Hyundai put the Santa Fe through an extensive freshening for 2021, giving it new, more powerful engines, upscale interior styling, and a hybrid version. As before, it slots in between compact and midsized SUVs in terms of its footprint. But the reworked controls have become less user-friendly, and the base engine feels feeble and gets noisy when pushed hard.
It took the Santa Fe a lethargic 10 seconds to run from 0-60 mph with the standard 191-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder. The power deficit means the eight-speed automatic transmission needs to shift often, and it isn’t the smoothest operator; downshifts at low speeds are often felt with a bump. We measured 24 mpg overall, which is fairly efficient for an all-wheel drive SUV of this size. Front-wheel drive comes standard.