Here’s why the Hyundai Santa Fe is an underrated SUV

The hyundai Santa Fe is a great midsize SUV with two-row seats and a premium cabin. It offers an intuitive infotainment system and great gas mileage. Also, it offers a smooth ride and has efficient engine choices.

The mid-size luxury segment is a fierce market, in which almost all major automakers participate. Moreover, the market has high-end SUVs like Jeep Cherokee and Nissan Pathfinder, offering the best performance and luxury.

Over the years, Hyundai has done its best to keep pace with these vehicles. The company introduced the Santa Fe in 2000, and the car made headlines. It manages to be luxurious, spacious and beautiful while having an affordable price.

The only major flaw the car might have is that its spacious cabin is slightly less than the overall cargo capacity. Additionally, many owners have complained that the base engine is not powerful. That doesn’t mean the engine is terrible, but the driver might need to be a bit energetic to muster up all the Santa Fe’s reserves.

The Hyundai Santa Fe does a great job of balancing the small and midsize SUV classes. It has a spacious interior and there’s plenty of technology to keep everyone connected.

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Even though the base engine is disappointing, the Santa Fe still delivers decent performance

2021 Hyundai Santa Fe engine
by: Hyundai

Under the hood, a 2.5-liter four-cylinder produces 191 horsepower and 181 lb-ft of torque. There’s also an optional turbocharged 2.5-liter that produces 277 hp and 311 lb-ft of torque. Both engines are mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive.

Additionally, the Santa Fe has hybrid versions; a regular hybrid and a plug-in electric hybrid. The regular model has a turbocharged 1.6-liter enhanced by a 13 kW electric motor and a 1.5 kWh battery. Hybrids average fuel economy between 33 mpg and 36 mpg in the city and 30 and 31 mpg on the highway.

According to My Car Specs, the Santa Fe can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 7.5 seconds and reach a top speed of 148 mph. The hybrid model can hit 60 mph in 9 seconds and has a top speed of 139 mph. Both models provide a relaxed and stable ride during daily commutes.

Compared to its rivals, the Santa Fe does pretty well, but it leans into corners, so it’s not as firmly planted as a Mazda CX-5. However, this SUV is meant for highway cruising, not sporty driving. Hyundai has well-tuned steering, which aids low-speed handling and highway stability.

The interior of the Santa Fe is comfortable and spacious

Interior of the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe
by: Hyundai

The interior is high-quality, with a wide dashboard that wraps around the driver and passenger separately. The cabin offers plenty of legroom, but the panoramic sunroof limits headroom. All the controls are well laid out and within easy reach, and the knobs and buttons are clear to read.

Large door openings let passengers get in and out easily, and the sliding rear seats provide plenty of room for adults to sit. The car offers good visibility, with a decently sized rear window and little obstruction from the rear head restraints. Door-mounted side mirrors help you avoid blind spots and the available Surround Camera System makes parking easier.

The car’s suspension soaks up most bumps and impacts from the road, but owners have complained that the ride can feel soft at times. Overall, the cabin is comfortable, with plush front seats that offer a wide range of adjustments. Plus, double-glazed front windows and full soundproofing make the cabin quiet and peaceful.

The Santa Fe’s cargo space is quite spacious, with 36.4 cubic feet and 71 cubic feet when you fold the rear seats. There’s plenty of space for belongings in the cabin, and the electronic gear selector frees up space under the center console.

The Santa Fe can tow a maximum capacity of 3,500 pounds when properly equipped. Only a few SUVs can match its towing capacity, but larger SUVs like the Honda Passport and Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport offer better towing capacity.

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The Santa Fe has class-leading infotainment and safety systems

Rear view of the white 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe
by: Hyundai

Like most Hyundai models, the Santa Fe is exceptionally safe. All models have standard features such as automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitors and adaptive cruise control. Optional features include blind-spot steering assist, parking sensors and a surround-view camera system.

These characteristics allow the SUV to receive the Top Safety Pick+ award from the IIHS. The car also passed most NHTSA tests and received five stars overall from the federal government.

For infotainment, there’s a 10.25-inch screen and a premium sound system that produces crisp sound. Other features include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, four USB ports, wireless charging and a 115-volt outlet. Additionally, voice commands respond well to natural speech and can operate the radio and navigation.

Sources: Hyundai, my car specs

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