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MSRP: $25,750 - 41,400

8.6

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 8.6
Performance: 7.5
Interior: 8.3
Safety: 9.4
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe Review

For 2019, the 2-row Hyundai Santa Fe is fully redesigned and gets an eye-catching suite of standard safety features. The three-row Santa Fe XL carries over mostly unchanged. Together, they earn a high ranking in the competitive midsize SUV class.

Pros & Cons

  • Quiet, comfortable, and attractive cabin
  • Lots of standard safety features in 2-row Santa Fe
  • Fuel-efficient base four-cylinder engine
  • Excellent predicted reliability rating
  • Mediocre amount of cargo space
  • Sluggish base engine

New for 2019

  • Fully redesigned two-row Santa Fe (previously called Santa Fe Sport)
  • Three-Row Santa Fe becomes Santa Fe XL, but is otherwise unchanged.

Is the Hyundai Santa Fe a Good SUV?

The Santa Fe is a great midsize SUV, though its model names are a bit confusing. For 2019, the 2-row version (previously the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport) is now called the Santa Fe. It's been fully redesigned this year and has a new look and a longer body. Among the most notable changes are its added standard features. A wealth of high-tech safety tech now comes standard in every 2-row model, along with entertainment features such as Apple CarPlay.

What used to be called the Santa Fe is now the Santa Fe XL. This 3-row SUV carries over mostly unchanged for 2019. Like before, it boasts seating for seven and a strong V6 engine, and it comes standard with a few niceties not included in the base 2-row model (such as dual-zone air conditioning).

A highlight for both the Santa Fe and the Santa Fe XL continues to be Hyundai's class-leading warranty. Though, you may not have to use it that much since the Santa Fe recieves one of the highest predicted reliability ratings available. The Santa Fe XL was named as a finalist for our 2019 Best 3-Row SUV for the Money award because of its combination of quality and value. 

Should I Buy the Hyundai Santa Fe?

The Santa Fe hasn't become Hyundai's best-selling SUV for nothing. It gets even better this year, with increased rear-seat legroom, added cargo space, and a notable set of standard safety features included in the 2-row version's redesign. You'll be hard-pressed to find this combination of space and included features in rival crossover SUVs at this price point. Close comparisons include the Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5.

If it's the three-row Santa Fe XL you're eyeing, you may want to hold off for another year. Hyundai will likely retire this model after 2019, with plans to redesign the three-row model. For shoppers that don't want to wait that long, the Mazda CX-9 is a good alternative that’s available now. It is more athletic than most other midsize SUVs, and its handsome interior is filled with premium materials not often seen at this price point.

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

Should I Buy a New or Used Hyundai Santa Fe?

For shoppers in the market for a 2-row SUV, we recommend buying a new Santa Fe. For the 2019 model year, it has an alluring number of features, improved handling, and more interior space. With a starting price that's nearly identical to last year's model, the 2019 Santa Fe is a good value.

If you need that extra row of seats, you're better off skipping the new Santa Fe XL in favor of a used model, which was called the Santa Fe in prior model years. Beyond the name change, the three-row XL doesn't receive any major changes for 2019, and buying used will likely save you money.

We Did the Research for You: 27 Reviews Analyzed

Our goal is to make shopping for your next car as easy as possible. You'll find everything you need to know about the Hyundai Santa Fe in our comprehensive review. It combines concrete data – like fuel economy estimates, horsepower specs, and cargo space dimension – with 27 professional Hyundai Santa Fe reviews.

Why You Can Trust Us

The Best Cars team – a division of U.S. News & World Report – has been reviewing cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007. With more than 75 years of combined automotive experience, our editors, writers, and analysts rank a wide variety of new and used cars and issue three annual awards: Best Cars for the Money, Best Cars for Families, and Best Vehicle Brands. To keep our recommendations unbiased, we decline expensive gifts from carmakers, and a third party handles our advertising.

How Much Does the Hyundai Santa Fe Cost?

