2019 Hyundai Santa Fe
A few years ago, Hyundai announced that they wanted to get serious with their SUV lineup. They recognize that these essential vehicles are ruling the market, outselling their sedan counterparts. So, Hyundai went all-in…and doubled down.
After the successful launch of the new Tucson and Kona, Hyundai released an all-new 2019 Santa Fe. We had a chance to drive the Ultimate version with all-wheel-drive to see whether the new Santa Fe has made the grade.
It is a very handsome vehicle. The silhouette alone is welcoming – and right-sized. It is not too big or small. It is simply just right. That also includes the wide-opening doors and excellent cargo access. Consumers will love the sculpting of the sharp creases found across the new Santa Fe.
The large grille up front is flanked by a set of “lower” headlamp units, upper LED driving lamps/turn signals, and fog lamps on the lower edge of the fascia. The chrome details on our Ultimate tester, as well as the 19-inch alloy wheels, make the Santa Fe pop out some more.
Inside the Santa Fe is a welcoming space for drivers and passengers. The instrument binnacle is flanked by two analog sets of gauges – the tachometer on the left, the fuel and temperature gauges on the right. In the middle is a TFT screen that includes the speedometer and other information screens. In all, it is a great set-up with a step forward for Hyundai models to come. You do have a series of switches and controls that are of high quality – just as you expect from a Hyundai. That includes the climate controls which offer both heated and cooled seats, along with a heated steering wheel.
We found the front seats to be comfortable and supportive. They are perfect for all sorts of tasks from the grocery run to a vacation far, far away. I just love the adjustments to fine tune your driving position and how it responds to the rest of the vehicle – and your body. Rear seat room is excellent and can fit two adults and a child – or three children – with superb leg room and excellent door access. The cargo space is tremendous – 35.9 cubic feet with the rear seat up, expanding to 71.3 cubic feet with it down.
The tablet-like infotainment screen offer playback and information options are tremendous. Options include Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, SiriusXM, a vast array of pre-sets.
Powering the new Santa Fe are two engines. Most models get the 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with 185 horsepower, connected to a new 8-speed automatic transmission. Limited and Ultimate models have a choice to upgrade to the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine with 235 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque, also mated to the new 8-speed automatic transmission. All models can be equipped with Hyundai’s HTrac all-wheel drive system.
The turbo is a perfect engine for the Santa Fe. It was very responsive off the line with absolutely no turbo lag. Lane changes and on-ramps are accomplished with ease. The transmission is smooth and quiet, while the all-wheel drive system provided necessary grip through snow and ice. It even turned 23.1 MPG in our care.
Ride quality is excellent. The suspension system does a great job absorbing road imperfections and uneven icy/snow surfaces. It takes corners quite well, without much lean or roll. In fact, the overall handling package feels more like a Sonata than a mid-sized, two-row SUV.
The steering system offered a tight turning radius and solid response from the wheel. Braking is also good with great pedal feel and response. The Santa Fe offered solid stops in normal, panic, and winter situations. In all, the newest member of Hyundai’s SUV family is highly maneuverable and well-behaved.
Pricing for the Santa Fe lineup starts at $24,750 for an SE with front-wheel drive. Our Ultimate tester with the turbocharged engine, all-wheel drive, and a long list of standard features came to $39,905.
Hyundai’s Santa Fe is one of the leaders of an emerging new SUV segment – two-row models that fir in-between compact and mid-sized, three-row models. Its competitors include the Ford Edge, Chevrolet Blazer, Jeep Cherokee, Nissan Murano, and the upcoming Honda Passport. The new Santa Fe also matches up well with similarly-sized three-row models, such as the Mitsubishi Outlander and Dodge Journey.
It seems that Hyundai is enjoying new success with its SUV lineup. The Santa Fe is now its shining star with its sharp design and excellent execution. If you are looking for a two-row SUV that offers space for growing teenagers and more cargo capacity – look no further than the Hyundai Santa Fe,.
Story Credits: Carsoup Editors