If you're shopping for a midsize SUV with the option to add a third row, a comfortable interior, and lots of standard safety features, you should add the 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe to your shortlist. This vehicle also boasts an above-average predicted reliability rating from J.D. Power and Associates and an industry-leading 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.
The two-row version of this long-time best-seller has been completely redesigned for the new model year, while the three-row version (now called the Santa Fe XL) remains the same. With the redesign, you'll find a larger interior with an increase in both passenger and cargo space. Here's what to expect when you browse the seven available Santa Fe trims for 2019.
Compare the 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe SE vs SEL - What is the difference?
The redesigned Hyundai Santa Fe is both longer and more upright than its predecessor, for an enlarged silhouette that's more classic SUV than crossover. The sleek, well-designed interior offers lots of storage and airy visibility. Wide, supportive seats with plenty of passenger space make this a comfortable ride in every position. These seats have been upgraded with different levels of foam density for a cushioned feel.
Although the new look is inspired by the brand's Kona subcompact crossover, the Santa Fe redesign is distinguished by the low vertical headlights, upright stance and chain-mail-patterned grille. The body is also stronger but lighter, made from 67 percent high-strength steel, which will improve performance in a collision.
Both the SE and SEL trims of the Santa Fe are powered by a 185-horsepower four-cylinder engine paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Although both come standard with front-wheel drive and can be upgraded to all-wheel drive, only the SEL comes with Drive Mode Select. This feature lets drivers toggle between Normal, Eco, and Sport modes for the ideal balance between performance and fuel economy.
All-wheel-drive models offer standard hill descent control, which makes this a rugged SUV that can hit tough terrain with ease. The AWD system has also been replaced for the 2019 model year. The new equipment uses advanced sensors to detect road conditions and deliver power where you need it most. Torque vectoring control is also included.
You'll also get among the best fuel economy estimates in the class, with an EPA rating of 22/29 city/highway miles per gallon. When properly equipped, the Santa Fe can tow up to 2,000 pounds, or 5,000 pounds for the XL version.
Although the Santa Fe is fairly robust, some reviewers report that the handling is less than agile. Still, you'll enjoy a smooth, comfortable ride with enough power for local schlepping and summer road trips alike.
Each trim is equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels and boasts projector headlights with LED accents, LED daytime running lights, and a chrome-accented front grille. Standard sliding and reclining rear seats provide a comfortable ride for passengers in the front as well as in the rear. Durable, high-quality materials used throughout the lineup, including exceptional insulation, give the Santa Fe the air of a luxury SUV.
The SEL trim adds front fog lights, heated outside mirrors, a shark-fin roof antenna, and door-handle welcome lights.
These trims have each been upgraded with a suite of driver assistance features for 2019, including blind-spot collision-avoidance assist, a rearview camera with parking guidance, automatic headlights with high beam assist, lane keeping assist, forward collision-avoidance assist with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, hill start assist, rear cross-traffic collision-avoidance assist, driver attention warning, and safe exit assist. This feature, which is currently exclusive to Hyundai vehicles, prevents you from overriding the Electronic Child Safety Lock and opening the door in an area where it is unsafe to do so, such as on the shoulder of the highway or in a busy parking lot. You'll also receive an audio and video warning.
The SEL trim comes with an immobilizer, an electronic security device that prevents theft by requiring a specific key to start the engine. This prevents the vehicle from being "hot-wired" and stolen by someone without the key.
Inside the cabin, both trims are appointed with the latest tech features, including a 7-inch display system with both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone connectivity as well as Bluetooth. Although this is one of the few non-touchscreen infotainment systems in 2019 autos, it's easy to learn and can be mastered quickly even by the less tech-savvy.
Upgraded features for the SEL trim including an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat, heated front seats, a Sirius XM trial subscription, a color information display instead of the black-and-white version in the SE trim, and proximity key entry with push-button start.
