Monday, April 22, 2024
First Reviews2024 Hyundai Santa Fe First Drive Review: Where's the Plug-in Hybrid? 

2024 Hyundai Santa Fe First Drive Review: Where’s the Plug-in Hybrid? 

The 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe is certainly bold but might age prematurely. Also, why no PHEV?


  • For 2024, the Santa Fe gets a complete makeover.

  • Consumers can choose between a 1.6 L turbocharged engine paired with hybrid technology and a 2.5 L turbocharged engine.

  • The Hyundai Santa Fe 2024 starts at $40,999 (plus $2,000 shipping and preparation).

 


At a time when there virtually was a single SUV segment, Hyundai arrived with the first-generation Santa Fe, back to 2001. For 2024, Hyundai is launching the fifth generation of the Santa Fe with bold styling.

2024 Hyundai Santa Fe | Photo: Germain Goyer
2024 Hyundai Santa Fe | Photo: Germain Goyer

A bold silhouette

 

All tastes are created equal, and we don’t believe that our appreciation of the styling of a three-row mid-size SUV should influence a consumer’s buying decision. On the other hand, we have to admit that the Santa’s styling is bolder than ever. While this model has always suffered from a cruel lack of personality, its designers have done everything in their power to turn things around. After 25 years, the Santa Fe finally seems to have an identity. With the exception of the H theme, which can be found in many places both inside and out, the Santa Fe shares few aesthetic elements with the other members of the Hyundai family. Although it has a style all its own, there are certain similarities with the former Ford Flex, as well as reminders of the Land Rover Defender’s styling.

 

For our part, we fear that the new Santa Fe’s styling will age prematurely.

 


1.6L hybrid or 2.5L turbo

2024 Hyundai Santa Fe | Photo: Germain Goyer
2024 Hyundai Santa Fe | Photo: Germain Goyer

With its new Santa Fe, Hyundai is adopting a daring strategy, but one that will certainly be appreciated by consumers. In fact, the Korean manufacturer is offering the hybrid engine exclusively with entry-level versions, i.e. the Preferred and Preferred with Trend packages. Roughly speaking, the 1.6L turbocharged four-cylinder engine is mated to a hybrid system and a six-speed automatic transmission. The result is 231 horsepower and 271 lb-ft of torque. Unfortunately, we were unable to test this powertrain. Hybrid versions of the Santa Fe will arrive on the market at a later date.

 

In addition, the XRT – a new version with more adventurous pretensions – Luxury and Ultimate Calligraphy versions feature a turbocharged 2.5L four-cylinder engine. This engine develops 277 hp and 311 lb-ft of torque. The engine is mated to an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Power output is satisfactory, although the ride is rather sanitized. On the other hand, there was some hesitation on the part of the transmission. All in all, the Santa Fe 2024 is well soundproofed and generally comfortable.

2024 Hyundai Santa Fe | Photo: Germain Goyer
2024 Hyundai Santa Fe | Photo: Germain Goyer

That said, the plug-in hybrid version is missing from the catalog. As far as we’re concerned, this is a major shortcoming, and we find it deplorable that the Korean manufacturer should have put a stop to the project. Hyundai has no intention of selling such a version here. Elsewhere in the world, Hyundai sells a plug-in hybrid version of this model. What’s more, the previous-generation model was available with plug-in hybrid technology. It could be driven up to 50 kilometers in electric mode, in addition to benefiting from government subsidies. Consumers liked the model and would certainly have liked to see the offer continue with the fifth-generation Santa Fe.

 

At the end of our test drive behind the wheel of the Santa Fe 2024, the on-board computer showed a rating of 10.5 L/100 km. For its part, Natural Resources Canada reports a rating of 10.6 L/100 km in combined driving. By opting for the hybrid powertrain, fuel consumption in combined driving is lowered to 6.9 L/100 km. This figure has yet to be confirmed.

2024 Hyundai Santa Fe | Photo: Germain Goyer
2024 Hyundai Santa Fe | Photo: Germain Goyer

The Hyundai Santa Fe 2024 starts at $40,999 for a Preferred version. An additional $4,000 is available for the Trend package, which includes 20-inch wheels, double sunroof, leatherette seats, 12.3-inch digital instrumentation and digital key. The XRT, Luxury and Ultimate Calligraphy versions are priced at $46,999, $49,999, and $53,499 respectively. Finally, to all these amounts we must add $2,000 for shipping and preparation costs.

 


What to do to stand out from the crowd?

