2020 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited FWD
2020 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited in Lava Orange

2015 Audi Q52020 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited FWD

Class: Midsize Crossover SUV

Miles driven: 430

Fuel used: 20.7 gallons

CG Report Card
Room and ComfortA-
Power and PerformanceC+
Fit and FinishB+
Fuel EconomyB+
Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.
Big & Tall Comfort
Big GuyB
Tall GuyA
Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.
Engine Specs235-hp 2.0-liter
Engine Typeturbo 4-cyl
Transmission 8-speed automatic
Drive WheelsFWD

Real-world fuel economy: 20.8 mpg

Driving mix: 45% city, 55% highway

EPA-estimated fuel economy: 20/27/23 (city, highway, combined)

Fuel type: Regular gas

Base price: $37,500 (not including $1095 destination charge)

Options on test vehicle: Carpeted floor mats ($135)

Price as tested: $38,730


Quick Hits

The great: Spacious, comfy cabin offers good room for both people and stuff; long list of comfort and safety features

The good: Nicely finished interior; wind and road noise are well muffled

The not so good: Mediocre acceleration for a top-line engine

More Santa Fe price and availability information


John Biel

Sometimes automakers leave all-new products alone for their second year. Sometimes they don’t.

It’s not like Hyundai altered anything fundamental about the 2020 Santa Fe midsize SUV. Size, shape, and powerteams are just as they were in 2019, when the fourth generation of this 2-row crossover bowed. However, it has shuffled the deck of trim levels. There’s no SEL Plus in the middle of the pack, and last year’s top Ultimate trim has been dropped, which leaves the Limited as the new head of the Santa Fe line. In the process, though, Limiteds with the optional 2.0-liter turbocharged engine have become more expensive than the ’19 Ultimate with this engine.

2020 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited FWD
The Hyundai Santa Fe was redesigned for 2019, and sees no major changes for its sophomore season.

Consumer Guide tested a ’20 Limited with the turbo 4-cylinder powerplant and front-wheel drive. That latter detail represented a notable difference from the ’19 Ultimate that we drove; it came with HTRAC torque-allocating all-wheel drive. Depending on where you live and how happy you are not to spend the $1700 AWD costs, you probably won’t miss it. If, like us, you live in Snow-and-Iceland, it can seem like money well spent. Going out on an evening after an odd set of winter conditions—some snow, then some rain and thawing, followed by a sharp drop in temperature—this driver found himself stopped at a traffic signal with the Hyundai’s front wheels resting on a broad patch of ice-covered pavement. When it was time to go, they slipped and spun in a fight for grip that wasn’t won without some feathering of the accelerator.

Test Drive: 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited (AWD)

2020 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited FWD
The Santa Fe’s cabin is nicely styled, with an easy-to-use control layout, and Limiteds boast a number of upscale trim touches and features. Rear-seat space is generous enough for adults to ride in comfort.

Aside from that, there was no difference in performance. The turbo engine still makes 235 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 260 lb-ft of torque between 1450 and 3500 revs, and works through an 8-speed automatic transmission. Judging by its somewhat laggard throttle response, this engine seemingly doesn’t like to be told what to do. It will, however, rise to safe and acceptable highway speeds, assisted by the automatic, which kicks down effectively to enable open-road acceleration. With the turbo, a Santa Fe can tow up to 3500 pounds—1500 pounds more than with the naturally aspirated 2.4-liter powerplant that’s also available in the Limited for $1850 less. Better fuel mileage is expected from the front-drove model—EPA estimates are 20 mpg in the city, 27 on the highway, and 23 combined—and this reviewer managed 20.62 mpg from a 205-mile test that included 55 percent city driving. A very subtle stop/start feature helps save a little gas without a lot of annoyance.

The Santa Fe manages both bumps and cornering lean pretty well, even on the 19-inch wheels that come when the turbo engine is selected. “Sport” setting, one of three selectable driving modes, modestly—but pleasingly—firms up steering resistance. The current-generation vehicle’s tighter body structure pays off in cabin quiet.

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Santa Fe Cargo Area
The Santa Fe offers 35.9 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second-row seats, and 71.3 cubic feet with the second-row seatbacks folded down, which puts it about mid-pack among two-row midsize crossover SUVs.

Limiteds are the sole recipients of a new standard-equipment item: a Blind-View Monitor that projects a camera view of right- or left-side blind spots (depending on which turn signal is activated) in the digital instrument cluster. Other items specific to the trim level include dark-chrome exterior trim; premium door-sill plates; 4-way power lumbar adjustment, cushion extension, and memory for the driver’s seat; heated steering wheel; ventilated front and heated rear seats; remote releases for second-row seats; navigation; 8-inch touchscreen; surround-view monitor; head-up display; and the “Guidance” level for the Blue Link telematics system standard on SELs and Limiteds.

The remainder of the $38,595 starting price (with delivery) of a turbocharged FWD Santa Fe Limited starts with the Smart Sense suite of safety features found in all models. It includes forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring and steering assistance, lane-keeping assist, rear cross-traffic alert, automatic high-beam headlights, adaptive cruise control with full stop-and-go capability, and a driver-attention warning. Safe Exit Assist monitors traffic approaching from behind to facilitate safe rear-seat exits, and Rear Occupant Alert can send a remote notification if motion is detected in the rear seat after the driver has left the vehicle. Other leading features are leather upholstery, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter knob, wireless device charging, panoramic sunroof, full LED lighting, dual-zone climate control, power front seats, keyless entry and starting, 12-speaker audio system, satellite radio, and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone compatibility.

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2020 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited FWD
Limiteds come standard with the top Santa Fe engine: a 235-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder that provides adequate-but-unexceptional acceleration. Nineteen-inch alloy wheels are also standard on Limiteds.

The nicely done cabin makes considerable use of padded and soft-surface materials. Driving instruments and the color head-up display are clear and legible, and the Infinity audio system works easily through the touchscreen. Climate-system dials select temperature; buttons (some repetitive-push) handle other functions.

Both seating rows are possessed of good leg- and headroom. Thanks to a low floor hump, it’s possible to welcome a middle passenger—perhaps even an adult—in the rear seat. Rear seats have manually adjustable backrests. Entry and exit are unencumbered, and driver vision is good apart from the rear corners, because the bodywork is subject to the typical SUV rise. Storage needs are served by an ample glove box, a covered console bin with an adjustable tray for incidentals, two exposed cup holders in the console, and a big bay for the wireless charger and device inputs. In back there is a storage pouch on the back of the front-passenger seat, and cup holders in the pull-down center armrest. Storage pockets are in all four doors.

With the 60/40-split rear seats up, 35.9 cubic feet of cargo space resides ahead of the wide, hands-free liftgate, and there’s an abundance of organized small-item capacity under the floor. The rear seats fold just about flush with the cargo floor for up to 71.3 cubic feet of load space, albeit with a slight gap at the pivot point.

If it were at least a little more of a dynamic driver, the Santa Fe Limited would be a revelatory bargain. Still, there’s more here to like than not, and the SEL can deliver many of its high points for a lower price.

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2020 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited FWD, 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe Review
Even with its top engine option, the Hyundai Santa Fe doesn’t offer much in the way of driving dynamism, but it’s a comfortable, spacious, practical family hauler that’s a decent value across its model lineup.

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2020 Hyundai Santa Fe Review


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