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2019 Hyundai Santa Fe Drivers’ Notes Review

On Sunday, March 3rd, 2019

The 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe is totally new at just the right time to soak up all the sweet, sweet crossover love out there now. We get bolder styling on the outside with Hyundai’s new cascading grille, and a classier interior with vastly updated technology to boot.

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe

We have the top Ultimate trim level with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and all-wheel drive. It produces 235 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque and sends that power through an eight-speed automatic transmission. As it’s the top trim level, the only option on our tester is carpeted floor mats for $125. Hyundai managed to keep it just a hair under the $40k mark with a $39,905 MSRP. For that price you get a long list of standard features:

As for cargo space in general, the Santa Fe has about the same capacity (35.9 cubic feet with seats raised, 71.2 lowered) as larger “compact” models like the Honda CR-V and Subaru Forester. That’s typical for the midsize segment — its various entries just aren’t as space-efficient. As a tradeoff, however, the Santa Fe at least puts a greater emphasis on style than those big compacts that tend to be more utilitarian in use and appearance.

Indeed, I think the new Santa Fe looks excellent inside and out. The interior in particular is handsome, and although its various materials may ultimately look better than they feel (especially the surprisingly convincing “wood” trim), it does a far better impersonation of a luxury car than the Chevy Blazer Premier … and that costs $12,000 more when comparably equipped.

I’m not entirely convinced about Hyundai’s recent strategy of moving the headlight elements further down the front bumper for a super-thin DRL at hood height. They seem a bit clunky down there, but I’m impressed with the new face. It’s big grille season, and this is one of the few “big grille” designs I can get behind. Pictures don’t really do justice to the look in-person.

For the average car shopper looking for a crossover, the new Santa Fe is checking all the boxes. I still wouldn’t include it on your shopping list if you’re looking to have fun behind the wheel, though. The new Mazda CX-5 offers a 2.5-liter turbo engine along with better handling, and even the Chevrolet Equinox in 2.0-liter turbo form is more fun to drive.

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