2019 Hyundai Santa Fe
CITY, Utah ó It seems unfair, but itís true: weekends fly, and
weekdays walk. For the most part, life is a day-to-day drill of
monotony punctuated by a few moments of pleasure. This explains why
comfort and convenience, not high horsepower thrills, is what most
motorists prefer ó especially those with families.
With that in
mind, if youíre contemplating a new family sled, consider the new
2019 Hyundai Santa Fe, a redesigned two-row crossover formerly known
as the Santa Fe Sport. (The former three-row Santa Fe is renamed the
Santa Fe XL for 2019.)
ascending SE, SEL, SEL Plus, Limited and Ultimate trim levels, each
Santa Fe with an increasing number of standard convenience features
and few options.
The new modelís
styling trades the previous versionís soft shapes for a more
broad-shouldered, masculine appearance, more reminiscent of an SUV.
Its face is particularly distinctive, with an aggressively textured
trapezoid-shaped grille flanked by stacked headlamp clusters and
capped by slim, horizontal daytime running lights and a chrome bar
thatís runs the width of the front thatís stylish assertive.
The Santa Feís
overall footprint remains much like last yearís Santa Fe Sport.
All passengers enjoy chair high seats and good headroom, although
the Santa Feís roofline slopes down noticeably to meet the top of
the windshield, lending the front row a more claustrophobic feel for
taller passengers. Cargo room is generous, and thereís a large
under-floor storage space with a removable Styrofoam divider.
Opening the automatic rear tailgate is as easy as standing near it
with the key fob. No swinging your foot under the bumper, as in
competing models. Thoughtfully, you can adjust the speed with which
the tailgate opens, and how high it goes.
depends on trim level. Less expensive models feature attractively
patterned cloth seats, while more expensive models feature leather
trim and a more expressive headliner. The instrument panel features
soft touch surfaces and stitched accents, although the door panels
use hard, cheap plastics that look appropriate on cheaper models and
out of place on pricier ones.
The Santa Fe
comes standard with front-wheel drive and a 185-horsepower 2.4-liter
double overhead-cam four-cylinder engine mated to an eight-speed
automatic transmission with manual shift mode. A 235-horsepower
turbocharged 2.0-liter DOHC four-cylinder is optional on Limited or
Ultimate models. All-wheel drive is optional. SE and SEL models wear
17-inch rubber, while SEL Plus, Limited and Ultimate trims get
18-inch or optional 19-inch footwear.
will likely choose the 2.4-liter engine, which has adequate power if
you live in a place where the only hills are landfills. Once facing
an incline, this engine gets easily winded, forcing drivers to floor
the throttle, which generates noise but not thrust. This makes the
optional 2.0-liter four the ideal choice, providing enough power in
any situation, especially when the vehicle is loaded with passengers
and gear. Pop the drive mode selector into Sport mode and the Santa
Fe becomes more responsive with either engine, although it has no
affect on suspension. Better yet, popping the transmission into
manual mode shows how expertly Hyundai engineered its gearbox. When
climbing hills, the transmission holds its gear without
automatically upshifting for fuel economy, unlike many competitorsí
models. That said, when teamed with the 2.4-liter engine,
transmission behavior isnít as refined.
the cabin is astonishingly quiet with either engine, although the
base engine does emit a continual hum, due to the need for the
engine to keep the revs up.
compliant and agile, although itís not sporty. Only the worst
off-road bumps break through this carís comfort barrier.
Nevertheless, youíll find Santa Fe SEL with its smaller engine and
wheels favor comfort, and do not feel as refined, as sharp or as
firm riding as the Ultimate, due mainly to better tires and
transmission behavior. When cornering, body lean is evident, but
minimal, and the Santa Feís Lane Keeping Assist works to keep you
in your lane. Unlike similar systems, it has a natural feel that
doesnít feel intrusive or forced. Once accustomed to it, most
drivers will appreciate its assistance.
few owners will ever do it, the Santa Fe is fairly good once the
sidewalk ends, thanks to its torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive
system, which brakes the inside wheels in a corner to enhance
handling. It makes sliding around in the wild fun.
And of course
there is the usual pile of driver assistance features, including
rear cross-traffic collision-avoidance assist, blind spot detection,
forward collision-avoidance assist, high beam assist, lane keeping
assist, driver attention warning, rear view monitor, and safe exit
assist, which keeps the rear doors locked if the vehicleís radar
detects cars approaching from the rear. An optional feature, Rear
Occupant Alert, reminds drivers to check the rear seats when leaving
infotainment system is commendably easy to use; Apple CarPlay and
Android Auto are standard. The 12-speaker Infinity surround sound
system provides good audio quality. However, there is no in-vehicle
most of us face on a daily basis, the Santa Fe proves to be is a
spacious crossover with an amazing amount of cargo space. Itís an
able assistant who is seen, not heard; a comforting, capable,
compelling presence in a monotonous world.
Just be sure
to spring for the more powerful engine. After all, donít you
deserve more excitement in your life?
Turbocharged 2.0-liter DOHC four-cylinder
economy (city/highway): 19-22/21-25
capacity: 35.9-71.3 cubic feet