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MSRP: $25,900 - 39,200

8.5

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 8.8
Performance: 6.9
Interior: 8.1
Safety:
This rating isn’t available yet for the current model year. In the meantime, last year’s rating of 9.6 for safety is being used to calculate this vehicle’s overall score.
TBD
Reliability:
This rating isn’t available yet for the current model year. In the meantime, last year’s rating of 4.5 for reliability is being used to calculate this vehicle’s overall score.
TBD

2020 Hyundai Santa Fe Review

The 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe finishes in the top third of our midsize SUV rankings. It has a comfortable interior with plenty of tech features, but so-so performance holds it back.

Pros & Cons

  • Comfortable ride
  • Good fuel economy
  • Quality interior
  • Lots of easy-to-use tech features
  • Underwhelming base engine
  • Rivals handle better
  • Less cargo space than some competitors

New for 2020

  • Rear-seat reminder now standard
  • Blind View Monitor now available
  • SEL Plus, Ultimate, and XL models discontinued
  • Sliding second-row seats discontinued
  • Fewer standard features

Is the Hyundai Santa Fe a Good SUV?

Yes, the Hyundai Santa Fe is a good midsize SUV. It has just about everything most people look for in an everyday vehicle: good gas mileage, a smooth ride, comfortable seats, and a quiet, handsome cabin. There are plenty of standard and available tech features, and you don't need a Ph.D. to use them.

A few areas could use improvement though. The base engine feels underpowered, and the Santa Fe isn’t as agile as many rivals. And while this two-row SUV provides a good amount of cargo space, many midsize SUVs have more room.

Should I Buy the Hyundai Santa Fe?

This Hyundai deserves a look from midsize-SUV shoppers. In addition to the attributes mentioned above, the Santa Fe also carries a below-average price tag for the class, so you get a good amount of bang for your buck. That said, the top of our midsize SUV rankings are competitive, so you may want to see how the Santa Fe stacks up against competitors like the Mazda CX-9. Even a compact SUV like the Honda CR-V might appeal to some Santa Fe shoppers.

Compare the Santa Fe, CX-9, and CR-V »

Should I Buy a New or Used Hyundai Santa Fe?

The 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe belongs to a generation that began with the 2019 model. Most of the changes for 2020 are actually subtractions. Hyundai discontinued the SEL Plus and Ultimate trims. The three-row Santa Fe XL also disappears, which is likely related to the debut of the three-row 2020 Hyundai Palisade.

Sliding second-row seats are no longer available, and several features are no longer standard, including blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and Safe Exit Assist (monitors rear traffic before passengers exit the vehicle). There are a couple of new features. A rear-seat reminder now comes standard, and Blind View Monitor (displays a real-time image of the Santa Fe's blind spots in the driver's instrument screen when you activate a turn signal) is available.

You can likely save money by shopping for a used 2019 Santa Fe, and you won't miss out on many features. Indeed, you may even get more features if you're shopping for a lower trim.

Be sure to read our 2018 and 2019 Santa Fe reviews to help make your decision. You can also check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts on used vehicles.

Compare the 2018, 2019, and 2020 Santa Fe »

We Did the Research for You: 15 Reviews Analyzed

We don’t base our car reviews on our personal opinions. Instead, we combine the findings of professional test drivers with data such as performance specs and safety scores to give you a complete overview of every vehicle we rank.

This review uses applicable research and data from all model years of the current Santa Fe generation, which includes the 2019 and 2020 model years.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking the best cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our staff has more than 75 years’ worth of auto industry experience combined. To keep our reviews unbiased, we don’t accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies, and an outside company manages our advertising.

How Much Does the Hyundai Santa Fe Cost?

The Santa Fe's base price is $25,900. The top-of-the-line Santa Fe Limited starts at $35,650. At both ends of the trim range, this Hyundai costs less than most midsize SUVs.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Hyundai dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Hyundai deals page.

Hyundai Santa Fe Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Hyundai Santa Fe or Mazda CX-9?

