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The most direct competitor to the Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid is the ToyotaTM,+3.59% Venza. The Venza is the only other hybrid midsize 2-row crossover in this price range. Pricing and size are similar, and they both come standard with all-wheel drive. The Venza is more efficient and has a smoother ride, but the Hyundai has more space and more composed handling.
The regular 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe and the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Plug-in Hybrid are each reviewed separately.
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The 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid has a starting manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $33,900 for the base Blue trim, excluding destination charge. The mid-range SEL Premium trim starts at $37,960, and the top Limited trim begins at $40,310.
That makes the Santa Fe Hybrid priced very similarly to the hybrid Toyota Venza. If you’re looking for a more affordable hybrid SUV and you don’t need a lot of space, consider the smaller and more efficient Hyundai Tucson Hybrid starting at $29,350.
The Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid does not suffer from the sluggish acceleration sometimes associated with hybrid vehicles. It has a satisfying throttle response, and acceleration is quick in around-town driving. There’s also no trouble getting up to highway speeds or passing on the highway. The performance of the Santa Fe Hybrid falls right in between the two non-hybrid engines available in this SUV.
Another thing we sometimes see in hybrid cars and SUVs is too noticeable of a shift between the gas engine and the electric motors. That’s not the case here, and sometimes you can forget you’re driving a hybrid because the handoff between gas and electric is so smooth.
Handling is composed and sometimes feels like a smaller SUV from behind the wheel. The ride is generally smooth and comfortable, but the ride can get a bit harsh on rough roads. Quietness is a strong suit of the Santa Fe Hybrid, with a noticeably quieter cabin than the non-hybrid model.
Hyundai has been building a reputation for premium interiors without a premium price, which continues in the 2022 Santa Fe Hybrid. This is an upscale interior with some high-quality materials, especially if you spring for the Limited model. From every seat, it feels like you’re sitting in a more expensive SUV.
Interior space is generous with roomy back seats that can comfortably accommodate two adults, and three in a pinch. It also has a big cargo hold, especially if you fold down the back seats. This roomy 2-row/5-passenger interior makes the Santa Fe Hybrid a good family SUV as long as you don’t need three rows of seats.
The exterior styling has a family resemblance to the bigger, 3-row Hyundai Palisade. It has a large grille and a distinct light signature in front and back. The body of the Santa Fe Hybrid is a bit boxy with curved edges and unique character lines giving it a modern look.
As for sizing, the Santa Fe Hybrid is very similar to the Toyota Venza, FordF,+3.24% Edge, and the 3-row Kia000270,+0.42% Sorento. It’s smaller than most 3-row midsize SUVs but bigger than the compact class.
Hybrid engineThe gas-electric powertrain of the Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid returns excellent fuel economy for a midsize crossover while delivering respectable performance.
Available remote smart parking assistThis optional tech feature allows you to pull in and out of tight parking spots from outside of the car using an app on your mobile device.
The base Blue trim of the Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid comes pretty well equipped. Standard features include all-wheel drive, 17-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights and taillights, remote start, heated front seats, wireless charging, dual-zone automatic climate control, a hands-free power liftgate, rear sunshades, an auto-dimming rearview mirror with a universal garage door opener, and a 12.3-inch LCD multi-information display.
Standard safety tech on every Santa Fe Hybrid includes forward collision-avoidance assist with pedestrian detection, lane-keep assist, driver attention warning, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, safe exit assist, automatic high beams, rear parking sensors, and a backup camera with rear cross-traffic alert.
The standard infotainment system is an 8-inch screen with wireless Android Auto and AppleAAPL,+2.90% CarPlay.
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Upgrading to the SEL Premium trim adds 19-inch wheels, leather seating, an upgraded 10.25-inch infotainment system with navigation, Harman/Kardon 12-speaker premium audio, a panoramic sunroof, the Highway Driving Assist semi-autonomous driving system, and LED interior lighting.
Finally, the Limited trim pushes the Santa Fe Hybrid into luxury territory. It uses more premium materials like a Mélange headliner. It also adds premium features like ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, rain-sensing wipers, and a power driver’s seat cushion extension. Some extra safety and driver assistance tech features include front parking sensors, a surround-view monitor, a Blind-Spot View Monitor that displays a real-time video in the instrument cluster, and Remote Smart Parking Assist (see Favorite Features).
Under the hood of the Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid is a 1.6-liter turbocharged inline-4 gas engine mated to two electric motors fed by a lithium-ion battery pack with a combined system output of 226 horsepower. Every Santa Fe Hybrid comes with a 6-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive.
The fuel economy depends on the trim. The base Blue model is the most efficient, with a combined fuel economy rating of 34 mpg. If you upgrade to either of the two upper trims, that number drops to 32 mpg, which is still efficient for an SUV this size. That makes the Santa Fe Hybrid less efficient but more powerful than the Toyota Venza.
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The performance numbers of the Santa Fe Hybrid fall between the two available engines in the non-hybrid version of the Santa Fe.
1.6-liter turbocharged inline-4 + two electric motors226 combined horsepower195 lb-ft combined torqueEPA fuel economy city/highway: 36/31 (Blue), 33/30 (SEL Premium, Limited)
This story originally ran on KBB.com.