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2023 Hyundai Santa Fe review: 

2023 Hyundai Santa Fe: $28,750 – $42,600

  • Best Buy Award – Kelley Blue Book 
  • Pros: Comfortable, spacious, engaging performance 
  • Cons: Lackluster base engine, odd wireless phone charging pad location, inconsistent power delivery 
  • MotorBiscuit Score: 8.4 out of 10
2023 Hyundai Santa Fe review
2023 Hyundai Santa Fe | Allison Barfield, MotorBiscuit

The 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe seems like an underdog as the middle child between the larger Hyundai Palisade and the compact Hyundai Tucson that gets more attention. However, the Santa Fe could be the best SUV in the lineup. 

The 2023 Santa Fe stands out with a unique, attractive design and high-quality interior that provides plenty of space. It’s the perfect option for tech lovers with advanced features such as customizable interior ambient lighting and the digital key. 

While the base engine is a bit dull, the optional turbocharged unit and hybrid powertrains offer plenty of punch. The Santa Fe provides an engaging athletic performance without compromising comfort or value. 

2023 Hyundai Santa Fe: What’s new? 

The 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe is primarily a carryover model, but the SEL convenience package was discontinued, and a few trim options were shuffled around. A few trim levels provide a slightly updated face. 

Acoustic laminated windows are standard with the SE trims and the models above it, and puddle lamps light up the darkness around the doors. The SEL trim gains a leather-wrapped steering wheel, sunshades, navigation-based adaptive cruise control, and a 10.3-inch infotainment screen. 

The Hyundai Santa Fe PHEV now has the Hyundai Driving Assist semi-autonomous driving mode and the 10.3-inch touchscreen. 

Which 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe trim is best? 

2023 Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy trim
2023 Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy | Hyundai

There are five gas-powered 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe trims. We haven’t reviewed the Santa Fe Hybrid or PHEV. 

  • Hyundai Santa Fe SE – $28,750
  • Hyundai Santa Fe SEL – $32,450
  • Hyundai Santa Fe XRT – $34,250 
  • Hyundai Santa Fe Limited – $40,600
  • Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy – $42,600

Upgrading to the Hyundai Santa Fe SEL trim is an affordable way to gain luxury and convenience features such as keyless entry, push-button start, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, heated seats, heated mirrors, a wireless phone charging pad, roof rails, Hyundai’s Blue Link connected services, rear-passenger safe-exit assist, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. 

But for just a little more, you can upgrade to the rugged XRT trim that provides a more confident look with dark exterior trim pieces, unique 18-inch wheels, roof rack cross rails, XRT side steps, body-color door handles, and synthetic leather upholstery. 

How does the Hyundai Santa Fe drive? 

2023 Hyundai Santa Fe review
2023 Hyundai Santa Fe | Allison Barfield, MotorBiscuit

For an athletic experience, we recommend avoiding the standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 191 hp and 181 lb-ft of torque. According to Car and Driver, it takes 9.6 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph, which is below the class average. 

However, the turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine cranks out 281 hp and 311 lb-ft of torque. It can reach 60 mph in 6.0 seconds. The eight-speed automatic transmission feels tuned to get to the highest gears as fast as possible, so you can quickly take off. 

At lower speeds, there are occasional transmission hiccups. It can be slow to downshift, but the steering is direct and provides confidence with responsive handling. The 2022 model had noticeably more body lean than the 2023 model. 

Updated suspension tuning provides more composure around sharp curves and effortless maneuvering in tight city areas. The brakes seem soft at first, but they’re easy to master. 

Can the 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe go off-roading? 

2023 Hyundai Santa Fe off-roading
2023 Hyundai Santa Fe | Hyundai

The 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe has a good start for off-roading. It’s not exactly designed to tackle the wild, but it only needs a few upgrades to hang out with the Subaru Forester in the wild. The XRT model adds cross bars to the roof rack to support camping gear and even a rooftop tent but doesn’t have mechanical upgrades. 

It features an 8.2-inch ground clearance, which is a great start. We would like to see it reach at least 8.6 inches with a slight suspension lift and larger wheels wrapped in all-terrain tires. You can add all-wheel drive to each model. 

The Hyundai HTRAC AWD system is pretty impressive. It monitors 50 vehicle inputs over 100 times per minute to calculate how much torque each wheel needs. If a slip is detected, the system automatically reroutes power between the front and rear axles and applies gentle braking pressure to maintain control and traction. 

You can use the AWD lock system for more power while driving through slick mud or climbing inclines. The driving modes include Normal, Sport, Comfort, Smart, Eco, and Snow. In Europe, the Santa Fe has a mode for Sand and Mud. 

How comfortable is the Hyundai Santa Fe? 

The 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe is comforable for families
2023 Hyundai Santa Fe | Hyundai

The 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe truly shines as a comfortable and spacious SUV. The suspension quickly soaks up bumps and imperfections with ease for a smooth ride. It can feel bumpy on gravel, though. 

