2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Review: Surprisingly Fun, Comfortable, and Capable
2022 Hyundai Santa Fe review highlights
- Hyundai Santa Fe ($27,200 – $41,410)
- Large SUV of the Year – WhatCar?
- Pros: Smooth ride, spacious interior, luxurious interior quality
- Cons: Soft suspension, not the best fuel economy
The Hyundai Santa Fe isn’t too big or too small. It fits perfectly in between the Hyundai Palisade and Tucson to provide more space for those who don’t need a third row. While it is a practical family option, it’s also athletic, engaging, and easy to maneuver.
Passenger and cargo space are abundant, along with a long list of standard features. Plus, the Santa Fe has modern tech that allows for more customization than rivals and is one of the safest options in the class.
What’s new for 2022?
The 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe gained new hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants. The hybrid model provides about a 30-mile electric range before switching to gas. You get a bigger battery with the Santa Fe Phev, and it gets an estimated 76 MPGe.
Also, the new XRT trim level dropped. It provides a more rugged appearance with black exterior molding, black bumpers, black roof rails, and silver skid plates. You’ll find that the Santa Fe is more capable than you think.
Which 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe trim is best?
- Hyundai Santa Fe SE $27,200
- SEL $29,450
- XRT $32,750
- Limited $39,410
- Calligraphy $41,410
The Hyundai Santa Fe SEL is considered to be the option that provides the most value without going up too much in price. It builds upon the well-appointed SE trim with modern convenience and comfort features.
For example, you get heated seats, blind-spot monitoring, remote start, roof rails, a power adjustable driver’s seat, rear cross-traffic alert, and the rear-passenger safe exit system. So, families get a little more comfort and peace of mind.
How does the 2022 Santa Fe drive?
The 2022 Hyundai Santa FE has an athletic performance with a peppy acceleration. However, the base engine is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 191 hp and 181 lb-ft of torque, which is average.
We recommend at least upgrading to the 2.5-liter turbocharged option for 277 hp and 311 lb-ft of torque. With this engine, the Hyundai Santa Fe can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in about 6.6 seconds.
The engine is paired with a WET eight-speed automatic dual-clutch transmission and a SHIFTRONIC electric parking brake. Use the valuable steering-wheel paddle shifters for more control.
The Santa Fe provides smooth transmission shifts, but the steering could be slightly more direct. It has an excellent turning radius and is easy to maneuver in tight city areas, but the brakes are a little soft. It only takes a little time to get used to.
Some rivals, such as the Mazda CX-5, feel a bit more planted around curves. The Santa Fe has a soft suspension that feels floaty with some body lean around curves. It’s more engaging on the highway than on country roads.
There are four driving modes:
- Comfort: The Comfort Mode is a relaxing option for regular use with a smooth suspension and quiet engine for a low-effort experience.
- Sport: Sport Mode stiffens the suspension and quickens the throttle response for a more engaging performance. The ride is slightly more rigid, and the engine provides a satisfying roar in this mode.
- Eco Mode: Eco Mode adjusts the vehicle responses to provide the most efficient fuel use. The engine is a little whiney in this mode.
- Smart Mode: Smart Mode automatically switches between the other driving modes to create the optimal performance based on your driving habits in real-time.
We spent most of our time in Sport Mode and enjoyed driving through downtown city areas, on the highway, and to the mountain tops around Asheville, North Carolina. Also, the automatic start and stop system is very smooth and responds quickly.
The Santa Fe gets an EPA-estimated 25 mpg in the city and up to 28 mph on the highway. We averaged about 19 mpg.
Can the Santa Fe go off-roading?
The 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe can be equipped with all-wheel drive and has off-roading modes for Snow, Mud, and Sand. It has a ground clearance of 8.2-inches which is pretty good for clearing obstacles.
Plus, the Santa Fe has Hill Start Assist and Downhill Brake Control. You can lock the center differential with the press of a button to have more control over slick surfaces.
We took the Santa Fe on light off-roading trails in the forest, covered with dirt and gravel. It felt very stable and in control on slippery inclines and confidently cleared dips and bends. We had the Calligraphy trim and didn’t want to push it too hard.
The XRT trim has skid plates for under-body protection, so we would feel more comfortable with that setup. Also, the engine started to whine while climbing a steep incline, so we cut the off-roading test short in case the SUV needed more fluids, had a slipping belt, or couldn’t handle the stress.
We’re confident in the Santa Fe’s ability to get you to your campsite or to traverse national parks. However, it won’t be climbing up rock faces with the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon. It can definitely handle snow and other slippery situations.
How comfortable is the Santa Fe?
The 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe is a comfortable daily driver. It has a buttery smooth suspension and seems to glide over imperfections on the pavement. The glass is well-insulated to keep road and wind noise out of the cabin.
People of all shapes and sizes can fit in the large, well-padded seats. They can seem a bit firm initially, but the power controls can help you find the perfect position for driving or riding. The rear seats are well-padded too, and the backrest sits at a comfortable incline.
There is enough space for two taller adults to fit in the rear. The ventilated seats are strong, and the dual-zone climate control works pretty quickly to keep everyone cool. You can play relaxing sounds of nature, such as waves crashing on the beach, to relax.
