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2022 Hyundai Santa Fe PHEV Review By Larry Nutson

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By Larry Nutson
Executive Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau

Hyundai has been on a roll. They sold 724,265 units in 2022, a slight 2% decrease compared with 2021. However, Hyundai outperformed the industry with forecasts predicting a drop of 8.4% in total industry sales when adjusted for selling days. 

Santa Fe is a 5-passenger, two-row midsize utility vehicle. Santa Fe sales for 2022 totaled 119,589, a 7% increase. For 2019 it was extensively redesigned and this fourth-generation Santa Fe got a mid-cycle refresh with design changes and many new features plus new powertrain choices for the 2021 model. The Plug-in hybrid was added for 2022 and for 2023 the Santa Cruz is basically carry-over except for a couple equipment adjustments.

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Santa Fe is offered in six trim levels with corresponding pairings with four different power trains. ICE-powered trims offer a choice of front-wheel (FWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD).

SE, SEL and XRT trims have a 191-HP 2.5-L 4-cylinder paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission and the choice of FWD or AWD. Limited and Calligraphy have a 281-HP turbo 2.5-L 4-cylinder that’s mated to an 8-speed dual-clutch transmission, again with a choice of drive systems.

The hybrid (HEV) and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) are offered in SEL and Limited trims, with an additional Blue lower trim level for the hybrid. Both feature a 178-HP turbo engine. The hybrid has in addition a 44.2 kW electric motor for a total of 226 system horsepower. The plug-in hybrid uses a 66.9 kW electric motor for a total of 261 system horsepower. Both use a 6-speed automatic and all-wheel drive is standard.

All Santa Fe models are equipped with a long list of collision warning, collision intervention, and driving control assistance features.

Base prices for the ICE-powered models range from $28,450 to $44,000. The HEV models range from $35,910 to $41,750. The PHEV starts at $42,110 and goes up to $47,370. Destination fee is $1,250 additional.

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My last drive experience in the Santa Fe was with the 2021 model. I recently drove the new 2022 Santa Fe PHEV Limited in and around Chicago where I make my home. This was my first drive in the PHEV.

With a total of 261-HP and the good torque output coming from the combination of the gasoline engine and the electric motor the Santa Fe has good overall acceleration and highway merging and passing performance. The use of a traditional automatic is unique compared to the typical CVT application in a PHEV---a big plus!

The PHEV allows you to drive a short distance on all-electric power. The EPA rating is around 31 miles, which is plenty for those short around-town errands. When the battery is depleted it switches over to operate like a regular hybrid. Charging the Santa Fe's battery pack can be done at home or at a public charging station. This should be done frequently to help reduce your use of gasoline.

EPA considers the Santa Fe in the small SUV class and ratings are 440 miles of driving range and 76 MPGe combined gas/electric rating or 33 MPG on only the ICE engine.

Keep in mind when you add weight to a vehicle, such as a full load of passengers, lots of cargo, or towing a trailer, the driving range goes down and “fuel” consumption goes up, be it gasoline or electric.

Ride is comfortable with confident handling, aided by the AWD system. Steering effort is balanced. The 55-series tires mounted on 19-inch wheels were a good combination for the not-so-smooth city streets. Rear seat passengers will not be scrunched together and there is decent cargo room.

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In the cabin, the seats are comfortable and supportive. There’s low noise level. The Santa Fe features a very convenient array of switches and toggles for oft-use functions all nicely within reach on the center console. There’s no scrolling through a touch screen. A shift-by-wire transmission selector frees up space for center console storage for a purse, or the like. A 115-volt power outlet lets you keep your laptop charged up.

Hyundai’s remote smart park assist (you do remember smaht pahk) is available.

Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, wireless device charging, Hyundai digital key and voice recognition round out the tech features.

Go to for more details on the new Santa Fe. Hyundai provides what it says is America’s Best Warranty with a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain limited warranty, 5-year/60,000-mile new vehicle limited warranty and 7-year anti-perforation warranty. There’s also Complimentary Maintenance for 3 years/36,000 miles of normal oil changes and tire rotations.

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The Hyundai Santa Fe is one of about eight other viable vehicles to consider in the segment if you are shopping for a new midsize crossover utility. The segment sales are over one million a year and is forecasted to continue at that level for at least the next five or six years.

Hyundai believes younger couples working in the tech industry with earnings in the low six-figures and who are attracted to own stylish items to go along with their active lifestyles will be attracted to the Santa Fe. That might just be you!

Currently, 2023 Santa Fe Plug-in Hybrid is only sold in CA, CO, CT, ME, MA, MD, NJ, NY, OR, RI, & VT and WA.

The future is electric. Happy motoring!

© 2023 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy