What’s the Best Two-Row SUV for the Money? The Hyundai Santa Fe, According to U.S. News

We all want a good deal when we buy and SUV, but we also want value for our dollars. U.S. News has a variety of rankings to help, and this year the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe was named the Best 2-Row SUV for the Money. Sure, it has a low base price, but is that all it takes to earn the award? Nope.

The Tucson is smaller, and the Palisade is bigger than the Santa Fe

A white 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe midsize SUV is parked off-road.
The 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe | Hyundai

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe earned a U.S. News score of 8.3 of 10, which puts it at the top of the two-row, or five-seat, SUV for the money list. The Santa Fe, though, also came in as a finalist for in the Best 2-Row SUV for Families list. The Santa Fe slots between the large Palisade and the compact Tucson, and has a Goldilocks appeal about it where it’s not too big, or too small. Though we do wish its 191-horsepower base engine had a little more grunt.

The Fe competes with the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 on features and space, but it undercuts those on price.

Overall, it’s easy to see why the Santa Fe earned a Best for the Money award. The list of standard features is as long as a CVS receipt and incudes basics plus niceties like lane keep assist and forward collision assist, but also tons of storage and several USB outlets, as well as wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It holds a respectable, though not massive, 36.4 cubic feet of luggage when the seats are folded. Also, it has Hyundai’s 10-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty.

The Santa Fe got a big upgrade in 2020

2022 Hyundai Santa Fe interior can be trimmed perforated leather on the heated and ventilated front seats.
2022 Hyundai Santa Fe interior | Hyundai

The Santa Fe was last all-new in 2018 and got a refresh in 2020, and will get a big update for 2024, too. That refresh included a huge improvement to the interior that can now get outfitted with leather and tech that helps this budget-minded SUV approach luxury status. Or at least Palisade-levels of luxury. For example, it comes standard with a basic 8.0-inch touchscreen while the top trim levels get a 10.3-inch screen, a digital gauge cluster, and you can order butt-warming rear seats, as well as butt-cooling front seats.

How much should I pay for a Hyundai Santa Fe?

The Santa Fe starts at about $30,000 for the basic SE trim. But if you’re not careful with the options boxes you could spend up to $43,345 for the top-level Calligraphy. The XRT, for $34,995, is one of the more likely trims buyers will look at for its solid mix of basic features and several cool options, like a proximity key and navigation-based smart cruise. The one downfall is that the Santa Fe has a terrible depreciation score.

The Hyundai Santa Fe is available as a plug-in hybrid.

Shimmering Silver 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe PHEV charging at a charging station
Shimmering Silver 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe PHEV | Hyundai

The Santa Fe PHEV, or plug-in hybrid vehicle, is sold as a different model, though at its core it’s the same vehicle. It starts at $40,000, but comes starts at the SEL level, which means it has all-wheel drive and options galore. But if you’re buying a PHEV, you care more about range, and in the Santa Fe’s case, it gets 30 miles on a full charge.

The Santa Fe PHEV comes with a 1.6-liter engineand electric motor that gives it a combined 261 horsepower.

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