The SEL model of the Santa Fe also comes with a Hyundai Blue Link subscription. This useful service offers features like remote maintenance scheduling from your vehicle's interface or a smartphone app, remote start with climate control, the ability to lock and unlock the vehicle remotely, diagnostics and alerts about the health of your vehicle, the ability to send navigation straight to the infotainment system from your phone, a car finder, and so much more. You can even use this app to keep an eye on your teen driver by setting speed limits and receiving notifications when they leave an established boundary. If you're in a collision, emergency services will be immediately and automatically notified.
Compare the 2019 Santa Fe SEL vs SEL Plus Trims. What is the difference?
The exterior of the SEL Plus trim has upgraded 18-inch alloy wheels, roof-side rails, and a smart hands-free liftgate that reacts to the proximity of your key fob.
Interior upgrades for the SEL Plus trim including sliding second-row seats for easy entry, a premium 12-speaker Infiniti audio system, dual-zone automatic climate control, a leather-trimmed shift knob and steering wheel, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.
Added safety features for the SEL Plus trim include Rear Occupant Alert and Reverse Parking Distance Warning.
Compare the Santa Fe SEL Plus vs Limited - What is the difference?
Exterior upgrades for the Limited trim of the 2019 Santa Fe include LED headlights, taillights, and fog lights, LED turn-signal indicators for the side mirrors, premium dark chrome or satin door handles, and a panoramic sunroof. Inside the cabin, the Limited trim adds a power-adjustable passenger seat.
Compare the Santa Fe Limited vs Limited 2.0T Trims. What is the difference?
The Santa Fe Limited 2.0T features an upgraded 235-horsepower turbo-four engine, standard 19-inch alloy wheels, and body-colored door handles. However, it is otherwise identical to the Limited trim.
Compare the 2019 Santa Fe Limited 2.0T vs Ultimate - What is the difference?
The Ultimate features the standard inline-four engine and 18-inch alloy wheels from the SEL Plus trim, not the upgraded version in the Limited 2.0T trim. However, it includes equipment upgrades such as fully climate-controlled front seats, memory settings for the driver's seat, heated rear seats, wireless device charging, a surround-view camera, a driver head-up display, and an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with integrated navigation. Drivers who choose this trim also receive complimentary three-year BlueLink services.
Compare the 2019 Santa Fe Ultimate vs Ultimate 2.0T - What is the difference?
This version of the Ultimate trim features the upgraded engine and accessories found in the Limited 2.0T model. As far as features, the two vehicles are identical.
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Which One Should You Choose?
The Hyundai Santa Fe has been designated as a Top Safety Pick+ of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the agency's highest honor, and has a five-star overall crash test rating from the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration. Its Smart Sense features, including Rear Occupant Alert and Safe Exit Assist, have been named as Best Vehicle and Technology Innovations for 2018 by AutoGuide.com. The redesign also received a 2018 Silver Award from the Industrial Designers Society of America.
Drivers who want to strike the right balance between price, luxe features and high-tech safety equipment should opt for the SEL trim of the 2019 Santa Fe. It provides improved comfort and convenience of the base trim without the cost of the higher Santa Fe trims. Go for the SEL Plus if you want a few fun and useful extras like the upgraded stereo system, hands-free liftgate, and two-zone climate control.
If you want exceptional performance, however, opt for one of the 2.0T models for a bit of a horsepower boost. Testing from Car and Driver magazine reports a zero-to-60 time of 7.8 seconds and a quarter-mile time of 16 seconds at 88 miles per hour.
You could also switch to the Santa Fe XL, which is equipped with a 290-hp V6 paired with a six-speed automatic. Keep in mind, however, that the XL has not been redesigned for the 2019 model year and will likely be replaced by a brand-new three-row SUV expected from Hyundai in 2020.
Drivers looking for a versatile, midsize SUV at a great value that will provide excellent quality and last for years will be hard-pressed to find fault with the 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe. Even the base model provides standard features above and beyond what competitors offer at similar price points. This brand's reputation for dependability and the enhanced standard safety features make this crossover an exceptional family car.
• Compare the 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Trim Levels