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2020 Hyundai Santa Fe

$25,900 - $39,200
Price Range (MSRP)
Hyundai Santa Fe

2020 Hyundai Santa Fe Review: A Solid Contender

by Roger Biermann

After dropping a row of seats and gaining a few inches here and there, the 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, the Hyundai Santa Fe is a strong contender in the segment.

2020 Hyundai Santa Fe Changes: What’s the difference vs 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

Santa Fe Exterior

There's no denying that Hyundai has designed a handsome SUV. Riding on 17-inch alloy wheels, set withing slim, sexy wheel arches, the slightly larger body of the redesigned Santa Fe now has appealing curves and sleek halogen headlights set below its sloping hood with a second, larger set resting below. The front grille is set low and juts out with bold attitude, and there is chrome accent trimming and plastic out the wazoo. For an even more imposing figure, the upper trims ride on 18-inch alloys, while the turbocharged engine demands 19-inch alloys. A roof rail is available and the upper trims replace all the standard lighting elements with LED variants.

2020 Hyundai Santa Fe Front View
2020 Hyundai Santa Fe Rear View
2020 Hyundai Santa Fe Rear View
See All 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe Exterior Photos

Dimensions

As a midsize SUV, the Santa Fe is able to maneuver around town without too much fuss, although, with a length of 187.8 inches and a width of 74.4 inches, you may still need to choose your parking spots wisely. The 108.9-inch wheelbase leaves plenty of undisturbed room for passengers, although the rear wheels do dig into trunk space a little bit. Depending on whether or not you spring for the roof rails, the Hyundai stands between 66.1 and 67.1 inches tall. But, despite its size, the Santa Fe isn't a heavyweight, when compared to some of its rivals. The lightest model weighs in at 3,591 lbs while the heftiest trim, at 4,085 lbs, is only a bit heavier than the lightest Honda Passport at 3,959 lbs.

Exterior Colors

Every model in the lineup shares the same dressing room, with a choice of nine colors shared between them. Twilight Black or Quartz White are available for those who like a simple, classic look, while Symphony Silver or Machine Gray give the SUV a modern style. For those who love to be noticed, there is spicy Lava Orange or saucy Scarlet Red, while those with a more laid-back devil-may-care attitude might prefer the cool Stormy Sea. Rounding out the selection is Earthy Bronze and Rainforest, which each deliver a more neutral but rugged coat that makes the SUV look in-tune with the great wide open.

  • Twilight Black
  • Quartz White
  • Stormy Sea
  • Earthy Bronze
  • Rainforest
  • Lava Orange
  • Machine Gray, Build out: 10/01/2019
  • Scarlet Red, Build out: 10/01/2019
  • Shimmering Silver Pearl
  • Symphony Silver, Build out: 10/01/2019
  • Calypso Red
  • Portofino Gray

Santa Fe Performance

While it's not surprising that the Santa Fe sees no mechanical changes just one year after its redesign, it's still disappointing to be stuck with the uninspiring powering options. An efficient, albeit disinterested, eight-speed automatic transmission rows the gears for either a 185-hp 2.4-liter inline-four or a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Each engine can be fitted to either a front-wheel- or all-wheel drivetrain, with the latter only slightly improving traction off the line.

The weaker standard engine has been reported to make the 0 to 60 mph sprint in a lazy nine seconds, while the more appealing turbo shaves almost a full second off that time. However, neither powertrain can be deemed particularly quick, especially compared to rivals like the Kia Sorento, which is able to complete the spring in under eight seconds with its V6 engine, according to the same testers.

When equipped with the standard four-cylinder engine, the SUV is capable of towing up to 2,000 lbs of brake-controlled weight. The beefier turbocharged variant increases this figure to 3,500 lbs. This is on par with the 2.4-liter Kia Sorento, although that model can handle up to 5,000 pounds when equipped with the 3.3-liter V6 engine and all-wheel-drive.

2020 Hyundai Santa Fe Rear View
2020 Hyundai Santa Fe Right Side View
2020 Hyundai Santa Fe Engine

Engine and Transmission

A choice of two engines is available to aspiring Santa Fe owners. The standard engine is a 2.4-liter inline-four that delivers 185 hp and 178 lb-ft to the front wheels, or all four if you want to spread the power around. While these figures are by no means insufficient, especially considering the relatively light weight of the SUV, this engine won't inspire even the most insipid of driving enthusiasts. It will get you around town, but it won't do it quickly with, and passing on the highway will require you to put the pedal to the metal, quite literally.

