2020 Hyundai Santa Fe

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2020 Hyundai Santa Fe Review: A Solid Contender

After dropping a row of seats and gaining a few inches here and there, the Hyundai Santa Fe could have undergone an identity crisis. But, instead, it has returned with a new-found sense of confidence as a distinctly midsize near-luxury SUV. The surprisingly spacious five-seater comes equipped with an impressive offering of tech and safety features, even on its entry-level trim, making it a strong competitor to the Honda Passport and Kia Sorento, with which it shares most of its specs. Properly equipped, the Santa Fe has been awarded the IIHS's Top Safety Pick Plus. And while the base 185-horsepower engine may not impress, the optional turbocharged in-line four, with 235 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque, will certainly get the job done. With a pretty price tag to match the SUV's stylish good looks, it's not hard to see the Hyundai Santa Fe is a strong contender in the segment.

Read in this review:

  • Exterior Design 7 /10
  • Performance 7 /10
  • Fuel Economy 8 /10
  • Interior & Cargo 9 /10
  • Infotainment & Features 9 /10
  • Reliability 9 /10
  • Safety 10 /10
  • Value For Money 9 /10
8.5
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2020 Hyundai Santa Fe Changes: What’s The Difference vs The 2019 Santa Fe?

Only a year after its redesign, the Hyundai has dropped the Unlimited trim for its lineup. Aside from that, most of the changes have been a behind-the-scenes redistribution of available features. The base SE now gets access to a rear occupant alert as well as a blind-spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert, while a wireless charging device is equipped to each model above the SEL. The top-tier Limited gets a newly designed blind-view monitor and stylish dark chrome exterior accents.

Pros and Cons

  • Capable optional turbocharged four-cylinder engine
  • Spacious and stylish interior
  • Adequate cargo capacity
  • Impressive warranties on new purchases
  • Long list of safety features at top trim level
  • Disappointing standard four-cylinder engine
  • Mediocre fuel economy
  • Uninspiring drive

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2020 Hyundai Santa Fe Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
SE
2.4L Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$26,275
SEL
2.4L Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$28,025
SEL 2.0T
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$34,875
Limited
2.4L Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$36,025
Limited 2.0T
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$37,875
See All 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe Trims and Specs

Handling and Driving Impressions

While by no means a powerful or athletic SUV, the Santa Fe is a capable driver with a composed profile. As with most city-oriented vehicles, it handles briskly around town thanks to its light and responsive steering. And while the steering wheel doesn't center well enough to inspire confidence at higher speeds, it does receive some feedback from the wheels to give you a sense of what is going on underneath you. The brakes are a bit more inspiring, however, biting eagerly when applied, which can be surprising to those who are more accustomed to lackadaisical town cars. You can expect the Santa Fe to come to a halt quicker than your average midsize SUV.

During daily driving, the Santa Fe remains composed, for the most part. Consistently uneven surfaces can throw the suspension a curveball, but they won't cause it to lose its temper, as it wiggles to find its footing. Larger mid-corner bumps are taken in the SUV's stride without a fuss. Still, this isn't the vehicle we'd take off-road. But if you feel that the suspension isn't to your liking, you can opt for the self-leveling air suspension.

Despite how well the SUV handles, it never delivers any sense of excitement, in part because of the lackluster base engine. But even the turbocharged inline-four won't get your blood pumping. On the plus side, the ride comfort is above average, and the cabin handles noise extremely well. As stated before, only extremely uneven surfaces cause any noticeable problem, but the odd sharp bump can elicit an alarming groan from the vehicle.

Verdict: Is the Hyundai Santa Fe A Good car?

Vehicles like the Santa Fe are a dime a dozen in the USA these days, so standing out in the segment is no easy feat. The Hyundai Santa Fe may be a handsome vehicle but its subtle styling doesn't do much to recommend it at first glance. However, once you take a closer look, the appeal of the midsize SUV becomes obvious.

While the base powertrain won't wow even the most timid of drivers, the optional turbocharged four-cylinder manages to keep more avid enthusiasts interested. Still, the Santa Fe will never match the quickness of sportier rivals, like the Kia Sorento, who put more emphasis on performance. But, often, these same rivals make sacrifices in areas where Hyunda's newest SUV shines.

A comprehensive safety suite, which comes standard with advanced features you often have to pay extra for, combined with an easy-to-use and up-to-date infotainment system, presents prospective buyers with a tempting complete package. Add to this the large trunk and exemplary passenger space, and it's not hard to see why the Santa Fe scores so well with critics. It's true that many rivals offer better features, space, and cargo capacity, but few can claim to do it all, and those that do usually come with a much higher price tag.

If you're looking for a well-balanced SUV for the family that can still run slightly heavier-duty errands around town or up and down the highway, then the Hyundai Santa Fe deserves your consideration. Affordable, dependable, safe, and well-appointed, the SUV easily makes our shortlist, and it should be on yours too. 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe models are also rumoured to sport significant enhancements, so it may be worth your while to wait for newer iterations.

Check out other Hyundai Santa Fe Styles

2020 Hyundai Santa Fe Comparisons

Kia Sorento Kia
Hyundai Tucson Hyundai

2020 Hyundai Santa Fe vs Kia Sorento

With all the same underpinnings as the Hyundai SUV, the Kia Sorento has stuck to the three-row design used for the pre-redesign Santa Fe. In terms of power, the Sorento uses the same base engine as its sister-company rival, a 2.4-liter inline-four with 185 hp and 178 lb-ft. However, rather than opting for a more trendy turbocharged four-cylinder on its upper trims, Kia equips a torquey V6 engine that develops 290 hp and 252 lb-ft. This extra power sets it apart as the better performer on the road. Inside, Kia's crossover is just as spacious as the Santa Fe, but the third row of seats can make it feel cramped. And, while the standard trunk is only 11.3 cubic feet, you get the same 38 cubic feet as the Hyundai once you fold down the 3rd-row seating. Where the Santa Fe pulls ahead, however, is in the availability of advanced safety features on even the lower trim levels. And with a slightly higher price tag, and identical mileage figures, the Kia Sorento, even with its 3rd row of seating, can't quite compete with the new Hyundai Santa Fe when it comes to value for money.

See Kia Sorento Review

2020 Hyundai Santa Fe vs Hyundai Tucson

With a smaller profile and a lower price tag to match, the Hyundai Tucson will definitely appeal to the economically minded. The smaller crossover isn't quite as up-to-date as its larger sibling, but it has managed to move with the times with modern features like smartphone integration coming standard. It also gets similar safety features to the Santa Fe, with forward collision avoidance and lane-keeping assist installed on the base SE model. As you'd expect from a more budget SUV, the Tucson gets a weaker engine, a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that develops 164 hp and 151 lb-ft. However, the upper trims get access to a 2.4-liter engine that comes standard on the base Sante Fe, producing 181 hp and 175 lb-ft. The smaller size and lighter weight of the Tuscon mean that it manages just fine with these lower figures. But it also doesn't provide as much passenger room or trunk space, although 31 cubic feet is still impressive, and the fold-down rear seats help it stay competitive. Overall, the Tuscon is definitely worth considering if you have a smaller budget, or a smaller family to consider.

See Hyundai Tucson Review

2020 Hyundai Santa Fe Popular Comparisons

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