It’s definitely not easy for car companies to reinvent their SUVs while keeping them affordable, the market is undeniably boiling hot. But the Santa Fe took a big leap for 2019 on the styling front. You probably noticed that it takes it new facade from the Hyundai Kona, with its chiseled grille and pinched headlights.
However, upgrades in other fields are scattered and minimal. With the “Sport” name now gone, the 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe is offered in Essential, Preferred, Luxury and Ultimate variants.
The Santa Fe got bigger in size, thanks to the upgraded platform that permitted the change. This gives it more interior space for passengers as well as for cargo. Space behind the 2nd row grew to 1016 litres.
For comparison, the Ford Edge provides 1110 Liters of cargo space in the same configuration, while the Nissan Murano only has 908 litres. Even with beefed up proportions, the 2019 Santa Fe manages to save quite a bit of weight – up to 90 kilograms on versions equipped with the 2.0-liter powerplant mated to the AWD system.
More of the same under the hood
Mechanically, the standard engine offered on Essential and Preferred trims is a 2.4 litre, four-cylinder unit that develops 185 horsepower along with 178 lb-ft of torque.
Trims starting at luxury get a standard, more powerful turbocharged 2.0 litre 4-banger that boasts 235 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. The turbo-four may be selected as an option on the Prefered trim. The fuel consumption on this engine sits at 11.2 litres to 100 kilometers, which is on the heavy side compared to rivals in the segment. The major change here is the fact that the 6-Speed automatic transmission gave way to a new 8-Speed automatic gearbox.
The 2019 Santa Fe comes loaded with safety systems, at least for Preferred variants and up. Two of those systems caught our attention.
The Safe Exit Assist detects vehicles approaching from the rear while parked and alerts the driver with an audible warning and a pop-up in the cluster, all while keeping the rear doors locked for passenger safety. Along with this comes the Rear Occupant Alert that checks the rear seats to make sure there are no children left in the car.
Driving the 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe
The 2.0 Liter turbocharged powerplant seems like it’s still lacking a little oomph. Pushing the Santa Fe to the limit upon acceleration seems somewhat painstaking.
But once at cruising speed, the compact SUV seems to be able to pick up accelerations easily, thanks to the new gearbox. Only Luxury and Ultimate variants were available for testing, so we can’t give you the low down on how it performs with the naturally aspired 2.4 Liter four cylinder.
Going into corners, the 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe offers a low-thrill ride, but a very stable one. No body roll or funny stuff was felt, and the structure seems pretty stiff. The steering wheel supplies good feedback and a great overall sensation. Ride comfort is also on point, with the suspension ensuring bumps and crevasses are overcome without disturbing passengers.
HTRAC AWD is obviously a great option, it uses 50 input sensors collecting data from the driver, the engine and gearbox as well as from the outside temperature sensors to provide the best traction possible in any given situation. HTRAC is also linked to the drive modes for the first time in a Hyundai, modulating torque distribution from front to rear depending on the driving mode chosen (Comfort, Smart and Sport).
Cabin comfort is great; the 2019 Santa Fe provides a surprisingly quiet ride. As for ergonomics and interior finish, the Hyundai Santa Fe also passes the test, with coherent materials and easy to reach infotainment system that literally pops out of the dashboard.
Even with great cosmetic enhancements for 2019, the Hyundai Santa Fe could have used a little bit more flavour under its redesigned cover, such as more powerful engine and third-row seating for example.
Final Word on the 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe
If you need a compact SUV that looks (subjectively) great and is loaded with safety features at a very decent price, the Santa Fe might be a good option for a buyer that can sacrifice the dynamic drive. At 28 999$, the base Essential trim comes with the 2,4 Litre engine, and is front wheel drive, but also offers heated seats and heated steering wheel along with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as standard equipment.