For those who desire a little more kick from their SUV, Hyundai presents its 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The more impressive beast develops 235 hp and 260 lb-ft, and is also not restricted to a single drivetrain. This extra boost in power is certainly noticeable, as getting up to 60 mph takes almost a full second less. Passing on the highway also feels far less like flogging a stubborn mule.

Regardless of the engine you choose, an eight-speed automatic transmission will be choosing your gears for you, with no manual option provided. While shifts are smooth, they aren't eager, contributing to the Santa Fe's relatively laidback attitude to getting you around.

  • Engines
    2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas, 2.4-liter Inline-4 Gas
  • Transmission
    8-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    AWD, FWD

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. 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.

Santa Fe Gas Mileage

The Santa Fe fairs relatively well in terms of fuel economy when compared to rivals, although it often competes with V6 engines like the one found in the Honda Passport. With the standard 2.4-liter inline-four under its hood, the Hyundai can cover 22/29/25 mpg across the city/highway/combined cycles, with the turbocharged four-cylinder gets 20/27/23. Switching to all-wheel-drive loses about one mpg across the board. By comparison, the 3.5-liter V6 Honda Passport can achieve 20/25/22 mpg. The 2.4-liter Kia Sorento gets identical figures to the Hyundai, thanks to their shared engine, but dips to as low as 18/24/20 mpg when combined with the 3.3-liter V6 and AWD. With an 18.8-gallon tank of regular gasoline, the Santa Fe is capable of traversing 470 miles in its optimal guise before needing to refuel.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    18.8 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 22/29 mpg
* 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe SE 2.4L Automatic FWD

Santa Fe Interior

A well-appointed and stylish interior greets you when you open the large doors on the midsize SUV. There is ample room to seat four comfortably, and the standard cloth upholstery is serviceable, although you can upgrade to leather. While there isn't a plethora of standard features, there is certainly enough tech on board to keep the discerning buyer happy. The controls are laid out in an intuitive manner, too. Moving up the trim levels sees the list of features, and the overall comfort of the SUV, border on luxurious. The inclusion of smartphone integration on even the base SE trim is a welcome reprieve from the many manufacturers that expect you to pay extra. It's just a shame that dual-zone climate control is reserved for the top-most trims.

2020 Hyundai Santa Fe Infotainment System
2020 Hyundai Santa Fe Infotainment System
2020 Hyundai Santa Fe Driver And Front Passenger Seat
See All 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

There is seating provided for up to five passengers inside the Santa Fe, but trying to fit even three teens in the rear seat might be pushing your luck. Although head- and legroom is pretty generous in the back, the SUV isn't all that wide, so shoulder room can run out fairly quickly. The front seats get ample legroom, but taller drivers might find the roof a little too low for their liking. The driver gets a six-way manual seat with two-way power lumbar on the base trim, while an eight-way power seat is standard from the SEL up - it is optional for the passenger seat. Visibility is, for the most part, pretty good, but the chunky rear pillars do create some unwelcome blind spots. Ingress and egress are extremely simple, matters thanks to the wide-opening doors and well-positioned seats.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater

Interior Colors and Materials

The interior of the SUV is styled simply but attractively. Cloth upholstery is standard on the SE and SEL, but leather is optional on the latter, and standard on the upper trims. While the leather is naturally more premium, even the cloth material feels good on the supremely comfortable seats. Regardless of which upholstery you end up with, the color choices are standard across the range: pure Black, Beige on Black, or Gray on Espresso. No accents or trims are present besides the base color choice. The cabin is well-built, with no noticeable squeaks or mismatched paneling.

Santa Fe Trunk and Cargo Space

The Santa Fe is quite generous when it comes to trunk space, but it's not class-leading. Behind the rear seats, buyers are presented with 35.9 cubic feet of easily accessible floor to ceiling space, more than enough for daily errand-running. Stacking half a dozen suitcases in the wide cargo area wouldn't be implausible, but if you need even more room, then the rear seats fold down flat in a 60/40-split to expand the cargo capacity two-fold, to 71.3 cubic feet. If that's not enough space for your stuff, then you have too much stuff - although the Honda Passport could probably accommodate it with its 77.9 cubic feet of maximum capacity. The Hyundai SUV does offer a compartment under the cargo floor, however, as well as several tie-downs to secure your more delicate items.

