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William Maley

Review: 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe Ultimate

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Hyundai can’t seem to stop itself from tinkering with the Santa Fe crossover. This is apparent when you consider the nameplate first debuted on compact crossover in the early 2000s before growing into a two-model family up until last year. Hyundai has made another drastic change to the Santa Fe by making it a single model again - the three-row Santa Fe XL has been replaced by the Palisade. Does this re-focus make the model competitive?

The overall shape of the 2019 Santa Fe is more upright than the outgoing Santa Fe Sport. This solves one of the biggest issues I had with the Sport, poor visibility. The upright shape and flatter belt line allowed Hyundai designers to increase the amount of glass used. Not only does this improve overall visibility. This also makes the interior feel more airy. Up front, Hyundai uses a hexagonal grille that is flanked by a split headlight layout. Slim LED daytime running lights sit on either side of the grille, while a pod housing the headlights sit underneath.

Where the Santa Fe really shines is the interior. It’s a modern and clean design with a two-tone dashboard, unique fabric covering the pillars and headliner; and the use of polygons in the seat pattern and speaker grilles. Materials for the most part are soft-touch plastics and leather on my Ultimate tester. There are some hard plastics used here and there, but it will not detract from the premium feel Hyundai is going for. The layout for the controls is excellent with all in easy reach for driver or passenger. Also earning top marks is the eight-inch infotainment system which is simple to use, provides snappy performance, and allows a driver to use either Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

For those sitting up front, the Santa Fe Ultimate provides power adjustments, heat, and ventilation. Getting settled in and finding the correct position, I found the seats to be quite comfortable with enough padding to tackle any trip length. Back seat passengers will find plenty of leg and headroom. Those sitting in the back will also appreciate the rear seats can recline along with heat during the cold winter months. Cargo space is about average with 35.9 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 71.3 when folded.

Most Santa Fes will come with the base 2.4L inline-four with 185 horsepower. My Ultimate AWD tester featured the optional turbocharged 2.0L inline-four with 235 horsepower. Both engines come paired with an eight-speed automatic. Whenever a Hyundai vehicle is equipped with a turbo-four, it falls into one of two camps - works perfectly or there is a performance issue. The Santa Fe falls into the latter. There is a noticeable amount of turbo-lag when leaving from a stop. Once up to speed, the engine can sometimes be a bit too responsive with a jumpiness that makes smooth acceleration a difficult task. Whether this is something with the programming of the engine, transmission, or throttle, I cannot say. I hope this gets fixed with the 2020 model.

EPA fuel economy figures for the turbo-four with AWD are 19 City/24 Highway/21 Combined. I saw an average of 20.7 mpg during my week of testing. It should be noted this is the same as the Honda Passport with its slightly more powerful 3.5L V6 producing 280 horsepower.

The Santa Fe’s ride is still smooth and relaxing over many of the bumps and imperfections that dot the roads of Metro Detroit. It is also surprisingly quiet with barely any wind or road noise coming inside. Handling is where the Santa Fe really surprised me as it felt agile when driven around a bend. There was barely any body roll and steering provided excellent response. 

On the surface, the 2019 Santa Fe is an improvement over the Santa Fe Sport. It features a fetching design, comfortable ride, simple tech, and a lot of equipment for the money. My Ultimate tester came with an as-tested price of $39,905 and that includes adaptive cruise control with stop & go; blind spot monitoring, Infinity premium audio system, panoramic sunroof, and much more. Build up one of the Santa Fe’s competition to similar specs and you’re looking at spending on average around $5,000 more.

But the Santa Fe is soured by the turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder engine which appears to have two settings - slow off the line performance and unpredictable acceleration at higher speeds. Until Hyundai can figure out what is going on, stick with the base 2.4L four-cylinder. It may be a little bit underpowered, but at least it is more consistent in its power delivery.

