SEATTLE, May 23, 2018 — Hyundai’s latest Santa Fe is a great looking SUV that is graced with handsome styling, a very slick interior and the industry’s best warranty at 10 years or 100,000 miles. Since the last model year, not much has changed other than the disappearance of the straight Limited edition which gave way to the Limited Ultimate.
Power derives from a rather thirsty V6 engine that boasts decent power for this 4169 pound SUV. Given its bloat, combination of the weight and somewhat inefficient drivetrain and you’ll begin to see why it has only an EPA rating of 22 miles per gallon on the highway and 17 around town.
The 3.3 liter V6 is good for 290 horsepower with 252 lb-ft of torque. It’s mated to a six-speed automatic and is rated at a 5,000 pound towing capacity. This setup provides a responsive driving experience in that the power comes quickly. However, the weight of 4169lbs and its full time all-wheel drive system hamper the fuel economy to an EPA rating of 17 around town and 22 on the highway. During our week with the Santa Fe, we had a recorded average of 18 mpg.
Hyundai does provide some various traction options the driver can select, based upon driving conditions. These settings help optimize traction in the most adverse weather conditions.
Fuel economy aside, the Santa Fe has a great deal going for it, including great exterior styling and classy interior design cues. From the stitched leather to overall dash layout. Hyundai has done an exception job of positioning it as a good competitor in a rather crowded market for mid-size crossover SUVs.
There is an optional tech package, which our test vehicle was outfitted with that we highly encourage you to consider. It includes adaptive cruise control, HID headlights, auto-high beam, electronic parking brake with a handy hold feature, lane departure warning and an automatic braking system to help you avoid rear-ending someone.
The 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system is placed directly in the middle of the dash, allowing for easy access to both driver and passenger. Hyundai has what it refers to as the “QuantumLogic Surround Sound system that delivers great-sounding audio through a multi-speaker system and a high-wattage amplifier. The end result continues Hyundai’s commitment to delivering best-of-class audio playback. Excellent bass response with smooth mids and highs. Audio sources include, SiriusXM satellite radio, AM/FM, CD player and Bluetooth audio.
The most confusing part of the infotainment center is the WiFi integration that allows you to connect it to a hotspot but once you’re connected there seems to be little benefit. In other words, where are the applications that one would use to even consider connecting it to a hotspot? It makes little sense to have this feature and have it lacking app support to take advantage of it.
One of the benefits of being a room mid-size SUV is that there is legroom in spades for both front and rear passengers. Even the rear middle seat is roomy enough for kids and teens.
There’s plenty of cargo room with the rear seats up for those shopping trips to Costco and even more – if you need it – by folding those seats down.
Driving a naturally aspirated engine is great – especially when it delivers solid power that’s match with a transmission that can make the most of it. There’s no turbo-lag, just good power that feels on-demand. The quick-shifting 6-speed takes full advantage of the V6’s power – especially when driving in sport-mode.
The Santa Fe actually handles very well for a vehicle of its class and doesn’t disappoint. Braking feels exceptionally solid with very minimal brake fade. It handles corners with ease by minimizing body roll and the steering is solid as well. There’s a hint of understeer but it’s actually quite good overall.
Hyundai’s exceptional job with the 2018 Santa Fe make it a crossover you should easily to consider. We only wish it got better fuel economy. If that’s not a deal-breaker for you, then you should consider booking a test-drive. We’re sure you’ll enjoy it as much as we did.
Check out the Sante Fe on Hyundai’s website: