The 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe is loaded with comfort features
With the arrival of the beefy Palisade, Hyundai's venerable Santa Fe no longer resides at the top of the Korean automaker's SUV line. Buyers now can choose among the diminutive Venue, new for 2020; the subcompact Kona, compact Tucson, midsize Santa Fe and Santa Fe XL, and the full-size Palisade. Oh, and Hyundai sells passenger cars, too. It shows no sign of abandoning the sedan category, as some other automakers are doing.
We found ourselves once again behind the wheel of a Santa Fe. The early Santa Fes were small, awkward, noisy and cheaply made. None of those criticisms have applied for some time, and our 2020 test car - a Santa Fe Limited, with front-wheel drive and the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine - was a testament to Hyundai's zeal to keep its midsize SUV competitive with more expensive models.
While the turbo package bumps up the price somewhat, we recommend it. The standard 2.4-liter Four delivers adequate power, but the turbo, with a 50-horsepower edge, endows the Santa Fe with a vibrant personality. Overall, the turbo exacts a 2-mpg penalty, delivering 20 mpg city, 27 highway, with front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive costs an additional $1,700.
In Limited trim, the Santa Fe is loaded with comfort features and technology. The tech headliner is a camera system that shows what's to the left or right of the car, depending on which directional signal is activated. The view appears in the middle of the speedometer, so the driver doesn't have to turn his head to see it. We felt the system reduced the likelihood of a highway side-swipe almost to the vanishing point.
The list of accident-prevention electronic systems in the Santa Fe Limited includes redundant blind-spot monitors, forward collision-avoidance assist, lane-keeping assist, rear cross-traffic alert and smart cruise control. There's also an ultrasonic rear-occupant alert. Not only does it advise the driver to check the back seat if he opened either rear door before driving; it activates the horn and lights if it detects movement in the back seat after the driver has left the vehicle. The car also calls the driver's cellphone. There is no substitute for an alert, attentive driver, but should those qualities come up short, the car is designed to intervene to prevent a tragedy.
While we're on the subject of technology, the Santa Fe Limited also has wireless device charging, full-color head-up display, 8-inch navigation and audio screen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, satellite radio, Blue Link connected services, and Infinity premium audio. Among its luxury features are ventilated and heated seats in front, heated seats in the rear, leather upholstery, power front seats, reclining back seats, and more , all of it standard. So equipped, our Santa Fe had a sticker price of $38,730. A base Santa Fe SE starts at $25,900.
Competitors include the Honda CR-V, Chevrolet Equinox, Mazda CX-5, Ford Escape, Jeep Cherokee, Nissan Rogue and Subaru Forester.
The Santa Fe has been rated a Top Safety Pick Plus by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
2020 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited 2.0T FWD
Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged inline Four, 235 horsepower, 260 lb.-ft. torque
Transmission: 8-speed shiftable automatic
Suspension: MacPherson strut front, multi-link rear
Ground clearance: 7.3 in.
Curb weight: 3,920 lb.
Wheels: 19x7.5-in. alloy
Tires: 235/55R19 all-season
Seating capacity: 5
Luggage capacity: 35.9 cu. ft.
Maximum cargo capacity: 71.3 cu. ft.
Towing capacity: 3,500 lb.
Fuel capacity: 18.8 gal.
Fuel economy: 20 mpg city, 27 highway
Fuel type: regular unleaded gasoline
Steven Macoy (email@example.com) is a longtime car enthusiast and full-time editor who lives in Bethel, Conn.