Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

2022 Hyundai Santa Fe First Drive: Jack Of All Trades, Master Of Value

A plug-in hybrid complements the Santa Fe line for 2022 with a purely electric range of up to 50 kilometers and 267 system horsepower, although availability is limited by the offer. Hyundai

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe targets the big, slow-beating heart of the midsize SUV market: two rows, five passengers, and no optional third row that kids can argue about – or get out of. In terms of size, it divides the difference between more compact machines like the Toyota RAV4 and slightly larger mid-range models like the new Jeep Grand Cherokee for 2022. The result is a classic jack of all trades. The Santa Fe has many broad talents, but one of the main distinguishing features of the Santa Fe is its value.

If excitement is lacking in the newest Santa Fe, it is not the well-known Hyundai values ​​and virtues. This crossover drives just about anything in the class, its interior brings in the engaging design that has become a trademark, and the automaker piles on top of the features. To break away from the grazing SUV herd, Hyundai is offering several hybrid versions under four powertrain options, including a new plug-in hybrid (PHEV) for ’22 that starts at $ 40,575.

Like most of its competitors, the Hyundai offers a hodgepodge of models and prices. A simple Santa Fe SE starts at an attractive $ 28,385 and attracts budget-conscious buyers with maximum square footage for the dollar. (All-wheel drive adds a $ 1,700 surcharge for non-hybrids). On the non-hybrid rung, a leather-lined calligraphy edition starts at $ 42,145.

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

Hyundai Santa Fe 2022The Santa Fe divides the size difference between compact crossovers like the Toyota RAV4 and mid-range cars like Hyundai’s own Palisade. It’s not as big as it seems, however, and the RAV4 has to beat it in the cargo space. Hyundai

Driving the Hyundai Santa Fe 2022

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

The Hybrid Limited earned an EPA-rated 33 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. That economy represents a remarkable leap from the 25 mpg city, 28 mpg highway of the non-hybrid Santa Fe SEL. But it’s not even in the baseball stadium of the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid’s 41 city and 38 highways.

The hybrid drives intelligently, including almost imperceptible handovers when the gas engine comes to life or shuts off when slowing down. As with some hybrids, it is a little slow to respond to an initial press of the accelerator, but then performance kicks in after only a brief pause. Push harder and the Hybrid proves to be just fast enough for the cut and thrust of daily commuting or freeway merges, increasing from roughly 7.5 seconds to 60 mph. While the RAV4 Hybrid is significantly more fuel efficient, the Santa Fe met its EPA rating and showed me around 33 mpg on leisurely cruises around New York and the surrounding area.

As for the non-hybrid Limited, its engine is mated to an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, which can feel a little clunky, especially at low-speed driving. Still, this Limited can accelerate to 60 mph in about 6.0 seconds, which gives this suburban van some personality.

Hyundai Santa Fe 2022Adding options can make the Santa Fe’s interior an opulent place, though all versions come with a functional, family-friendly environment. Hyundai

The big and small of the in-between sizes

The exterior design isn’t one of the highlights. The Hyundai’s overzealous curves, fillips, and humped grille manage to look hectic and generic at the same time, especially when compared to the slightly larger palisade, which has a more distinctive style.

In terms of size, the Santa Fe is definitely a tweener: longer and roomier than a typical compact SUV like the Honda CR-V or the Toyota RAV4, but a few inches away from most midsize competitors. The upscale interior benefits from a Volvo-esque flying bridge console, though the busy array of console switches runs counter to Hyundai’s usual simplistic approach. The rear seats are great for knee and hip clearance, but a bit shy about headroom given the overall dimensions.

Family-friendly cargo space puts 36.4 cubic feet behind the split-fold rear seats. There are 72.1 cubes with the rear seats folded down and a nicely cut and finished cargo space that Ford or Chevy could mimic.

Hyundai Santa Fe 2022The Santa Fe’s extra size over its compact competitors is most useful in the back seat. With more than 40 inches of legroom there is significantly more than the RAV4 and you don’t have to compromise on comfort when accessing the third row of seats. Hyundai

However, the Hyundai’s packaging questions whether it benefits from its larger footprint: at just over 188 inches in length, the Santa Fe is seven inches longer than a Toyota RAV4 and about 20 inches longer than a Honda CR-V. Despite the Hyundai’s size advantage, the RAV4 is practically the same as its cargo space, whether with the rear seats up or down. And the CR-V actually beats it, with up to 39.2 cubes behind the rear seats and about 76 cubic feet with the seats folded down.

