Wednesday, April 24, 2024
Should-you-buyShould You Buy a 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Ultimate Calligraphy?

Should You Buy a 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Ultimate Calligraphy?

The 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe punches way above its weight class

  • Pricing for the Santa Fe starts at $31,399 in Canada, $27,000 in the US.

  • The Hyundai Santa Fe has one of the largest collections of versions available in the segment.

  • Handsome, affordable, and loaded, it’s difficult not to fall for it.

We can thank, in part, Hyundai and Kia for transforming the automotive industry. Their relentless assaults on the convention where affordable vehicles could not be loaded with all the latest and greatest features have brought us to where we are today. And the new Santa Fe is proof.

2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Ultimate Calligraphy | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

In the crowded midsize SUV, distinctive attributes are a must especially if a vehicle is without pedigree. Or, in the case of the Santa Fe, if the vehicle’s past is spotted with subpar reliability or forgettable design. When Hyundai put pen to paper for the new latest generation of the Santa Fe, on the surface, they threw everything they had at it.

The recent facelift and upgrades have further elevated the Hyundai Santa to a point where few other midsize SUVs can, once more, compete with it on the surface. The question then is whether or not considering an alternative is even worth your time.

Should it then be on your shopping list? Yes, and no. Should it be your next purchase?

Why you should buy a 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe:

2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Ultimate Calligraphy | Photo: Matt St-Pierre
  • The Santa Fe can be specified as a petrol-powered SUV, with or without boost, as a hybrid, and soon, as a plug-in hybrid.
  • For those who crave power and desire to make fun of their neighbour’s BMW X3 xDrive30i, the turbocharged 2.5-litre 4-cylinder engine with its 277 horsepower and 311 lb.-ft. of torque, Ultimate Calligraphy trim will leave them in the dust.
  • This same version, priced from $47,499, is considerably less expensive and with twice the included features like Nappa leather seats, a 10.25-inch touchscreen, head-up display, and more.
  • The Santa Fe’s trunk is considerable at 1,032 litres. It also includes useful underfloor bins.
  • The cabin is excessively roomy and features reclining seats in the second row.
  • The Santa Fe’s passenger quarters are fairly upscale, more so in the Luxury and especially in the Ultimate Calligraphy.
  • The latest upgrade has refined the Santa Fe’s “unique” front design and sharpened its overall appearance.
  • Hyundai’s efficient HTRAC AWD system is standard on all trims save for the basic FWD Essential.
  • Ride quality is quite good, typically comfortable, and reasonably quiet.

Why you should not buy a 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe:

2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Ultimate Calligraphy | Photo: Matt St-Pierre
  • The Santa Fe’s, and most Hyundai Motor Group products, reliability from mid-term on has demonstrated to be less than average. A relationship beyond that of four years could be risky.
  • Although the power is nice, the Ultimate Calligraphy’s 2.5T engine is thirstier than the suggested 10L/100km on average in mixed driving. Expect real numbers to be about 20% higher.
  • The included 8-speed dual-clutch transmission delivered with the Ultimate Calligraphy has shown odd and erratic behaviour. Delayed or “confused” shifts were more than occasional be it from a dead-stop or when accelerating on the highway. 


No matter the warnings, consumers can’t get enough of the new Santa Fe, or the Palisade. Hyundai has created a need in new car buyers where they must have and expect to get premium features in mainstream products. The Santa Fe, even in its most basic trim, is loaded.

The midsize SUV also happens to look really good. The combination of styling, content, and affordability is irresistible – we want more, and all of it. And Hyundai (and Kia) delivers.

2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Ultimate Calligraphy | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

Even with competition from the Toyota Venza, Honda Passport, Chevrolet Blazer, Jeep Grand Cherokee, GMC Acadia, Ford Edge, Nissan Murano, Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport, and possibly another, the Santa Fe often comes out on top for the initial sense that buyers are getting an incredible deal – this is a feeling that is hard to beat.

The bottom line is that, in order for Hyundai to deliver all this goodness for the required prices, corners have been cut. This might be of little or no concern to most, especially those who lease their vehicles, but it’s been said.

Now, if I was getting a new Santa Fe for a three-year affair, I’d get the Luxury Hybrid for the fuel economy.

2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Luxury Hybrid Review: An Impossible To Ignore SUV


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Matt St-Pierre
Matt St-Pierre
Trained as an Automotive Technician, Matt has two decades of automotive journalism under his belt. He’s done TV, radio, print and this thing called the internet. He’s an avid collector of many 4-wheeled things, all of them under 1,500 kg, holds a recently expired racing license and is a father of two. Life is beautiful. Send Matt an emai


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