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Hyundai beefs up 2022 Santa Fe with XRT appearance package

A dark exterior theme and chunky cladding appeals to buyers looking for a sporty, rugged look without the hassle of extra capability.

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Hyundai

Hyundai is adding a new XRT appearance package to the options list of the new Santa Fe. With dark exterior trim and chunky body cladding, the 2022 Santa Fe XRT is aimed at SUV shoppers looking for a more rugged style.

The Santa Fe got a complete makeover last year, part of the same wave of compelling new models and handsome redesigns that's left us with the awesome Palisade and the sharply styled new Tucson, the latter recently earning an Editor's Choice Award. Powered by a 191-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, the Santa Fe has already proven to be a strong competitor in its midsize, five-seat SUV class, but this new XRT spec looks like a direct appeal to drivers cross-shopping Subaru's Forester.

The XRT designation adds molded black trim along the lower edges of the doors, wheel arches and front and rear bumpers, as well as XRT-exclusive side steps. Hyundai's announcement also points out "dark silver front and rear skid plates." The blackout theme continues with a matte-black grille, black mirror covers and black side and cross roof rails and 18-inch dark alloy black wheels that are unique to XRT models.

What the XRT spec doesn't include is more off-road capability. Aside from the style bits, there are no ride height, powertrain or traction changes. Looking closely at the photos, even the "skid plates" appear to be more bumper trim than true underbody plates. On the bright side, because it's based largely on the SEL model with Convenience package, owners will be able to enjoy features like an auto-opening smart liftgate, Hyundai Digital Key functionality, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and power folding rear seats. And, with optional HTRAC all-wheel drive, the XRT should still be capable enough to handle the average dirt roads and mild off-road conditions between you and the trailhead.

The 2022 Santa Fe XRT starts at $33,485 (including the $1,185 destination charge) or $35,185 for the XRT AWD -- either way, just a $600 premium over the SEL with Convenience. The first examples should be arriving at dealerships now.