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The Hyundai Santa Fe made its debut back in 2001 as a compact crossover that competed with the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. Twenty years later, the Santa Fe is all grown up and boasts a new look, larger dimensions, and new tech-savvy features. The most notable change for the 2021 model year, however, is the addition of the “Calligraphy” trim level, which kicks the crossover’s luxury quotient up a notch.

Having spent some time in the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy, I can say that it’s impressive compared to its rivals. In fact, here are three reasons why I think the Santa Fe Calligraphy is more luxurious than you might think.

1. The Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy means “luxury”

2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy
2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy | Hyundai

What’s in a name? Apparently, a lot, and Hyundai knows this. After all, you can’t have a luxuriously trimmed crossover without having a luxuriously sounding name. So the South Korean automaker chose the word “calligraphy” to denote opulence.

“It’s just one in sort of a list of luxury trim levels that are intended to evoke writing. You have Jaguar ‘Portfolio’ trim level, Land Rover ‘Autobiography’ trim level. You have Volvo with ‘Inscription,’ and now Hyundai has ‘Calligraphy. These automakers seem to think that writing or books evoke some luxurious feel,” said Doug Demuro in his video on the Santa Fe Calligraphy.  

That’s an interesting take on the name, but what’s more interesting is that the Hyundai Santa Fe now competes with the Ford Edge, Nissan Murano, and Honda Passport. Honestly, I think it outclasses all three of them with this new trim.

2. The Santa Fe Calligraphy has a good amount of power to get you going

2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy
2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy side | Hyundai

The base 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe models come with a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine that produces 191 hp and 181 lb-ft of torque. That’s not bad, but if you opt for the Calligraphy trim, you’ll be treated to a more potent turbocharged 2.5-liter engine that pumps out 281 hp and a whopping 311 lb-ft of torque. It’s quite peppy and smooth, which is what you would expect out of a luxury-oriented crossover and the Santa Fe Calligraphy does not fail to deliver.

3. The Santa Fe Calligraphy’s interior is impressive

2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy interior
2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy | Hyundai

Stepping up to the Calligraphy trim in the 2021 Santa Fe yields some opulent touches over the base trims. Most notably, the Calligraphy trim comes with lavish features like a Nappa leather interior, a heated steering wheel, heated/ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, and an Alcantara headliner that you usually find in high-end German SUVs.

Additionally, the top-trim Calligraphy comes with a premium Harmon Kardon sound system and a large 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system. Ahead of the driver is a 12.3-inch digital display that’s configurable and very informative. The bottom line is that if you sit inside this car, you might forget that you’re in a Hyundai provided that you don’t look at the badging on the steering wheel.

Ultimately, when it comes to the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy, value is the name of the game

I can’t talk about a luxurious Hyundai without mentioning pricing. Fortunately, it’s priced competitively at $43,730 (as tested). That’s about $1,000 cheaper than the Honda Passport Elite and only a little more expensive than the top trim Ford Edge. Either way, if you’re shopping for a 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe, be sure to check out the Calligraphy model. You might be surprised at just how premium it feels.


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