The Santa Fe isn’t the only player in the segment with this problem; the Grand Cherokee, Ford Edge, Murano, and Chevy Blazers are all a bit stingy when it comes to cargo space relative to their exterior sizes.

Which Santa Fe is the best value for money?

For many buyers, the strategy will be to focus on models that highlight the Hyundai’s winning spots – including the airy and sleek interior, smooth ride, and confident traction – without breaking the bank.

While the SE is a bit bare, the SEL is an obvious value game despite a modest 191 horsepower from the 2.5-liter quad. The Santa Fe SEL starts at $ 30,185. The SEL also brings functions such as wireless charging of devices, heated front seats, blind spot monitor, satellite radio and keyless access with push-button start. All-wheel drive adds $ 1,700, as does a convenience package with an array of features including an electric hatchback and a 12.3-inch digital driver display.

Hyundai Santa Fe 2022The infotainment system from Hyundai is easy to learn and extensively equipped with digital helpers and nice extras. This 10.3-inch screen is an upgrade from the standard 8.0-inch device that uses the same chassis but gets additional physical control buttons. Hyundai

Many buyers will be satisfied at this level, but for those who want more, a premium package for $ 4,025 brings the SEL to Deluxe Territory, with features like leather upholstery; a 10.25 ”navigation touchscreen with solid graphics and ease of use; Panoramic sunroof, Harman Kardon Premium Audio with 12 speakers, Hyundai’s outstanding Highway Driving Assist with automatic lane centering, LED ambient lighting and more. Throw in a $ 450 towbar and a nearly-loaded SEL is available for $ 37,700 with all-wheel drive.

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

On the plus side, this plug-in model can officially travel 50 km on electric power before its 1.6-liter turbo gasoline engine kicks in, which can save a lot of fuel in the long run if you’re mainly driving around town. The engine is powered by a 90-horsepower electric motor powered by a 13.8-kilowatt-hour battery to add noticeable pizzazz, but when the battery runs out the PHEV’s fuel economy is nothing special. Next year, this Sante Fe PHEV will be expanded to include a plug-in version of the related Kia Sorento, with Jeep planning to step into the game with its Grand Cherokee 4xe.

2022 Hyundai Santa Fe XRTThe Santa Fe XRT adds some more aggressive body panels and running boards, but no additional ground clearance or mechanical upgrades. Hyundai

Another new model for ’22, the Santa Fe XRT, features a rugged adventure-style body, including skid plates, steps and black 18-inch wheels. But it’s the same crossover softie underneath, with AWD not even standard. The XRT only comes with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 191 hp and a six-speed automatic transmission. This XRT starts at $ 33,485. What’s noteworthy is that the fairing doesn’t add any extra off-road talent, even if it looks like it.

A word on the hybrid pricing: The premium Sante Fe Limited PHEV is $ 46,545, about $ 5,000 more than the comparable hybrid without a plug. At $ 40,535, the SEL convenience version of the PHEV costs about $ 5,700 more than the cheapest standard hybrid. Ah, but Santa Fe PHEV buyers are eligible for a federal tax credit of $ 6,587 (out of a maximum of $ 7,500) due to its 31-mile all-electric range, which definitely helps ease the pain of the tax office.

The problem becomes finding one: the Santa Fe plug-in hybrid 2022 should arrive at dealerships in August, starting in coastal states that adhere to stricter emissions standards. Until Hyundai proves otherwise, the widespread availability of the plug-in in all 50 states remains an open question. Fortunately, there are three versions of the standard hybrid to please the eco-conscious types. Again, this is the well-known big tent strategy for medium-sized SUVs; something for everyone.

2022 Hyundai Santa Fe PHEVWhile not as all-terrain as the Subaru Ascent, the Santa Fe still has 8.2 inches of ground clearance and optional all-wheel drive. It can ride some dirt roads and easy trails, but it feels better on the sidewalk. Hyundai

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