First Drive: 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Gets New Styling and Updated Technology
The SUV's midcycle freshening brings some improvements and new powertrains
Over the 20 years that Hyundai has been selling the Santa Fe, the SUV has gone from being a value-oriented option that delivers a lot for the price to a class-leading model with upscale appeal that bridges the gap between compact and midsized SUVs.
During this time Hyundai gave the third-generation Santa Fe three rows (and renamed the two-row version Santa Fe Sport), then dropped that extra third row when the fourth-generation model debuted for the 2019 model year.
We were impressed when this generation debuted because it served as a slightly larger alternative to the leading small SUVs. We preferred the nonturbo engine and transmission to the more-expensive turbo version we bought.
What we bought: 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe SEL 2.5L AWD
Powertrain: 191-hp, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine; eight-speed automatic transmission; all-wheel drive
Options: $1,800 Convenience package (rear occupant alert, 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, LED taillights, hands-free liftgate, power release 2nd-row seats, leather steering wheel, rear side window sunshades, auto-dimming rearview mirror); $3,950 Premium package (panoramic sunroof, LED interior lights, leather seats, power passenger seat, 10.25-inch navigation system, highway drive assist, premium audio system); $155 carpeted floor mats; $190 cargo cover
Destination fee: $1,175
Total cost: $37,620
What we rented: 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid Limited
Powertrain: 178-hp, 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder hybrid; six-speed automatic transmission; all-wheel drive