A dark chrome accent grille distinguishes the Calligraphy model from others in the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe lineup. (Manufacturer photo)

A dark chrome accent grille distinguishes the Calligraphy model from others in the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe lineup. (Manufacturer photo)

Hyundai Santa Fe mid-size SUV is stylish and sophisticated

New models for 2022 include a plug-in hybrid and the XRT with some emphasis on rugged appearance.

Following design revisions, mechanical upgrades, and the addition of a hybrid powertrain for 2021, Hyundai’s upscale Santa Fe two-row mid-size SUV is a carryover for 2022. A new plug-in hybrid model joins the lineup along with an XRT trim level with exclusive appearance features associated with outdoorsy pursuits: skid plates, side steps, roof cross rails and such.

All told for 2022, Santa Fe is available with a standard powertrain in five trim levels: SE, SEL, XRT, Limited, and Calligraphy. In hybrid form there are three trims: Blue, SEL Premium, and Limited. As a plug-in hybrid, SEL Convenience and Limited are the two choices.

Every model with a standard powertrain has front-wheel drive, with all-wheel drive available at extra cost. Hybrid models are exclusively all-wheel drive.

SE, SEL, and XRT grades are powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine producing 191 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque. Its EPA rating with front drive is 25 mpg city, 28 mpg highway, and 26 mpg combined. The figures for AWD are 22/25/24 mpg.

Limited and Calligraphy models have a more powerful 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder making 281 horsepower and 311 pound-feet, with fuel economy ratings of 22/28/25 mpg for FWD and 21/28/24 mpg for AWD.

Controls inside the Hyundai Santa Fe mid-size SUV are easy to see, reach, and use. (Manufacturer photo)

Controls inside the Hyundai Santa Fe mid-size SUV are easy to see, reach, and use. (Manufacturer photo)

The Blue model has the best rating among the hybrids: 36/31/34 mpg. The plug-in hybrids (PHEV) have a miles-per-gallon equivalent (MPGe) of 70 and a 30-mile range in all-electric mode.

Standard engines are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission while the hybrids are given a six-speed.

Model year 2022 pricing for FWD models (with a $1,225 destination charge included) ranges from $28,425 for an SE to $42,185 for the Calligraphy. AWD is an extra $1,700 on all trims. Pricing for hybrids starts at $34,975 and PHEVs at $40,575.

The Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy model I drove made its debut as a 2021 model. It possesses every feature of the previously top-tier Limited model, which itself is already brimming with special features, and is further adorned with unique high-style alloy wheels, an eco-suede headliner, color head-up display, premium exterior and interior design accents, ambient lighting, and quilted leather seats.

I’m not a fan of quilting although I do think it looks great on quilts. Calligraphy’s quilting is at least tastefully done, confined to limited areas and not taking over the entire seat surface.

In all other ways, the Santa Fe Calligraphy interior is peachy. It meets the basic big three requirements of roomy, comfy and quiet, and doubles down by placing controls in logical places and making them easy to see and use. Styling is clean and practical, not flamboyant, and materials are solid and first-rate.

An interior focal point is the tasteful 10.25-inch touchscreen arising from the center dash, servicing the infotainment system that includes a 12-speaker Harman Kardon premium audio system. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are included, as are the essential physical knobs for volume and tuning control, positioned below on the center stack.

Santa Fe’s layout as a two-row mid-size SUV means plenty of room for back-seat passengers along with a sizeable cargo area. Cargo capacity with rear seats folded is 72.1 cubic feet, and with the seats upright (they recline, by the way) a spacious 36.4 cubic feet is still available.

The turbo-four engine exhibits ample amounts of get-up-and-go, and the rest of the Santa Fe completes the package by supplying a civilized ride and capable handling.

The Hyundai Santa Fe is a mid-size SUV with seating for up to five passengers. The upscale Calligraphy model is shown here. (Manufacturer photo)

The Hyundai Santa Fe is a mid-size SUV with seating for up to five passengers. The upscale Calligraphy model is shown here. (Manufacturer photo)

2021 HYUNDAI SANTA FE CALLIGRAPHY AWD

Base price, including destination charge: $43,275

Price as driven: $43,430

Mary Lowry is a member of the Motor Press Guild and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. She lives in Snohomish County. Vehicles are provided by automotive manufacturers as a one-week loan for evaluation purposes only. Manufacturers do not control content of the reviews.

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