2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid review: Feelin’ fancy

Is the Santa Fe Hybrid comfortable in the dirt? Hey, not really. But it looks pretty good there.


Being the middle child is never fun, but the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid makes the most of it. Hovering between the three-row Palisade and its ever smaller Tucson sibling, the Santa Fe relies on a more elaborate approach to family to justify its existence, and a new hybrid powertrain gives people another reason to take a look too. this midsize.

Like it

  • Many standard functions
  • Comfortable ride
  • Great technology in the car

I do not like

  • Fuel economy just OK
  • Not that different from the more interesting Tucson Hybrid

Elegant dress

The Santa Fe and the Palisade rely on many of the same design elements, which is a really good thing. The Santa Fe is a nice midsize SUV. Its jaws may be a bit large for some people’s tastes, but I think it complements well with the two-tier headlights and various pieces of silver trim on the lower body. It’s cool enough to earn a compliment or two without going too hard on stylistic painting, which is more than the Tucson arena. And now that hybrids are offered across nearly the entire Hyundai range, you won’t find any bright and gaudy signal electrification; it’s as normal as any other crossover out there.

The interior of the Santa Fe Hybrid enhances its softness. My limited trim tester sounds at $ 41,290, including $ 1,185 for the destination, and despite hovering around the average transaction price for new cars in 2021, it should make families feel like they’ve moved up a class. The leather seats are comfortable and supportive, and are both heated and cooled. Soft materials cover all relevant contact points and build quality is high all-round. The rough finish of the front door speaker grilles might be my favorite part.

A push-button electronic shifter hangs on a center console that lifts quite high, but makes room for a decidedly cavernous glove box below. If that’s not enough, there’s a sizable pocket under the center armrest, and the door tabs are deep enough for bottles, masks, extra snacks, and so on and so forth. Another smart touch here is the wireless phone charger, where you insert the phone vertically, preventing it from slipping and losing connection while driving. At the rear, there’s a large 36.4 cubic foot cargo space, which is on par with the outgoing Jeep Grand Cherokee, and is light years ahead of the Chevy Blazer and Toyota Venza, but the Honda passport beat. with a shadow of over 50 cubes behind the second row.

Luxurious driving at a cost

The Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid 2021 not only has a stylish look, but also the feel. The first thing I notice is how damn quiet the interior is at speed. Even on some of Michigan’s most gnarly roads, the Santa Fe Hybrid allows very little hearing discomfort in the cabin, and those that do inside come largely from the powertrain on the other side of the firewall. Ride quality is superb, with fixed shock absorbers that mitigate all but the toughest road surfaces, while maintaining that adjacent luxury feel.

Under the hood of the Santa Fe Hybrid is the same hybrid-electric powertrain found in the slightly smaller Tucson Hybrid. A 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine combines with an electric motor to produce a net power of 226 horsepower, which is fed to all four wheels (standard!) Through a six-speed automatic transmission. This powerplant isn’t going to win any awards for sound quality, being a bit tractor-like for my taste, but there’s a sufficient amount of forward motion within reach. Off-line acceleration feels powerful thanks to that electric motor, and I can barely feel the transfer from electric to ICE propulsion. It only really stumbles when I try to leave a stop sign too fast, as the powertrain takes a couple of extra ticks to figure out what it wants to do. The Santa Fe Hybrid is equipped with a mode switch, but I find the car at its best when everything is left in its default state.

The powertrain will do a great job of acclimating families to hybrid life, but the fuel economy leaves something to be desired. The EPA estimates the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid’s hydrocarbon thrift at 33mpg in the city, 30mpg on the highway and 32mpg combined. This is better than gasoline-only rivals will muster, but it pales in comparison to the crossover’s main competitor, the Toyota Venza, which can hit 40 mpg in the city and 37 on the highway.

For a mass-market crossover, the Santa Fe Hybrid can really rack up the imagination.


Excellent technology

Hyundai has long offered one of my favorite infotainment systems and its latest iteration in the 2021 Santa Fe Hybrid only makes it better. A 10.3-inch display rises from the center of the dashboard, carrying the latest version of Hyundai’s telematics, which has been redesigned to match the latest from sister brand Genesis. The result is more visually appealing, with a minimalist home screen and menu page that puts all the important things at your fingertips. Apple CarPlay And Android Auto they are, as can be expected, standard throughout the lineup. A second screen resides in the instrument cluster, which provides the usual hybrid speedometer and power meter, as well as a configurable part that allows me to monitor fuel economy, the operation of the hybrid system, what is broadcasting on the radio, the usual.

Korean automakers have standardized a long list of active and passive safety systems, and the Santa Fe Hybrid continues to do so. The standard kit includes front collision warning, automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, lane keeping assistance and adaptive full speed cruise control. Highway Drive Assist combines some of these features to keep the vehicle in its lane to the pace of traffic, and as far as practical systems go, it’s good, controlling its position well without wobbling or bouncing.

The Santa Fe Hybrid’s infotainment system is both attractive and functional, and has been a favorite of ours for years.


Down to brass pins

At $ 41,290 out the door, the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid is damn affordable for something this fancy, even more so when you consider that the base model can be bought for a hair under $ 35,000. While gas-powered competitors from the Chevy Blazer to the Honda Passport abound, its main electrified competitor is the Toyota Venza, which has beaten Hyundai in terms of fuel economy and overall luxury, and the two are fairly evenly matched on price. It is, however, styled like a glass of milk at room temperature. There’s also the matter of the Hyundai Tucson Hybrid, which forgoes some space inside and out, but has a more evocative style, presenting a case where a car’s biggest competitor might call from inside the house. .

The 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid is absolutely worth your time. While efficiency could be better, a smooth powerplant and sleek stature have the credentials for value play in its price range, offering families a great way to ease electrification.