Being the middle child is never fun, but the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid makes the most of it. Hanging out between the three-row Palisade and its ever-so-slightly smaller Tucson sibling, the Santa Fe relies on a fancier approach to family-friendliness in order to justify its existence, and a new hybrid powertrain gives people another reason to check out this midsizer, as well.
The Santa Fe and Palisade rely on many of the same design staples, which is very much a good thing. The Santa Fe is a handsome midsize SUV. Its maw may be a little big for some people's tastes, but I think it integrates well with split-level headlights and various pieces of silver trim on the lower part of the body. It's handsome enough to earn a compliment or two without going too hard in the styling paint, which is more of the Tucson's arena. And now that hybrids are offered across nearly all of Hyundai's lineup, you're not going to find any garish brightwork signaling electrification; it's as normal as any other crossover out there.
The Santa Fe Hybrid's interior really ramps up the plushness. My Limited-trim tester rings in at $41,290 including $1,185 for destination, and despite hovering around the average new-car transaction price in 2021, it should make families feel like they've moved up a class. The leather seats are comfortable and supportive, and they're both heated and cooled. Soft materials cover all the relevant touch points, and build quality is high all-around. The textured finish of the front door speaker grilles might be my favorite part.
The Good ~ Lots of standard features ~ Comfortable ride ~ Great in-car tech
The Bad ~ Just-OK fuel economy ~ Not that different from more interesting Tucson Hybrid
The Bottom Line The 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid won't win many contests, but it's a solid family car with plenty of value.
Culling sedans from the lineup makes sense as buyers shift toward SUVs, even if those sedans happen to be very good.
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Believe it or not, this is one of the best cars on sale.
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The facility will be a part of Montana State University's Innovation campus.
Blacked-out trim, faux skid plates and roof rails are the main styling changes.