The 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe crossover SUV is a familiar name on a new body.
The turntable of names for the South Korean automaker now applies to a two-row crossover that used to be called the Santa Fe Sport. A three-row Santa Fe is in the works, and a bigger Santa Fe XL is last year’s Santa Fe, carried over for another year before it’s entirely replaced.
Got it? We’re not sure we do, but the 2019 Santa Fe gets a 6.4 on our overall scale before safety is figured in. The Santa Fe hasn’t yet been crash tested by either major rating agency. We expect that score to rise slightly thanks to active safety features on every trim. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
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This year, the Santa Fe is taller and stiffer to convince more buyers of its SUV qualities. It’s roughly three inches longer than the outgoing version, which is mostly a benefit to rear seat riders. The new body is squarer and aggressive, punctuated at the nose and tail with bolder features. Inside, the Santa Fe is more styled than the outgoing version—less “plain” and more “polish.”
Under the hood, a 2.4-liter inline-4 is standard and a 2.0-liter turbo-4 is optional. The base engine’s 185 horsepower adequately motivates the 3,591-pound mass, but it’s not hurried. The 235-hp turbo-4 is brighter, but we think some slack in the new 8-speed transmission may be damping its pep a little.
Front-wheel drive is standard in every Santa Fe, and all-wheel drive can be had on any trim level for $1,700 extra.
An 8-speed automatic is new this year, but we’re more sold on the refined ride and quiet demeanor on the road.
The Santa Fe features standard forward-collision warnings with automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitors, adaptive cruise control, active lane control, and a rearview camera with rear cross-traffic alert on every trim level, which is admirable at just over $25,000 to start.
Base features include Bluetooth connectivity, cloth upholstery, 17-inch wheels, and a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility for infotainment.
Top Ultimate trims offer 19-inch wheels, leather, an 8.0-inch touchscreen, premium audio, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, surround-view camera system, heated steering wheel, wireless cellphone charger, head-up display, and automatic wipers. With all-wheel drive and an uprated turbo-4, the Ultimate 2.0T rings the bell at less than $40,000 with a 5-year/60,000 mile warranty.
Hyundai’s value proposition is a name we recognize, too.