Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Review: A Closer Look at the Mid-Size Crossover SUV with Exceptional Performance

Image Source: Gabriel Nica / Shutterstock

The well-designed 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe proves to be an ideal choice in the hybrid version, while the Calligraphy models entice with their luxurious features. The Santa Fe is a mid-size crossover SUV offering seating for five, a fuel-efficient Hybrid model, and the turbo-4 Calligraphy luxury edition. It competes with vehicles like the Kia Sorento, Honda Passport, Nissan Murano, and Jeep Grand Cherokee. The lineup for 2022 includes the introduction of a plug-in hybrid model and the addition of a new XRT trim to the existing SE, SEL, Limited, and Calligraphy models.

The Santa Fe features a standard SUV body, accentuated by distinctive cut lines and curved surfaces. The front end boasts a split grille with textured panels flanked by split headlights in a letter-T shape, enhanced by metallic bands running along the lower front end. The exterior design is dynamic with pronounced styling cues such as wheel well cutlines and robust side sculpting. The new XRT variant offers a more subdued appearance with dark trims and wheels, toning down the overall look.

While we haven’t tested the base model yet, we have experienced its 191-hp 2.5-liter inline-4 engine paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission in other models. Performance-wise, we anticipate a mid-eight-second range for the 0-60 mph acceleration, making it a solid budget-friendly option. The turbo-4 variant, generating 277 hp and 311 lb-ft of torque, delivers quicker responses to throttle inputs compared to the base engine, especially in Sport mode. However, the turbo-4’s shift quality is occasionally less refined, particularly during low-speed gear changes. The turbo-4 engine becomes necessary to handle the Santa Fe’s weight of around 4,000 lb and is essential for towing up to its maximum capacity of 3,500 lb. While the Santa Fe isn’t built for intense off-road adventures, its 8.2 inches of ground clearance, all-weather traction, and capability to navigate snowy terrains make it suitable for various driving conditions.

Equipped with front strut and rear multi-link suspension and electric power steering, the Santa Fe delivers adequate handling characteristics. The vehicle’s stability is notable, even when equipped with 19-inch wheels on select models, effectively absorbing imperfections on the road such as deep ruts and pavement irregularities. The Santa Fe excels at smoothing out extended highway undulations and responds promptly to sharp steering inputs without compromising its composure.

Opting for the Santa Fe Hybrid introduces two electric motors, a 1.49-kWh battery pack, and a 1.6-liter turbo-4 engine coupled with a 6-speed automatic transmission and standard all-wheel drive. Despite being less dynamic than the turbo-4 model, the Hybrid version offers similar power output (net 226 hp, albeit with added battery weight) and delivers a smooth power delivery experience. The Santa Fe Hybrid balances performance and efficiency, achieving an impressive 34-mpg combined rating on Blue models. It accelerates briskly, features responsive steering, and maintains a comfortable ride quality even with the extra weight.

The Plug-In Hybrid version further enhances fuel efficiency by allowing electric-only driving for up to 31 miles, with the option for hybrid mode combining battery and engine power. The Santa Fe Plug-In Hybrid incorporates drive modes and standard all-wheel drive but experiences increased tire and suspension noise and a slightly firmer ride due to its heavier curb weight management. Though hybrids offer optimal fuel efficiency, even the base models boast commendable EPA ratings. The Santa Fe offers a variety of powertrain options with the base inline-4 achieving 25 mpg city, 28 mpg highway, and 26 mpg combined with front-wheel drive, slightly lower with all-wheel drive. The turbo-4 editions deliver 22/28/25 mpg and 21/28/24 mpg with front- or all-wheel drive. Hybrid models are the most efficient, with Hybrid Blue achieving EPA ratings of 36/31/34 mpg and higher-spec versions at 33/30/32 mpg. The plug-in hybrid achieves a score of 76 MPGe, with 33 mpg combined and a plug-in range of 31 miles.

In terms of safety, the Santa Fe excels and garners top scores in crash tests, ensuring exceptional protection for occupants. The IIHS awards the Santa Fe with its highest accolade, the Top Safety Pick+, even in its base configuration. The SUV boasts standard automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitors, active lane control, automatic high beams, and adaptive cruise control across all models. Optional safety features include blind-spot steering assist, parking sensors, a surround-view camera system, and blind-spot cameras displaying visual data in the gauge cluster.