The Hyundai Santa Fe tends to cost less than many other midsize SUVs. Prices for the Santa Fe (the five-seater) range from $25,000 to $36,600, with seven models to choose from. Hyundai offers only two trim levels of the Santa Fe XL for 2019. The MSRP for these editions span from about $31,000 to $41,000. For more details on each model, scroll down to our Which Hyundai Santa Fe Model Is Right for Me? section.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Hyundai dealership. 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 Honda CR-V?

The Honda CR-V and Hyundai Santa Fe are both excellent vehicles if you are shopping for a 2-row SUV. The prices and safety scores are closely matched between these models, but the Santa Fe has an edge in predicted reliability. The Hyundai will give you a lengthier warranty and a longer list of standard tech features, while the Honda has slightly better engine performance and a higher fuel economy rating. 

Which Is Better: Hyundai Santa Fe or Kia Sorento?

The Kia Sorento and Hyundai Santa Fe XL are both built by the Hyundai Motor Group, so you'll see a number of similarities between the two models. The resemblance can be seen in the engine lineups and infotainment technology. The Sorento is the better value, though. Its four-cylinder version is almost $4,900 cheaper than the base Santa Fe XL. The MSRP of the V6-equipped Sorento is almost identical to that of the base Santa Fe XL, but the Kia comes with more safety features.

Compare the Santa Fe, CR-V, and Sorento »

Santa Fe Interior

How Many People Does the Santa Fe Seat?

The 2-row Santa Fe has spacious, relaxing accommodations for five people. Adults can ride comfortably in the rear seats, which slide and recline, and visibility is superb in all directions.

The three-row Santa FE XL base trim level comes with a set of rear bench seats and room for seven people. The top XL trim has second-row captain's chairs, reducing total capacity to six people. The Santa Fe XL’s third row is comfortable, and its sliding second-row seats make it easier to get in and out of the third row of seats. This space has a little more legroom than most three-row competitors, but it's still not very adult-friendly. 

Santa Fe and Car Seats

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Santa Fe XL's LATCH system the second-highest rating of Acceptable for ease of use. Its three tether anchors – all of which are in the second row – are easy to find, though they’re a little tricky to distinguish from other hardware. Two sets of lower anchors are located on the second-row outboard seats.

The 2-row Santa Fe has the same number of LATCH hardware as its three-row stablemate. It also earns an Acceptable rating from the IIHS. 

Santa Fe Interior Quality

Durable, high-quality materials fill the cabin of the 2019 Santa Fe and XL. Modern styling and lots of sound-deadening insulation make the interior seem as though it belongs in a much more expensive shell.

Santa Fe Cargo Space

Cargo space is so-so in both versions of the Santa Fe. The smaller body style has 35.9 cubic feet of cargo space behind the back seat and 71.3 cubic feet overall. Both measurements are pretty small for a midsize SUV.

The longer XL has 13.5 cubic feet behind the third row and 40.9 behind the second row, both of which are below average. Its 80 cubic feet of hauling room – available with all rear seats folded – is closer to average, but still behind almost a dozen rivals.

While the Santa Fe may not stand out for the amount of space it has, it does offer a hands-free power liftgate, which is a notable upgrade. Stand behind the vehicle for a few seconds, and the liftgate opens automatically, saving you from juggling with keys when your hands are full.

Santa Fe Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Though the base infotainment display is not a touch screen, the consensus is clear: The surrounding knobs and buttons conveniently get the job done, and they don't require extra effort to decipher and use. Hyundai's Bluelink interface makes it easy to connect a smartphone, and standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (new for 2019) put many favorite apps right on the main display. Upgraded systems get a touch screen that is larger than the standard display, along with premium surround-sound speakers and an appealing navigation system. 

Read more about interior »

Santa Fe Performance

Santa Fe Engine: Smooth but Unexciting Base Engine

The five-seat Santa Fe comes with a choice of two four-cylinder engines. The base power plant produces 185 horsepower, and the optional turbocharged engine makes 235 horsepower. These are decent for daily driving, and the all-new eight-speed automatic transmission is particularly smooth. With that said, neither of these powertrains is especially snappy off the line, and each can struggle when pushed to overtake traffic or climb a high-altitude mountain pass.

