2022 Hyundai Santa Fe

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2021
The Car Connection
2021
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Martin Padgett Martin Padgett Editorial Director
November 4, 2021

Buying tip

Skip the turbo-4 and select the Santa Fe SEL Premium Hybrid for the best value.

features & specs

Calligraphy AWD
Calligraphy FWD
Limited AWD
MPG
21 city / 28 hwy
MPG
22 city / 28 hwy
MPG
21 city / 28 hwy
MSRP
$42,660
MSRP
$40,960
MSRP
$40,660

The smartly conceived 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe makes the most sense in hybrid spec, but Calligraphy crossovers lure us with luxury trappings.

What kind of vehicle is the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe? What does it compare to?

The Santa Fe spans the mid-size crossover SUV range with seating for five, a fuel-sipping Hybrid model, and turbo-4 Calligraphy luxury edition. Its competition ranges from the similar Kia Sorento to the Honda Passport, Nissan Murano, and Jeep Grand Cherokee. 

Is the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe a good SUV?

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It’s very good, with a TCC Rating of 7.2 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

What's new for the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe?

The plug-in hybrid is now available, and a new XRT trim joins the lineup of SE, SEL, Limited, and Calligraphy crossovers.

Last year’s revamp of the Santa Fe’s nose and tail injected some energetic styling cues, maybe a little too energetic. Its exterior wears lots of cutlines and trim, but this year’s new XRT edition tones some of the clutter down with dark trim and wheels. The interior strikes us as more appealing: it’s confidently executed, with podlike vents, a low beltline, and big infotainment screens of up to 10.3 inches to go with quilted leather and high-grade headliners.

The base Santa Fe makes do with a pedestrian 191-hp inline-4; a 277-hp turbo-4 clips along at a significantly faster pace, but city driving leaves its dual-clutch transmission confused at times. We like the 226-hp Hybrid best for smoothness and efficiency, but will hold judgement until we drive the coming plug-in hybrid and test its 31-mile range claim. All Santa Fes put ride quality ahead of steering precision—rightly so, for a family vehicle—and deliver that poise better with the smaller wheels and tires offered across the lineup.

With room for four 6-foot-tall passengers and a smaller fifth in the back middle seat, the Santa Fe scores in interior comfort. Its well-cushioned front seats can be covered in nappa leather, and can be power-adjusted, heated, and cooled; in back it’s comfy for people or easily folded down to grow storage space to 72.1 cubic feet behind the front seats. The related Kia Sorento still has a third-row seat, but the Santa Fe doesn’t.

Every Santa Fe comes with automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitors, adaptive cruise control, and automatic high-beam headlights. A head-up display can be fitted, as can a surround-view camera system. Crash-test scores rank at the top of the mid-size crossover class, too.

How much does the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe cost?

The $28,425 Santa Fe SE comes with cloth upholstery, 18-inch wheels, and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as an 8.0-inch touchscreen and a 5-year/60,000-mile warranty. Spend about $30,000 for an SEL with a power driver seat, wireless smartphone charging, and remote start—or make it a hybrid with a digital gauge cluster, leather upholstery, and a panoramic roof for about $39,000. 

Where is the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe made?

Hybrids come from South Korea; other Santa Fes hail from Alabama.

6

2022 Hyundai Santa Fe

Styling

The suave interior’s better than its busy body.

Is the Hyundai Santa Fe a good-looking car?

We’d spend hours in the Santa Fe’s handsomely trimmed cabin, but the exterior wears too many details. It’s a 6 here, with a point above average for the interior.

The Santa Fe has a standard-issue SUV body, and takes it overboard with cut lines and stamped-in curves. The split grille and its textured panels get bracketed by split headlights pinned to the front end in letter-T shapes; it’s all trimmed by metallic bands that run across the lower front end. There’s plenty going on here, and it hardly quiets down thanks to the cutlines that circle the wheel wells and the heavy side sculpting. The new XRT edition tones down some of the clutter with its dark trim and wheels, but it’s still fussy.

