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2020 Hyundai Santa Fe offers comfort, terrific tech options Featured

Posted On Sunday, 19 January 2020 17:43 Written by
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The 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe is a strong, family-friendly offering in the midsize SUV segment. The 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe is a strong, family-friendly offering in the midsize SUV segment. Photo by Matt Myftiu/

If we’re talking about Hyundai SUVs, most of the focus in recent months is on the Palisade, Hyundai’s new full-size three-row model that was a finalist for the NACTOY Utility of the Year. But the good news for Hyundai, and the SUV-buying public, is that even if the Palisade isn’t the best fit for all consumers, there’s plenty of strength throughout Hyundai’s SUV lineup.

Once such example is the midsize Santa Fe, which got a full redesign in 2019 and sees minor changes for 2020. I recently spent some time in a Santa Fe, and I’m back with a full report on how it compares in this highly competitive segment.


The exterior design of the Santa Fe is svelte and elegant, yet still a bit imposing at the same time.

I was impressed with the quality of the materials used on the interior, which was approaching near-luxury territory on the Limited trim level that I tested. Highlights included a heated and leather-wrapped steering wheel and extremely comfortable leather seating. You also get heated front and rear seats, ventilated front seats, push-button start, manual rear sunshades, and a long and attractive panoramic sunroof

The Santa Fe rides on 19-inch alloy wheels, and stays current with LED headlights, fog lights, taillights and interior lights. Heated side mirrors with turn signal indicators will light up when a vehicle is beside you, which is a nice touch, and you get rain-sensing wipers.

The interior design allows 5 passengers to travel comfortably. Some vehicles of this size will try to squeeze in a third row, which is usually tiny and unusable, but Hyundai was wise to skip that option in the 2020 Santa Fe and reserve it for larger models.

Storage room is also impressive in the Santa Fe: With all the seats up, it offers 35.9 cubic feet of space, and lowering the rear seats will get you 71.3 cubic feet. And a 60/40 split of the rear seats means you can only lower one side if you need to carry a rear passenger. A hands-free smart liftgate is also offered to ease the loading process.

The 2020 Santa Fe offers two engine options, as you can choose between the base 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine (185 horsepower, 176 lb.-ft. of torque) or a more powerful turbo 2.0-liter option (234 horsepower, 260 lb.-ft.). 

Both engines are paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission; FWD is standard but you can opt for AWD. The Santa Fe offers drive mode choices — including Smart, Comfort and Smart modes.

I had the turbo engine option, which performed well enough most of the time, but there were still moments when it felt a bit underpowered compared to its class, and whined a bit when getting up to speed. The base engine will be even more lacking, so I would recommend going with the turbo option if you pick up the Santa Fe.

Power aside, my overall driving experience in the Santa Fe was among the smoothest I’ve experienced in class, and it’s extremely quiet in the vehicle unless you get onto a terribly bumpy road. 

It can be described as nimble, though not hyper-responsive, and overall offers a smooth, comfortable family ride.

When you dive into the technology and safety arenas, Hyundai puts on a great face on both fronts.

The navigation system in the Santa Fe responds well to voice commands, and it found POIs along my routes with ease, in addition to guiding me clearly to final destinations. You also get high-tech services like Blue Link Remote Start and Connected Services.

There are well-placed and easy-to-use physical buttons on the steering wheel and 8-inch infotainment center screen, and the Santa Fe is compatible with both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay for phone mirroring.

Wireless phone charging is a great feature that is offered in a convenient location up front. Music sources include AM/FM/HD radio/SiriusXM (90-day trial); and you get dual front and rear USB outlets  Bluetooth system for calls and music streaming. 

On the safety side, you’ll get a helpful rear camera with multiple angles, which will guide you in and out perfectly straight in tight parking situations.

The advanced safety systems on the Santa Fe are plentiful and extremely forceful in their goals. If you try to leave lane without using a signal, for example, the Santa Fe rather forcefully pulls you back in, unless you override by continuing to move over.

While jarring at times, that’s exactly what we need these systems to do, and I welcome it. Some of the systems can be turned off if you are traveling in areas where they would be more of a nuisance, but those situations should be rare.

Among the systems offered on the Santa Fe are: Forward Collision Avoidance Assist; Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist; Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist; Lane Keeping Assist; Driver Attention Warning (a nice touch to remind you when you may be getting a bit tired and need a break); Smart Cruise Control with Stop & Go; Surround View Monitor; Ultrasonic Rear Occupant Alert and the very helpful Blind View Monitor.

The Santa Fe also offers a full color heads-up display to help you keep your eyes on the road.

The official fuel mileage numbers on the AWD version of the 2020 Santa Fe are 20 city/26 highway/22 combined. I averaged 21 mpg during my testing. These numbers fall short of most competitors in the Santa Fe’s segment, which may dissuade some potential buyers who otherwise prefer the Santa Fe.

My test vehicle at the higher end of Santa Fe spectrum, and was priced just over $40,000, but the base price starts about $26,000. These are excellent prices for the segment, and you get a bounty of standard features for the price you’re paying.

Another factor to consider into overall cost of ownership is that Hyundai also offers some of the best warranties in the business, including: 5-year/60K new vehicle warranty; 10-year/100K powertrain warranty; 7-year/Unlimited mile anti-perforation warranty and 5-year/Unlimited mile Roadside Assistance.


The 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe holds its own against the non-luxury midsize SUV competition … with a great look, roomy interior, and top notch tech. Unless you crave max power for the segment, the Santa Fe is an SUV you should have on your test drive list.

===== can be found on Twitter @AutoTechReview, or stay updated at the AutoTechReviews Facebook page. Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu.

Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe  
  • Price as tested: $40,430 
  • Best feature: Smooth ride, tech offerings, sharp design 
  • Rating: 4 out of five stars
  • Who will want this vehicle?: Families seeking a high-tech experience in a smooth-riding SUV
Matt M. Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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