The 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe has a small third-row seat, but delivers on almost every major crossover-SUV talking point.
The 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe is the automaker's biggest crossover, and will be redesigned next year. To underscore its relative size next year, Hyundai will badge it the Santa Fe XL, which should give shoppers today an idea of what they're getting into.
The three-row crossover by Hyundai may be losing ground to comparable offerings from other automakers such as the Toyota Highlander and Honda Pilot, both of which have ballooned in size to appeal to family buyers who are trending toward city buses.
While a new Santa Fe looms in the next model year or two, the current version’s still worth a look for its excellent crash safety and strong value. We give it a 7.3 out of 10 for those reasons, and for its comfort and versatility. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Styling isn’t the reason to seek out the Santa Fe. It’s anodyne, stamped out perfectly along the median of crossover SUV styling, from its six-sided grille to its gently rounded roofline. The cockpit’s more of the same, with subdued trim, a shield-shaped bank of controls, and woodgrain trim on expensive models.
Performance isn’t its strongest suit either. Gas mileage is middling, and so is acceleration from its V-6. The Santa Fe’s ride earns our kudos, and when its three-mode steering’s dialed to Sport, it tracks true down the highway.
We’re into the Santa Fe for its interior space. Hyundai surrounds the front passengers with all kinds of space, and heats and ventilates their leather seats, for a price. Second-row passengers have it pretty good, too. Reserve the third row for small people and plan ahead for light cargo if all the seats are in use: the Santa Fe’s less roomy back there than its newer rivals.
The Santa Fe has performed very well in crash tests, and comes with a rearview camera. Forward-collision warnings and automatic emergency braking are optional on top trims. Other nice touches include high-end audio, available all-wheel drive, and a panoramic roof–but Hyundai skips the rear-seat entertainment system, figuring your tablet and mobile data plan will do. (They do.)