 

The midsize SUV segment is highly competitive and of vital importance to any manufacturer wishing to shine in the North American market. Yet, after 125 years of automotive history, it’s sometimes necessary to be overly creative if you want to stand out from the crowd. Incidentally, the designers of the new Santa Fe have integrated a handle into the C-pillar. To make it easier to climb onto the rear tire and install bicycles on the roof, for example – a very niche and perhaps futile accessory. Wait until you see what the compartment just above the glove compartment is for… It’s a sterilization compartment. Because, as we all know, that’s one of North American consumers’ purchasing criteria. No, of course not.

 


No cannibalization in sight with the Palisade

2024 Hyundai Santa Fe | Photo: Germain Goyer
2024 Hyundai Santa Fe | Photo: Germain Goyer

Compared to the outgoing model, the Santa Fe 2024 is longer and taller. This is not just an illusion. When the automaker unveiled the fifth-generation model, we immediately feared for the Palisade’s survival. But rest assured, the new Santa Fe is nothing like the Palisade. Not only is there none of the flexibility of the V6 engine, but the third bench seat can only accommodate two occupants (as opposed to three in the case of the Palisade). What’s more, when the third row is in place, cargo space is still greater with the Palisade. That said, the tailgate opening is particularly wide and well thought-out, making it quite practical.

 

It’s important to point out that the Santa Fe 2024 is a vehicle that can accommodate a total of seven occupants. The Ultimate Calligraphy version, on the other hand, has captain’s chairs in the second row, which can accommodate only six occupants.

2024 Hyundai Santa Fe | Photo: Germain Goyer
2024 Hyundai Santa Fe | Photo: Germain Goyer

The Palisade also keeps one step ahead with its 5,000-lb towing capacity. The hybrid-powered Santa Fe 2024 can tow a load of up to 2,500 lbs. As for the XRT version, which boasts a transmission oil cooler, its towing capacity is 4,500 lbs.

 


A version in the colors of your favorite NHL team

 

As part of its association with the National Hockey League, Hyundai has designed a special edition of its new Santa Fe. It was unveiled at the Montreal International Auto Show. In addition to its own unique styling, this version is decorated in the colors of your favorite hockey team. This edition is exclusive to the Canadian market, and only 500 units will be produced. It’s interesting to note that it has all the luxury and equipment of the most opulent version, the Ultimate Calligraphy, but its engine bay houses the hybrid powertrain.

2024 Hyundai Santa Fe | Photo: Germain Goyer
2024 Hyundai Santa Fe | Photo: Germain Goyer

Alas, if, like us, you suffer from deep nostalgia, you’ll be disappointed to learn that the Hartford Whalers are not on the list of possible teams.

 


In a nutshell

 

In short, it’s difficult to say anything about the hybrid version at present, as the manufacturer couldn’t let us try it out. However, if we take a closer look, we’d be tempted to say that the Preferred version is the most interesting of the range, and that the Trend package will certainly appeal to a certain segment of the clientele.

 

The Hyundai Santa Fe 2024 is a more refined SUV than ever, although it doesn’t evoke any emotion when driving. We appreciated the general soundproofing and the comfort of the front seats.

2024 Hyundai Santa Fe | Photo: Germain Goyer
2024 Hyundai Santa Fe | Photo: Germain Goyer
2024 Hyundai Santa Fe | Photo: Germain Goyer
2024 Hyundai Santa Fe | Photo: Germain Goyer
2024 Hyundai Santa Fe | Photo: Germain Goyer
2024 Hyundai Santa Fe | Photo: Germain Goyer
2024 Hyundai Santa Fe | Photo: Germain Goyer
2024 Hyundai Santa Fe | Photo: Germain Goyer
2024 Hyundai Santa Fe | Photo: Germain Goyer
2024 Hyundai Santa Fe | Photo: Germain Goyer
2024 Hyundai Santa Fe | Photo: Germain Goyer
2024 Hyundai Santa Fe | Photo: Germain Goyer
2024 Hyundai Santa Fe | Photo: Germain Goyer
2024 Hyundai Santa Fe | Photo: Germain Goyer
2024 Hyundai Santa Fe | Photo: Germain Goyer
2024 Hyundai Santa Fe | Photo: Germain Goyer
2024 Hyundai Santa Fe | Photo: Germain Goyer
2024 Hyundai Santa Fe | Photo: Germain Goyer
2024 Hyundai Santa Fe | Photo: Germain Goyer
2024 Hyundai Santa Fe | Photo: Germain Goyer
2024 Hyundai Santa Fe | Photo: Germain Goyer
2024 Hyundai Santa Fe | Photo: Germain Goyer
2024 Hyundai Santa Fe | Photo: Germain Goyer
2024 Hyundai Santa Fe | Photo: Germain Goyer

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