Hyundai, along with its sister brands of Kia and Genesis, has made major strides in receiving the proper recognition for building mainstream vehicles that are receiving deserving notoriety. Within the wide spectrum of vehicle offerings from Hyundai, the Santa Fe remains to be a well-rounded two-row crossover that shows a more appealing side with added luxury in the latest Calligraphy trim that I had a chance to check out for a week.
The new 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe is already a pacesetter for the midsize two-row crossover segment and having the top-level Calligraphy trim available opens it up to be cross-shopped among other premium crossovers.
At the top end of the trim level, the new Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy gets the more powerful powertrain featuring a 2.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that outputs 277 horsepower and 311 lb-ft of torque. The turbocharged engine gets mated to an 8-speed automatic dual-clutch unit. The transmission is an interesting choice for such a vehicle where the automated dual-clutch setup doesn’t utilize a traditional torque converter but a wet clutch setup that the computer sorts out. While the engine is mostly refined with just a hint of turbo lag, the dual-clutch transmission can be a bit clunky at low speeds and takes a while to become accustomed to the it attempting to behave like a traditional transmission. Overall, the Santa Fe Calligraphy perform well out on the open road when you’re not forced to endure heavy traffic and creeping-slow speeds. The shifts fire off nearly lightning-quick when you’re giving it the beans, but the system may become confused at times upon downshifts but tends to make up for the confusion with additional snappy shifts to find the proper gear.
The new Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy having the more powerful engine and the dual-clutch transmission, along with all-wheel-drive with a front-wheel-drive bias from the transverse engine setup, scoots along well. Zero to 60 mph takes place in just 6 seconds and the Santa Fe Calligraphy handles well with its larger 20-inch wheels that are exclusive to the top trim. The torque is strong giving you a substantial midrange of power and never leaving you wanting more when you must overtake other vehicles. The turbocharged engine is a welcomed advantage over the base 2.5-liter naturally aspirated 4-cylinder that muddles along with only 191 horsepower and 181 lb-ft of torque.
I found that the new Santa Fe with the turbocharged engine falls short of what is expected out of a two-row mainstream midsized crossover. However, with the decent power figures of the Santa Fe Calligraphy, there’s some room for forgiveness. I was almost able to match the EPA fuel consumption figures of 21 mpg city, 28 mpg highway, and 24 mpg combined. I saw a steady 26.5 mpg on the highway traveling about 75 mph, and with mixed around town in heavy traffic and some highway driving I saw about 23.4 mpg on average.
With the latest Hyundai Santa Fe redesign taking place for the 2019 model year there was a lot to welcome for the popular crossover, including a reworked cabin that’s appealing for its wise use of interior space. Inside the Santa Fe has an inviting space, and with the Calligraphy trim things are a bit plusher and more premium than other trim levels. Apart from the expected digital gauge cluster, and 10.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, the Calligraphy trim better aligns the Santa Fe with its larger 3-row seating Palisade sibling in the higher trim levels.
The Calligraphy trim adds to the Limited trim’s already well-appointed cabin to bring quilted Nappa leather seats, a suede-like microfiber headliner, perforated leather-wrapped areas on the heated steering wheel, color heads-up display, auto-up for all the power windows, and expanded interior LED accent lighting. Other notable changes include body-color side skirts and wheel well trim, and the larger 20-inch wheels.
Other notable features that Hyundai includes on the new Santa Fe Calligraphy, which are also part of the Limited trim’s bundled features, are the ventilated and heated front seats, heated rear outboard seats, a premium Harman Kardon 12-speaker audio system, acoustic-laminated front side glass, rain-sensing wipers, panoramic sunroof, a bevy of active safety features (blind-spot monitor, lane departure warning/keep assist, forward collision warning/emergency braking, rear cross-path warning/braking, adaptive cruise control), the surround-view camera system, and the trick blind-spot view monitors that display a live view of your blind spot in the 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster.
The Hyundai Santa Fe starts at $28,200 for the base SE model with the less-powerful engine. To get the turbocharged engine you must opt for the $40,050 Limited trim or my loaded-up Calligraphy test vehicle, which starts at $42,050 and tests out at $44,480 when you opt for the ($1,700 additional) HTRAC all-wheel-drive setup and include the attractive Calypso Red paint option and the inland & freight charge of $1,225.
The new Hyundai Santa Fe can be hand in a plethora of trim levels and powertrain options, including a hybrid or plug-in-hybrid setup.