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2019 Hyundai Santa Fe

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe

Change year or vehicle
$15,683 — $41,885 NEW and USED
14
Photos
SUV
5 Seats
21-25 MPG
(Combined)
Key specs of the base trim
 — 
Compare 7 trims

Overview

Is this the car for you?

The Good

  • Turbo engine's smoothness, midrange power
  • Ride comfort
  • Visibility
  • Roomy backseat
  • Overall value
  • IIHS crash-test performance

The Bad

  • Handling on twisty roads
  • Numb steering feel
  • Modest passing power
  • Transmission unwilling to kick down to low enough gear
  • Sport mode makes gas pedal touchy
  • Accelerator lag (turbo engine)
2019 Hyundai Santa Fe exterior side view

What to Know

about the 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe
  • Redesigned for 2019, replacing Santa Fe Sport
  • Five-seat mid-size SUV
  • Choice of four-cylinder engines, including a turbo
  • FWD or AWD
  • Standard Apple CarPlay, Android Auto
  • Standard automatic emergency braking

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2019 Hyundai Santa Fe Review

from the Cars.com expert editorial team

We recently got a first ride of the all-new-for-2019 Hyundai Santa Fe, the automaker's mid-size two-row SUV. Check out our initial impressions here.

By Mike Hanley
The verdict:


Comfortable and well-equipped, the redesigned 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe should appeal to families shopping the mid-size two-row SUV class, but a few drivability issues annoy.

Versus the competition:


The mid-size SUV class is poised to get a lot more competitive, with Honda and Chevrolet readying the 2019 Passport and 2019 Blazer, respectively, Ford launching an updated 2019 Edge SUV and Nissan offering a refreshed Murano. As with other Hyundai models, value for the money promises to be one of the Santa Fe's biggest selling points.

Hyundai has tinkered with the names of its mid-size and full-size SUVs for the 2019 model year. The redesigned two-row 2019 Santa Fe reviewed here replaces the Santa Fe Sport in Hyundai’s lineup, and the three-row Santa Fe has been dubbed Santa Fe XL for 2019 but is a carryover model with few changes. The Santa Fe XL isn’t long for this world, though; it’s slated to be replaced by the three-row Hyundai Palisade, which will arrive next summer as a 2020 model.

The 2019 Santa Fe starts at $26,545, including a $1,045 destination charge, for a base front-wheel-drive SE trim. We tested two higher-end versions: a $36,620 front-wheel-drive Ultimate with the 185-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that goes in most trims, as well as a $39,970 all-wheel-drive Ultimate with the optional 235-hp, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder.

More SUV, More Futuristic

The 2019 Santa Fe’s profile looks more upright than the outgoing Santa Fe Sport’s, with a windshield that’s not as raked. It looks more like an SUV now, and one big practical advantage of the design is good visibility: Thin front roof pillars and side mirrors mounted on the front doors (rather than the base of those pillars) help give the Santa Fe great forward views. Hyundai also flattened out the SUV’s beltline, increasing visibility for rear passengers and providing better over-shoulder views for the driver.

The Santa Fe’s front end is, without question, the most pola...

Hyundai has tinkered with the names of its mid-size and full-size SUVs for the 2019 model year. The redesigned two-row 2019 Santa Fe reviewed here replaces the Santa Fe Sport in Hyundai’s lineup, and the three-row Santa Fe has been dubbed Santa Fe XL for 2019 but is a carryover model with few changes. The Santa Fe XL isn’t long for this world, though; it’s slated to be replaced by the three-row Hyundai Palisade, which will arrive next summer as a 2020 model. 

The 2019 Santa Fe starts at $26,545, including a $1,045 destination charge, for a base front-wheel-drive SE trim. We tested two higher-end versions: a $36,620 front-wheel-drive Ultimate with the 185-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that goes in most trims, as well as a $39,970 all-wheel-drive Ultimate with the optional 235-hp, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder. 

More SUV, More Futuristic 

The 2019 Santa Fe’s profile looks more upright than the outgoing Santa Fe Sport’s, with a windshield that’s not as raked. It looks more like an SUV now, and one big practical advantage of the design is good visibility: Thin front roof pillars and side mirrors mounted on the front doors (rather than the base of those pillars) help give the Santa Fe great forward views. Hyundai also flattened out the SUV’s beltline, increasing visibility for rear passengers and providing better over-shoulder views for the driver.   

The Santa Fe’s front end is, without question, the most polarizing aspect of the design. Like Hyundai’s subcompact Kona SUV and upcoming three-row Palisade, the Santa Fe has slim LED daytime running lights that sit below the front edges of the hood and flank a gaping grille (the headlights sit below the DRLs). It’s not a new design tactic — the pre-2019 Jeep Cherokee had something similar — but it’s an approach that’s gaining steam; the upcoming 2019 Blazer also uses it.

How It Drives

The Santa Fe is composed and comfortable in the city and on rural two-lane highways, but it’s flustered by more challenging, twisty roads. Some drivetrain-tuning choices also hurt the driving experience. 

The standard 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine makes adequate power, but full-throttle acceleration is modest. The engine works with an eight-speed automatic transmission that kicks down quickly but isn’t always willing to select as low a gear as is needed. 

Gas-pedal response is gradual in the Comfort drive mode, but you get used to it after a while. The Sport mode, however, isn’t great in everyday driving; it makes the gas pedal extremely sensitive, to the point that it’s hard to accelerate smoothly or hold a steady speed. 

