2023 Hyundai Santa Fe

absolutely AUTO REVIEW  |  By Steve Kursar –

The 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe is a mid-size crossover from the Korean automaker that deserves to be viewed as a near-luxury model.  Both the interior and exterior design and build are sharp and tight, and the safety technology is state-of-the-art.  The only drawback is that all this comes with a price, and Hyundai can no longer be considered an all-around affordable brand.  The Santa Fe is clearly in competition with the best in its class.

Hyundai started selling cars in the American market in 1986, not very long ago.  And, back then, the cars were very affordable, but their build quality was definitely subpar.  Their primary market was the third world where cost was more important than quality.  But, about two decades ago, the look and the feel of Hyundai vehicles began to improve dramatically, and American car buyers started to take notice.  Fast forward to today, and Hyundai can hold its own with its rivals from Japan.

A base 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe comes with a $28,750 price tag.  It’s powered by a 191 hp, 2.5 liter four-cylinder engine that’s mated to an eight-speed transmission.  EPA estimated fuel economy ratings are 25 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway.  Higher trims come with a turbocharged version of the same engine that delivers 281 horsepower with very little loss in fuel economy.  And, for those car buyers who want a hybrid powertrain, there is the Santa Fe Hybrid with a 1.6 liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine assisted by an electric motor that delivers 226 total combined horsepower.  Fuel economy for the Santa Fe Hybrid is 33 mpg city and 30 mpg highway.

Step inside the Santa Fe, and you’ll find an interior that’s definitely upscale in feel and nothing like the “econo-box” bare bones materials that you would find on earlier Hyundai models.  The instrument panel is able to be modified allowing the driver to choose a particular view. 

An intriguing feature that comes with the new Santa Fe is Hyundai’s Remote Smart Parking Assist.  It’s built into the remote control key fob, and it can move the crossover into and out of tight parking spaces.  No more trying to squeeze through your door when someone has parked way too close to you.  The driver simply uses the key fob to drive the car forward or backward into or out of a parking space, without needing to be physically inside the vehicle. It’s a feature – and a vehicle – that’s easy to love.