$19,086 - $34,476

2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Interior Review


Interior: 7.9

The 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe comes in two configurations: the five-seat Santa Fe Sport and the 3-row Santa Fe with seating for seven. This three-row model can also be equipped as the six-seat Santa Fe Limited Ultimate. With each, cargo space is limited. An appealing mix of seating and technology upgrades add a premium flair to the cabin. Materials quality is typical for the segment – not especially luxurious but not overly cheap, either.

  • The interior design is little changed and is beginning to look a little dated. The overall design is pleasing, with a nice mix of colors and textures in our upscale test vehicle, but there's also a mix of material quality. Though the wood trim is faux, it nonetheless has a very nice matte finish and grain. Some of the metal-finish plastic, however, just looked fake, and the leather lacks the softer texture found in some rivals, particularly the redesigned Mazda CX-9." -- Cars.com (2017)
  • Slip inside the Santa Fe Sport 2.0T Ultimate and you'll find a well-equipped cabin. My husband felt that the design was a little cluttered, but I liked the two-tone dashboard, which featured a liberal sprinkling of aluminum and beige to brighten up the cockpit. Most of the pieces were carefully assembled, although the center console was flimsy and creaked under pressure." -- New York Daily News (2017)
  • Cabin materials in the premium Santa Fe mix and match luxury elements with strategic cost cuts. Plastics atop the dash and doors display some give at the touch at the usual touch points, but many other panels are obviously hard plastic." -- Consumer Guide (2017)


The base trim levels of the Santa Fe come with stain resistant cloth upholstery and a 40/20/40 split-folding second-row bench seat. The smaller Santa Fe Sport has two rows of seats and can carry five people. The larger Santa Fe is a 3-row SUV. The SE and SE Ultimate trim levels have a bench seat in the second row and can hold seven people. The six-person Limited Ultimate features a set of second-row captain's chairs.

Both configurations have the same list of LATCH anchors for child safety seats. In the second row, there are three tether anchors (these can be tricky to tell apart from other hardware) and two sets of lower anchors (mounted low in the seat cushion but otherwise easy to use).

Seating comfort is decent in the first two rows, though some test drivers feel the cushions are too firm. The second row is adult-friendly – especially with the captain's chairs – but the three-row model's rearmost seat is best left for kids.

  • In its lower trim levels, the Sport's base price is not too far removed from the pricing of popular small crossovers from Honda and Toyota. And yet it's a little bigger than those models. Four adults will find the interior genuinely spacious and well appointed, and a third adult in the rear is within the realm of possibility. You can also get a lot of features on the Santa Fe Sport, equipping it to luxurylike levels if you choose. On the downside, the front seats aren't comfortable enough for everyday driving." -- Edmunds
  • The standard 2nd-row bench not only reclines, but it's split 40/20/40 and slides forward to maximize legroom back in the third row. In this configuration the new Santa Fe seats seven. If that's one too many, two 2nd-row captain's chairs are available, which are not only more comfortable but they ease access to the Hyundai's third row. Front-seat comfort is high, and the base model's stain-resistant cloth fabric feels good." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • Seats in the first two rows are comfortable, with good legroom. The long sunroof reduces headroom a little bit, however. This reviewer was able to shimmy between the middle seats to reach the third row but it was hardly worth the trip. Tight legroom and a low cushion, resulting in knees-up seating, make these the worst seats in the house from an adult standpoint." -- Consumer Guide (2017)

Interior Features

Standard features in the Santa Fe Sport include a 5-inch infotainment display, a six-speaker sound system, Bluetooth connectivity for phone functions, a USB port, and a rearview camera. The base trim of the Santa Fe builds on this list, swapping out the smaller screen for a 7-inch display and adding Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, satellite radio, HD Radio, and dual-zone automatic climate control.

Additional available features include an 8-inch touch screen, navigation, USB ports in the third row, a household-style power outlet, a panoramic sunroof, a proximity key, push-button start, lane change assist, blind spot detection, rear cross traffic alert, a multi-view camera, rear parking sensors, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, automatic high beams, adaptive headlights, and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection.

The Santa Fe's infotainment system quickly connects to your phone through the standard Bluetooth connection, and uplevel models feature smartphone integration through Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The layout of redundant buttons is a bit busy, though these large controls are easy to use and helpful when you want quick access to settings without using the infotainment display.

See 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe specs »

  • "Main driving controls in the instrument cluster are easy to read, and audio presets are intuitively input through the big display screen. However, a goodly number of buttons for audio, climate, and other functions are spread around beneath the screen." -- Consumer Guide (2017)
  • There are plenty of useful buttons and knobs, but the layout could be simplified." -- Cars.com (2017)
  • The Santa Fe earns high marks on looks, but when it comes to functionality, I've got just a few small bones to pick. The top row of buttons could be eliminated altogether. The 'Radio' and 'Media' buttons seem redundant while the 'Map Voice' button and 'Navi' button are also confusing. For my taste, Hyundai would do well to consolidate these buttons or leave them as touchscreen-only features, though many drivers do prefer analog buttons to digital screens. On the plus side, I like that Hyundai did away with last year's larger power/volume control dial located in the middle of the control panel, replacing it with a smaller driver's side dial, counterbalanced with a tuning knob on the opposite side. Regardless of necessity, all the buttons and dials are well placed and easy to find. I especially enjoyed the large fan control knob toward the bottom of the stack." -- New York Daily News (2017)


Compared to other midsize SUVs, the Santa Fe has less cargo room than most. The 3-row Santa Fe has 13.5 cubic feet behind the third-row seat, 40.9 cubic feet behind the second row, and 80 cubic feet overall. The 2-row Santa Fe Sport has 35.4 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second-row seat and 71.5 cubic feet with the rear seats folded.

In spite of these skimpy dimensions, the Santa Fe offers some cargo conveniences. The third-row seats easily fold out of the way, and the hands-free smart liftgate (standard in uplevel models) makes loading easier. When this system senses the key behind the vehicle, it automatically opens the liftgate so you can load groceries without pushing any buttons or waving your foot.

  • "Looking for three rows of seating and ample cargo room? Sorry, you're barking up the wrong tree. With just 13.5 cubic feet of storage behind the third row, the Santa Fe was not made for large family road trips. This is not an indictment of Hyundai's midsize offering as much as it is the segment altogether. The only family crossover SUVs equipped to handle both three rows of people and cargo are the Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse and Ford's Explorer and Flex. Otherwise, if you're looking to haul a lot of people and a lot of stuff, you should redirect your search toward a minivan or full-size SUV." -- New York Daily News (2017)
  • "Cargo access is eased by a hands-free power liftgate — optional on the base model and standard on other trims — that operates by simply pausing behind the SUV with the key fob in your pocket. It doesn't force you, as do some rivals, to awkwardly balance on one foot and wave the other while balancing a load on each arm." -- Cars.com (2017)
  • The only aspect to the Santa Fe that might hold you back is a smaller third-row seat and less cargo capacity relative to some competitors." -- Edmunds (2017)

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