Disclaimer: Hyundai Provided the Santa Fe, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

Year: 2019
Make: Hyundai
Model: Santa Fe
Trim: Ultimate
Engine: Turbocharged 2.0L GDI 16-Valve DOHC CVVT Four-Cylinder
Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
Horsepower @ RPM: 235 @ 6,000
Torque @ RPM: 260 @ 1,450 - 3,500
Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 19/24/21
Curb Weight: 4,085 lbs
Location of Manufacture: Montgomery, Alabama
Base Price: $38,800
As Tested Price: $39,905 (Includes $980.00 Destination Charge)

Options:
Carpeted Floor Mats - $125.00


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Like the looks of this version of the Santa Fe, shame they cannot get a properly powerful engine that has smooth linear delivery of power.

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They have a new 2.5L turbo 4 in the works, it will be on the Sonata N-line, around 290hp and a little more than 300lb ft torque.  Maybe a version of that will replace the underwhelming 2.0L in a few years, might get better fuel economy as well.

 

 

 

 

 

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41 minutes ago, frogger said:

They have a new 2.5L turbo 4 in the works, it will be on the Sonata N-line, around 290hp and a little more than 300lb ft torque.  Maybe a version of that will replace the underwhelming 2.0L in a few years, might get better fuel economy as well.

 

 

 

 

 

Hopefully it will come sooner than later as a mid year update.

They need that motor in this CUV.

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The 2.0 Turbo troubles are not surprising. Power delivery has been a common complaint no matter the car by Hyundai. It’s just garbage.

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22 hours ago, frogger said:

They have a new 2.5L turbo 4 in the works, it will be on the Sonata N-line, around 290hp and a little more than 300lb ft torque.  Maybe a version of that will replace the underwhelming 2.0L in a few years, might get better fuel economy as well.

even if they lightly turbo it like Dwight has made posts about, it could probably be good for mazda turbo like power. lots of torque and some more HP.
https://www.thecarconnection.com/car-compare-results/hyundai_santa-fe_2019-vs-mazda_cx-9_2019  

no 3rd seat row, it's shorter. but the mazda  is rated better MPG.

Edited by loki
saving space

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I wonder if when people go into a Hyundai showroom (or any car dealership), the goal of the manufacturer is to have 9 SUVs there to pick from so the customer is just so overwhelmed, they just cave in and buy something there rather than going to a 2nd dealership to look at another SUV.

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Good looking CUV inside and out.  20 MPG is worse than my 308-hp V6 Colorado.

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there is getting to be quite of few of these with dealer plates on them (just sold) driving around here now, I am sure Hyundai has opened the deals and credit tap on these things.  And then Chevy has the 50,000 dollar Blazer, and I don't see very many of them.

Edited by regfootball
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16 hours ago, regfootball said:

there is getting to be quite of few of these with dealer plates on them (just sold) driving around here now, I am sure Hyundai has opened the deals and credit tap on these things.  And then Chevy has the 50,000 dollar Blazer, and I don't see very many of them.

I honestly have only seen a few blazers on the dealer lots here and not a single one in the wild. So I have to say that for $50K people are buying other autos over it.

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I've seen at least three Blazers on the road so far.  Caught a view of my first XT6 on the road yesterday, looked a little like a cheap copy of an XC90.

 

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These are everywhere in the northeast, which is expected. Enjoyed a last model year last gen base model Santa Fe I had last year for a few thousand miles, so these are just better in every way.

Still adjusting to the looks, but good ute. The 2.0T has gotten strange over the years, and isn't very well balanced, but the 2.4L is fine.

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1 hour ago, frogger said:

I've seen at least three Blazers on the road so far.  Caught a view of my first XT6 on the road yesterday, looked a little like a cheap copy of an XC90.

 

Yea, still not seen a Blazer in the wild, see plenty of XT6 out and about, selling well here, but not impressed.

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Mary and GM clearly want the poor people to stick to buying the Equinox and Terrain.  Then, the 'privileged' who really want a true mid size vehicle, the figured they could charge 55k for a loaded Blazer instead of the 40k Impala it functionally replaces.  In addition to that, make it in Mexico, too.

Honestly the Blazer would sell big in volume at lower prices, but clearly volume is not the goal.  GM is fine with letting inventory sitting on their lots for a year or two before they get an actual clue that they might need to adjust prices to market.  

I just think its sad that GM opens the door for competitors like Hyundai to gain volume in the market, and in this case even more and more.

