June 12, 2021

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2021 Hyundai Santa Fe

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What kind of vehicle is the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe? What does it compare to?

The 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe is a mid-size crossover SUV featuring more potent gas engines, new hybrid and plug-in hybrid models, and a snazzy top Calligraphy trim. Larger than the Tucson compact crossover but smaller than the Palisade three-row crossover, the Santa Fe competes against other mid-size crossovers such as the Honda Passport, Chevy Blazer, Nissan Murano, Kia Sorento, and Jeep Grand Cherokee. 

Is the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe a good SUV?

Review continues below

We rank the latest Santa Fe above most of the competition with a TCC Rating of 6.8 out of 10. That rating should increase as crash-tests scores are reported. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

What’s new for the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe?

For 2021, the Santa Fe wears a fresh face that covers three new available engines. We’re more fans of the new cabin than the updated body. The exterior has a classic crossover shape, but it’s over-adorned with stampings and cutlines that work too hard to make it look sporty and undercut the handsome new grille. The cabin’s more confident in its style, with a low dash, pod-like vents, and an infotainment screen as big as 10.3 inches.

Power comes from 4-cylinder engines in various configurations. We haven’t driven the base 191-hp inline-4 yet, but in other applications it’s been a mild-mannered if unremarkable choice. The Santa Fe’s 277-hp turbo-4 responds with good low-end power and decent fuel economy, though its 8-speed dual-clutch transmission isn’t as smooth as a conventional automatic. A hybrid and a plug-in hybrid are in the pipeline. Like the other Santa Fes, we expect they’ll have precise but feedback-free steering and a very well-damped ride, whether they’re on 17-inch wheels or the 20-inchers offered on the Calligraphy.

The Santa Fe’s cabin spaces out in the best sense of the phrase. It can tote four 6-footers with ease, and can offer them leather-covered, power-adjustable, heated and cooled front seats and heated and leather-covered second-row seats with plenty of head and leg room. The Santa Fe’s cargo space swells to 72.1 cubic feet when the back seats aren’t in use (and there’s no tiny third row, as there is in the Sorento).

All Santa Fes have automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitors, and automatic high-beam headlights. Upper trims have a head-up display and a surround-view camera system, but no Santa Fe has crash-test scores just yet.

How much does the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe cost?

The $28,035 Santa Fe SE has LED headlights, cloth upholstery, an 8.0-inch touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and 18-inch wheels—as well as a 5-year/60,000-mile warranty with 3-year/36,000-mile coverage for scheduled maintenance. We like the $29,835 Santa Fe SEL, which gets an 8-way power driver seat, wireless smartphone charging, and heated front seats; for under $36,000 it can add a power tailgate, leather upholstery, a 12.3-inch digital display, a power front passenger seat, a 10.3-inch touchscreen with navigation, 12-speaker Harman Kardon audio, and a panoramic sunroof. 

Where is the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe made?

Gas-only models are produced in Alabama, while the Hybrid is made in South Korea.

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