The Hyundai Santa Fe first debuted in 2001 and quickly gained popularity, heavily contributing to Hyundai's success in the U.S. The convenient features, reliability, and sporty appearance have earned the Santa Fe consistently high rating from major car magazines, consumer publications, and owner reviews. The latest model was recently unveiled at the New York car show, so let's explore what Hyundai is giving consumers for 2019.
How is the Performance of the Santa Fe?
The base engine of the Hyundai doesn't pack much punch, although there are upgrade packages available featuring a 235-hp turbocharged 2.0L GDI 4-cylinder engine, as well as a 6-cylinder turbo engine. For most city drivers, the base engine provides enough acceleration and responsiveness, although those who enjoy a bit more performance will prefer the 6-cylinder or turbo. The roadway experience is comfortable, with a suspension balanced well enough to provide a smooth ride whether holding one passenger or a full house. It's well-designed to minimize the rolling feeling some SUVs have when taking sharp turns and is responsive and agile. Steering is natural, without lags, and the front wheel drive standard option provides sufficient traction. There is an AWD package available, as well, for those needing the extra control.
How is the Driving Experience?
The Santa Fe doesn't handle like a roadster - and it isn't designed to. It does, however, provide tight handling thanks to a well-balanced suspension as well as Hyundai's patented AWD system. For those transitioning from driving a coupe or sedan, the Santa Fe is a good choice, as it doesn't have the unwieldy sensation that some minivans or larger SUVs do. The suspension has dampeners to create a smooth ride even on bumpy surfaces. The ride is steady, and the vehicle feels firmly planted on the road surface. Responsive steering helps driver confidence as does the hill descent control. The only drawback reviewers noticed was a slight hesitation when accelerating quickly or when climbing steep inclines.
What are the Safety Features?
The Sante Fe is equipped with standard driver and passenger airbags and an anti-lock braking system. All models have forward collision sensors, warning of slower moving vehicles or pedestrians, as well as on-road sensors that detect lane drifts and blind spot warnings. The multiple sensor warnings may take getting used to for those unfamiliar with them - some drivers reported distractions initially, as they're displayed heads up directly in front of the driver. Smart cruise control automatically adjusts when the Santa Fe detects a slower moving vehicle directly in front, and rear-detection sensors increase the field of vision when moving in reverse. Child-safety features are available in all but the baseline model, with vehicle detection sensors that prohibit the rear doors from opening when another car is approaching as well as a rear occupant alert, ensuring children or pets aren't locked inside the car.
How Reliable is the Santa Fe?
Hyundai vehicles have enjoyed a sharp rise in reliability and longevity over the past decade, and the Santa Fe is no exception. User reviews state few mechanical issues when preventative maintenance is performed on schedule. Hyundai backs their reputation for reliability with one of the better new car warranties - a five year, 60,000-mile warranty on the entire vehicle and a ten year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty. In addition, new car buyers will receive a five year/ unlimited miles 24-hour roadside assistance membership.
What Does the Interior Offer?
The Santa Fe is designed for busy people on the go, with wireless charging features, voice-activated wireless device command features, and compatibility with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Enjoy crisp, high-quality sound with the standard Infinity Premium Audio with Clari-Fi Music Restoration Technology speakers, situated throughout the car to properly suit the acoustics of the vehicle - no loud spots for passengers. The leather seats are smooth and well-cushioned, with heated and ventilated front seats as an add-on option. The Santa Fe offers second-row seating with plenty of leg room and storage, including beverage holders. Converting that second row to extended trunk storage is simple - instead of wrangling with manual seating adjustments, this model has push-button technology that automatically folds down the second row, creating over 100 cubic feet of space.
What is the Fuel Efficiency?
The base model of the Santa Fe SE, with the four-cylinder engine, averages 22 mpg in the city and 29 on the highway. This is one of the highest of any mid-sized SUV on the market and is consistently rated highly in published reviews. The Santa Fe SEL has a higher performing engine, dropping the average mpg to 21 for city driving and 27 on the highway. Choosing the Turbo AWD package reduces fuel efficiency even further, to 17 mpg in the city and 24 on the highway. The higher performing engine packages don't provide terrible gas mileage, but for those on a budget, they might not be the best choice. Reviews indicate that for the everyday driver, the performance difference between the base engine and the turbo is negligible.
Does the Santa Fe Fit My Lifestyle?
This SUV works well for a busy family on the go. The availability of wireless charging for devices allows for multiple uses, while the spacious interior for both driver and passengers makes it an ideal vehicle to transport both children and full-sized adults - or a car full of teens! The built-in safety features, both those preventing collisions and protecting after the fact, make it a comfortable choice for teen drivers or those who need a little extra help. Flexible cargo space allows sports equipment, large purchases, or lots of sales material for the road warrior to fit inside. While the handling and steering responsiveness is great for a vehicle its size, it's not intended to be a high-performance car in terms of speed and maneuverability. Those wanting excitement on the road may be disappointed. For comfort and convenience, however, the 2019 Santa Fe demonstrated again why this model is one of the top-selling SUVs in America.