The Mazda CX-9 places near the top of our midsize SUV rankings. The Mazda features an energetic turbocharged engine, good fuel economy ratings, and better handling than the Hyundai. Inside, the Mazda provides arguably the nicest cabin in the class, and it seats up to seven. Both SUVs have plenty of features and user-friendly infotainment systems, as well as similar cargo capacities. These are two good choices, but the CX-9 brings a bit more to the table than the Santa Fe.

Which Is Better: Hyundai Santa Fe or Honda CR-V?

The Honda CR-V is one of our highest-rated compact SUVs. However, being in a smaller class doesn't mean that it's outmatched by the midsize Santa Fe. The Honda has a more energetic powertrain than the Hyundai’s base engine, and it has nearly as much cargo space as the Santa Fe. The Honda gets better fuel economy ratings as well. Both vehicles have plenty of passenger space and quality interiors. Test-drive both to see which you like better.

Compare the Santa Fe, CX-9, and CR-V »

Santa Fe Interior

How Many People Does the Santa Fe Seat?

The 2020 Santa Fe seats five. Both rows of seats are comfortable and have plenty of room for adults. The reclining rear seats are a nice touch.

Santa Fe and Child Car Seats

There are two full sets of LATCH car-seat connectors on the Santa Fe’s rear outboard seats, as well as an upper tether for the rear middle seat. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety notes that the lower anchors are set deep in the seats.

Santa Fe Interior Quality

Climb inside the Santa Fe, and you're greeted by an attractive cabin with high-end materials. Also, this midsize SUV is quiet at highway speeds.

Santa Fe Cargo Space

The base Santa Fe gives you a decent amount of cargo space for a two-row SUV. It has 35.9 cubic feet behind the second row and 71.3 cubic feet with the rear seats folded. That's plenty of space for vacation luggage and a few sets of golf clubs or all the supplies for a tailgate or beach day.

Santa Fe Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Standard features for the Santa Fe include a rear-seat reminder and an infotainment system with a 7-inch display, Bluetooth, four USB ports, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. Available features include dual-zone automatic climate control, a 12-speaker Infinity audio system, satellite radio, HD Radio, an 8-inch touch screen, navigation, wireless device charging, and a panoramic sunroof.

The infotainment system is easy to use. Its interface is fast, and the system responds quickly to inputs. Most of the controls are well-organized, and the screen is angled to reduce glare from the sun.

Read more about interior »

Santa Fe Performance

Santa Fe Engine: Skip the Base

You should look past the Santa Fe's 185-horspower four-cylinder base engine. This power plant generally fails to impress, and it doesn't make the Santa Fe feel quick or powerful. A better choice is the available 235-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine. It's not super responsive, but it delivers much better acceleration than the base engine and never feels underpowered.

Santa Fe Gas Mileage: Among the Best in the Class

Few midsize SUV rivals can match the fuel economy ratings the Santa Fe gets with its base engine – 22 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. With the turbo-four engine, the Santa Fe earns a slightly lower but still respectable 20 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway.

Santa Fe Ride and Handling: It Gets the Job Done

Though the Santa Fe can't match the athleticism of some of its peers, its ride and handling certainly won't turn you off from buying it. The Santa Fe feels stable and secure when cornering, and the ride feels cushioned, even over rough pavement.

Santa Fe Towing Capacity

When properly equipped, the Santa Fe can tow up to 3,500 pounds.

Read more about performance »

Santa Fe Reliability

Is the Hyundai Santa Fe Reliable?

At the time of writing, the 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe doesn't have a predicted reliability rating from J.D. Power.

Hyundai Santa Fe Warranty

The Hyundai Santa Fe comes with a five-year/60,000-mile warranty and a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

Santa Fe Safety

Santa Fe Crash Test Results

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2020 Santa Fe an overall safety rating of five stars out of five. The Santa Fe earned five stars in the side crash test and four stars in the frontal crash and rollover evaluations.

At the time of writing, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not crash tested the 2020 Santa Fe.

Santa Fe Safety Features

Standard driver assistance features include a rearview camera, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, driver drowsiness monitoring, and lane keep assist.

Available active safety features include rear parking sensors, a head-up display, a surround-view parking camera, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert. Also available are Safe Exit Assist, which monitors rear traffic before passengers exit the vehicle, and Blind View Monitor, which displays a real-time image of the Santa Fe’s blind spots in the driver's instrument screen when you activate a turn signal.

