The 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe gains an XRT trim with blacked-out touches.
A few years back, Hyundai trailed its competitors in rolling out crossover models. But within a few years, it filled out its product line and updated its ongoing utility vehicle models, including the midsize, two-row Santa Fe.
Now in the fourth year of its current generation, the Santa Fe expands its trim line to five, by adding a middle XRT trim.
2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Review
Hyundai offers the 2022 Santa Fe, a crossover SUV, in five trims: SE, SEL, XRT, Limited, and Calligraphy. Prices range from $27,200 to $40,960.
All trims come with standard front-wheel drive and available all-wheel drive, the latter a $1,700 upgrade. Add $1,245 for the freight charge.
“That’s one mean-looking grille on the Santa Fe,” quipped one friend. That’s an accurate statement as the gaping maw and narrow LED lights to give this crossover a menacing look. But “mean” upfront is anything but that elsewhere. Indeed, the Santa Fe’s visage is an assortment of character lines and body sculpting.
For the new XRT trim, blacked-out touches on the grille, bumpers, side sills and steps, and roof rails give it a sporty look. Wraparound lighting, diffuser-like trim, and band lighting bring up the rear.
Every Santa Fe comes with an assortment of LED lights – daytime running lights, headlights, and taillights (optional with the SEL; standard with the Limited and Calligraphy). It supplies a polished look for this crossover.
Heated side mirrors and roof side rails appear beginning with the SEL trim. Acoustic-laminated front side mirrors, approach lights, and a hands-free power liftgate roll out beginning with the XRT trim. Move up to the Limited and power-folding side mirrors and a power tilt-and-slide panoramic sunroof are included.
As for wheel choices, a collection of 18-, 19-, and 20-inch alloy designs are available, depending on the trim.
We prize roomy interiors, and Santa Fe does not disappoint. There is enough space to hold five adults, although two sitting on the rear split-folding (and reclining) bench seat is ideal.
The cargo space measures 36.4 cubic feet behind the rear seat and 72.1 cubic feet with the rear seat folded. Under the cargo area, there are compartmentalized storage sections that are ideal for hiding valuables from prying eyes, as well as gear, or other storage items.
A tiered dashboard greets passengers upon entering the cabin. This model has an electronic gear shifter in the center console, freeing up some room in the process. An assortment of buttons, switches, and shell-shaped vents mark the dashboard.
A 12.3-inch digital instrument panel replaces the 4.2-inch LCD beginning with the XRT (available with the SEL). That panel gives the Santa Fe a more sophisticated presence.
Cloth seats are standard, while leather is widely available. The Calligraphy trim features exquisite Nappa leather. Most trims come with an 8-way power driver seat with two-way power lumbar support. Some trims include an 8-way power front passenger seat.
Features such as heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, and a heated steering wheel can be had.
Key Safety Features
On the safety front, the Santa Fe comes with forward collision avoidance with pedestrian, cyclist and junction-turning detection. Lane-keeping assist, lane following assist, driver attention warning, and rear occupant alert are also included. Automatic high beams, forward automatic emergency braking, and adaptive cruise control completes the list of standard features.
Beginning with the SEL trim, this SUV comes with blind-spot collision-avoidance assist, rear cross-traffic collision-avoidance assist, and safe exit assist. These features are also available as package upgrades with the SE.
The Limited and Calligraphy trims come with a parking distance warning forward and reverse along with a blind-spot view monitor and a surround-view monitor.
Hyundai divides the tech features by trim groups, at least in part. This means the SE, SEL, and XRT trims come with an 8-inch touchscreen display, while the Limited Calligraphy has a 10.25-inch display. Further, the standard 6-speaker audio system gives way to a 12-speaker Harman Kardon audio package on the two top trims.
Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone compatibility come standard as do four USB ports and Bluetooth. On the Limited and Calligraphy trims (and available on the SEL), they’re wireless.
Other features such as satellite radio, HD Radio, and wireless device charging are included beginning with the SEL trim. A full-color heads-up display is exclusive to the Calligraphy.
The list of two-row, midsize crossover utility vehicles has expanded in recent years. The Jeep Grand Cherokee is perhaps the longest-running model in this segment, although the Toyota 4Runner may make that claim. The Nissan Murano and Ford Edge have also been around for several generations.
Hyundai equips the SE, SEL, and XRT trims with a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. This engine makes 191 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque and works with 8-speed automatic transmission.
The Limited and Calligraphy trims have a 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. This engine outputs 281 horsepower and 311 pound-feet of torque. Power travels to the wheels utilizing an 8-speed dual-clutch transmission.
The differences between the two engines are stark (we’ve driven both). The standard engine is adequate, but nothing more. Even then, there are times we sensed that it wasn’t delivering enough power, particularly under acceleration and while climbing hills.
On the other hand, the turbo throws down copious amounts of power and keeps delivering while passing or when climbing hills. The transmission differences are more than subtle – the dual-clutch shifts cleanly and fast, keeping pace with the power routing from the engine to the wheels.
Even with all-wheel drive, the Santa Fe is decidedly an on-pavement people mover. That said, its 8.2-inch ground clearance comes in handy when skirting through shallow puddles or over snow berms.
Move off-road and you will want to keep this vehicle on well-traversed paths. The XRT has some of the looks of an off-roader, but it doesn’t come with under cladding armor or an enhanced suspension system.
Sold separately are a pair of hybrid models. Both come with a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, a 6-speed automatic transmission, and two electric motors for turning the rear wheels. The turbo engine gives the Santa Fe Hybrid a spark lacking in the base gas model. The PHEV variant travels up to 31 miles on electric power only.
Light, but direct steering and a composed ride accompany the Santa Fe. This model offers firm braking for a quick stop.
The 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe does what it needs to do to stay competitive in a widening segment. Still, the base engine seems comparatively underpowered, while the turbo is truly a workhorse. Too bad the latter is only available on the Limited and Calligraphy trims.
In all, it is hard not to consider a Hyundai regardless of the model, trims, or segment. Hyundai vehicles typically come better equipped than their counterparts and have stellar build quality.
Lastly, the 10-year, 100,000-mile warranty is not matched in this industry, giving the brand an important edge amongst its peers.
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