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2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid Review: The Midsize, Two-Row Value Play

The 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid may be one of the strongest value plays in the crossover space. For the price of a similarly loaded compact crossover, you get an electrified midsize, two-row instead that’s also packed with lots of cool tech features and an efficient powertrain. Hyundai recently refreshed the Santa Fe giving it a new front fascia featuring a new grille and a different take on the brand’s split headlight treatment complete with fang-like LED daytime running lights. You’ll find reshaped main taillights and turn signals mounted low on the bumper.

Since the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid starts in the middle trim, it comes loaded with every driver assistance feature imaginable as standard. Highway Driving Assist, Hyundai’s semi-autonomous driving system is also included on all trims. Even the 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster is standard and the 10.25-inch main touchscreen is available on all but the base Blue grade. The 12-speaker Harman Kardon surround sound system is standard on the SEL Premium and Limited grades.

Thanks to the Santa Fe Hybrid being a midsize crossover, there’s a lot of room for you, your friends, and your gear. The rear bench can easily fit three adults and they slide and recline for added flexibility. You get slightly underfloor cargo storage due to the lead-acid battery taking up some space down there. However, you still get more than some of the Santa Fe’s other electrified competitors.

Powering the 2021 Santa Fe Hybrid is a 1.6-liter turbo-four coupled to an electric drive motor, a 1.49-kWh battery, and a six-speed automatic transmission. The total system output is 226 hp. EPA fuel economy ratings are 36/31/34 mpg city/highway/combined for the base Blue trim and 33/30/32 mpg for the SEL Premium and Limited trims. Unlike the mechanically-related Kia Sorento Hybrid, the Santa Fe Hybrid gets standard AWD.

In terms of acceleration, the Santa Fe Hybrid slots neatly in the middle of the other two powertrain options. You also get composed handling and a comfortable, more isolated ride, making it a great road trip option. Although there are sportier options, the Santa Fe Hybrid isn’t sloppy and still does a great job absorbing road imperfections. It doesn’t drive big either, meaning it feels closer to a compact crossover on the road. The presence of a standard geared transmission also gives the Hyundai a more conventional feel because there are shifts just like in a regular non-electrified vehicle.

It’s best to think of the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid as the happy medium. You get more power than the standard version but with incredible fuel efficiency. The way it drives gives isn’t foreign because its powertrain isn’t as different as the ones you find in competing Toyota models without traditional transmissions and a mechanical AWD system. The level of quietness approaches that of a luxury offering like a Lexus RX. In short, you get a lot for your money with the Santa Fe Hybrid. From the space and tech to the driving experience and efficiency, this midsize crossover remains a great value.

0 to 60 mph: 7.8 seconds
60 to 0: 118 feet
Handling: A-
Ride: A-
Cabin Noise: A+; 71 dB
Fuel Economy: A

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