Read more about safety »

Santa Fe Dimensions and Weight

The Santa Fe is 15.7 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 3,591 to 4,085 pounds.

Where is the Hyundai Santa Fe built?

Hyundai builds the 2020 Santa Fe in Alabama.

Which Hyundai Santa Fe Model Is Right for Me?

The 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe comes in three trims: SE, SEL, and Limited. The SEL is the best bet for most shoppers. Its starting price is within $2,000 of the base trim’s, but it comes with several additional comfort and driver assistance features, and it offers two option packages not available in the base SE. It's also the lowest trim to offer the turbocharged engine, which is an upgrade worth making because the base engine fails to impress in most driving situations.

Hyundai Santa Fe SE

The Santa Fe SE trim carries a base price of $25,900. It comes with a 185-horsepower four-cylinder engine, an eight-speed automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive. Standard features include a rear-seat reminder, keyless entry, and an infotainment system with a 7-inch display, Bluetooth, four USB ports, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.

Standard driver assistance features include a rearview camera, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, driver drowsiness monitoring, and lane keep assist.

You can add all-wheel drive for $1,700. There are no option packages available with the base trim.

Hyundai Santa Fe SEL

The Santa Fe SEL starts at $27,650. In addition to the base trim's features, the SEL comes with a power-adjustable driver's seat, heated front seats, proximity keyless entry, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, Safe Exit Assist, satellite radio, and HD Radio.

There are two option packages available with the SEL. The Convenience package ($2,250) adds dual-zone automatic climate control, a hands-free power liftgate, rear parking sensors, wireless device charging, and a 12-speaker Infinity audio system. The Premium package ($2,750) includes a panoramic sunroof, a power-adjustable passenger seat, and leather upholstery.

You can purchase all-wheel drive for $1,700.

The SEL is the lowest trim to offer the 235-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Going with the turbo-four engine also requires that you add the Convenience and Premium packages. Pricing starts at $34,500.

Hyundai Santa Fe Limited

Following the Santa Fe's lineup changes for 2020, the Limited is now the top trim. The Santa Fe Limited starts at $35,650. On top of the lower trim's features, the Limited comes with ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, a heated steering wheel, a head-up display, a surround-view camera system, Blind View Monitor, an 8-inch touch screen, and navigation. Basically, the Limited comes standard with almost every feature the Santa Fe has to offer.

All-wheel drive is available for $1,700, and the turbo-four engine costs $1,850.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Hyundai dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Hyundai deals page.

See 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe provides a more mundane driving experience than several of its classmates, but if you can look past that, you'll find an SUV worth your consideration. It's comfortable and packed with features, and its price makes it a solid value in the midsize SUV class.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "From a content standpoint, the Santa Fe leads the pack, offering a host of standard driver assists, and numerous luxury features such as ventilated front seats, a Surround View monitor and a massive panoramic sunroof. Really, if there is one word to describe this new Santa Fe, it's 'competent.' Outstanding in few areas, but underwhelming in even fewer, it goes about its job in a well-rounded but ultimately unmemorable fashion. Its handsome styling is its most characterful attribute, which for most buyers, will be a key reason for considering it over those more utilitarian compact models." -- Autotrader
  • "The redesigned Hyundai Santa Fe could be the sensible choice for many SUV buyers or even defectors from large sedans. It's capable and pleasant with lots of usable interior space, good visibility, and easy controls. For many shoppers, the comprehensive suite of safety systems and competitive price may seal the deal." -- Consumer Reports (2019)
  • "With the redesign, the 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe is the best looking (by far) crossover in its competitive set, including includes (sic) the Ford Edge, Subaru Outback, Nissan Murano, Kia Sorento and Jeep Cherokee. But it is still a crossover, no matter how square it looks and tough it acts. … If I'm looking for a compact crossover with SUV aspirations, this is high on my list." -- Autoweek (2019)

Buying

Expert Advice

Last Updated: September 13, 2019

Strong Sales: The Hyundai Santa Fe sits in the top half of the midsize SUV class in terms of sales, and dealerships have moved 11.7 percent more models this year compared to the same span in 2018. 

Research more buying advice »
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