2022 Hyundai Santa Fe first test: jack of all trades, master of value

A plug-in hybrid joins the Santa Fe lineup for 2022, with up to 50km of all-electric range and 267 horsepower, though availability is limited by supply. Hyundai

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe targets the big, slow-hearted mid-size SUV market: two-row, five-passenger, and no optional third row for the kids to fight or fight. In terms of size, it splits the difference between more compact machines like the Toyota RAV4 and slightly larger midsize vehicles like the new Jeep Grand Cherokee for 2022. The result is a classic jack of all trades. The Santa Fe has many talents, but stands out primarily for its value.

While excitement is lacking in the latest Santa Fe, Hyundai’s familiar value and virtues are not. This crossover drives as well as anything in the class, its interior brings in the attractive design that has become a hallmark of the brand and the automaker is accumulating the features. To separate itself from the herd of grazing SUVs, Hyundai is offering several hybrid versions from among four powertrain options, including a new plug-in hybrid (PHEV) for 22 that starts from $ 40,575.

Like most competitors, the Hyundai offers an assortment of models and prices. A basic Santa Fe SE starts from an attractive price of $ 28,385, attracting budget buyers with maximum square footage for the dollar. (All-wheel drive adds an additional $ 1,700 on non-hybrids). At the top of the non-hybrid rung, a leather-lined calligraphy edition starts at $ 42,145.

A trio of hybrid trims, minus the catch, goes from $ 34,835 for a base hybrid blue, $ 39,995 for the SEL Premium Hybrid and $ 41,345 for the Limited. These models combine a 178-horsepower 1.6-liter engine with a 59-horsepower electric motor and six-speed automatic transmission, for a total system of 226 horsepower.

Hyundai Santa Fe 2022
The Santa Fe divides the size difference between compact crossovers like the Toyota RAV4 and midsize like the Hyundai Palisade. However, it’s not as big on the inside as it looks, and the RAV4 has beaten it up on the cargo area. Hyundai

Driving the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe

To see how the Santa Fe Hybrid stands out as a daily driver, I took the crossover on an extended tour of New York City and surrounding areas. I also tested the most powerful model of the bunch: a non-hybrid Limited with 277 eager horsepower from a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, starting at $ 40,145.

The Hybrid Limited gains 33 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. This economy represents a notable jump over the city’s 25 mpg and the 28 mpg highway of the non-hybrid Santa Fe SEL. But it’s not even in the stadium with the 41 cities and 38 highways of the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid.

The hybrid drives intelligently, including almost imperceptible transfers when the gasoline engine comes to life or stops during deceleration. As with some hybrids, it’s a bit slow to respond to initial throttle pressure, but horsepower kicks in after only a brief pause. Squeeze harder, and the hybrid proves to be just quick enough for daily commutes or highway mergers, with a thrust of around 7.5 seconds at 60 mph. While the RAV4 Hybrid saves significantly more fuel, the Santa Fe achieved its EPA rating, showing me around 33 mpg on unhurried cruises through New York and surrounding areas.

As for the non-hybrid Limited, its engine is mated to an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission which can feel a bit lumpy, especially at low speeds. Still, this Limited can hit 60 mph in about 6.0 seconds, adding personality to this commuter hauler.

Hyundai Santa Fe 2022
Adding options can turn the interior of the Santa Fe into a fairly opulent place, though all versions come with a functional, family-friendly environment. Hyundai

The big and the small of the size between sizes

Highlights do not include exterior styling. The over-enthusiastic curves, bulges and dented grille of the Hyundai manage to look both choppy and generic, especially compared to the slightly larger Palisade, which has a more distinctive styling.

Size-wise, the Santa Fe is definitely a tweener: longer and roomier than a typical compact SUV like the Honda CR-V or Toyota RAV4, but within inches of most mid-size competitors. . The upscale interior benefits from a Volvo-style flying bridge console, although the console-loaded range of switches runs counter to Hyundai’s usual streamlined approach. The rear seats are great for the knees and hips, but a bit shy for the head considering the overall dimensions.

Family cargo space brings 36.4 cubic feet behind the two-piece folding rear seats. There are 72.1 cubes with the rear seats folded down and a well-stocked, finished cargo area that a Ford or Chevy could emulate.

