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Most SUVs deliver on quality, value, or safety, but not all. That isn’t the case with the best SUV for the money from Hyundai. In the segment for two-row SUVs, the 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe impressed in all important areas like cost, safety, and warranty. However, this midsize SUV’s reliability score slumped a little. Is this something to overlook, given the high performance in other areas?

What is the best SUV for your money right now?

The best SUV for the money is this 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe
A 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe | Hyundai

The best SUV for the money in its respective category is the 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe. U.S. News says the Santa Fe has proved to be a good option for two years in a row in some of the most critical areas. These include low cost of ownership and even the lowest transaction price.

Starting at only $28,450, the base model Hyundai Santa Fe comes pretty well-equipped from the factory. The SE trim includes features like wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, forward collision warning, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert. With its 191-horsepower four-cylinder engine, drivers get 25 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. For most shoppers, the best SUV for the money is probably the base model.

2023 Hyundai Santa Fe TrimMSRPEngineHorsepower
SE$28,750Four-cylinder191 Horsepower
SEL$32,450Four-cylinder191 Horsepower
XRT$34,250Four-cylinder191 Horsepower
Limited$40,600Turbo four-cylinder281 Horsepower
Calligraphy$42,600Turbo four-cylinder281 Horsepower
The best SUV for the money is the 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe

A fully-loaded 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy starts at $42,600, which is still pretty good for everything you get. Quilted Nappa leather, 20-inch wheels, and a Head-Up Display. Hyundai also includes almost every safety system available right now. So why did the Santa Fe earn a low-reliability score if it seems pretty perfect in other areas?

Is the best SUV for the money reliable?

Inside the Hyundai Santa Fe, the best SUV for the money in 2023
Inside the Hyundai Santa Fe | Hyundai

J.D. Power gave the Hyundai Santa Fe a predicted reliability score of 79 out of 100, which still qualifies it as the best SUV for the money. The midsize SUV earned high marks for resale value and driving experience, but the Santa Fe isn’t the most reliable option in the bunch. It still landed in the “average” category.

Not to worry, though. As a brand-new SUV, the 2023 Santa Fe has a five-year or 60,000-mile limited warranty. Hyundai also includes a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty. As a brand, Hyundai is known for being a good option. As the best two-row SUV for the money, it also offers a lot of value in other areas.

Even if the 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe isn’t the most reliable vehicle on the list, there are more positives than negatives. You get a lot of bang for your buck with this midsize SUV, with many features that its main competition charges extra for.

How safe is the best SUV for the money?

The 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe is among the best and safest new SUVs. It earned the Top Safety Pick Plus award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and performed well on the main crashworthiness tests. Hyundai offers two different headlight variations. The SE, SEL, XRT, and Hybrid Limited trims received LED reflector lights that earned an acceptable score.

The LED projector headlights provided better visibility on the Limited, Calligraphy, Hybrid Blue, and Hybrid SEL Premium trims. On the new front-crash prevention test for vehicle-to-pedestrian and vehicle-to-vehicle, the Santa Fe earned the highest superior score. Additionally, the midsize SUV earned a five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA. It performed well on the frontal, side, and rollover tests.

When it comes down to it, the Hyundai Santa Fe is the best SUV for the money due to all of its combined scores and features. Even though the predicted reliability score isn’t the highest, it still offers plenty of value and high safety scores for peace of mind. Not all new SUVs provide that, but this Hyundai offering does.


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