2020 Hyundai Santa Fe N. Anyone who thinks the compact SUV conversation isn't compelling isn't. paying attention. For example, this is the fourth-generation Santa Fe from Hyundai. and just with this guy alone, there's a lot to talk about. So let's. This Santa Fe's. had a pretty significant redesign starting with the name as the SUV. formerly known as the Santa Fe Sport. While it's officially dropped the sport. it's gotten a lot sportier at least in the looks department. Hyundai's stepped up the exterior design starting with the signature. cascading grille surrounded by LED headlights that make up the Santa Fe.
I'll admit I prefer the look of the previous horizontally lined grille. and think that would look better with this new design. However, that's just a. personal preference. But from the contours and the door panels to this. the sleek character line that runs the length of the car, it's gotten. more stylish. Even the rear end has some character. I like what the. designers have done here. Now it has some personality. Inside looks completely different. The last generation I felt like the center stack. was pinched. It looked more like a spaceship. This one I think is more. intuitively laid out and user-friendly, except for the home button is away.
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Tech is exactly where everybody wants it with this standard. seven-inch touchscreen right at the top of the center stack. The ultimate trim. comes with an eight-inch screen and wireless charging capabilities that we. don't have on this SEL plus. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard. on all trims. This is becoming a thing, and it is good. And thankfully there are. still some knobs in here nice. It's all about balance people. There are some soft. touch surfaces in our SEL Plus trim and the expected harder plastics, but. Hyundai's designers did an admirable job keeping things from looking cheap. Even. the speakers add visual interest. I know this was probably designed to make the. sound go in different directions, but it kind of looks like quilting. It's awesome, and this real stitching makes a nice attempt at luxury. Remote entry comes. standard. A proximity keyed entry with push-button start comes on the SEL trim.
In this particular Santa Fe, we have cloth seats. I like the look. of them and they feel great. These bolsters are supportive, but they're soft. and comfortable in all the right spots, and every trim except the base SE. they're heated. And let me tell you, they're working. That's hot! Passenger space in the. the second row has improved over the previous generation, and I'm going to have. James here, who's only slightly taller than I help me prove it. Get in James. See. that's nice. Oh, and they recline. Recline James. That is good. I've flown 10. hours in seats that recline less. Delta, take note! Jeeves, drive. The middle seat. however is more airline-equal and not one I would choose for myself, but a smaller. the person on a short trip might be workable because there's no bump. Vents and USB. ports come standard back here for your passengers and there. are optional window shades which are a nice touch for kids.Okay, we can't really. have compact SUV chitchat without mentioning some of the other talkers. The. Chevy Equinox, Ford's Escape, and Nissan's Rogue Sport all have some strong voices, and then there are the yellers in Honda CR-V and the Toyota RAV4.
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However, the Santa Fe might have a slight advantage because of its in-betweener. size. It could be a value-priced alternative to the larger Nissan Murano. or Ford Edge or a loftier competitor for the aforementioned smaller SUVs. Fuel. economy numbers land somewhere in the middle of that highly competitive pack, as does the cargo space. With all the seats up what's better than the Equinox. and Edge but not quite as much as the CR-V or RAV4. The hidden cargo spaces. back here are great. You can hide stuff. That needs to happen more. often, like a backpack or that weird hat and glasses that nobody is going to want.
The SE SEL and SEL Plus models come equipped with a 2.4-liter. the four-cylinder engine, while the limited and ultimate have the option of a 2-. liter turbocharged four. Both engine options are mated to an 8-speed. automatic transmission, which I am thrilled is not a CVT. It's also got a. downshift rev-matching feature, which is subtle, but it makes for smoother shifts. and more continuous power delivery when you move into a lower gear. Steering and the driving feel is about what I'd expect from this segment. The suspension is a. bit softer than I like, and there's significant body roll, especially around. corners, but the ride is decent. I wish the steering were a little bit. sharper but the car goes where I aim it.
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The Santa Fe is available with either. front or optional all-wheel drive, so if you live in an area with seasons, unlike. us here in Southern California, $1,700 for extra traction might be worth it. Safety features galore is how Hyundai should market the Santa Fe. Forward. collision avoidance assists, driver attention warnings, smart cruise control. with a stop-and-go function, blind spot collision warnings, lane keep assist, rear. cross-traffic alerts, all of these come standard across all. trims. All! Only parking distance warnings and rear occupant alerts are offered on. SEL Plus trim and above. All that safety and everything else that comes standard. has a starting price, including destination charges of around $26,500. for the SE front-wheel-drive model. Climb up the. trim ladder to this SEL Plus front-wheel-drive example that we've been testing. and that's closer to $31,000. for the limited 2.0T thank you very much. Given. car buyers insatiable interest in the category the popular compact SUV. the conversation isn't dying down anytime soon. With this fourth-generation Santa Fe, Hyundai's stepped up its game in. a lot of ways that matter with stylish good looks, Stay tuned everybody, things are about to get interesting.