“2019 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.0T Ultimate HTrac”
All New Hyundai Poised to Edge out the Competition
Hyundai is the number four brand in the U.S., with seven models garnering Top Safety Pick awards for 2018. Only Toyota, Honda and Nissan are ahead of them in respective order. The 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe is the newest member of Hyundai’s light truck family, providing three rows of seating and accommodations for 7 or 8 passengers.
The new Hyundai Santa Fe is available in 5 levels of trim: the base SE, value focused SEL, SEL Plus, the Limited, and the flagship Ultimate model. The five passenger Santa Fe Sport will now be called simply Santa Fe, and the current long wheelbase, three-row, seven passenger model called Santa Fe has been renamed Santa Fe XLBase pricing ranges from $25,500 . to $35,450. Add 985 for Destination and Handling.
GET UP AND GO
The power source consists of two engine choices: the standard 2.4-liter, Theta-II GDI, DOHC, 16-valve MLA in-line 4-cylinder that produces 185 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 178 pound feet of torque at 4,000 rpm; or an optional 2.0T Theta-II GDI, DOHC, 16-valve MLA E-CVVT in-line 4-cylinder engine that cranks out 235 horses at 6,000 rpm, while producing 260 pound feet of torque in a range from 1,450 to 3,500 rpm.. Both engine variants are transversely mounted up front and gear energy to the driving wheels via an 8-speed automatic transmission with SHIFTRONIC® featuring a manual shift mode. Both engines feature Idle Stop & Go. The base drive configuration is Front-Wheel Drive, with Hyundai’s HTrac AWD system optionally available for $1,600. With Normal, Sport and Smart drive modes.
BOLD NEW DESIGN
The Santa Fe happens to be the best selling SUV in Hyundai’s 32-year history, with sales of more than 1.6 million units. The fourth generation launches with the 2019 model lineup displaying a bolder persona, leading off with Hyundai’s signatue=re cascadig grilleand a composite light design, consisting of LED daytime riunning lights positioned atop the LED headlamos. The overall exterior styling showxcases a wide athletic stance. In profile, the New Santa Fe sports a definituve and dynamic character line,running from bow to stern, with a larger daylight opening, accented by a satin surround trim that provides not ony a more aerodynamic image, but enhanced visibility as well.
COMFORT AND CONVENIENCE
Entry into the cabin reveals a premium quality and spacious layout with a dominant horizontal theme. The instrument panel is a layered three dimensional affair and seating serves up contrast stitching for a richer finish.
The screen for the audio/visual/navigation system is now tilted and positioned reducing glare. Window switches and grab handles have been moved forward to provide more elbow room, while door map pockets have been reduced in size for greater legroom, and the height and length of the center armrest has also been increased.
DRIVER SAFETY AIDS
What Hyundai refers to as Smart Sense Technologies are available, and abound. Included as standard fare are: High Beam Assist, Forward Collision Avoidance Assist, Blind-Spot Collision Avoidance Assist, Driver Attention Warning, Smart Cruise Control with Stop and Go Safe Exit Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, Rear View Monitor with Parking Guidance and Tailgate Safe-Open Guide and High Definition Camera, Rear Cross Traffic Collision Avoidance Assist. Optional features include a Surround View Monitor and Parking Distance Warning Reverse.
Added new safety features include an optional new introductory feature – Rear Occupant Alert, which Hyundai is debuting with the Santa Fe. The system monitors the rear seats using an ultrasonic sensor that aids in detecting the movements of children and pets. The system first reminds drivers to check the rear seats when exiting the vehicle with a message on the center instrument cluster display. If the system detects movement in the rear seats after the driver leaves the vehicle and locks the doors it will honk the horn and send a Blue Link alert to the driver’s smartphone via Hyundai’s Blue Link connected car system. The system is designed to prevent children and pets from being forgotten in the car, but it also helps in case children accidentally lock themselves in. The 2019 Santa Fe also features Hyundai’s first standard Safe Exit Assist system, designed to enhance the safety of Hyundai’s passengers, Safe Exit Assist uses radar to detect cars approaching from the rear and cautions passengers looking to exit the vehicle. If a passenger attempts to open the door when a car is approaching from behind, a visual and acoustic warning alerts the driver from the center console. The system will override an attempt to deactivate the Child Safety Lock feature keeping doors locked until the road is clear.
Connectivity and Infotainment issues are addressed with higher levels of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and an available Infinity premium sound system with Smart Speed-Dependent volume control. Blue Link services are available as well with a 3-year complimentary service
My test 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe test vehicle was a production model in Ultimate trim, powered by the 2.0T turbocharged engine. The exterior was sprayed in Symphony Silver metallic while the interior appeared in Gray tones. The base price was set at $38,800., while the final count and amount came to $39,905. After factoring in the carpeted floor mats and Destination and handling charges.
The 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.0T Ultimate is sure to raise some eyebrows within its competitive set, as it costs less and offers greater value with a higher degree of technology and feature content. It also drives and handles exceptionally well with instantly responsive acceleration. Even the 2.4-liter engine version delivered a satisfactory level of performance, but certainly not up to the level of the superior turbocharged 2.0 liter mill. The transmission shifts smoothly and precisely.
The ride exhibited a positive and stable quality in a variety of scenarios from freeway stints to more spirited maneuvers on twisting mountain roads, thanks in part to the new upright erear shick geometry. The vehicle stability was enhanced by highly increased torsional rigidity along with supportive and comfortable seats. Steering felt spot on with the new Santa Fe’s increased gear ratio.
This fourth generation Santa Fe is a testament to Hyundai’s constant evolutionary improvement. It leaves little if anything to be desired in competent and capable SUV and certainly poses a threat to other SUVs in its class.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.0T Ultimate HTrac
Base Price: $38,800.
Price as Tested: $39,905.
Engine Type and Size: 2.4-liter Theta-II GDI, DOHC, 16-valve MLA in-line 4-cylinder
Horsepower (bhp): 185 @ 6,000 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 178 @ 4,000 rpm
Engine Type and Size: 2.0-T liter Theta-II GDI, DOHC, 16-valve MLA E-CVVT in-line 4-cylinder
Horsepower (bhp): 235 @ 6,000 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 260 @ 1,450-3,500 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic with SHIFTRONIC®
Drive Train: Transversely mounted front engine / Front-wheel drive or HTrac AWD
Suspension: Front -MacPherson strut with coil springs, Gas-pressurized shock absorbers, advanced valving and stabilizer bar.
Rear – Multi-link with gas shock absorber and( FWD 24 mm / AWD 24 mm) stabilizer bar
Brakes: Power-assisted four wheel discs (vented front) with ABS and EBD.
Tires: Continental Cross Contact LX Sport 245/50 R20 mounted on 5-inverted “U” spoke machone face alloy wheels with graphite painted inners.
Wheelbase: 108.9 inches
Length Overall: 187.8 inches
Width: 74.4 inches
Height: 66.1 inches – with side rails
Curb Weight: 4,063-4,085 lbs.
Turning Circle: 37.5 ft.
Fuel Capacity: 18.8 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 19 mpg city / 24 mpg highway
Drag Coefficient: Not listed
0 – 60 mph: Not tested
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles and unusual wheeled vehicles as well.