In the Santa Fe line-up, the Ultimate trim is the premier class of the four offered, and it is available with two engine choices in either FWD or AWD configuration.
The Ultimate 2.0T is propelled by a 2.4-liter GDI turbocharged 4-cylinder engine which provides 235 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque. The non-turbo motor makes 185 horsepower and 178 lb.-ft. of torque. The power is coupled through an 8-speed automatic transmission with SHIFTRONIC manual shifting mode. Yet, there seemed to be the briefest of pause before the engine caught and took off.
This FWD version of this hearty powertrain achieves 20 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway, for a 22-mpg combined average. The AWD models take a slight dip, rated at 19/24/21 mpg city/hwy/combined.
Abundant engine power is accompanied by a world of comfort and convenience features that help everyone aboard to have a safe and enjoyable driving experience.
The 60/40-split rear seat folds flat and the hands-free liftgate offers access to the large 71.3 cubic feet of space behind the front seats. On a recent 400-mile trip to the Gulf Coast, two of us didn’t even need to fold anything down. 35.9 cubic feet with the seats up was more than enough room.
Large windows and helpful side-mirrors provided great visibility, presenting the cabin with a well-lit, airy interior. Add a power tilt/slide panoramic sunroof and dual front automatic temperature control with CleanAir Ionizer, and you have a cabin that remains fresh.
The Ultimate trims are equipped with an 8-inch touchscreen that gives a quick and easy access to many key features, including navigation, entertainment, and vehicle stats.
Leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel and shift knob, plus main user controls are positioned perfectly. It is easy to read the touchscreen for driver and front seat passenger. An integrated memory system for driver and passenger seats saves the time to adjust seats. However, a couple of more inches added to the screen and seat size would have made it even more beneficial.
Even though the trip took a good six hours of driving one-way, the leather driver’s seat with 4-way power lumbar support and leg cushion extension seem to take some bumps off the ride and stiffness out of the legs.
Outside, Santa Fe is dressed handsomely. A chrome accent grille flanked by sharp-looking automatic head lights add to the sheet-metal apparel ensemble.
Heated side mirrors and door handle welcome lights were great, although adjusting the mirrors and keeping them set in the new position was a bit challenging.
Hyundai’s Blue Link keeps passengers well-connected. The Blue Link Connected Car Service features items like Automatic Emergency System, On-Demand Diagnostic, Destination Search, Remote Lock/Unlock, Car Finder, and Service Link.
Hyundai SmartSense technologies include four safety features which I would suggest are essential for drivers. They are Safe Exit Assist, Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist with Pedestrian Detection, Rear-Cross Traffic Collision Avoidance Assist, and Lane Keep Assist. These technologies helped us numerous times throughout our journey.
Santa Fe is a strong, comfortable and nice size SUV. The driving experience is one of high levels of satisfaction and control. Well engineered, bold design, and added refinements make Santa Fe a good choice. The top-of-line Ultimate 2.0T AWD model carries an MSRP $38,800.
Exterior Dimensions Wheelbase: 108.9" Overall Length: 187.8" Overall Width (excludes mirrors): 74.4" Overall Height (with roof rack side rails): 67.1"
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Durhl Caussey writes a car column read around the world. He may be reached at this paper or email@example.com.