 

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^ newsflash: Blazer starts at $28,800. Neither Mary nor anyone else is forcing anyone to buy a top-trim/fully loaded version of ANY vehicle.

Same way hyundai isn’t forcing anyone to pay $40 grand for a $25K sante fe.

Edited by balthazar
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20 hours ago, dfelt said:

Yea, still not seen a Blazer in the wild, see plenty of XT6 out and about, selling well here, but not impressed.

Quite a few Blazers out my way but have not spotted one XT6 and don’t care if I ever do. 

On 12/14/2019 at 10:14 AM, smk4565 said:

I wonder if when people go into a Hyundai showroom (or any car dealership), the goal of the manufacturer is to have 9 SUVs there to pick from so the customer is just so overwhelmed, they just cave in and buy something there rather than going to a 2nd dealership to look at another SUV.

You mean like Mercedes does with their cars? Sounds about right to me.

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1 hour ago, balthazar said:

^ newsflash: Blazer starts at $28,800. Neither Mary nor anyone else is forcing anyone to buy a top-trim/fully loaded version of ANY vehicle.

Same way hyundai isn’t forcing anyone to pay $40 grand for a $25K sante fe.

I would like to add that the dealership, where I used to work, had a half a dozen in the mid 30s.

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9 minutes ago, surreal1272 said:

I would like to add that the dealership, where I used to work, had a half a dozen in the mid 30s.

My local dealer has 19 from mid 30's to mid 40's.

https://www.leejohnsonchevrolet.com/search/new-camaro-kirkland-wa/?cy=98033&tp=new&md=541

Not selling though.

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you will rarely find an AWD blazer for much less than 34-35 right now, and that's basically cloth seats.

Enjoy that FWD blazer with 4 banger if you like.

The Santa Fe has the size of the Blazer and admittedly with its 4 cylinders, but the truth is they can add lots of options to the Santa Fe that it will have at the 35k price that Chevy won't have.  So from a utlity standpoint the Santa Fe is the size of the Blazer and offers lots more options and amenities for a lower price.  The only advantage the Blazer would have is powertrain but in 2020 Chevy will load up the sales floor with much more of the new 2.0 turbo models at that price range than the v6's which they want to eventually only offer to those shopping in the 50k range.

1 minute ago, dfelt said:

My local dealer has 19 from mid 30's to mid 40's.

https://www.leejohnsonchevrolet.com/search/new-camaro-kirkland-wa/?cy=98033&tp=new&md=541

Not selling though.

WHICH IS MY POINT EXACTLY.  those 19 blazers have likely sat on that lot since early this calendar year.  Hard to run a business with stagnant inventory.

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The majority of Blazers at my local dealer are $ 34-35. There’s 1 $30K and a few in the mid $40s. Not seeing a major price disparity WRT hyundai.

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If the Blazer sells 80-100k copies a year compared to 100-120k for the Santa Fe that is not too bad considering how awkward looking it is in comparison.  The Traverse will get more volume based on looks and value for families.

Edited by frogger

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2 hours ago, surreal1272 said:

Quite a few Blazers out my way but have not spotted one XT6 and don’t care if I ever do. 

You mean like Mercedes does with their cars? Sounds about right to me.

They do have a lot but Mercedes 7 SUVs span $100k compared to the 7 at Hyundai that span $20k in base price.  But either way I think it is a method to overwhelm consumers.

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1 hour ago, ccap41 said:

None of the MSRP's are under 35k at my dealership(17 Blazers) but they're all discounted. 

https://www.steveschmittauto.com/VehicleSearchResults?make=Chevrolet&model=Blazer

 

the 35k i refer to is discounted price.  usually those msrps will be 40ish.

 

there are Blazer Premiers out there, stickering for 55 grand.  That is stupid ludicrous expensive. In spring 2020 when some of those 19 premiers are still on lots (after 18 months), maybe then they will go out the door for 42,000.......

Edited by regfootball
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Blazers by me, difference between MSRP & advertised price ::
$3300
$2400
$2400
$2600
$2600
[about 6 more like this]
most expensive and the only AWD Premier:
$5200 (on a sticker of $52K)

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