The optional turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder performs very well. It’s smooth and produces a lot of midrange power that helps the Santa Fe build speed rapidly. It’s also quieter than the base four-cylinder. Still, passing power is modest with this engine, too, and the automatic transmission’s unwillingness to kick down into its lower gears is partly to blame. Gas-pedal responsiveness is an issue with the turbo engine, as well; there’s some lag when starting off from a stop regardless of whether you’re in Comfort or Sport. Once you’re moving, the gas pedal can feel a bit too responsive, with a jumpiness that makes accelerating smoothly more difficult than it should be.

The Santa Fe’s suspension is comfort-oriented without feeling floaty, which seems like the right approach for this class. It feels composed and stable through sweeping corners, but handling suffers on more challenging roads due to numb, isolating steering feel and moderate body roll in tight corners.

The Inside

Hyundai touts the Santa Fe’s variable-density front seats, which use three types of cushioning. The seats are wide and supportive, but the cushions felt a little flat. Cloth upholstery is standard, and leather seating surfaces and heated front seats are included on Limited and higher trims.   

The 60/40-split backseat is comfortable for adults. There’s good legroom, and the seat cushion is high enough off the floor to provide thigh support — an attribute that’s gradually vanishing across the market. On SEL Plus and higher trims, the seat slides forward and backward to balance cargo and passenger needs. The rear backrest reclines quite a bit, which gives stargazers a good view out the optional panoramic moonroof. 

Materials quality in the high-end Ultimate trim is good, and the controls are sensibly arranged. The dashboard’s separated sections are intuitive, with a standard 7-inch touchscreen positioned above the center vents and air-conditioning controls, but the optional dual-zone automatic air-conditioning system’s temperature display is hard to read if viewed through polarized sunglasses. 

Standard technology features include Bluetooth streaming audio and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity. Satellite radio, an Infinity premium stereo, a head-up display, a 360-degree camera system, wireless device charging and a larger, 8-inch touchscreen with built-in navigation are optional.

Cargo

The Santa Fe has 35.9 cubic feet of cargo room behind the rear seat. The backseat folds flat with the cargo floor for a maximum 71.3 cubic feet of cargo room. There are two large bins under the cargo floor for storing items out of sight. 

Safety

In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing, the 2019 Santa Fe received the highest rating, good, in all crash tests, and the organization rated the SUV’s standard forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking systems superior, the best possible score. 

Other standard active-safety features include adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability, blind spot warning, lane keep assist, rear cross-traffic alert and a driver-drowsiness monitor. 

SEL Plus and higher trims also have Hyundai’s Rear Occupant Alert system. It monitors the backseat using a sensor, and if movement is detected after the SUV has been locked, the horn honks and the Hyundai Blue Link system sends an alert to a paired smartphone. While safety technology like this is welcome, we still recommend that drivers traveling with small children place in the rear seat something they plan on taking with them at the end of the trip, like a backpack or purse, to help minimize the chances a child is accidentally left inside. 

Value in Its Class

Hyundai has long been known for giving shoppers a lot for their money, and the redesigned Santa Fe reinforces that reputation with its long list of standard active-safety and technology features at a starting price thousands of dollars less than some competitors. There’s a lot here to like — especially if the drivetrain quirks aren’t deal-breakers for you. 

Cars.com’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with Cars.com’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of Cars.com’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

Consumer Reviews

What drivers are saying

4.8
185 reviews — Read All reviews
Exterior Styling
(4.8)
Performance
(4.5)
Interior Design
(4.8)
Comfort
(4.9)
Reliability
(4.9)
Value For The Money
(4.7)

Read reviews that mention:

(5.0)

Great car

by New owners from Madison Heights, VA on July 5, 2020

We’ve only owned for a few days, but very pleased so far. We bought this primarily for my wife for transporting family and also for work when she needs it (she works from home but occasionally has to ... Read full review

(5.0)

Most Comfortable car I have ever had and the Best

by Vicky's santa fe baby from Dalton Ga on June 22, 2020

I'm Short so I was afraid I would feel lost in a SUV but I love my Santa Fe and I feel so safe in it , Thank you Long Hyundai Read full review

Safety

Recalls and crash tests

Recalls

The 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe currently has 1 recall


Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe SE 2.4

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Child Seat Anchors (Latch)

Ease of Use
acceptable

Crash Avoidance and Mitigation

Front Crash Prevention
superior

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Headlights

Overall Rating
marginal

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Other

Roof Strength
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
good
Driver Torso
good
Overall Side
good
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Small Overlap Front - Driver Side

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Hip/Thigh
good
Lower Leg/Foot
good
Overall Evaluation
good
Restraints and Dummy Kinematics
good
Structure and Safety Cage
good

Small Overlap Front - Passenger Side

Overall Evaluation
good
Structure and Safety Cage
good

Small Overlap Front - Passenger Side - Driver Injury Measures

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Hip/Thigh
good
Lower Leg/Foot
good
Restraints and Dummy Kinematics
good

Small Overlap Front - Passenger Side - Passenger Injury Measures

Chest
good
Head/Neck
acceptable
Hip/Thigh
good
Lower Leg/Foot
good
Restraints and Dummy Kinematics
good
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Warranty

New car and certified pre-owned programs by Hyundai

New Car Program Benefits

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    60 months / 60,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    60 months / unlimited distance

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Santa Fe received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*

Latch or Latch system

A

Infant seat

A

Forward-facing convertible

(second row)

A

Rear-facing convertible

A

Booster

(second row)

A
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker

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*MSRP and Invoice prices displayed are for educational purposes only, do not reflect the actual selling price of a particular vehicle, and do not include applicable gas taxes or destination charges.