As in any industry, the automotive marketplace is not always kind to last year’s models, particularly those rendered redundant by a brand’s latest-and-greatest designs.
That’s the situation the Hyundai Santa Fe XL finds itself in. Once this South Korean company’s only seven-seat vehicle, it’s now officially a previous-generation vehicle whose thunder has been well and truly stolen by a brand new Santa Fe that comes wearing sharper styling and sporting more advanced technology.
Oh yeah -- the new Santa Fe also comes with the option of three-row seating, which leaves the XL out in the cold. We expect 2019 will be the XL’s last year, and so it carries over largely unchanged save for new Essential and Preferred trim designations that replace 2018’s base and Premium badges.
Power once again comes from a 3.3L V6 engine making 290 hp and 252 lb-ft of torque, and it comes hitched to a six-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is standard in all trims save Essential, where it’s an extra-cost option.
The XL’s competitors include the Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot, GMC Acadia and Volkswagen Atlas. While the Hyundai doesn’t suffer any glaring omissions compared to those vehicles, its six-speed transmission gives up at least two ratios to most other mid-size crossovers.
Despite being halfway out the door, the Santa Fe XL still comes with a decent list of standard kit that includes 18-inch wheels, a 7.0-inch infotainment system that supports the Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration platforms, heated front seats and a heated steering wheel.
Move up to Preferred trim for a 12-way power driver’s seat with four-way lumbar, passive keyless entry, dual-zone automatic climate control and advanced safety features like lane departure warning, forward collision avoidance assist and blind spot warning with rear cross traffic alert.
Luxury trim adds leather seating, rear park distance warning, panoramic sunroof and driver’s seat memory. