The automotive community, particularly those identifying as “an enthusiast” (a sect where I identify as a member) always has segment they don’t like and they’re pretty vocal about it. When I was young people couldn’t care less about the minvan or wagon. Now they’re both quite cool. Small trucks like the Mazda B-Series, Ford Ranger, and Chevy S10 were everywhere but (aside from the brief mini-truckin phase) they weren’t really cool. Now you can’t find a new Ford Maverick (review coming soon) for sale without an adjusted dealer markup.
Today the target of disgust is squarely on the crossover. Which is funny since they are basically tall hatchbacks and wagons, both of which we like. Hyundai doesn’t give a damn about what we think and has been churning out impressive crossovers for years. Of the 25 new models listed on their website, 15 are under the “SUV” section (and three are Santa Fes). I spent a week with one of those three, a 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid Limited AWD and had some thoughts.
Well first, some context on the Santa Fe. Initially built as a compact (2000-2006) it grew up into a midsize for its second generation. The fourth generation is pretty recent, entering dealership in 2019. Sharing a platform with the Kia Sorento, the Santa Fe falls in between the Tucson and Palisade from a size and price perspective.
The regular petrol-only Santa Fe starts at $27,400 and lets you option up to 26 mpg combined or 281 horsepower (but not both, although the turbo version still gets 24 mpg combined). There is also a Plug-in Hybrid with an all-electric range of 30 miles starting at $39,500. If you tick the box for the Hybrid (33 mpg city/ 30 mpg highway/ 32 mpg highway), like our tester, it starts at $33,900 and there are three trim levels to choose from.
Like a lot of our press loaners, we got the top trim level delivered. The Limited starts at just over $40,000 and has a ton of great stuff for a two-row SUV at that price point. All trim levels of the Hybrid are powered by the same 1.6L four-cylinder engine putting out 226 horsepower when combined with the electric juice.
Choosing a top-spec Hyundai usually means the options list is small, since it’s all include, and that is the case with our loaner as well. Here, check it out.
Hyundai threw on some Quartz White paint ($400) and floor mats ($195) for a total MSRP of $40,310 before freight and handling. Let’s delve a little deeper to see if it’s worth the sticker price.
Inside and Out
What does $40K get you these days in a crossover, well quite a bit. The Limited trim ticks basically all the boxes across the Santa Fe Hybrid lineup and includes:
- 19-inch alloy wheels with 235/55 R19 tires (vs. 17s)
- Parking Distance Warning – Forward
- Remote Smart Parking Assist (RSPA)
- Highway Driving Assist (HDA)*
- Blind-Spot View Monitor
- Surround View Monitor
- Projector LED Headlights
- LED interior cabin lights*
- LED taillights*
- Power folding side mirrors
- Rain-sensing windshield wipers
- Panoramic sunroof*
- Leather-trimmed seats*
- Driver seat 4-way power lumbar
- Driver seat leg cushion extension
- 8-way power passenger seat
- Ventilated front seats*
- Integrated Memory System (IMS) for driver seat and exterior mirrors
- Heated rear seats
- Melange headliner (not sure what that is, it’s defined as “a mixture; a medley”)
- Heated steering wheel
- LED interior lighting*
- Premium door sill plates
(*also standard on the SL Premium trim)
- 10.25-inch touchscreen navigation & traffic flow including incident data via HD Radio™*
- Harman Kardon® Premium Audio with 12 speakers with Clari-Fi™ Music Restoration Technology and QuantumLogic® Surround*
- Wired Android Auto™ & Apple CarPlay®*
- Bluelink® Guidance Package (3-year complimentary service)*
(*also standard on the SL Premium trim)
It also gets you 100-200 pounds of additional curb weight (luxury is heavy bro) over the base Blue and mid-range LS Premium Hybrid. Of note, the gas Santa Fe offers the even more lux-focused Calligraphy trim. If that’s something you might be interested in you’ll have to skip the Hybrid. I’ve driven a 2021 Calligraphy and it’s quite nice, but the Limited is so good you likely won’t miss the extra bits while enjoying better miles-per-gallon in the Hybrid.
Both the gas and Hybrid 2022 Santa Fe have 36.4 cubic feet of cargo space behind the back seats. More than enough for most daily driver chores. That’s twice the 18 cubic feet behind the third row in the Palisade. So if you don’t need said third row, the Santa Fe is a great choice. Rear legroom is about twin inches shorter (40.8 inches vs. 42.4 inches respectively) and rear headroom is an inch shorter compared to the Palisade’s second row though (37.8 inches vs. 38.8 inches respectively).
Hybrid powertrains usually add some weight, which is the case here. The 4,226 pound Hybrid is a full 300+ pounds heavier than the gas-powered Limited. However, all Hybrid trims come with standard HTRAC All Wheel Drive which adds some capability in foul weather. It’s not particularly quick, the more powerful gas Santa Fe covers 0-60 mph in 6.6 seconds while this one is a couple ticks over eight seconds.
Regardless, the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid Limited AWD Limited was just about the perfect family hauler over the course of my week-long loan. It’s attractive, super-well equipped and competitively priced.