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Hyundai’s 2019 Santa Fe

2019 Santa Fe
Hyundai’s 2019 Santa Fe
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About the Author

R. G. Beltzner

R. G. Beltzner

A long time automobile enthusiast, and competitive race driver, Rainer Beltzner provides performance driving and racing instruction for Porsche, BMW, and Ferrari owners and clubs. He's been doing this for over 25 years. Often, Rainer is found driving/teaching on one of the Canadian Tire Motorsport, Shannonville or Watkins Glen tracks. During the “off-season”, Rainer spends his spare time driving and evaluating a broad range of vehicles. Follow Rainer on Twitter @redy2rol.

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Hyundai does it again with yet another stellar vehicle – the all-new and completely redesigned 2019 Santa Fe. This SUV is comfortable, wonderful to drive and loaded with safety features. The new Santa Fe also sports great styling and finish, both on the outside and inside.

It competes directly with the Ford Edge, Nissan Murano and Honda CR-V.

2019 Santa Fe

Image Credit: R.G. Beltzner

The Santa Fe (named after Santa Fe, New Mexico) was launched in 2001 and within a few years resulted in a best seller for the company. In 2008, Hyundai released the second-generation Santa Fe, getting excellent ratings for safety and reliability by Consumer Reports and others. A third generation released in 2012 included an extended version giving the consumer the option of a five or seven seat SUV.

This is fourth generation. The 2019 Santa Fe is slightly larger than its predecessor and puts it in the mid size SUV category. The 2019 model also increases interior space, now providing over 2,000 liters in the luggage area with the rear seats folded.

The Santa Fe is built on Hyundai’s SuperStructure chassis that utilizes more high strength steel, resulting in 15% more rigidity that contributes to ride quality.

What’s it like to drive the 2019 Santa Fe?

My test vehicle was the “fully loaded” Ultimate trim.

It came with 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder with an 8-speed transmission and all-wheel drive. You can also get the normally aspirated 2.4L four cylinder, only available on the two lowest trim levels. Both engines are carry-overs from last year’s model with slight performance improvements.

The exterior styling of the Santa Fe is modern and sleek – a departure from the somewhat boxy looking SUVs of the past. I especially liked the narrow LED daytime running lights sitting in slits below the hood and the large front-end grill.

2019 Santa Fe

Image Credit: Hyundai

The front driver and passenger doors are slightly narrower than for example, the Ford Edge. This can make getting in and out of the vehicle just a little difficult for a larger driver, even when the seat and steering wheel are properly adjusted.

The interior of this Santa Fe is exceptionally inviting.

The leather seats were very comfortable. Driver controls are clear and sensibly positioned. A proper heads-up display is now include. The eight-inch touch screen sits in the center. It includes the usual navigation systems with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capabilities. The rear seating is decent. A huge panoramic roof completes the interior.

My first impressions were that the visibility available to the driver was excellent and the gear changes were smooth.

Good sight-lines through the front windshield as well as the side and rear windows is critical to my sense of safety. A smooth transition through the gears while accelerating just makes the overall ride experience properly comfortable.

On the highway the ride is smooth and with very little wind noise.

This SUV is wonderfully responsive to steering input and nicely agile through corners. There is very little body roll. The new stiffer chassis is quite noticeable. It results in that sporty vehicle feel when driving over rougher roads.

Drive Modes

I tried out each of the available drive modes – Sport, Comfort and Smart – and really found very little difference.

The front to rear torque bias on the AWD changes with drive modes. Smart mode moves the bias 100% forward and Sport to 50/50. The torque bias is not “fixed” but changes according to drive conditions.

Even braking bias is shifted from side to side to improve stability through corners.

Comfort and Safety

2019 Santa Fe

Image Credit: Hyundai

The 2019 Santa Fe includes an array of comfort and safety features that come standard on even the base FWD “Essential” model. Adding the optional “Smart Sense” features still keeps the price at under $31,000 and adds the following features:

  1. Adaptive cruise control with stop/go
  2. Forward collision avoidance & pedestrian detection
  3. Lane keeping assist
  4. Driver attention warning

The “Preferred” trim gives you the option of either the 2.4L or 2.0L turbo – both with AWD. Additional sensors add some more collision avoidance features and the 2.0L option allows for a trailer package to be added.

Moving up to the “Luxury” adds leather seating, panoramic sunroof, proximity activated lift gate and surround monitor. The final trip “Ultimate” increases the touch screen to 8” and includes navigation, heads up display, rain sensing wipers and wireless charge pad.

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe Quick Facts


Front Wheel Drive (FWD)

All wheel Drive (AWD)



2.4L or 2.0L turbocharged2.0L turbocharged

2.0L turbocharged









Base Price (MSRP)

$28,999 – $32,199

$35,099 – $38,599$41,899


Things to consider

2019 Santa Fe

Image Credit: R.G. Beltzner

I had the opportunity to drive this Santa Fe for a week that included both spirited highway as well as more sedate city driving. I was not able to find any significant faults with this SUV.

In fact, this is the best handling, comfortable and safety equipped SUV’s on the market – and at a reasonable price.

Depending on your needs and likes, you can choose from the base Essential trim for roughly $29,000 all the way to the top of the line Ultimate trim. Whether the $15,000 additional cost is worth it depends on your attachment to specific features.

I would look at the Essential with AWD that gives you some essential extra safety features over the FWD option for a small additional cost. The Preferred option lets you move to a more powerful engine and the possibility to trailer up to 3,500 lbs. The Luxury and Ultimate options basically add leather seating and more features.

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe Price Tag

Base MSRP: $28,999
Price as Tested: $44,999
Taxes, license, registration and applicable fees are extra

For more automotive insights follow me on Twitter @redy2rol


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