Meet the new Hyundai Santa Fe. For 2019, the SUV previously known as "" "Sports" falls from its name. Meanwhile, last year's medium-sized "Santa Fe" will be "2019 Santa Fe XL." There is a slight change that is sure to be a little confusing for buyers.
But after spending time with 2019 Santa Fe, "Sport" drops kind of meaning. From the more original design to a more comfort oriented trip, Santa Fe feels less "sporty" and more grown up. Plus, it's now loaded with smart security and convenience features aimed at new families.
Standard Smart Sense Safety Suite
Aside aside, the biggest innovation for the 201
It is adaptive cruise control that maintains a safe distance behind a leading car, even in stop and traffic. Front and rear crossing collision alerts are also standard with pedestrian detection and automatic emergency braking in both directions. Track Assistant keeps the car centered in lane at highway speeds, and integrates with standard blind spot monitoring to prevent switching to a lane that is occupied by another car.
The blind point sensors also drive a new side output support feature. This feature continues to monitor for approaching vehicles even after the car is closed to prevent a door from being opened in traffic at parallel parking. We have seen a similar function on certain Audi vehicles, but Hyundai has designed its system to work with the electronic child safety locks that make it particularly useful for parents.
Auto-mounted headlights and a driver's monitoring system extend this fixed suite with standard tech.
One of the only optional safety features is a new backseat farming system. In addition to a basic warning to take a look there when leaving the car, the system also uses ultrasonic motion sensors to continue monitoring the rear seat for up to 24 hours after the car is parked. If there is a sleeping pet (or child) there, as the vehicle forgot, the system will eventually detect the movement and alert the owner by blinking the car's light and crushing the horn. Messages will also be sent via Bluelink phone and smartwatch app notifications, email or text messages.
New Name, New Look
The new Santa Fe rocks a new look that leads with a face inspired by. The aesthetic – with its stacked headlights and large hexagonal grill – works even better thanks to the more spacious proportions of Santa Fe's larger front edge and a new horizontal chrome bar that unites the elements.
Behind the new face is a whole new body. Where the old Santa Fe Sport had a very windy appearance, 2019 Santa Fe stands more upright with squared shoulders. Hyundai's designers attempted to emphasize the SUV of the compact model with details like a strong, flat fender arc around each wheel that emphasizes its verticality and truckiness.
The result is a profile that is a bit dry, but it is ok to consider as it gives the strong and busy front end some breathing space. Overall, I give Santa Fe its new look a big thumbs up.
Santa Fe's dimensions have not changed much with the redesign – it's only about half an inch higher (67.1 inches) and 2.8 inches longer (187.8 inches), 2.6 inches extra axle-based. In spite of being bigger, the load space is basically unchanged, hanging in the middle of the class at about 71.3 cubic feet with the backs folded flat.
Underneath the new look, a new lighter, rigid chassis that enhances safety, but also allowed Hyundai's engineers to go a bit softer with Santa Fe's suspension bushes in pursuit of a smoother and more comfortable ride. The SUV rides comfortably – if slightly without feedback. New aluminum components help save suspension weight, reduce hardness and improve comfort. Meanwhile, several sound absorbing materials have been added to help calm the cabin.
Bluelink cabin tech
Hyundai's designers have talked about the cabin and have proven to be masters to create cozy cottage experiences from cheap materials. It may seem like a backhanded compliment, but this is really a nice cabin for the price. Spend some time brushing and tapping the dashboard, and you'll find a lot of hard plastic and thin skins, but the cockpit looks surprisingly well, especially in the dental color and the black form of our tests. Fine touches like contrasting stitching and matching fabric on the roof and pillars go the extra mile to really look up to Santa Fe's look and separate it from other low budget cabins.
In the middle of the cabin is the latest version of the Hyundai cabin is Bluelink tech. This is still one of our favorite technology suites – it's not flashy, but Bluelink is fast and very easy to use. By 2019, the system will get a new "Custom" hardware button and a customizable "My Menu" feature that will give you faster access to your favorite features. There is also a new "Voice Memo" feature. I like it pretty quickly, and lets you quickly record audio notes for retrieval later.