Hyundai Santa Fe 2022
The Santa Fe’s extra size compared to its compact competitors is more useful in the back seat. With over 40 inches of legroom, there’s noticeably more than in the RAV4 and no need to compromise on comfort to access a third row. Hyundai

Still, the Hyundai’s packaging calls into question whether it enjoys its largest footprint: Stretching just over 188 inches in length, the Santa Fe is seven inches taller than a Toyota RAV4 and around eight. inches taller than a Honda CR-V. Despite Hyundai’s size advantage, the RAV4 practically matches its cargo space, whether with the rear seats upright or folded. And the CR-V actually beats it, with up to 39.2 cubic feet behind the rear seats and around 76 cubic feet with the seats folded down.

The Santa Fe isn’t the only player in the segment to have this problem; the Grand Cherokee, Ford Edge, Murano, and Chevy Blazer are all a bit tight on cargo space compared to their exterior dimensions.

Which Santa Fe is the best value for money?

For many buyers, the strategy will be to focus on models that showcase the winning points of the Hyundai, including that airy and well-appointed interior, smooth ride and confident traction, without breaking the bank.

While the SE is a bit stripped down, the SEL is an obvious value game despite the modest 191 horsepower from the naturally aspirated 2.5-liter four-cylinder. The Santa Fe SEL starts from $ 30,185. Even that SEL brings features like wireless device charging, heated front seats, blind spot monitor, satellite radio and keyless entry with push button start. All-wheel drive adds $ 1,700, as does a convenience package with a host of features, including a power tailgate and a 12.3-inch digital driver display.

Hyundai Santa Fe 2022
Hyundai’s infotainment system is easy to learn and abundantly packed with digital aids and cool extras. This 10.3-inch display is an upgrade to the standard 8.0-inch unit, which uses the same housing but has additional physical control buttons. Hyundai

Many buyers will be happy at this level, but for those who want more, a $ 4,025 Premium Package launches the SEL into luxury territory, with features like leather upholstery; a 10.25 inch navigation touchscreen with solid graphics and easy operation; panoramic sunroof, 12-speaker Harman Kardon premium audio system, Hyundai’s exceptional highway driving assistance system with automatic lane centering, LED ambient lighting and more. Add a $ 450 tow hitch and a nearly loaded SEL can be purchased for $ 37,700 with all-wheel drive.

The most affordable plug-in version, the SEL Convenience, starts from $ 40,535. But the Limited PHEV tops out at $ 46,545, uncomfortably close to Hyundai’s larger and more luxurious Palisade or its award-winning cousin Kia Telluride.

On the plus side, this trendy model can officially run 50 km on electricity before its turbocharged 1.6-liter gasoline engine kicks in, which could save a lot of fuel in the long run if your getaways are mostly in the city. The engine is boosted by a 90-horsepower electric motor, powered by a 13.8-kilowatt-hour battery for a noticeable boost in dynamism, but when the battery is depleted, the PHEV’s fuel mileage is nothing special. Next year, that Sante Fe PHEV will be joined by a plug-in version of the related Kia Sorento, with Jeep planning to launch into the game with its Grand Cherokee 4xe.

2022 Hyundai Santa Fe XRT
The Santa Fe XRT adds more aggressive body finishes and running boards, but no extra ground clearance or mechanical upgrades. Hyundai

Another new model for 22, the Santa Fe XRT, adds adventure-style bodywork additions, including skid plates, side steps, and black 18-inch wheels. But it’s the same crossover softie underneath, with all-wheel drive not even a standard feature. The XRT is only equipped with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine developing 191 horsepower and a six-speed automatic transmission. This XRT starts from $ 33,485. Notably, the coating doesn’t impart any extra off-road flair, even though it looks like the part.

A word on the price of the hybrid: The top-of-the-line PHEV Sante Fe Limited, at $ 46,545, costs about $ 5,000 more than the comparable no-plug hybrid. The SEL Convenience version of the PHEV, at $ 40,535, costs about $ 5,700 more than the more affordable standard hybrid. Ah, but Santa Fe PHEV buyers are eligible for a federal tax credit of $ 6,587 (of a maximum of $ 7,500), because of the 31 mile all-electric range, which certainly helps soothe the pain. from the finance office.

The problem becomes a problem: The Santa Fe 2022 plug-in hybrid was due to be released to dealers in August, starting with coastal states that are complying with more stringent emission standards. Until Hyundai proves otherwise, the wide availability of the plug-in in all 50 states remains an open question. Fortunately, there are three versions of the standard Hybrid to satisfy the green types. Again, this is the familiar strategy of large tents for midsize SUVs; A little something for everyone.

2022 Hyundai Santa Fe PHEV
While it doesn’t perform as well off-road as the Subaru Ascent, the Santa Fe still has 8.2-inch ground clearance and optional all-wheel drive. He can ride on dirt roads and light trails, but he feels more comfortable on the pavement. Hyundai

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