Under the hood of the Santa Fe XL is a 3.3-liter V6 mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. This 290-horsepower engine is notably peppier.

Santa Fe Gas Mileage: Base Engine is Exceptionally Economical

The base Santa Fe has one of the highest fuel economy ratings of any midsize SUV, returning 22 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. On average, you'll spend an additional $250 a year to fuel a model equipped with the optional turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Gas mileage with these is 20/25 mpg city/highway. Highway mileage stays the same with the V6 engine, at 25 mpg), but drops to 18 mpg in the city.

Santa Fe Ride and Handling: Smooth and Surefooted

The ride is comfortable and balanced in the Santa Fe and XL. Following its redesign, the 2-row edition is even nimbler than before, with responsive steering and very little body roll. Front-wheel drive is standard across the lineup, and all-wheel drive is available for less than $2,000. An AWD-equipped Santa Fe has excellent grip. With its standard hill-start assist and hill descent control, the Santa Fe AWD can artfully manage slippery terrain and some off-road trails.

Santa Fe Dimensions and Weight

The 2-row Santa Fe is longer by almost three inches for 2019, and it is now about 15.7 feet long. It's still smaller than the three-row Santa Fe XL, though, which is just over 16 feet long. As a group, curb weight ranges from 3,591 to 4,178 pounds.

Santa Fe Towing Capacity

A properly equipped Santa Fe XL has a maximum tow rating of 5,000 pounds, while the smaller Santa Fe is capable of pulling up to 2,000 pounds.

Read more about performance »

Santa Fe Reliability

Is the Hyundai Santa Fe Reliable?

J.D. Power gives the 2019 Santa Fe an excellent predicted reliability rating of 4.5 out of five.

Hyundai Santa Fe Warranty

Hyundai covers the 2019 Santa Fe 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

Both the Santa Fe and the Santa Fe XL earned an overall safety rating of five out of five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the XL a Top Safety Pick. The IIHS gave the 2-row model the Top Safety Pick+ award. The Santa Fe aced all six crash tests, while the Santa Fe XL earned the second-highest rating of Acceptable in the passenger-side small overlap front crash test. Both models earned the highest possible score for the effectiveness of front crash prevention features and for how well the headlights illuminate the road ahead. 

Santa Fe Safety Features

The 2019 Santa FE XL comes with a rearview camera, while the redesigned 2019 Santa Fe gets an impressive suite of advanced safety features. In addition to a rearview camera, standard equipment includes forward collision avoidance assist with pedestrian detection, driver attention monitoring, adaptive cruise control with full stop-and-go capability, blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist, rear cross traffic alert, and automatic high-beam headlights. It also comes with safe exit assist, which warns rear passengers if they try to open the door when a vehicle is approaching from the rear of the SUV. Hyundai offers many of these systems as options on the XL.

Available safety features include rear parking sensors, a parking distance warning, a rear occupant alert, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a head-up display, and a surround-view monitor.

Read more about safety »

Which Hyundai Santa Fe Model Is Right for Me?

Sorting through the multitude of configurations for the 2019 Santa Fe is complicated, but we’re here to make it easy. The five-seat Santa Fe is available in four main trim levels, detailed below. All come standard with front-wheel drive and a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. You can add all-wheel drive to any trim for $1,700, and a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine is available in the top two trims for an additional $1,600 or so. The seven-seat Santa Fe XL comes only as an entry-level SE or a range-topping Limited Ultimate. Its sole powertrain is a 3.3-liter V6, and AWD models cost an additional $1,750.

For the best combination of technology, comfort amenities, and price, we recommend the Santa Fe SEL. It comes with the same impressive level of safety systems as the base trim level, but you'll have an easier time getting cozy in the front, thanks to the heated seats and six-way power adjustments for the driver’s seat.

