Santa Fe

Hyundai Santa Fe information and reviews

Click here for the official Hyundai page for the Santa Fe.

The Santa Fe was awarded a Top Safety Pick from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The Santa Fe receives some significant updates for 2021. In fact, though it doesn't look like it, it sits on a new platform so it is actually a redesign. In this article Kelly Blue Book explains some of the updates and explains how the Santa Fe remains a Kelly Blue Book Best Buy in the 2-row Midsize SUV segment for 2021. Actually, they say the improved powertrains, technology, and more make it Best in Class for 2021.

US News compiles reviews from around the web to help them provide car rankings, so think of what they do as consensus rankings of the experts. For 2021, the Santa Fe is tied for the #1 ranked midsize SUV, placing it ahead of the Honda Passport, Ford Edge, Nissan Murano (and, well, every other car in the class save for one). Kudos include the comfortable ride, upscale interior, and easy to use technology.

While this is a review about the naturally aspirated 4-cylinder, as well as the tubo 4-cylinder, engines, I'm glad that MotorTrend brought this up about the Santa Fe turbo. The turbo is mated to a dual-clutch transmission. It is a wet-type, which tend to drive more refined than the dry-type. But a dual-clutch transmission is not as refined as a torque-converter automatic transmission. Then why even use a dual-clutch transmission? (A dual-clutch transmission is kind-of an automated manual transmission - you still put it in drive and it does its thing - but it has the mechanical idiosyncrasies of a manual transmission, since it is kind-of a robotically shifted manual transmission.) They use a dual-clutch because there are benefits to doing so - better fuel economy and more of the power that the engine creates makes it to the drive wheels. One of the downsides to the torque-converter automatic is that it sucks away more of the power than the engine creates as a trade-off for thar more refined operation. The lower efficiency of the torque converter also causes lower fuel economy. Personally I am happy to give up a little refinement to get better power and fuel economy. MotorTrend, while liking the improved acceleration, would prefer to sacrifice some of that for better refinement.... The rest of the article is very positive about the Santa Fe: it provides sportier handling than its competition while still being a comfortable drive, has better braking than just about all of its competition, is loaded with value, and has a near luxury trim level available.

According to the 2020 JD Power Initial Quality Study, the Santa Fe placed third in class.

Speaking of JD Power studies: let's face it, having a car that's easy to operate is critical to enjoying the car overall. Read through a number of reviews on this site and you will see a trend that Hyundai has among the highest satisfaction in the area of infotainment. It is no surprise, then, that the Hyundai Santa Fe places best in class for its multimedia systems.

The Santa Fe SEL Plus and higher trims have a rear seat minder to help parents and pet owners remember that a child or pet is in the back seat. But Hyundai is the only carmaker at the date of this article's writing (July 31, 2018) that has a sensor to help detect movement in the back seat after the car is turned off and the doors locked. It will honk the horn and send a text or email alert to the owner of the Santa Fe. This article defines the feature well, and does point out that while it is a great feature, it isn't foolproof. But it can certainly help. Read Consumer Reports' article, and helpful tips to help avoid heat stroke with children and pets.

In this instrumented test review of the Santa Fe Calligraphy trim level, Car and Driver has a lot of good to say about it. Remember the review above that didn't care for the dual-clutch transmission? Well, others apparently feel the way I do as Car and Driver says the "new turbo-four and the eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission work together seamlessly." They point out that it is quick, handles well, and gets decent fuel economy, making it very competitive in its class of stronger-engine-optioned midsize crossovers.

©2021 Tim Bergey

The views expressed on this website are not necessarily those of my employer.
Images copyright John Barclay, Hyundai.


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