By Mauricio Lezcano / carsntravel.com / Photos Hyundai Motor America
The Hyundai Santa Fe lineup continues to improve for the 2019 model year, the fourth-generation model builds on this success offering an all-new family-oriented interior, loaded with practical cutting-edge technologies and bold exterior looks.
A Bold New Look, the face of the new Santa Fe is highlighted by Hyundai’s signature Cascading Grille and a Composite Light design comprising LED Daytime Running Lights positioned on top of the LED headlights. The exterior design is characterized by a powerful wide stance and an athletic body that makes a statement from 100 feet away. It’s a bold look that is enhanced by refined lines that reinforce the vehicle’s status in Hyundai’s SUV lineup.
The profile of the Santa Fe features a dynamic character line that goes all the way from the headlights to the taillights and a larger daylight opening with a satin surround that provides a sleek impression along with better visibility. Featured diamond-cut 19-inch wheels communicate strength, as does the car’s rear appearance, now featuring a muscular high and taut shape.
The new Santa Fe’s exterior has also grown, giving the vehicle even more presence. With a length of 188 inches, a width of 74 inches and a longer wheelbase, it also provides more comfort for passengers than the outgoing 2018 Santa Fe Sport; Visibility has also been emphasized with the next generation Santa Fe. To help the driver, the outside mirrors are mounted lower and further rearward and the A-pillars have been reduced in size. For the driver and rear seat passengers alike, the rear quarter glass has been increased by more than 40 percent.
Graceful Surfaces Embrace Strong Structure, the Santa Fe interior design combines premium quality with a roomy layout featuring a strong horizontal design theme and enhanced visibility. Premium touches such as the layered, three-dimensional instrument panel and contrasting seat stitching ensures a high level of luxury within the cabin. The Santa Fe’s larger DLO enhances the interior’s feeling of openness with generous amounts of natural light.
The driver will also see several improvements including; The audio/visual/navigation system screen has been tilted and positioned to reduce glare, window switches and grab handles have been moved forward for more elbow room and the door map pockets have been reduced in size for more legroom.
Interior cabin space has been enhanced, Inside, there is now more cargo room behind the second-row seats. In addition to more cargo space, second-row leg room has also been lengthened. The H-point distance between the first and second rows has also been increased and the floor has been lowered for even more second-row comfort.
Infotainment / Sound Systems / Heads-Up Display
The 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe is loaded with technology, including Hyundai’s latest AVN 5.0 navigation system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay offered with higher level trims. The base level trim gets a standard 7-inch user interface, also equipped with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. And to eliminate the need for a charging cord, there’s an available Qi wireless charging pad for compatible Android devices, as well as Apple iPhone 8 and iPhone X.
When it comes to audio technology, the available premium sound system is well-suited to the Santa Fe’s upscale interior. The 630-watt, 12-speaker new Infinity branded stereo system with an 11channel amplifier features Clari-Fi and Quantum Logic Surround Sound technology. Clari–Fi works in real-time to rebuild audio details lost in digitally compressed music, while Quantum Logic extracts signals from the original recording and redistributes them into an authentic, multidimensional soundstage for playback that is clear, refined and full of detail. The result is a more robust and enjoyable on-road listening experience.
Smart Speed-Dependent Volume Control can automatically adjust the audio volume up or down based upon the vehicle’s speed and the system’s volume setting. The gain will change proportionally to the vehicle’s speed to overcome associated noise masking effects of the vehicle and thereby reducing the need to adjust the volume while driving. Additionally, the volume setting will taper the gain applied as the volume setting increases. This prevents the system from increasing volume further once road noise has been overcome.
Taking inspiration from aircraft technology, an available Heads-Up Display projects an 8.5-inch virtual image onto the windshield, enabling the driver to keep his or her eyes on the road. The feature uses a system of mirrors combined with a TFT LCD display and features adjustable brightness to ensure both excellent daytime and nighttime visibility. Driving information such as speed, Smart Cruise Control status, navigation, Blind-Spot Collision Warning, Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist, speed limit, Lane Departure Warning and audio system data is projected at a perceived virtual distance approximately seven feet ahead of the driver for maximum legibility.
The 2019 Santa Fe line-up offers a choice of proven powertrains. There is a 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder GDI engine with 185 horsepower or a more powerful, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 235 horsepower. All engines are mated to a brand-new eight-speed automatic transmission.
A newly developed transmission provides quick and crisp shifts for a more engaging and efficient driving experience. Despite having two extra gears, the eight-speed transmission, which was designed in-house, is lighter than the outgoing six-speed model. The automatic transmission adds ratio range at both the top and bottom of output speeds allowing for extra thrust off-the-line and a quieter, more fuel-efficient dash down the interstate. A multi-disc and individually controlled hydraulic channel torque converter improve responsiveness by expanding the direct connection band, while a downsized oil pump and double ball bearings minimize friction loss.
The 2019 Santa Fe has Hyundai’s HTRAC All-Wheel-Drive system. The HTRAC AWD system was developed as a multi-mode system, providing an electronic, variable-torque-split clutch with active torque control between the front and rear axles. The driver-selectable HTRAC Normal, Sport and Smart modes help provide confident control in all weather conditions. The Sport setting gives a more agile feel by sending more available torque to the rear wheels, for a sporty dynamic feel when desired. This system has a wider range of torque distribution variability than many competitive systems and has been tuned to conditions such as straight-line acceleration, medium- and high-speed cornering, and hill starts.
I found the Hyundai Santa Fe pleasant to drive. Its performance was impressive, its ride was smooth and controlled over most surfaces, its braking was strong and stable, and its handling was as good as most competitors in its class.
The manufacturer’s suggested retail price will be $39,905.00, including inland freight and handling for the 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe Ultimate 2.0T AWD with the 2.0L Turbo Gasoline Direct Injection 4-Cylinder Engine. The EPA fuel economy estimates 19 MPG City and 24 MPG Highway.