We still have all the features we like to see, including standardalong with fixed voice commands. Extending from the standard 7-inch model to larger 8-incher also provides great navigation software with HD Radio traffic information.
Santa Fe SEL or better includes 3 years of Bluelink Connected Services that enable convenience features such as remote locking, monitoring, remote launch and security features such as stolen car and emergency services. Bluelink has compatibility with phone and smartwatch apps, and also integrates with Google Home and Amazon Alexa to allow drivers to control their smart homes from the car and vice versa.
2019 Santa Fe is available with two engine options: The standard engine is a 2.4-liter petrol cylinder that makes 185 horsepower and 178 lb with torque. Drivers who want more pep in their step can upgrade to a 2.0-liter four-banger with a twin-scroll turbocharger that makes 235 horsepower and 260 pound-torque torque.
We tested the turbo and found its performance to be nice peppy. The torque tip goes down to around 1400 rpm, making the compact SUV feel very sensitive beyond the line and around the city.
The standard 8-speed automatic gearbox is also new in 2019 and feels like a decent match for the turbocharged engine. On the steep hills around Park City, Utah, the gearbox did a good job of choosing the right ratio for a climb, but the emphasis on efficiency showed with a patience hanging down to lower the gear when turning. Selecting Sport Mode and The sports transfer program helps you, but not much – the weight here is on smooth and calm performance.
Front-wheel drive is standard, but Hyundai's HTRAC wheel drive is available as an option. The system is standard on front-wheel drive, but can send up to 50 percent of available torque to the rear wheels as required. It is assisted by torque vector system that uses the brakes to shift laterally.
You think less weight and a drive that emphasize steady driving like Santa Fe would have better fuel economy, but the 2019 model is disappointing in the middle of the road. At best, the front drive 2.4L model has only 22 cities, 29 freeways and 25 combined mpg. Our AWD Ultimate 2.0T drops down to 19 cities, 24 freeways and only 21 combined mpg. It's quite mid-of-the-pack in this class which includes 22 mpg Jeep Cherokee, 22 mpg Subaru Outback and 23 mpg Volkswagen Tiguan, but there is still nothing to brag about.
Pricing and competition
Hyundai Santa Fe 2019 starts at $ 26,480 (including a destination fee of $ 980) for the SE model. The base price increase of $ 550 over the outgoing Santa Fe Sport seems warranted considering the amount of standard security tech added this year.
On top of the line is loaded Ultimate trim, priced at $ 36,430 with 2.4-liter engine. By adding turbocharged engine and HTRAC all-wheel drive to our tests, the bottom line increases to $ 39,780.
The new Santa Fe stacks up nicely against the competition, which contains no aging models like Nissan Murano and Ford's Edge. Volkswagen has recently transformed Tiguan probably the best cross-country store against Hyundai; while the Mazda CX-5 and Honda CR-V offer compelling (and more compact) options for those looking for better driving dynamics at this price point.
Hyundai, however, stands out in several ways: The best technology is standard cross-setting so you can save money by going down to the mid-tier SEL and SEL Plus models and still having a very satisfying experience. This makes it easy for Santa Fe's price to be very competitive in the area of $ 30,000. And of course, the 10-year / 100,000 kilometer warranty is still one of the best in the biz.
Medium fuel economy makes it not the best in its class, but the 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe has got what counts and presents convincing value, especially for those who are interested in driver support technologies. Families wishing to save a few dollars on their next trip without shortening security should definitely take a closer look.
Editor's Note: Roadshow accepts multi-day vehicle loans from manufacturers to provide editorial reviews. All evaluated vehicle reviews are carried out on our turf and on our terms. But for this feature, the manufacturer covered travel expenses. This is common in the automotive industry, as it is far more economical to send journalists to cars than to send cars to journalists.
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