You will definitely like the redesigned 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe if you are looking for a car that’s roomy, well-appointed, and offers a class-leading safety rating. It’s powerful and handles well, too.
So the first question is: which Hyundai Santa Fe Model is right for you. Sorting through the multitude of configurations is complicated, but I’m here to help make it easy.
The five-seat Santa Fe is available in four main trim levels. All come standard with front-wheel drive and a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. You can add all-wheel drive to any trim for $1,700, and a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine is available in the top two trims for an additional $1,600 or so.
The seven-seat Santa Fe XL comes only as an entry-level SE or a range-topping Limited Ultimate, which is the trim model I tested — and it is super nice. The sole powertrain on these two versions is a 3.3-liter V6, and AWD models cost an additional $1,750.
Hyundai outfitted the redesigned two-row Santa Fe SE with a remarkable amount of standard technology and safety features. At this level, you get forward collision avoidance assist with pedestrian detection, driver attention monitoring, adaptive cruise control with full stop-and-go capability, blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist, rear cross traffic alert, safe exit assist, a rearview camera, and automatic high-beam headlights. Also included is a seven-inch infotainment display, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and remote keyless entry.
Next is the three-row Santa Fe XL SE, which shares the same trim name — along with many of the same standard features — but isn’t a twin to the Santa Fe SE. Similar standard features include the infotainment system and rearview camera. The XL SE adds satellite radio, HD Radio, and dual-zone air conditioning. It misses out on many of the Santa Fe SE’s advanced safety features, but you can add items such as blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert with the SE Premium package.
Then there is the Hyundai Santa Fe SEL with standard features like an eight-way power adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats, a proximity key, satellite radio, and HD Radio. To build the Santa Fe SEL Plus, Hyundai adds dual-zone automatic climate control, a 12-speaker QuantumLogic surround-sound system, parking sensors, a rear occupant alert, a hands-free power liftgate, and larger alloy wheels.
Now we’re moving into the Hyundai Santa Fe Limited, with key upgrades such as leather seats and a panoramic sunroof. This trim level comes with either the 2.4-liter engine, or as the Limited 2.0T with the turbocharged 2.0-liter engine.
And ultimately we arrive at the Hyundai Santa Fe Ultimate. Additional safety features in the Ultimate include rain-sensing windshield wipers, a head-up display, and a surround-view monitor. Its front seats are ventilated, with additional adjustments for the lumbar and leg cushion extensions, and the rear seats are heated. An eight-inch touch screen, a navigation system, and wireless smartphone charging also are included. Prices for this baby start at $34,950 for the Ultimate and $36,600 for the Ultimate 2.0T.
The only other trim level for the three-row Santa Fe XL is the Limited Ultimate. It swaps out the second-row bench for a set of captain’s chairs, reducing the total seating capacity to six. The Limited Ultimate boasts ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, an eight-inch touch screen, navigation, a multi-view camera system, rear parking sensors, a panoramic sunroof, and 19-inch alloy wheels. MSRP is $39,550.
Ride-wise, the 2019 Santa Fe and XL are comfortable and balanced. Following its redesign, the two-row edition is even nimbler than before, with responsive steering and very little body roll. Front-wheel drive is standard across the lineup, and all-wheel drive is available for less than $2,000. My AWD-equipped Santa Fe offered excellent grip.
The base Santa Fe has one of the highest fuel economy ratings of any midsize SUV. My Ultimate 2.0T came in at 19 mpg in the city and 24 mpg highway.
Grant Miller is the publisher of Miami’s Community Newspapers. He may be contacted by calling 305-662-2277 or via email at Grant@CommunityNewspapers.com.