Named after Santa Fe, New Mexico, the Hyundai Santa Fe sports utility vehicle (SUV) is produced by the Hyundai Motor Company. Hyundai introduced the Santa Fe as its first SUV in 2000 for the 2001 model year. The Hyundai Santa Fe marked a significant milestone in Hyundai’s global restructuring, which began in the late ’90s. Along with the Pontiac Aztek and the Ford Escape, the Santa Fe was a huge success in the United States.
The Hyundai Santa Fe became so popular in the early to mid-2000s that Hyundai struggled to meet supply and demand. Consequently, Hyundai’s first SUV played a big role in gaining a foothold in the United States as a competing automaker.
In 2008, Consumer Reports listed it among the top 10 SUVs as well as the “top pick” among reviewers. U.S. News recently ranked the 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe as the best midsize SUV with a score of 8.2 out of 10.
Things people love about their 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe
Read reviews written by actual 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe owners and one thing becomes clear – they love it. Numerous reviewers felt that review sites such as Edmunds and others “short-changed” the 2020 model.
Over the past two years, Hyundai redesigned and revamped its entire crossover lineup. It debuted new models like the tiny Venue, the small Kona, and the family-sized Palisade. As for legacy models, Hyundai completely redesigned the Santa Fe and the popular Tucson.
No one can deny how stylish the Santa Fe looks, a key feature that makes them increasingly popular. Santa Fe owners told J.D. Power that the No. 1 thing they love about their SUV is its exterior styling. Even the cute miniature Hyundai Santa Fe attracts thousands of likes on Hyundai’s Instagram.
After its looks, owners listed their next favorite things as being its visibility, driving dynamics, interior design, and storage space. They disliked its fuel economy, climate control system, infotainment system, seats, as well as its engine and transmission.
The Hyundai Santa Fe SE
Firmly laid out as a five-passenger midsize family SUV, you have three Santa Fe trims to choose from: the Santa Fe SE, the Santa Fe SEL, and the pricier Santa Fe Limited. If you count the SEL 2.0-liter (SEL 2.0T) and Limited 2.0-liter (2.0T) as separate trims, then you have five trims.
The 2020 Santa Fe SE trim features a gasoline direct injection (GDI). Front-wheel drive comes standard with an eight-speed automatic transmission. For an additional $1,700 you can upgrade to all-wheel drive. For those who live in hard winter areas of the country, that’s a small investment to avoid getting stuck somewhere. The SE model also provides people who enjoy driving a comfortable yet firm handling experience. Many reviewers enjoy how agile the Santa Fe feels as well as its steering feedback.
A rear-seat reminder, an infotainment system with a 7-inch display, Apple CarPlay®, Android Auto™, Bluetooth, and four USB ports come standard. Additional features include keyless entry, a rearview camera, pedestrian detection, forward collision warning, lane-keep assist, and adaptive cruise control. If you’re one to take regular long trips, the driver drowsiness monitoring feature comes standard as well.
The SEL trim
The 2020 Santa Fe SEL offers buyers two packages. The Convenience Package for an additional cost includes a hands-free power liftgate, dual-zone automatic climate control, wireless device charging, and rear parking sensors. You’ll also enjoy the 12-speaker Infinity Premium Audio system complete with surround sound and a subwoofer. The Premium Package for an additional cost includes leather upholstery, a power-adjustable passenger seat, and a panoramic sunroof.
As with the SE model, you have the option of paying for a four-wheel-drive upgrade.
The Hyundai Santa Fe SEL comes standard with the same 185-hp 2.4-liter gasoline direct injection (GDI) four-cylinder engine. However, the SEL trim offers a 235-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter as an option.
The Convenience and Premium packages are required when upgrading to the SEL 2.0T trim. While not racing material, the turbocharged 2.0-liter provides adequate thrust for city and highway driving. Even with your foot to the floor, the Santa Fe SEL never raises above a dull roar.
The pricier Santa Fe Limited
The Santa Fe Limited comes standard with nearly every feature offered. Both Hyundai Santa Fe Limited trims offer added luxuries that include: a heated steering wheel, ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, an 8-inch touchscreen, a blind-spot monitor, a surround-view camera system, a head-up display, and navigation. The Limited 2.0T features a 235-hp turbo-four engine that allows this stately SUV to pull 3,500 pounds (1.59 tons) of brake weight.
To sum it up, the Hyundai Santa Fe offers potential new car buyers an affordable midsize SUV capable of competing with more luxurious brands. Even the 2020 BMW X3 has a hard time going toe-to-toe with the 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe.