This week I bring you the 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid. It's the last model year of its generation, as the Santa Fe gets a complete and dramatically different redesign for 2024. (That includes the return of a third row seat, an option which was dropped from the current generation lineup after 2019.) Notably for 2023, Hyundai has moved production of the Santa Fe Hybrid from Ulsan, Korea to Montgomery, Alabama.
My model is the next to top-of-the-line Limited. It really looks sharp and stylish I think in a gorgeous Stormy Sea dark blue hue. It rides on bold 19-inch alloy wheels and features a chrome finish grille, chrome door lower trim, and satin chrome body color door handles.
The Limited is equipped with LED headlights, daytime running lights and tail lights. The profile sports power folding mirrors and on top you get roof rails.
The Santa Fe hybrid is powered by a 1.6-liter I4 turbocharged hybrid engine. It's mated to a 6-speed transmission. The powertrain isn't terribly exciting but gets you where you want to go with 178-horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. The Santa Fe hybrid comes with standard all-wheel drive.
The Santa Fe interior isn't luxurious but it's nice, featuring soft-touch materials and leather-trimmed seats and a leather-trimmed steering wheel. Two things I especially liked were the Mélange headliner and amazing panoramic sunroof.
Keeping the 2024 redesign in mind, as it's hard not to, the Santa Fe's current cabin falls on the more dated, traditional side of things. It's not the open design that Hyundai's moving towards in 2024. The interior features comfortable leather seating surfaces with contrast stitching. Power front seats feature a very robust three level heating element. The same is true for the steering wheel which I found almost too warm. The 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster above the steering wheel is terrific.
The Santa Fe's multimedia gets totally revamped for 2024. For 2023, a 10.25 inch touchscreen that jets out of the dash displays great graphics, mapping along with a great backup camera. The system is responsive and Dynamic Voice Command works great. One drawback though is that Apple CarPlay and Android Auto aren't wireless with the 10.25-inch screen.
A wide center floating console essentially integrates the climate controls you typically find on the center stack. It's a busy space full up buttons and knobs, but somehow you can easily find everything. It will also appeal to those who prefer traditional controls for climate control and other functions.
The shift-by-wire gear selector is easy to operate, and next to it you find your Drive Mode select and seat climate controls. At first it looks like you get just one cupholder, but surprise! There is another one hidden underneath a compartment that also hides a USB port. The wireless charger is easy to access on the console. A storage area underneath the console gives you more space for stuff along with another USB. There are no USB-C ports in this generation.
The second row is roomy and even with stadium seating, I still found there to be plenty of headroom back there. The 60/40 split power folding seats also recline- two great features. Passengers get their own A/C vents but no digital controls, along with manual retractable window shades and a drop-down center armrest with cupholders. The rear seats are heated and ventilated too in the Limited trim.
A hands-free liftgate opens to ample cargo space. There is also an understorage cargo tray area.
Standard Limited features include rain-sensing windshield wipers, an 8-way power driver's seat, ventilated front and 2nd row seats, and a Surround View Monitor.
Ride and Drive
Overall, the Santa Fe's ride and drive isn' t necessarily exciting but it's enjoyable. It excelled on the wet roads I encountered thanks to its all-wheel drive. Acceleration is good both in the city and on the highway. I'm a fan of Sport mode which delivers a nice steering response. It's also fairly quiet though I did note some highway wind noise.
Hyundai's done a great job with its Driver Assistance features. They include standard lineup features like Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist, Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist, Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist, Lane Following Assist, Driver Attention Warning, Rear Occupant Alert and Safe Exit.
Additional features on the Limited include Parking Collision-Avoidance Assist Reverse and Highway Driving Assist I and Remote Smart Parking Assist.
What You'll Pay
Carpeted floor mats ($210) are my test model's only option, bringing the total MSRP just over $43,000.
The 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe is a nice SUV though with the redesigned model due out soon, I would certainly want to check out the vastly different 2024 before making a buying decision.
What I liked most: Exterior color, Panoramic sunroof, sound system, safety technology.
What I would change: Add USB-Cs. Update center console.
- MSRP: Base: $41,570. As equipped: $43,115 with transportation.
- Fuel Economy: 33 city/30 highway/32 combined.
- Odometer reading when tested: 10,217 miles.
- Weight: 4,227 pounds.
- Spare Tire: Tire Mobility Kit.
- Length-Width-Height: 182.5” long/74.4" wide/63.0” high.
- Fuel Tank Capacity: 17.7 gallons with the fuel filler on the driver side.
- Official Color: Stormy Sea.
- Towing Capacity: 2,000 pounds.
- 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid in a few words: A nice, roomy and enjoyable SUV but I can't help but be more excited about the all-new 2024 model.
- Warranty: 5-Year/60,000 mile New Vehicle Warranty; 10-year, 100,000 mile Powertrain Warranty; 10-year, 100,000 mile Hybrid system components. 5 year unlimited mile roadside assistance.
- Final Assembly Location: Montgomery, Alabama.
- Manufacturer's website: Hyundai
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