Inside the Santa Fe calms down with a tiered dash capped by an 8.0- or 10.3-inch touchscreen. An electronic gear shifter studs the center console, and various switches and buttons group inside a control pad and pod-shaped vents. With the pricey additions of a 12.3-inch digital cluster, ambient lighting, nappa leather, and soft-touch trim, the Santa Fe borders on Genesis levels of refinement; if Hyundai were Toyota, the Santa Fe Calligraphy would be a Lexus.

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6

2022 Hyundai Santa Fe

Performance

The ride’s the Santa Fe’s north star; bring on the plug-in.

Turbo-4 and hybrid Santa Fe crossovers hit the mark for performance and efficiency, and ride quality positions it with the best in its category. We give it an extra point for that composure, for a 6 here.

Is the Hyundai Santa Fe 4WD?

Each version can be configured with all-wheel drive; it’s standard on the hybrids.

How fast is the Hyundai Santa Fe?

We’ve yet to drive a base model but having sampled its 191-hp 2.5-liter inline-4 and 8-speed automatic in other models, we expect a 0-60 mph time in the mid-eight-second range, a moderate pace that’s appropriate for a family vehicle. 

Less common but more urgent is Hyundai’s 277-hp 2.5-liter turbo-4. With 311 lb-ft of torque and a dual-clutch 8-speed automatic, it’s swifter to respond to stabs of gas than the base engine, but the shift quality’s less sure. Less smooth in some low-speed gear changes, it’s still eager to move, particularly in Sport mode, where it drops the indecisive shift logic for quick, clean changes. 

At about 4,000 lb the Santa Fe needs the turbo-4 to overcome the power struggle, and it’s practically required to tow up to its max rating of 3,500 lb. Off-roading isn’t entirely its thing, but its 8.2 inches of ground clearance, all-weather traction, and ability to roll over bumps buried in snow will be welcome by many drivers.

With its front strut and rear multi-link suspension, teamed with electric power steering, the Santa Fe has unremarkable but predictable handling. Its poise stands out, even on 19-inch wheels on some versions; it handles deep ruts and pavement seams with aplomb, with a little suspension noise in the mix. It’s best at damping long, low ripples on the highway, and it responds to sharp steering changes without losing its cool.

Santa Fe Hybrid performance

Choose the Santa Fe Hybrid, and Hyundai slips in two electric motors, a 1.49-kwh battery pack, and a 1.6-liter turbo-4 all linked to a 6-speed automatic and standard all-wheel drive. It’s admittedly less energetic than the turbo-4—but we’d pick this version over the base model, thanks to similar power output (a net 226 hp, offset by a few hundred pounds more in batteries) and equally smooth power delivery. 

The Santa Fe Hybrid’s speed trade-off seems worth it, considering the high 34-mpg combined rating on Blue models. It’s quick enough off the line, has light but effective steering, and the ride’s unruffled by the extra weight. Its admirable blend of economy leaves us ready to sample the plug-in hybrid and its 31 miles of electric driving; stay tuned for an update soon.

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8

2022 Hyundai Santa Fe

Comfort & Quality

Stuffed to its limits, the 2022 Santa Fe suits five plus baggage.

The Santa Fe wraps its running gear around a five-seat interior with ample cargo space. It’s an 8 here thanks to expansive storage space and well-shaped front and back seats.

Riding on a 108.9-inch wheelbase, the 188.4-inch-long Santa Fe has the kind of space that lures drivers from sedans to SUVs. In front, the seats in higher-spec models have all the right cushions in all the right places, with power adjustment on the SEL trim level and above. Base seats have cloth covering, but heating and cooling come with pricey versions, as does power adjustment for the front passenger.

The Santa Fe incorporates lots of small-item storage between and around the front passengers, too—ahead of the shifter there’s a covered bin, and a key-sized spot next to deep cupholders.

We’d be fine with three people in the second row, so long as the middle passenger came in a size medium. Head and leg room abounds for 6-footers even with the available glass roof. Though it lacks the Kia Sorento’s sliding second-row seat, the Santa Fe does have 41.7 inches of leg room for its back-seat passengers.

It has 36.4 cubic feet of cargo space, or 72.1 cubic feet when the back seats are folded down; there’s also a shallow storage tray under the cargo floor.

