Hyundai Santa Fe 2023 Plug-in Hybrid
Hyundai took the opportunity to produce the fifth generation Santa Fe midsize car to radically transform the midsize SUV. My test rig was the PHEV Limited.
The city-friendly, adventure-ready appeal of its class-leading, balcony-like passenger space is made possible by a longer wheelbase and larger tailgate opening. The tailgate area, which was previously a storage space, is now an open balcony that can be used to enjoy the outdoors effortlessly.
The longer wheelbase now allows Santa Fe to offer improved third-row seating.
Powered by a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder hybrid engine and mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with HTRAC all-wheel drive, the Santa Fe delivers 33 miles per gallon highway fuel economy. My two-row tester seated five adults without complaint.
“The all-new Santa Fe is an SUV that strikes the perfect balance between city life and the great outdoors, handling everything from busy family trips to camping adventures,” said SangYup Lee, executive vice president and head of Hyundai’s Global Design Center. . “With its longer wheelbase, spacious interior and balcony-like tailgate space, the new Santa Fe builds on its SUV strengths to offer more versatility than ever before with a premium customer experience.”
The exterior makes a strong first impression with its high hood, H-shaped headlights and sharply defined fenders. The H-shaped headlights and front lower valance design draw inspiration from the Hyundai logo to produce a bold, distinctive image.
The clean side sculpting complemented by the bold roofline, generous volume around the fenders, muscular wheel arches, shorter front overhang, and boldly designed 19-inch wheels enhance the Santa Fe’s solidity, while creating a simple, attractive design.
Comfort and convenience features were plentiful. My personal favorites included the Harman Kardon premium sound system, touchscreen navigation, wireless phone charger, front and rear USB charging ports, Apple CarPlay, and heated/ventilated front seats.
Road trips included Camano Island and Whitehorse Golf Club near Kingston. The Santa Fe provided a smooth, responsive and quiet ride, with a panoramic sunroof inviting soft light into the cabin for the enjoyment of all passengers. The cargo area transported two full-size golf bags and gear with room to spare.
The Santa Fe is well-equipped with an array of driving assistance and safety features that minimize user involvement and provide a comfortable, confident driving experience whether on the go or on a weekend adventure.
Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist can provide warning and emergency braking if the vehicle in front of you suddenly slows down or if the risk of a frontal collision is detected.
Lane Tracking Assist uses a windshield-mounted camera to help identify vehicle swerve and helps provide simple steering inputs to return the vehicle to the center of its lane.
The new Driver Attention Warning system analyzes driver attention and can provide warnings when necessary. The driver monitoring system, a first for Hyundai Motor in North America, analyzes the driver’s vital signs to help ensure safe driving.
Navigation-based Intelligent Cruise Control helps maintain a safe speed while navigating curves on the main section of the highway. Highway Driving Assist helps maintain the set speed and distance from the vehicle in front. It also assists in lane changes and helps center the vehicle in the lane while driving.
Other Santa Fe driver assistance and safety features include Intelligent Speed Limit Assist, Rearview Monitor, Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist, Front/Rear Parking Distance Warning, Surround View Monitor, Remote Intelligent Parking Assist, and safe exit assistance.
Base price: $48,705
Price depending on motive: $48,915
Destination charges are included in the base price. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturer. List price may vary at local dealerships.