at speed

The Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid is one of the latest in Midsize Crossover vehicles that offers a great ride and satisfying fuel economy in a near-luxury package. We at Napleton News had our way with the Santa Fe Hybrid this past week, driving from Miami Beach to Homestead-Miami Speedway several times on a single tank of gas. How did we do? Here’s our report:

Road tripping, locally in the Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid.

Hybrid overhead
The Santa Fe Hybrid from overhead.

Our time in the Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid began simply enough with a drop-off at our office. At the end of the night, we were on our way to Homestead-Miami Speedway for NASCAR Xfinity Series to photograph some nighttime practice. It was also a chance to grab our credentials before the mad crush the next morning. The 111-mile trip had us cruising mostly on Interstate-95 and the Florida Turnpike, but at a high-rate of speed. Wait. Did we say that? What we meant to say was we were keeping with the flow of traffic.

At the end of the night, we stayed on Miami Beach, which was still a stretch but better than driving back to The Palm Beaches each night. The next morning, we returned to the track and, following the Dixie Vodka 400, filed our photos and made a beeline back to Palm Beach. We completed 356 miles and still had a quarter of a tank of fuel remaining.

In Arizona
The Santa Fe seen on a highway in Arizona.

That’s a perfect reason to have a hybrid in your garage, too.

It looks…normal.

Unlike vehicles like the Toyota Prius or Honda Insight, the Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid looks surprisingly normal. Instead of the mondo-bizarro looks of the Prius, the Santa Fe Hybrid looks exactly like a normal Santa Fe, save for the Hybrid badging. Instead, there’s a look of elegance that begins with the brushed chrome grille that is an upscale way to get the party started.

Chrome accents take the place of blacked out panels that are seen throughout the industry. It’s just as well, because we all need a little brightening in our lives these days. Expressive LED headlights and daylight running lights shine the way forward. Finally, the under-bumper brightwork helps to set off the Hyundai grille.

gear selector
The Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid push-button gear selector

Other than the badging proclaiming its hybrid bona fides, there’s very little to differentiate this Santa Fe from the model introduced in 2021.

What about inside the Santa Fe Hybrid?

The interior looks expensive without actually being so. That’s quite a feat to pull off and Hyundai does so with aplomb. Quilted leather upholstery helps bolster the brand’s upscale “class-above” reputation. There’s other features as well:  Lane departure warning, available remote smart parking assist, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Forward Collision Avoidance and even a driver attention warning system.

What’s under the hood?

1.6-liter turbo engine
The Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid is powered by a 1.6-liter Turbocharged engine and twin electric motors.

The Hybrid Santa Fe is motivated by a 1.6-liter turbocharged inline 4-cylinder engine coupled with two electric motors and lithium-ion batteries. Combined, the powertrain delivers 226 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque. The EPA says they deliver 33 mpg city and 30 mpg highway. As stated above, we actually saw more than that.

The drivetrain is based on a six-speed automatic transmission. Every Santa Fe Hybrid is complete with all-wheel drive.

Behind the wheel.

We found the Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid actually drove like the anti-hybrid. That means that despite all the fuel-sipping, fun-sapping technology under the hood, you still think you are in a regular SUV. It got off the line rapidly. From there, it transferred power seamlessly and never gave up that it was a gas/electric vehicle.

Handling was actually pretty good, too, and that was probably due to the weight of the batteries lying low in the chassis. We even tried a bit of corner cutting although we would not recommend it for those who aren’t used to this type of driving.

Great handling, a large cargo hold and excellent mileage show why the Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid isn’t just a flash-in-the-pan. Instead, look at it as a bridge to the EV future.

Hyundai Santa Fe overhead

Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid Specifications

2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid AWD
Engine Type 1.6-liter turbocharged inline-4 cylinder + twin electric motors
Horsepower 226 hp @ 5,500 rpm
Torque 195 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm
Transmission 6-speed automatic transmission
Fuel Economy (Combined/City/Hwy) 32/33/30 mpg
Suspension F/R MacPherson Strut / Multi-link
Turning Circle 37.4 ft.
Also Available Gasoline powered, rear or AWD, various trim levels.
Warranty 5 years/60,000 miles
Powertrain Warranty 10 years/100,000 miles
NHTSA Safety Rating 5
Max Seating Capacity 5
Wheelbase 108.9 inches
Overall Length 188.4 inches
Width 74.8 inches
Height 66.3 inches
Cargo Room (Behind 1st and 2nd row) 72.1/36.4 Cubic Feet
Headroom, Front 39.5 inches
Headroom, 2nd 37.8 inches
Legroom, 1st 44.1 inches
Legroom, 2nd 39.5 inches
Shoulder room, 1st row 59.1 inches
Shoulder room, 2nd row 58.3 inches

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