Around the cabin, the door pockets are large enough to hold your water bottles, and the center console bin is quite generous. A tray is provided beside the gear shifter for your loose items and the passenger-side shelf is deep, providing ample space for items you don't want to risk slipping onto the floor. The optional wireless charging pad beneath the infotainment system can safely accommodate your smart devices, too.

2020 Hyundai Santa Fe Luggage Space With One Seat Up
2020 Hyundai Santa Fe Luggage Space With Third Row
2020 Hyundai Santa Fe Luggage Space With One Seat Down

Santa Fe Infotainment and Features

Features

The list of standard features on the Santa Fe is quite impressive, at least for the price you pay. On the base model, you will get basic air conditioning, a six-way manual driver's seat with two-way power lumbar support, and a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel. Set within the instrument cluster is a monochromatic driver information display, which is upgraded to a seven-inch color display on the upper trims. Standard conveniences include cruise control, keyless entry, and a rearview camera, while the SEL adds keyless ignition. Heated front seats with eight-way power adjustment are also available on the second-tier trim, while the 2.0T model brings dual-zone climate control into the mix. While the standard Santa Fe is only equipped with a rearview camera, forward collision alert, lane-keeping assist, a driver attention system, and rear occupant alert, blind-spot warning, a blind-spot camera, rear cross-traffic alert, and a surround-view camera are available. The top-tier Limited also gets a snazzy head-up display. Standard from the SEL up is Hyundai's Safe Exit Assist, which prevents the doors from opening when a vehicle is detected approaching from the rear. A panoramic sunroof and a hands-free liftgate are installed on each model above the standard SEL.

Infotainment

The infotainment suite is built around Hyundai's easy-to-use seven-inch color display, although the Limited adds an extra inch to its interface, just to show off. The system comes standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as Bluetooth hands-free. Four dual USB ports are provided, three of which are solely for charging your smart devices. But if that sounds too archaic for you, the Limited shows off once again with a high-tech wireless charging pad. The six-speaker sound system that comes standard on the lower trims is compatible with AM/FM Radio and MP3 input via your smartphone or the auxiliary audio jack. SiriusXM and HD Radio are added when you upgrade to the SEL, while the SEL2.0T sees the standard sound system replaced with a premium 12-speaker Infinity audio system.

Santa Fe Problems and Reliability

J.D. Power has rated the latest edition of the Santa Fe at 81 out of 100 for dependability - a pretty high score. And while the 2020 model has not been recalled as yet, the 2019 model, fresh from its redesign, was recalled for damaged side curtain airbags. Hyundai offers a segment-leading array of warranties on new purchases. The limited warranty runs for 60,000 miles/five years, and the powertrain warranty is valid for an impressive 100,000 miles/ten years. Additionally, five years of unlimited roadside assistance is provided, too.

Santa Fe Safety

The NHTSA has awarded the SUV a five-star rating for overall safety, while the IIHS gives it an overall score of Good, even going so far as to name it a Top Safety Pick Plus. However, this award is only applicable when the Santa Fe is equipped with LED headlights.

Key Safety Features

The Hyundai's safety award is well-earned, with a long list of safety features available once you reach the top trim. Even the base model comes equipped with ABS, stability and traction control, forward collision avoidance, pedestrian detection, lane-keeping assist, a driver attention system, high beam assist, rear occupant alert, a rearview camera, and six airbags: dual front, front side, and side curtain. Blind-spot and rear cross-traffic collision avoidance are added with the upgrade to the SEL, along with Hyundai's Safe Exit Assist, which prevents the doors from being opened when a vehicle is approaching from the rear. The top-tier model gets the newly designed blind-view monitor as well as a surround-view camera, rear sonar, and an ultrasonic rear occupant alert. Hill-start assist is standard, while downhill brake control is available when you equip the all-wheel drivetrain.

Verdict: Is the 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe a good SUV?

Affordable SUVs are a dime a dozen 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 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 tempting complete package. Add to this the a 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.

What's the Price of the 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe?

