2018 Hyundai Santa Fe LTD ULT AWD
Room for All
By Ron Amadon
DAMASCUS, MD. – Bang for the buck!
That is what we crave and Hyundai has met that demand with our “Storm Blue” Santa Fe test SUV, the largest model it makes.
But first a moment or two of explanation:
Hyundai’s Santa Fe Sport has two rows of seating and the Santa Fe without the Sport has three rows and will accommodate up to 8. All these names will change in the 2019 model year. (See Factoids at the bottom.)
Hyundai Santa Fe LTD ULT AWD is not a check on your abilities as a typist. In this case, it stands for the top-of-the-line Santa Fe model, the Limited Ultimate with All-Wheel Drive.
Ultimate serves up, among other items, a large sunroof, hands free liftgate, heated and ventilated front seats, (the heaters were quick to warm on a very cold morning), heated second row seats, and a handy multi-view back up camera system in the 8.0 inch touchscreen.
Also on board were an LCD instrument panel, and an excellent Infinity auto system.
If you opt for the Limited Ultimate you also get 19-inch wheels, HID headlights that see around corners, and captain’s chairs instead of a bench in the second row. That means total seating for seven.
Want to haul? Fold down the second and third row seats and there is an even 80 cubic feet of space or 41 cubes with just the third row folded. A relatively low lip makes loading from the rear especially easy. In short, you can haul home a big load of groceries enough to make the supermarket manger very happy.
And it has a towing capacity of 5,000 pounds.
That trailer would be pulled by a refined V6 with 290 hp @ 6,400 rpm and 252 lb-ft of torque 5,200 rpm in perfect rhythm with the six-speed automatic.
Without the trailer it had more than enough power to accomplish the million and one things that owners expect of their new SUV.
Zero to sixty pops up in the low seven second range, on par with some rivals, but slower than some. However, in his category, who would notice a 0-60 that is a second slower than some? That isn’t what buyers are looking for.
Economy is so-so, 17 mpg in the city, 22 highway for a combined 19 mpg on regular petrol.
The Santa Fe received the highest crash test rating possible from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – five stars.
A $2,100 Ultimate Tech Package included Smart Cruise Control with stop/start, Automatic Emergency Braking, Lane Departure Warning, Electronic Parking Brake, and High Beam Assist.
Inside, entry to the third row was a bit of an exercise and sparse room back there means this is a kid’s only arena. Passenger space elsewhere was more than adequate for kids and grown ups.
The 8” touchscreen was easy to figure out and live with housing the navi system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. I love systems like this!
Fit, finish and materials were top rate, but I am not a fan of a largely black interior. More padding in the arm rests would be welcome.
Good power, handling that carries no surprises for this kind of vehicle, a peaceful interior, good cargo space, and best of all, ventilation, audio, and navi systems that will not bring out the Tasmanian Devil in you all combine to make this a most appealing vehicle.
Prices: A base model Santa Fe starts at $30,850 with the base Limited Ultra coming in at $39,550 on up to $44,380 for the test vehicle sans transportation.
An all-new 2019 Santa Fe made its U.S. debut at the New York auto show. The fourth generation will go on sale this summer.
And we will have another name change.
The five-passenger Santa Fe Sport will now be called Santa Fe. The current long wheelbase three-row, seven-passenger model called Santa Fe will be renamed Santa Fe XL for the 2019 model year. A new three-row, eight-passenger SUV is currently under development and will carry a new name.
With that new model coming this summer, dealers might be willing to make you a better deal to clear the 2018’s off their lot.