2019 Santa Fe: Hyundai’s Safest Family Hauler Yet? [Review]

2019 Hyundai Santa FeOVERVIEW

The Santa Fe happens to be the best selling SUV in Hyundai’s history. Over its 17-year history, it has racked up sales of more than 1.6 million units. Now, the company is launching the 2019 model lineup, displaying a bolder persona than the previous model.

That design leads off with Hyundai’s cascading grille and a composite light design, similar to the new Kona. Instead of a single assembly, there are LED daytime running lights positioned above the headlamps. The overall exterior styling showcases a wider, more athletic stance. In profile, the 2019 Santa Fe sports a definitive and dynamic character line, running from front to back. Hyundai incorporated a larger daylight opening, accented by a satin surround trim that provides not only a more aerodynamic image, but enhanced visibility as well.

Hyundai made the 2019 Santa Fe available in five levels of trim. Starting from the base SE, there’s the SEL, SEL Plus, Limited, and Ultimate – the flagship model. The new Santa Fe replaces the former Santa Fe Sport. The current long wheelbase, three-row model will live on, and Hyundai has renamed it the Santa Fe XL.

Base pricing for the 2019 Santa Fe ranges from $25,500 to $35,450. Add $985 to the equipped price for Destination and Handling charges..

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe

COMFORT AND CONVENIENCE

Entry into the cabin reveals a premium quality and spacious layout. The instrument panel mixes analog tachometer and gauges with a digital speedometer. Placed atop the center stack is an available 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system.

The infotainment screen in the 2019 Santa Fe is now tilted slightly and positioned to reduce glare. Hyundai moved the window switches and grab handles to provide more elbow room. Door pockets are also smaller for better legroom. Hyundai also raised the center console and armrests for greater comfort.

Connectivity is addressed with a revised infotainment system, featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support. As with the old Santa Fe, there’s an available Infinity premium sound system with Smart Speed-Dependent volume control. Hyundai’s Blue Link services are available as well with a 3-year complimentary subscription.

DRIVER SAFETY AIDS

What Hyundai refers to as Smart Sense Technologies are available on the 2019 Santa Fe. Standard fare kicks off with High Beam Assist, Forward Collision Avoidance, Blind Spot Monitoring and Driver Attention Warning. On top of that, there’s also Smart Cruise Control, Lane Keep Assist and Rear View Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Assist. Optional features include a Surround View Monitor 360-degree camera and park distance warning.

NEW TECHNOLOGY

Added new safety features include an optional new introductory feature:
Rear Occupant Alert. Hyundai is debuting this feature with the 2019 Santa Fe. The system monitors the rear seats using an ultrasonic sensor that aids in detecting the movements of children and pets. It then reminds the driver to check the rear seats when exiting the vehicle with a message on the center instrument cluster display. If the system detects movement in the rear seats after the driver leaves and locks the doors, it will honk the horn and send a Blue Link alert to the driver’s smartphone.

The 2019 Santa Fe also features Hyundai’s first standard Safe Exit Assist system. That system uses radar to detect cars approaching from the rear and cautions passengers when they try to exit the car. If a passenger attempts to open the door when a car is approaching, a visual and audible warning alerts the driver from the center console. Safe Exit keeps the doors locked until the approaching car safely passes.

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe

PERFORMANCE

Hyundai fitted the 2019 Santa Fe with two engine choices. The standard 2.4-liter engine produces 185 horsepower 178 lb-ft of torque. If that doesn’t appeal, there’s also an optional 2.0-liter turbocharged unit. The more powerful engine here cranks out 235 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. Both engines gear energy to the driving wheels via an 8-speed automatic transmission.

Shoppers have the option of buying their 2019 Santa Fe in front-wheel drive or with Hyundai’s HTrac AWD system. Should you choose the all-wheel drive option, that will cost  an additional $1,600. The 2019 Santa Fe also has three drive modes: Comfort, Smart and Sport.

The ride exhibited a positive and stable quality in a variety of scenarios. From freeway stints to more spirited maneuvers on twisting mountain roads, it didn’t go wrong. That’s thanks, in part, to the Santa Fe’s new upright rear shock geometry. Hyundai also managed to make the 2019 Santa Fe more rigid and more comfortable, thanks to the supportive seats. Steering felt spot-on and offered good feedback.

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe

TFLcar’s Take

Hyundai will raise some eyebrows with the 2019 Santa Fe Ultimate 2.0T. It costs less and offers greater value with a higher degree of technology and feature content than some of its competition. Keep in mind this is one of the market’s most competitive segments. This car competes against crossovers like the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V and Nissan Rogue. It also drives and handles exceptionally well with instantly responsive acceleration. Even the 2.4-liter engine version delivered a satisfactory level of performance, but certainly not up to the level of the superior turbocharged 2.0-liter mill. The transmission shifts smoothly and precisely.

This fourth generation Santa Fe is a testament to Hyundai’s constant evolutionary improvement. It leaves little if anything to be desired in competent and capable vehicle and certainly poses a threat to others in its class. Check out the video below to see how the 2019 Santa Fe performs off-road:

SPECIFICATIONS: 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe Ultimate 2.0T

On Sale: Now
Base MSRP: $37,100
Price as Tested:
$39,905
Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4
Drivetrain (Layout): Transversely-mounted front engine, front-wheel drive
Horsepower: 235 hp @ 6,000 rpm
Torque: 260 lb-ft @ 1,450 – 3,500 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Suspension: Front: MacPherson strut with coil springs, Gas- pressurized shock absorbers, advanced valving and stabilizer bar

Rear: Multi-link with gas shock absorber and stabilizer bar

Brakes: Power-assisted four wheel discs (vented front)
Tires: Continental Cross Contact LX Sport 245/50 R20 all-season
Fuel capacity: 18.8 gallons
Fuel economy (EPA): 19 City / 24 Highway / 21 Combined mpg

Dimensions:

Wheelbase: 108.9 inches
Length: 187.8 inches
Width: 74.4 inches
Height: 66.1 inches (w/ roof rails)
Turning Circle: 37.5 feet
Curb Weight: 4,085 pounds

 

Arv Voss
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring journalist and member and past officer of several noted automotive journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles as well.