Hyundai has taken the occasion of the mid-size Santa Fe’s fifth-generation of production to radically transform the mid-size SUV. My tester was the PHEV Limited.
The vehicle’s city-friendly, adventure-ready appeal with a class-leading, terrace-like, passenger space is made possible by its longer wheelbase and larger tailgate opening. The tailgate area, once a storage space, now becomes an open terrace that can be used to effortlessly enjoy the outdoors.
And the longer wheelbase now allows Santa Fe to offer enhanced third-row seating.
Powered by a 1.6-liter, inline four-cylinder, turbocharged, plug-in hybrid engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with HTRAC all-wheel drive, Santa Fe delivers 33 miles per gallon fuel economy down the highway. And my two-row tester seated five adults without complaint.
“The all-new Santa Fe is an SUV that finds a perfect balance between city life and the great outdoors, handling everything from busy family itineraries to camping adventures,” said SangYup Lee, Executive Vice President and Head of Hyundai Global Design Center. “With its longer wheelbase, roomy interior and terrace-like tailgate space, the new Santa Fe leans into its SUV strengths to offer more versatility than ever before with a premium customer experience.”
The exterior makes a strong first impression thanks to its high hood, H-shaped headlamps and sharply-defined fenders. Together, the H-shaped headlamps and lower front valance design draw inspiration from the Hyundai emblem to produce a bold and distinctive image.
Clean side-sculpting complemented by a bold roofline, generous volume around the fenders, robust wheel arches, a shorter front overhang, and bold designed 19-inch wheels reinforce Santa Fe’s solidity, while creating a simple, appealing design.
Comfort and convenience features were plentiful. My personal favorites included the Harman Kardon premium audio system, touchscreen navigation, wireless phone charger, front and rear USB charging ports, Apple CarPlay, and the heated/ventilated front seats.
Road trips included Camano Island and Whitehorse Golf Club near Kingston. The Santa Fe delivered a smooth, responsive, quiet ride, with a panoramic sunroof inviting dappled light into the cabin to the enjoyment of all passengers. The cargo area transported two full-size golf bags and gear with room to spare.
Santa Fe is well-equipped with a host of driving assistance and safety features that reduce user involvement and provide a comfortable, confident driving experience whether simply commuting or on a weekend adventure.
Forward collision avoidance assist can provide a warning and emergency braking if the preceding vehicle suddenly slows down or if a forward collision risk is detected.
Lane following assist employs a windshield-mounted camera to help recognize vehicle drifting and helps provide slight steering inputs to return the vehicle back to the center of its lane.
New driver attention warning analyzes the driver’s attention and can provide warnings when necessary. Driver monitoring system, Hyundai Motor’s first in North America, analyzes a driver’s vital signs to help ensure safe driving.
Navigation-based smart cruise control helps maintain a safe speed while taking curves on the main section of a highway. Highway driving assist helps maintain a set speed and distance from the vehicle ahead. It also assists with lane changes and helps center the vehicle in the lane while driving.
Among the Santa Fe’s other driver assistance and safety features are intelligent speed limit assist, rear view monitor, rear cross-traffic collision-avoidance assist, front/rear parking distance warning, surround view monitor, remote smart parking assist, and safe exit assist.
Base Price: $48,705
Price As Driven: $48,915
Destination charge is included in base price. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturer. List price may vary at local dealerships.