with plush, perforated, heated and cooled leather seats. They are adjustable in every way, including the angle of the seat. Storage space is plentiful, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto standard. The touchscreen is a little far away, but the buttons help avoid having to constantly reach for it. Visibility is good from most angles, and a 360-degree camera covers the few blind spots.

It seats just five passengers, as the seven-passenger Santa Fe has been dropped in favor of the three-row Telluride SUV. But for three adults it seems comfortable. The cargo area is about the same as the Nissan Rogue at 36.4 cubic feet, but more than the Nissan Murano. The Toyota RAV4 comes in at 37.5 cubic feet while the Venza has just 28.8. The Honda CR-V has the most space of the bunch at 37.6 cubic feet.

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe PHEV features a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with a new six-speed automatic transmission. The motor alone makes 178 horsepower, and when combined with the 44-kW electric motor, total output is 225 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. It’s rated at 76 miles per gallon equivalent (mpg-e) and 33 mpg combined for the gasoline engine only.

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Like many hybrids, the 2022 Santa Fe is fast out of the box. The four-wheel drive layout with variable side and front-to-rear torque distribution keeps wheel slip to a minimum. At higher speeds it loses some momentum and overtaking maneuvers require a full slam on the accelerator. However, the automatic transmission is just as quiet and unobtrusive as road and wind noise.

The brakes are better than the previous model with larger discs and a larger master cylinder, meaning confident stops. They require a slightly harder push due to the energy recovery of the hybrid system. The standard suspension covers the average pothole, even with the 20-inch wheels, and the steering inputs are precise, if not sports-car quick.

Hyundai Smart Sense is standard across the range, with Forward Collision Warning, Blind Spot Warning, Lane Keep and Follow, adaptive cruise control, parking sensors and Safe Exit Alarm, which keeps the doors locked if a car approaches from behind when exiting the vehicle.

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe plug-in hybrid starts at $40,000 for the SEL trim and $46,010 for the Limited like the test vehicle. The base Santa Fe starts at $27,700, for reference. It’s between the compact and mid-size, larger than the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V but smaller than the Subaru Outback and Jeep Grand Cherokee.

The CR-V Hybrid starts at $32,010 but doesn’t have electric range. The RAV4 Prime starts at the same price as the Santa Fe PHEV and comes with an electric range of 42 miles. The Outback doesn’t offer a hybrid or plug-in, and the Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe is much more expensive at around $58,000. On the luxury side, the Lexus NX is a bit smaller but starts at around the same price as the Hyundai Santa Fe.

In the end, it’s the Santa Fe’s looks that will or won’t sell this vehicle. The interior is comfortable and travel is efficient, but the front end is a lot. But if buyers can get over that, a solid SUV awaits them.

https://www.newsweek.com/2022-hyundai-santa-fe-review-comfortable-efficient-questionable-styling-1732702 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Review: Comfortable, Efficient, Questionable Styling

Rick Schindler

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