Tuesday, January 29, 2019

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe Ultimate AWD: The Brand's Refreshed Midsize Crossover/SUV

Highlight: The all-new, three-row, seven passenger crossover has been renamed the Santa Fe XL. The Santa Fe Sport name has been dropped.

Test Vehicle’s MSRP: $39,905 (Base Model: $26,545)

Seating Capacity: 5

Standard Safety Features: ABS; airbags; hill assist control; downhill braking control; heated mirrors; driver’s blind spot; a tire pressure monitoring system; a stability control system; automatic headlights; an auto hold feature at stops; an electronic stability control system; a radar-activated cruise control system; a blind spot collision avoidance assist system; a rear cross traffic collision avoidance system; forward collision assist system with pedestrian protection; a rear view camera with parking monitor; and a lane keep assist system

Standard Equipment (SE): 18-inch wheels; an 8-speed automatic transmission; a start-stop fuel saving system; manually operated front seats; cloth seats; a manually operated tilt/telescopic steering wheel; cargo area covers; partially reclining second-row seats; and 60/40 split rear seats

Standard Equipment (Limited Ultimate): 19-inch wheels; a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder turbo engine; 235-horsepower engine; an all-wheel drive system; twin exhaust tips; LED Daytime running lights; a panoramic sunroof; silver roof rails; power front seats; heated/ventilated front seats; heated rear seats; 8-inch touchscreen;a 360 degree camera; a heads up display system; an in vehicle wireless charging system; a leather wrapped shift knob; a push button ignition system; a keyless remote door system; a rear seat center armrest with cupholders; rear side window with manual sunshades; and a Bluelink connected car system

Options On Test Vehicle: carpeted floor mats

Other Trim Level:


Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: a 7-speaker AM/FM  

Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes

USB Connectivity: Yes

Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles

Powertrain Warranty: 10 years or 100,000 miles

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 2.4-liter, 4-cylinder/185-hp

Recommended Fuel: Regular

Standard Fuel Mileage:

What’s New: The refreshed 2019 model now wears the same front fascia as its smaller and recently introduced sibling, the Kona. The vehicle adds a host of standard safety driving aids and the instrument cluster has been redesigned, too.

Why: Even with the Kona-like front-end styling, the refreshed Santa Fe continues to be a solid workhorse. The more stylish midsize crossover continues to be available in both a front wheel drive and a rear wheel drive configuration.

The 2019 model is wider and longer than its predecessor. The vehicle offers a variety of trims in a short wheel base or a long wheel base model. The short wheel based model is known as the Sante Fe Sport, while the longer wheel base is referred to as just the Sante Fe.

The short wheel base model seats five and is powered by a four-cylinder, 185-horsepower engine, while the longer model is literally driven by a six-cylinder, 295-horsepower engine. We must note that our short wheel base model was equipped with a slightly turbo four cylinder, which provided slight more horsepower than the base model. Depending upon the trim, the Sante Fe is capable of seating six or seven occupants.

The well-equipped Santa Fe Ultimate we reviewed was outfitted with the latest amenities. Those features include everything from leather seats to a panoramic power sunroof to the latest safety driving aids to a push button keyless ignition starter system to stand-alone infotainment system to a variety of driving modes to an automatic brake hold feature.

Moreover, the Sante Fe’s instrument panel has been reconfigured. The previous dated interior design now includes a center-mounted, stand alone infotainment system, which houses the navigation, audio and ventilation system. All of the functions are easily displayed and systems are user friendly.

Furthermore, the Sante Fe, which is a great road vehicle, is a great alternative to minivans. It’s a great riding vehicle designed to take on the open roads. The vehicle scores well in terms of both safety tests as well as many of the major reliability tests. The vehicle has one of the best warranties in the segment. The all-new VW Atlas is the only vehicle in this segment that has a stronger new-vehicle warranty.

But: The roomy five-passenger Sante Fe seemed underpowered. Even in sports driving mode, it is quite obvious that there are no sports car roots here. This midsize vehicle needs a more powerful engine or at least the same one being offered in the XL, a six-cylinder engine.

Verdict: For those seeking a great value propositioned vehicle outfitted with a number of amenities, the Sante Fe, which is a best seller for the Korean is a best bet. If you’re not seeking a performance oriented vehicle, but a roomy vehicle, with the latest safety driving aids that is great for a road trip, the Santa Fe should be placed on one’s shopping list.

Competition: Chevy Traverse; GMC Acadia; Ford Explorer; Honda Pilot; Mazda CX-9; Kia Sorento; Mitsubishi Outlander; Nissan Pathfinder; Toyota Highlander; and VW Atlas

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