However, Edmunds agrees that the soft suspension leads to noticeable body lean for the driver and passenger that can feel disruptive around sharp curves.
Does the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe have a nice interior?
Yes, the 2022 Hyundai Santa has a luxurious interior crafted with high-quality materials such as premium leather seating, quilted stitching, soft-touch covered materials, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
The door openings are large, allowing for easy access and the large panoramic sunroof provides plenty of natural light and fresh air to enter the cabin. Visibility in the front is excellent thanks to the large windows, but the rear window feels limited.
You can park easily with the side mirrors and optional 360-degree camera display. Everything you need is placed within reach. The infotainment system has physical knobs that are clearly labeled.
How is the tech in the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe?
The 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe is loaded with advanced tech. An 8.0-inch touchscreen comes standard, but you can upgrade to the 10.3-inch unit. The graphics are crisp, and the system responds quickly.
You can customize the head-up display and digital gauge cluster to provide crucial information. For example, you can have navigation directions appear on the head-up display and adjust where the speed limit is located.
The optional wireless charger sits to the left of the center console and has a space-saving vertical design. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, but the built-in navigation system is fast and accurate.
The software is intuitive and easy to use. You can change settings such as the color of the ambient lighting in a matter of seconds. We also enjoyed how well the optional Harmon and Kardon premium audio system sounds. The audio is crisp and immersive.
With the built-in voice amplifier, you can have your voice come over the rear speakers to enhance communication with rear passengers. It allows you to really threaten to turn this car around.
Also, the 360-degree camera displays your surroundings to help you avoid obstacles, and the parking sensors are helpful too. The remote parking assist feature allows you to pull forward and reverse with the key fob.
We were surprised to find that the Hyundai Santa Fe doesn’t have USB-C ports, but plenty of USB-A ports are located throughout the cabin. Also, you can opt for a 115-Volt Power AC outlet in the rear.
How much cargo space does the Hyundai Santa Fe have?
The 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe has an outstanding amount of cargo space. You can access up to 36.4 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats and up to 72.1 cubes total. Plus, there are substantial built-in storage cubbies beneath the trunk floor.
The rear hatch is wide with a low liftover height, making it easy to load heavy or bulky items. Plus, the hands-free power liftgate is convenient, and the power folding seats in the second row create a flat load floor. The Santa Fe can tow up to 3,500 lbs if you need more space.
Storage for smaller personal items is sufficient. The center console is deep and wide, but the door packets are narrow. There are plenty of stray trays and cubbies to access, but the glove box is a little tight.
Thanks to plenty of passenger space in the second row, you have more than enough space for installing child seats. Plus, the cup holders have a solid anti-tip design.
How Safe is the Hyundai Santa Fe?
The 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe is incredibly safe. In fact, it’s an Insurance Institue of Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick+. It earned a Good score in almost every crash simulation, which is the highest score possible.
It has a Superior rating for the ability to avoid collisions. It avoided collisions at 12, 20, and 37 mpg. Before impacts, speed was reduced by 20 mph, and a warning was issued about 1.9 seconds in advance.
The child seat anchors received an Acceptable score because the lower anchors are too deep in the seat. But the tether anchors are easy to find, and the seats are easy to install.
We felt as if the LED headlights were a little dim, and according to IIHS, the low beams don’t provide adequate visibility around curves. However, the high beams are bright and quickly adjust to oncoming traffic.
Standard safety features include:
- Forward collision warning
- Automatic emergency braking
- Adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go technology
- Lane departure warning
- Lane-keeping assist
The collision warning and automatic emergency braking aren’t as sensitive as the systems in the Kia Telluride. However, the lane-keeping assist feature can be a little sensitive.
If you get too close to the line, it beeps, and the steering wheel tightens up to pull you back toward the center of the lane. But if these features bother you, they can easily be turned off with the touch of a button. The rear occupant reminded is easy to turn off too.
How reliable is the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe?
According to Repair Pal, the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe has an above-average reliability rating. It earned four out of five stars, while the average vehicle gets three and a half stars. The Santa Fe is the second most reliable midsize SUV on their list, and the Mazda CX-5 is in first place.
The Hyundai Santa Fe is considered to be a durable vehicle that can last between 200,000 to 250,000 miles with proper care and regular maintenance. If you drive an average of 15,000 miles per year, then your Santa Fe could provide about 13 to 17 years on the road.
It costs about $515 to maintain the Santa Fe annually. This is lower than the average yearly cost of $573 for midsize SUVs. It has a lower frequency of repairs and less severe problems than its rivals, making it one of the more reliable options.
MotorBiscuit gives the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe an expert rating of 8.4 out of 10
The editors at MotorBiscuit award the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe with an overall score of 8.4 out of 10. While the Hyundai Santa Fe is incredibly smooth with a peaceful interior, the soft suspension takes away from its athletic handling, and the seats could use more padding.
While the base engine is a little lackluster, the turbo provides a peppy acceleration with smooth transmission shifts. Plus, the Santa Fe is pretty rugged and capable. We can’t wait to see how the XRT, hybrid, and PHEV trim compare.
The Hyundai Santa Fe is value-packed with plenty of advanced tech that isn’t confusing and is one of the safest options available. However, the safety systems can be a little intrusive but easily turn off.