We’re impressed by the fit and finish in Limited and Calligraphy Santa Fes. The turbo-4 engine has a noticeable groan, but the thicker glass and finely woven materials that line the cabin blot out some road noise. Lower-end versions have more black plastic and durable-looking fabric, and more tire noise.

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2022 Hyundai Santa Fe

Safety

Crash-test scores push the Santa Fe into the top SUV echelon.

How safe is the Hyundai Santa Fe?

It’s exceptionally safe. We give it a 9 based on official tests and its extensive safety gear.

The IIHS awards the Santa Fe its Top Safety Pick+ trophy, even in base trim. Its headlights are “Acceptable,” except when they’re upgraded to “Good” LED units.

The Santa Fe’s nearly flawless in NHTSA tests, with five-star ratings across the board, save for a four-star rollover resistance rating.

All Santa Fe SUVs get standard automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitors, active lane control, automatic high beams, and adaptive cruise control.

Options include blind-spot steering assist, parking sensors, a surround-view camera system, and blind-spot cameras that display their visual data in the gauge cluster.

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9

2022 Hyundai Santa Fe

Features

With lavish equipment and warranty coverage, the Santa Fe’s nearly perfect here.

Hyundai sells the Santa Fe in SE, SEL, XRT, Limited, and Calligraphy trim—and each version has plenty of standard equipment and good infotainment. Add in the excellent warranty and it’s a great value too—it’s a 9 for us.

The $28,425 Santa Fe SE has 18-inch wheels, adaptive cruise control, LED headlights, cloth upholstery, and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto delivered via an 8.0-inch touchscreen. All-wheel drive costs $1,700. Hyundai’s superb 5-year/60,000-mile warranty also covers 3 years or 36,000 miles of scheduled maintenance.  

Which Hyundai Santa Fe should I buy?

Take the $30,225 Santa Fe SEL, with or without all-wheel drive. It has an 8-way power driver seat, remote start, wireless smartphone charging, heated front seats, and satellite radio. A package of features includes a power tailgate, leather upholstery, a 12.3-inch digital display, 12-speaker Harman Kardon audio, a power front passenger seat, a 10.3-inch touchscreen with navigation, and a panoramic sunroof. It’s a great value at about $36,000. We’d skip the $33,525 Santa Fe XRT unless you like its dark exterior trim.

The $40,185 Santa Fe Limited adds 19-inch wheels, parking sensors, cooled front seats, better LED headlights, heated rear seats, and a surround-view camera system.

Hyundai charges $34,935 for the Hybrid Blue; it also comes in SEL Premium and Limited trim. 

How much is a fully loaded Hyundai Santa Fe?

The $42,185 Santa Fe Calligraphy tops off the crossover with ambient lighting, quilted nappa leather upholstery, a head-up display, and 20-inch wheels. The most expensive model, though, is the $46,545 Santa Fe Limited plug-in hybrid.

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5

2022 Hyundai Santa Fe

Fuel Economy

Hybrids are tops, but even base versions get the EPA nod.

Is the Hyundai Santa Fe good on gas?

Among its four powertrains, the Santa Fe has a couple of gems. We rate it as a 5 based on the EPA ratings for its most common configuration. With the base inline-4, it’s pegged at 25 mpg city, 28 highway, 26 combined with front-wheel drive, though that drops to 22/25/24 mpg with all-wheel drive.

EPA ratings for the turbo-4 edition check in at 22/28/25 mpg and 21/28/24 mpg with front- or all-wheel drive.

Hybrids offer the best economy. Hybrid Blue models earn EPA ratings of 36/31/34 mpg while higher-spec models are set at 33/30/32 mpg. The coming plug-in hybrid gets scored at 76 MPGe, 33 mpg combined, and 31 miles of plug-in range.

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The Car Connection Consumer Review

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$27,200
MSRP based on SE FWD
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7.2
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 6
Performance 6
Comfort & Quality 8
Safety 9
Features 9
Fuel Economy 5
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2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Pricing Insights

  • 2022 Santa Fe available; 2021s sold out
  • Lease: From $319 per month
  • Rebate: No cash incentives
  • Finance: From 0% APR for 48 months
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