The Santa Fe comes in 3 trims the SE, SE Ultimate and the Limited Ultimate, while the Sport model comes in a 2.4L. 2.0L Turbo and 2.0L Turbo Ultimate. All models come standard as front-wheel drive, but all-wheel drive is an option across the board.
The Santa Fe Sport is powered by either one of two available engines. Both of which are mated to a 6-speed automatic. The standard engine is a 2.4L 4-cylinder making an impressive 185 horsepower. It also produces best-in-class fuel economy, rated at 22 mpg city and 27 mpg on the highway. The Santa Fe Sport 2.0T is powered by a turbocharged 4-cylinder making 240 horsepower. With power equivalent to or better than many of the V6 engines in its class, the Santa Fe Sport 2.0T still returns 19 mpg city and 27 mpg highway.
The Santa Fe, with three rows of seating, comes standard with a 3.3L V6 making 290 horsepower. Once again, power and fuel economy compare positively to most of its rivals. The Santa Fe accomplishes this feat with a combination of slippery aerodynamics, light weight, a 6-speed transmission and state-of-the-art direct injection on all of its engines.
The Santa Fe has plenty of standard equipment. Even the base Sport model comes with features such as air conditioning, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel with integrated stereo controls, second-row ventilation, power lumbar support, a trip computer and outside thermometer, cruise control, keyless entry, a 6-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 player, a 3-month subscription to Sirius XM satellite radio and Bluetooth connectivity.
Buyers opting for the Sport 2.0T get the more powerful engine, along with additional exterior features such as 18-inch wheels, fog lights, heated mirrors, automatic headlight control and a windshield wiper de-icer. Inside, the 2.0T differs from base models with the inclusion of a leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, a color LCD screen in their gauge cluster, an 8-way power adjustable and heated front seat and a compass.
The Santa Fe SE comes very similarly equipped to the base Sport, though with a much bigger engine and 3-row seating. Notable differences include standard fog lamps and 18-inch wheels on the SE. Likewise, Santa Fe Limited models echo many of the features of the 2.0T, though the Limited is better equipped, including dual-zone climate control, heated second-row seats, a leather interior, a power adjustable front passenger seat, a power rear lift gate, a rearview camera, blind spot detection, an uprated audio system and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.
Optional equipment includes HID xenon headlights, ventilated seating, front seat and side mirror memory, heated steering wheel, auxiliary outlets and premium audio systems.
All Santa Fe models come with plenty of safety equipment. Acceleration is monitored by a traction control system, while braking is aided by 4-channel anti-lock brakes featuring electronic brake distribution. Airbags are plentiful with front, side and roof-mounted airbags, as well as a driver's knee airbag. Seatbelt pre-tensioners, an anti-theft system and a tire pressure monitoring system round out the Santa Fe's safety features.
The Hyundai Santa Fe is all new, entering its fourth generation for the 2019 model year. But this midsize crossover SUV has a tough act to follow. The third-generation Santa Fe (which is actually still on sale as the ) remains an incredibly compelling product. , and still found it to be hugely competitive. Is this brand-new Santa Fe compelling enough to really move the needle?
The Santa Fe's exterior design does a terrific job of mixing ruggedness and sleekness. The first elements I notice when walking up to this SUV are the thin running lights unified by a lovely chrome strip that forms the radiator grille's upper framing. Flanking each side of the grille are large, bold-looking headlamp clusters that contrast well with the thin LED running lamps above them. Altogether, the front design lends to an unforgettable aesthetic.
Out back, the look doesn't appear as inspired or revolutionary, but remains handsome, nonetheless. The cabin design is also comely. I especially love the polygonal surfacing on the speaker grilles. Their artful nature goes far in making the rest of the Santa Fe's interior feel more upscale. That is until you look a little closer.
The Good The 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe is a fetching, fun-to-drive, all-around good midsize crossover SUV that's priced to make you forget about its competition.
The Bad Even its most powerful, turbocharged, four-cylinder engine option makes me miss the V6 of earlier model years. The interior plastics are cheap, too.
The Bottom Line Low price notwithstanding, the Santa Fe is compelling. But because it is priced so low, this is a midsize crossover that’s definitely worth your attention.
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