2019 Hyundai Santa Fe First Drive: A Smooth Transition for New Model

We got a first ride of the all-new-for-2019 Hyundai Santa Fe, the automaker’s mid-size two-row SUV, which (a little confusingly) replaces the Santa Fe Sport in the lineup. It’s a little bit bigger than the Santa Fe Sport overall, but Hyundai has packed it with a lot of standard active safety features.

Related: 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe First Drive: A Modern Mid-Size SUV

During our time behind the wheel on scenic roads outside Park City, Utah, my initial impression was that the new Santa Fe is a very smooth vehicle, and that theme comes through in a lot of different ways. Automakers often make the mistake of being too intent on a sporty feel in their SUVs, but Hyundai has wisely found a nice balance here, with a greater focus on smoothness.

We drove a model with the optional turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, and it’s a smooth-revving setup. It gets up to speed quickly and easily, though highway passing power drops off a little bit. It works with an eight-speed automatic transmission and, again, it makes smooth shifts; it’s unobtrusive and willing to make hard-throttle kickdowns easily. This is a responsive transmission.

That feeling of smoothness comes through in the steering, too. It doesn’t offer a ton of feedback, but the car steers and rides well overall — not too firmly sprung.

Get the rest of my impressions of the 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe — or at least enjoy some gorgeous mountain vistas vicariously through me — by watching the video above.

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