The midsize SUV hits the market with an affordable price tag, despite its impressive array of standard and available features. The entry-level SE will only cost you $25,900, while the SEL, with the same engine, costs $1,750 more. The top-tier Limited will set you back $35,650 in exchange for its plethora of features. However, the two upper trims are available with the 2.0-liter turbo engine, which increases their price tags to $34,500 and $37,500, respectively. You can also pay an extra $1,600 for the optional all-wheel drivetrain. These prices exclude tax, registration, licensing, and a $1,095 freight charge.

2020 Hyundai Santa Fe Models

Three distinct models make up the Hyundai Santa Fe range, although a choice between two engines results in five trim levels: the SE, SEL, Limited, SEL 2.0T and Limited 2.0T. A 2.4-liter inline-four engine powers the first three trims, delivering 185 hp and 178 lb-ft to the front wheels, with all-wheel-drive as an option. As the name suggests, the 2.0T trims come equipped with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, developing a higher 235 hp and 260 lb-ft, with the same drivetrain options. Mated to each engine is an eight-speed automatic transmission.

The SE comes equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic halogen headlights, and LED daytime running lights. Safety features include a rearview mirror, lane-keeping assist, forward collision avoidance, and a driver attention warning. Cruise control and basic air conditioning come standard, along with a rearview camera and keyless entry. The seven-inch infotainment display helps you navigate the standard Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Bluetooth hands-free, while the six-speaker sound system channels AM/FM Radio or your MP3 playlist.

The SEL is equipped with fog lights and a panoramic sunroof, and adds push-button start and a seven-inch driver information display. It also receives an eight-way power driver's seat and heated front seats. HD Radio and SiriusXM expand on the infotainment offering, while the safety suite is bolstered by the addition of blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, and Safe Exit Assist.

The SEL 2.0T gets 19-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, LED foglights, and a hands-free liftgate. It also upgrades the sound system to a 12-speaker Infinity premium audio system and installs an eight-way power passenger seat as standard. A wireless charging pad is provided along with an auto-dimming rearview mirror, LED interior lights, and dual-zone climate control. Furthermore, it receives an ultrasonic rear passenger alert and rear sonar.

The top-tier Limited adds four-way power lumbar and leg cushion extensions to the now-ventilated front seats, along with driver-seat memory functions. The rear seats gain heating and power cargo-area releases. The infotainment display is upgraded to an eight-inch model, and a head-up display is installed to help navigate the added driver-assist features. These comprise a surround-view camera and a blind-spot camera.

The 2.0T variant of the Limited adds no additional features, but gets the more powerful engine and larger 19-inch alloy wheels that go with it. The turbocharged engine also improves the SUV's towing capacity.

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
SE
2.4-liter Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$25,900
SEL
2.4-liter Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$27,650
SEL 2.0T
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$34,500
Limited
2.4-liter Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$35,650
Limited 2.0T
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$37,500
See All 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

Every Santa Fe model comes packed with a great selection of features, but we wouldn't blame you for wanting just a little more. Unfortunately, the only trim that offers comprehensive package options is the SEL. The Convenience Package ($2,250) equips the mid-tier SUV with larger 18-inch alloy wheels, a hands-free liftgate, and rear sonar, along with an ultrasonic rear occupant alert, dual-zone climate control, a 12-speaker Infinity audio system, and a wireless charging pad. The Premium Package ($2,750) goes a step further by installing a slew of LED lighting elements: headlights, taillights, fog lights, and interior accent lighting. It also adds side-mirror turning signals, leather upholstery, and an eight-way power passenger seat. Some standalone add-ons available to every trim level include a tow hitch ($395) and a selection of cargo area conveniences like a cargo net ($50) and a cargo tray ($115).

What Hyundai Santa Fe Model Should I Buy?

With the Santa Fe SEL Plus dropped from the lineup for 2020, you will need to opt for the SEL 2.0T to get the more premium interior and upgraded feature list that was previously offered on that model. However, this requires you to shell out for the more expensive turbo engine. That's just fine if you can afford it, but if you want to keep to a budget, we suggest settling for the standard SEL, as it offers the improved safety of fog lights, blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, and Safe Exit Assist. It doesn't do much to improve the upholstery or infotainment suite, but you can do that yourself by adding the Premium or Convenience packages. However, we suggest picking just one if you want to keep the final quote under $30k.

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2020 Hyundai Santa Fe Comparisons

2020 Hyundai Santa Fe
2020 Hyundai Santa Fe

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 of 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 third row. 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 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

Hyundai Santa Fe Popular Comparisons

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