$16,607 - $26,756

2016 Hyundai Santa Fe Interior Review

Note: This interior review was created when the 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe was new.

Scorecard

Interior: 8.1

The 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe's interior is a mixed bag. On the positive side, you'll find that its first- and second-row seats are spacious, even if you're tall. Its tech features have controls you can easily manipulate, and the cabin is well-built with top-quality materials. It's also quiet, which makes it easier for you to communicate with your rear-seat passengers when driving on the highway.

On the negative side, you won’t be able to carry as much cargo in the three-row Santa Fe as you could in some rivals’ models. And the third row might be enough for your small children, but no one bigger. The Santa Fe's safety score is below average, and it doesn't have all of the high-tech safety features, such as automatic emergency braking, that many rivals do. These cons don’t mean your family won’t be happy and comfortable in the Santa Fe, but if carrying lots of family gear and having room in the rear row for teenagers matter, know that some rivals, like the Nissan Murano and Kia Sorento, have better interiors overall.

  • "Even though the current-generation Santa Fe has been on the market a few years, its cabin continues to stand out in the three-row crossover class. This is due in no small part to its high-quality materials, thoughtful placement of controls and impressive sense of spaciousness in the first two rows." -- Edmunds
  • "The cabin also boasts plenty of high-quality materials in addition to Hyundai's distinctive 'pinched' center-stack design, with both elements conspiring to create a contemporary and classy ambience." -- Left Lane News (2015)
  • "Hyundai says it added several pounds of sound-deadening material to the cabin, and it shows. It's impressively isolated; road noise is hushed." -- Cars.com (2013)

Seating and Cargo

The 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe's front seats will keep you comfortable on long-distance road trips, and they offer a wide range of adjustments. The second-row seats offer more legroom than many of the Santa Fe's larger competitors, including the Chevy Traverse, something your friends will appreciate when they climb back there for a weekend road trip. Though the three-row Santa Fe's official seating capacity is seven, it's really more like five and two halves, because the third row is too small to comfortably seat anyone but your kids. Rivals like the Honda Pilot have more adult-friendly third rows. With an SUV like the Pilot, you won't have to take two cars the next time you go to dinner with a group of friends.

The Santa Fe Sport's cargo space is about average for a two-row SUV, which means there should be plenty of room for three or four large duffel bags. There are 35.4 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second-row seats and 71.5 cubic feet with the second row folded.

The three-row 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe has below-average cargo space for a three-row vehicle (13.5 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third-row seats, 40.9 behind the second row, and 80 behind the first row). Rivals like the Honda Pilot or Toyota Highlander might be better choices if your family struggles with the "pack light" concept.

Both the Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport are available with a hands-free power liftgate, a boon when your hands are full of groceries. Just stand near the rear liftgate for three seconds with the car key in your pocket and the liftgate opens automatically. The Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport have lots of storage spaces throughout their cabins, including a large center console bin and an abundance of cup holders. That should help your family keep organized and avoid (most) spills.

  • "The front seats are comfortable for longer drives, with enough adjustments to accommodate drivers of all sizes." -- Edmunds
  • Second-row passengers enjoy stretch-out space, including more legroom than the full-size Chevrolet Traverse. The third-row seats, however, are best reserved for children, though they can fit small adults for short journeys." -- Left Lane News (2015)
  • "A deep center console and large bin behind the shifter can hold a lot of small items. Cupholders are plentiful, too. There are two of them and two door-pocket bottle holders in front and two of each in back." -- Cars.com (2013 Santa Fe Sport)

Interior Tech

Like most vehicles these days, the 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe is available with a ton of complicated interior features, including a touch screen, a premium sound system, and automatic climate control. Often, these features have complicated controls.

Fortunately, all of these features have easy-to-use controls in the Santa Fe. The buttons and knobs on the dashboard are nicely laid out, so you don't have to take your eyes off the road to find them. They're also large, which is helpful if it's cold outside and you're trying to change the volume while wearing heavy winter gloves.

The touch screen, which is available in the Santa Fe Sport and standard in the Santa Fe, is one of the more straightforward systems on the market. Even if you're a relative tech novice, you should have no trouble programming the navigation system.

See a full list of features »

  • "Switchgear is well-organized and legible, while the available 8-inch touchscreen's menus and functions are about as intuitive as it gets." -- Edmunds
  • "… the audio and climate-control knobs and buttons are glove-friendly big." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Hyundai does dashboard layouts well too, offering an array of up-to-the-minute connectivity features while still keeping things simple and easy to use." -- Consumer Guide (2015)

Safety Tech

The 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe’s crashworthiness – while good in most respects, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety – isn’t as good as what you’ll find in the Honda Pilot and Nissan Pathfinder, among others.

You’ll also find that the Santa Fe doesn’t offer many of the same high-tech safety features you’ll find on rival vehicles. For example, many cars in the class have automatic pre-collision braking, while the Hyundai Santa Fe does not. Imagine you're driving down the road and you’re distracted by something in the cabin. If you look away for just a second and the car in front of you brakes suddenly, you may not have enough time to stop. If you have automatic pre-collision braking, the car will stop for you.

If you're looking for a model that offers automatic braking, you can find one in many of the Santa Fe's rivals, including the Honda Pilot and the Nissan Murano.

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