A great-looking SUV spent some time in my driveway recently. It was the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe - and its big story for 2022 is a a new XRT trim. Based on the SEL Convenience package, the XRT trim gives the Santa Fe a rugged look, but does not impact performance.
Hyundai designers really delivered on its rugged, sporty looks in spades and it’s terrific-looking in a glittery Storm Sea hue. Exclusive XRT exterior features include a black finish grille, 18-inch dark-toned wheels, black lower fascia trim, front & rear, dark silver skid plate styling elements, lower door side finishers, black side mirror covers, and side steps. You’ll find roof rails on top.
The XRT trim also has LED headlights, daytime running lights, puddle lamps, and heated outdoor side mirrors along with a rear spoiler.
The XRT’s 2.5L 4-cylinder engine is mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission. The powertrain delivers 191-horsepower and 181-pound-feet of torque. Overall, I didn’t enjoy this powertrain as much as the one in the Tucson I I reviewed recently. I felt like the engine needed more power upon acceleration from a stop, something I attribute to a weight difference. The Santa FE XRT AWD is 309 pounds heavier than the Tucson AWD. Idle start/stop on this one threw me off too for some reason, more so than other Hyundai models. At times, I actually thought the car had really turned off, something that doesn’t typically alarm me with these systems.
The Santa Fe is a roomy SUV with a well-designed, user-friendly cabin. The XRT trim sports comfortable, cushiony, cloth front seats with side bolsters The 8-way power driver’s seat comes with 2-way power lumbar support. Both front seats are heated. The interior incorporates metallic painted door handles, patterned trim on various elements and textured door speakers. It’s also equipped with a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
A wide, sloping, center console combines seamlessly with the center stack’s dual zone climate controls. The lower portion houses the shift-by-wire transmission (which eliminates a gear shift knob) along with a media controller, and buttons for the electric parking brake, auto stop/start, auto brake hold and seat warmers. There’s plenty of storage both in the console bin and a storage area underneath the console area.
A roomy second-row with cloth seating features a drop-down console along with A/C vents and sunshades. The 60/40 2nd row fold-flat seats also recline nicely, a great feature, as is the power release 2nd-row function.
The XRT also does well on utility. It comes with 2 12-volts. The cargo area hosts a 2nd-row power seat release. There is also a hidden storage area under the cargo floor.
A 12.3-inch digital display cluster is set back into the dash like the Palisade, rather than stand alone like the Tucson. It displays a ton of info in a colorful and animated fashion.
An 8-inch multimedia touchscreen display is surrounded in glossy black. Hyundai’s system displays nice graphics and is compatible with both wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. But be aware that you can’t use voice recognition or navigation unless you’re hooked up to those services, something I’m not a huge fan of. The screen also houses a rear view monitor with parking guidance. The XRT is missing Hyundai’s Sounds of Nature feature, but does have rear seat Quiet Mode.
The Santa Fe comes with four USB ports.
Ride and Drive
While I felt it could use more initial acceleration power from a stop, like at a stop light, the Santa Fe felt adequately powered in highway driving. It also delivered a comfortable and pleasant ride overall and the cabin was quiet (except for engine noise upon initial acceleration.)
The 2022 Santa Fe offers Hyundai’s great SmartSense Safety Feature suite. Standard equipment includes Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist w/Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection, Blind Spot Collision Avoidance Assist, Rear Cross Traffic Collision Avoidance Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, Lane Following Assist and Driver Attention Warning. The XRT also comes with available Ultrasonic Rear Occupant Alert but lacks parking distance warning sensors.
Smart cruise control stop and go also works well. While the XRT is equipped with remote engine start on the key fob, it does not offer Remote Smart Parking Assist or Highway Driving Assist.
The Hyundai Santa Fe XRT is a great-looking, roomy SUV with a very comfy interior, impressive cargo space and tech that's on-point. As with all Hyundai's, the Santa Fe also comes with a great price point. I'd just like to see a bit more horsepower and an option to add Remote Smart Parking Assist or Highway Driving Assist.
- What I liked most: Exclusive XRT looks. Exterior color. Driver’s seat comfort.
- What I would change: Boost horsepower.
- MSRP: $34,000; As equipped: $35,380 with destination.
- Fuel Economy: 22 city/25 highway/24 combined.
- Official Color: Stormy Sea.
- Odometer reading when tested: 2,898 miles.
- Weight: 3,960 (AWD).
- Spare Tire: Temp compact spare.
- Length-Width-Height:188.4’ long/ 74.8’ wide/ 63.7’ high w/side roof rails.
- Fuel Tank Capacity: 17.7 gallons with filler on driver’s side.
- Towing Capacity: 2,000 pounds with trailer brakes.
- 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe XRT 2.5L: A terrific new sporty trim for the Hyundai lineup that’s great-looking but don’t expect upgraded performance.
- Warranty: 5-year 60,000 mile New Vehicle Warranty; 10-year 100,000 powertrain, 7-year unlimited mile anti-perforation warranty; 3-year complimentary maintenance
- Final Assembly Location: Montgomery, Alabama.
- Manufacturer’s website: Hyundai