Hyundai Santa Fe: Best Car To Buy 2019 nominee

October 25, 2018

With its sharp styling, the 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe stands out among crossover SUVs lined up at carpool or in the Target parking lot. 

MORE: Follow all our Best Car To Buy 2019 news as we name a winner

Its squinting headlights are just one of the reasons it earned a nomination to our Best Car To Buy competition this year. The Santa Fe costs less than $30,000 to start, a price that includes active safety tech that helped it earn top marks in crash tests, an 8-speed automatic transmission, and a 2.4-liter inline-4 rated at 185 horsepower. 

MORE: Read our 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe first drive

The Santa Fe's just-right sizing means it slots in between compact crossovers such as the Chevrolet Equinox and Subaru Forester and mid-size high-riders such as the Ford Edge and Nissan Murano. That means it's spacious inside with more than 35 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seat. 

We're most smitten with turbocharged Santa Fe crossover SUVs, which swap in a 235-hp 2.0-liter turbo-4. In this case, the turbo doesn't transform the Santa Fe into a rocketship, but it delivers smooth, strong power and pairs well with its efficiency-minded 8-speed automatic transmission. The transmission upshifts quickly to try to save fuel. 

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe

The Santa Fe rides comfortably and is well-isolated from the road. Its spacious interior makes it an excellent choice for families not interested in a three-row vehicle. For them, the renamed Santa Fe XL will do this year, while a new model dubbed Hyundai Palisade is due in dealers next year. Hyundai's multi-prong crossover SUV approach means that there's a tall-riding vehicle for just about every need in its showrooms. 

If there's something that'll hold the Santa Fe back, it's the crossover SUV's fuel-economy ratings from the EPA. Turbo models earn just 21 mpg with all-wheel drive and non-turbos aren't likely to be much thriftier in real-world driving.  

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