Thanks to acoustic laminated windows and other sound insulation materials, the Santa Fe has a quiet interior. Wind and road noise is well-controlled. Plus, the seats are spacious and well-padded, with tons of adjustment controls. 

There is a generous amount of space in the rear. It has a relaxed backrest angle, and it reclines. There’s plenty of room for adults to stretch out. The climate control system is robust and effective. The available heated and ventilated seats kick in quickly. 

Is the 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe interior nice? 

The 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe interior is impressively upscale with high-quality, durable materials. It has unique features such as triangular patterns, contrasting colors, and vibrant ambient lighting to make things pop. 

Large areas of black or tan soft-touch-covered materials are accented by aluminum trim. The cloth, synthetic, and premium quilted leather upholstery is plush and inviting. You can opt for the available faux suede headliner to increase the premium feel. 

The layout is well-planned, with everything placed within reach. The panoramic sunroof has an excellent amount of tint to provide natural light to fill the cabin without blinding sun rays. It provides an excellent view but does cut into head space. 

There’s plenty of visibility out of the front, but the rear window feels limited. But the large side mirrors and optional 360-degree camera make up for the difference. The doors open wide for easy access, and the rear hatch provides a convenient liftover height. 

How is the Hyundai Santa Fe’s tech? 

2023 Hyundai Santa Fe interior tech
2023 Hyundai Santa Fe | Hyundai

The 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe is highly advanced and modern. Things could be a little more intuitive, but it doesn’t take long to master the controls for recording voice memos, using the digital blind-sot monitor, or enjoying the sounds of nature. 

An 8.0-inch touchscreen comes standard, but you can upgrade to the 10.3-inch display. It’s paired with plenty of physical controls, and you can easily adjust the 3D digital gauge cluster as needed. The head-up display is also easy to customize. 

The built-in navigation system is fast and effective. The system responds quickly and features attractive graphics. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard. It’s easy to connect your phone. 

But the wireless phone charger requires you to put your phone in a vertical slot. It seems like it could be easy to lose coins or small items in there. It didn’t scratch out phone screens but made it a little distracting to pick them up. 

How does the Hyundai Santa Fe do with towing and cargo space? 

The 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe has a solid amount of trays and cubbies for smaller items, but the glove box is a bit tight. The glove box is average, and the door pockets are helpful. There aren’t many cup holders to be found. 

You can access up to 36.4 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row and up to 72.1 cubes total. There are built-in storage bins under the rear cargo floor, and the rear seats are power folding. 

The Santa Fe can tow up to 3,500 lbs, which is great for pulling smaller trailers and campers. But the Honda Passport can tow up to 5,000 lbs. 

How safe is the 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe? 

2023 Hyundai Santa Fe from the side
2023 Hyundai Santa Fe | Allison Barfield, MotorBiscuit

According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS), the 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe is a Top Safety Pick+. It’s incredibly safe and earned ‘Good’ ratings in almost every crash simulation. That’s the highest score possible. 

It also earned ‘Superior’ ratings for its crash prevention systems. It avoided collisions at speeds of 12, 25, and 37 mph. It also issues warnings 1.9 seconds before the potential impacts. The headlights provide tons of visibility as well. 

The child seat anchors received an ‘Acceptable’ score because the tethers are located too deep in the seats. But they’re easy to find, maneuver, and attach. 

The safety systems can be a little surprising, with loud beeps at times, but they’re intelligent and effective. We’re especially fond of being notified when the car in front of you pulls away at stop signs and traffic lights. 

Standard safety features include: 

  • Forward collision warning
  • Automatic emergency braking 
  • Lane-keeping assist 
  • Lane departure warning
  • Driver attention warning 
  • Adaptive cruise control

How reliable is the 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe? 

The 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe on the road
2023 Hyundai Santa Fe | Allison Barfield, MotorBiscuit

The 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe has an average reliability rating from J.D.Power. It earned a score of 79 out of 100 but needed to get to 81 points to rank in the above-average category. This is still a solid ranking. 

The average Hyundai Santa Fe Model is expected to make it between 200,000 to 250,000 miles. However, there are plenty of examples that have surpassed 300,000 miles. Proper care and regular maintenance is the key to longevity. 

It costs about $515 to maintain the Santa Fe annually. This is below the average yearly maintenance cost of about $650 for SUVs. It has a low risk of unscheduled repairs and severe issues. 

MotorBiscuit gives the 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe a score of 8.4 out of 10 

The experts at MotorBiscuit have awarded the 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe with a score of 8.4 out of 10. This mid-size SUV provides elements of true luxury without breaking the bank, but the base engine isn’t the most exciting option. 

While the Santa Fe has sporty characteristics, it’s not as confident around curves as the Mazda CX-5, but that’s fine. It shines with an attractive interior, abundant cargo space, and modern tech. 

The XRT trim adds rugged looks and more utility, but it’s not ready to totally dominate the wild. We hope to get behind the wheel of the Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid and PHEV models soon to see how they compare.