Inside the Santa Fe, a well-organized dashboard features an 8.0- or 10.3-inch touchscreen display and an electronic gear shifter on the center console. The cabin incorporates a range of switches and buttons housed within a control pad and pod-shaped vents. Higher trim levels offer premium amenities such as a 12.3-inch digital cluster, ambient lighting, nappa leather upholstery, and soft-touch materials, elevating the interior ambiance to luxury levels comparable to higher-end brands. The Limited and Calligraphy models impress with their fit and finish, while the turbo-4 engine noise is mitigated by additional sound-deadening materials, particularly in the higher trims. Lower-tier models feature more utilitarian design elements with black plastic and durable fabric, alongside slightly more pronounced tire noise.

The Santa Fe provides a spacious five-seat interior with ample cargo capacity, appealing to drivers transitioning from sedans to SUVs. With a wheelbase of 108.9 inches and an overall length of 188.4 inches, the Santa Fe offers generous space for occupants. The front seats, especially in higher trims, deliver exceptional comfort with power adjustment available on SEL and above trims. Small-item storage solutions are abundant throughout the cabin, including a covered bin and cupholders near the shifter. The second row accommodates three passengers, with ample head and legroom even for taller occupants. While lacking a sliding feature found in competitors like the Kia Sorento, the Santa Fe offers a generous 41.7 inches of legroom for rear-seat passengers. Cargo capacity amounts to 36.4 cubic feet with the seats up, expanding to 72.1 cubic feet when the rear seats are folded down, complemented by a convenient storage tray under the cargo floor.

Hyundai offers the Santa Fe in SE, SEL, XRT, Limited, and Calligraphy trims, each loaded with standard features and innovative infotainment options. The base Santa Fe SE, priced at $28,425, includes 18-inch wheels, adaptive cruise control, LED headlights, cloth upholstery, and an 8.0-inch touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. All-wheel drive is available as an optional upgrade for an additional $1,700. The Santa Fe SEL, starting at $30,225, comes standard with an 8-way power driver seat, remote start, wireless phone charging, heated front seats, and satellite radio. An optional package enhances this trim level with amenities such as a power tailgate, leather upholstery, a 12.3-inch digital display, premium audio system, power front passenger seat, 10.3-inch touchscreen with navigation, and a panoramic sunroof, providing exceptional value at around $36,000. The Santa Fe XRT at $33,525 may appeal to those seeking a more distinct exterior appearance with its dark trim elements.

For buyers seeking more luxury and advanced features, the Santa Fe Limited at $40,185 offers 19-inch wheels, parking sensors, cooled front seats, upgraded LED headlights, heated rear seats, and a surround-view camera system. Topping the range is the Santa Fe Calligraphy priced at $42,185, featuring ambient lighting, quilted nappa leather upholstery, a head-up display, and 20-inch wheels. The most expensive model is the Santa Fe Limited plug-in hybrid costing $46,545.

The Hybrid Blue variant of the Santa Fe starts at $34,935 and is also offered in SEL Premium and Limited trims. The Santa Fe Plug-In Hybrid is priced from $41,245 and is only available in certain states adhering to plug-in vehicle regulations, such as California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

While the Hyundai Santa Fe has traditionally occupied a middle ground among midsize SUVs, the 2022 iteration stands out with its exceptional value, efficient powertrain options, and cutting-edge technology. The Santa Fe competes strongly in its segment, offering a compelling package that exceeds expectations and justifies its place as a standout choice in the crowded SUV market.

Image Source: Gabriel Nica / Shutterstock

You May Also Like


The 2020 Lexus GX 460 is old school Lexus cool. The luxury SUV hasn’t changed much over the years at its core but this...


777 Motors teams up with Italian automaker Dallara to introduce their inaugural hypercar model. Dubbed the 777 hypercar, it features an FIA-approved carbon monocoque...


Porsche has introduced the 911 Dakar to give sports car enthusiasts a whole new experience with a touch of the great outdoors. The 911...


# First Production Specification Lamborghini Huracan Sterrato Spotted On The Streets Earlier this month, Lamborghini revealed the Huracan Sterrato, a high-performance car designed for...