Hyundai Santa Fe SE

Hyundai outfitted the redesigned 2-row Santa Fe with a remarkable amount of standard technology and safety features. For $25,000, the Santa FE SE comes with forward collision avoidance assist with pedestrian detection, driver attention monitoring, adaptive cruise control with full stop-and-go capability, blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist, rear cross traffic alert, safe exit assist, a rearview camera, and automatic high-beam headlights. Also included is a 7-inch infotainment display, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and remote keyless entry.

The three-row Santa Fe XL SE ($30,850) shares the same trim name – along with many of the same standard features – but isn't a twin to the Santa Fe SE. Similar standard features include the infotainment system and rearview camera. The XL SE adds satellite radio, HD Radio, and dual-zone air conditioning. It misses out on many of the Santa Fe SE's advanced safety features, but you can add items such as blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert with the SE Premium package.

Hyundai Santa Fe SEL

Standard features in the Santa Fe SEL ($27,100) include an eight-way power adjustable driver's seat, heated front seats, a proximity key, satellite radio, and HD Radio. To build the Santa Fe SEL Plus ($29,300), Hyundai adds dual-zone automatic climate control, a 12-speaker QuantumLogic surround-sound system, parking sensors, a rear occupant alert, a hands-free power liftgate, and larger alloy wheels.

Hyundai Santa Fe Limited

The key upgrades in the Santa Fe Limited are its leather seats and panoramic sunroof. This trim level comes with either the 2.4-liter engine ($32,100), or as the Limited 2.0T with the turbocharged 2.0-liter engine ($33,700).

Hyundai Santa Fe Ultimate

Additional safety features in the Santa Fe Ultimate include rain-sensing windshield wipers, a head-up display, and a surround-view monitor. Its front seats are ventilated, with additional adjustments for the lumbar and leg cushion extensions, and the rear seats are heated. An 8-inch touch screen, a navigation system, and wireless smartphone charging are also included. Prices start at $34,950 for the Ultimate and $36,600 for the Ultimate 2.0T.

Hyundai Santa Fe XL Limited Ultimate

The only other trim level for the three-row Santa Fe XL is the Limited Ultimate. It swaps out the second-row bench for a set of captain's chairs, reducing the total seating capacity to six. The Limited Ultimate boasts ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, an 8-inch touch screen, navigation, a multi-view camera system, rear parking sensors, a panoramic sunroof, and 19-inch alloy wheels. MSRP is $39,550.

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 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe specs and trims »

The Final Call

For 2019, its best to talk about Hyundai's dual-personality midsize SUV in separate chunks. The newly redesigned Santa Fe presents an outstanding value for anyone in the market for a 2-row SUV. It handles better than the old Santa Fe Sport, offers more space to spread out inside, and is packed with tech goodies that competitors often charge extra for. Plus, it comes with one of the longest warranties around. This absolutely belongs on every five-seat SUV shopper's list.

The Santa Fe XL, previously known only as the Santa Fe, didn't receive the same enhancements for 2019. This is likely its last production year, as Hyundai is expected to launch an all-new 3-row SUV in its place for 2020. Most notably, the Santa Fe XL misses out on the same number of safety features gifted to the base 2-row model. Still, this is a solid SUV overall, making it a suitable seven-seat SUV to buy now if you can't wait for its replacement.

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

  • "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
  • "With the redesign, the 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe is the best looking (by far) crossover in its competitive set, including includes 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. Pricewise, the SE starts at $26,480. That's less than all the competitors and the only one I might call subjectively better overall is the Edge, but that's a whopping 4K more. If I'm looking for a compact crossover with SUV aspirations, this is high on my list." -- Autoweek
  • "You'll Like This Car If... Your family's space, safety and security should not come at the expense of an enjoyable drive, and the 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe manages to check all the boxes on that wish list. It's roomy, well-appointed and offers a class-leading safety rating, but it's also powerful and it handles well." -- Kelley Blue Book (2018)

Buying

Expert Advice

Last Updated: June 21, 2019

Warming Sales: The redesigned Hyundai Santa Fe sits in the top-half of the midsize SUV class in terms of sales, and dealerships have moved 9.4% more models this year compared to the same span in 2018.

Research more buying advice »
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