Hyundai and Kia continue their evolution from economy knockabouts to full-blown luxury cars. The Kia K8, for instance, is likely to compare well against Mercedes and BMWs, which 20 years ago was unthinkable. Now, we have the refreshed 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe that Consumer Reports is testing, and the reviews are looking like exactly what we thought they would; glowing.
The 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe is here and it’s looking strong
Hyundai has been selling the Santa Fe for 20 years now, and the transformation from Budget SUV to class-leading is looking like it’s nearly complete.
The new refresh for 2021 brought a whole slew of new technologies, the tippy-top Caligraphy trim, and the introduction of the hybrid powerplant. The last update was around two years ago. When you look at the amount of new stuff Hyundai is piling on the 2021 Sante Fe, it is pretty impressive. Usually, a model refresh will get an updated motor or a brand new interior; they rarely get so much of both and a whole new trim package.
What engine comes in the Santa Fe?
Consumer Reports says that most Santa Fe customers will likely choose the standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and eight-speed automatic transmission. This is also the one that came in the all-wheel-drive SEL trim that CR used in their test. There is also the turbocharged version and the new hybrid powerplant that will come out later this year.
CR is currently testing the 2021 Santa Fe, and as a result, they haven’t released the full rating and test results. However, since Consumer Reports is in the break-in phase of the new SUV, they are giving us some of their initial thoughts.
CR had plenty of good things to say about the new Santa Fe
The interior is a mix of soft-touch materials and nice plastics. I know “nice plastics” seems like a silly thing to say, but according to CR, that’s what’s going on. They mention their borrowed Limited trim being particularly nice with “nicely contoured panels and intricately designed speaker grilles; stitched panels on the doors, dash, and steering wheel; and good attention to detail where panels fit together nicely, particularly where the dash flows elegantly into the door panels.”
The hybrid platform is very friendly, and the transition from electric to gas power is nearly seamless. CR says that the electric-only mode can yield up to about 35 miles of range if driven conservatively. Even more than the ecological responsibilities and gas mileage increase, the hybrid power is more snappy and overall more exciting than the standard 2.5-liter engine.
Honestly, you can pick any major aspect of the interior like cargo room, climate control, entry and exit access, and so on, and Consumer Reports was probably digging it. The only major things they had beef with were the ride comfort which they called “stiff,” the noisy standard engine, and the annoying push-button gear selector. Most of these things will only annoy certain drivers, but they are there nonetheless. Overall the 2021 Santa Fe seems like a strong contender, yet again, in the Hyundai lineup. We will just have to wait for the full review to see what’s what.