There are so many vehicles where you search for something meaningful to say about them, to endow them with a personality that some captures their essence. Then there are others that leave you with thoughts of nothing, or if they do leave you with any kind of thought, it’s somewhat banal.
And so it is with the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.5T Calligraphy AWD. It’s like a golden retriever: eager to please and does. But ultimately, its personality is undiscernible, but it’s endearing despite that.
Having received a facelift for 2021, the 2022 Santa Fe carries over mostly unchanged with the exception of a few details. As before, the Hyundai Santa Fe is offered with three drivetrains, a traditional gasoline driveline, as well as a hybrid and a new plug-in hybrid.
Gas models, the focus of this review, are offered in SE, SEL, a new XRT trim, as well as Limited and Calligraphy models with front-wheel or all-wheel drive. Hybrids get standard all-wheel drive, and offered in Blue SEL Premium and Limited trims, while plug-ins come SEL Convenience and Limited trim.
Aside from the new XRT trim level, all but base Santa Fes get standard LED taillights, side mirrors with turn signal indicators, blind-spot collision avoidance assist, rear cross traffic collision avoidance assist, and Safe Exit Assist.
The Santa Fe’s exterior styling is handsome in some parts and puzzling in others — particularly in front, where the lighting treatment follows that of the old Jeep Cherokee. The main headlights appear to be below that of the ancillary lights. Their small size seems out of proportion to the mammoth grille, although it has an attractive texture.
The side window shape is a bit generic, as is the rear, but it’s handsome enough. The roof line, rear roof pillar and rear side sculpting lack finesse, but it’s not off-putting, just noticeable. Aside from its face, this is very mainstream in its look, and safe to park on McMansion driveway without drawing a second look — whether good or bad.
Given the Santa Fe’s 188-inch length, this two-row SUV barely squeaks into the midsize SUV class, although Hyundai considers it a compact. But it has commendable leg and headroom both front and rear.
Our Calligraphy test vehicle was stuffed with the sort of conveniences you’d expect in a luxury vehicle, such as a heated steering wheel, air-conditioned and heated front seats and leather trim.
While its feature load indulgent, the overall feel of the vehicle was somewhat downscale due to the presence of much hard plastic trim throughout the cabin. Seats were wide and comfy though, and it remained fairly quiet most of the time. Ride quality is impressive.
A 191-horsepower 2.5-liter 4-cylinder is standard, but most buyers will be happier with the optional 2.5-liter turbocharged four, rated at 281 horsepower and 311 pound-feet of torque. Opting for the hybrid or plug-in hybrid nets you a turbocharged 1.6-liter 4-cylinder gas engine with an electric motor generating 255 horsepower.
All hybrid and plug-in hybrids come with a 6-speed automatic transmission. SE, SEL, XRT models get an 8-speed automatic transmission, while Limited and Calligraphy models get an 8-speed dual clutch automatic transmission.
Towing is rated for 1,650-3,500 pounds depending on driveline and whether your trailer has brakes.
Safety and Technology
NHTSA gives the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe a 5-star overall crash rating, with five stars for front and side crash protection, and four stars for rollover protection. The IIHS rates it as Good in all of its crash testing, and endowed it with a Top Safety Pick+ for 2021 — its top rating.
Standard safety gear includes Forward Collision Assist with Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection, Blind-Spot Assist, Lane-Keeping Assist, Rear Cross-Traffic Assist, Safe Exit Assist, Rear Occupant Alert, High Beam Assist, Smart Cruise Control, and Driver Attention Warning.
2022 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.5T Calligraphy AWD Specifications
|Dimension||L: 188.4 inches/W: 74.8 inches/H:66.3 inches/Wheelbase: 108.9 inches|
|Powertrain||DOHC 2.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, 8-speed dual-clutch transmission, and all-wheel drive|
|Fuel Economy||21 mpg city/28 mpg highway/24 mpg combined|
|Performance Specs||281 horsepower and 311 pound-feet of torque|
|Price||Base price: $42,660; As tested: $43,885, including a $1,225 destination charge|
|On-Sale Date||Available now|
Driving the Calligraphy with its larger turbocharged 4-cylinder engine endows this family hauler with a liveliness that’s surprising given its mission. There’s more here than you might expect.
It’s helped by an unobtrusive dual-clutch automatic transmission that shifts even before you thought it would need to, as well as a drive mode selector that transforms this Hyundai from Clark Kent to Superman with a twist from Comfort to Sport driving mode. But in Comfort mode, it a quiet and comfortable transport.
Yes, it proves fairly agile, with some body lean of course, and it provides enough driving feel to keep you modestly entertained. But overall, this still a benign — but capable — vehicle that will satisfy you with its dexterity and comfort but not its strong personality. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. After all, who wants a refrigerator with an attitude?
No matter which price point you choose, you’ll find the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe to be a pleasing, commodious crossover utility vehicle with a wide array of drivelines, price points, performance and enough space for everything except a personality. That is, unless you like golden retrievers.
2022 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.5T Calligraphy — Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between the 2021 Santa Fe Limited and Calligraphy?
Calligraphy is the Santa Fe’s top trim level, and includes the most standard features, as well a more powerful engine and 8-speed dual clutch wet transmission.
How much is a Santa Fe 2022?
The 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe starts at $27,200, plus destination charge.
Does the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe have WiFi?
It comes with standard wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and is available with optional wireless charging.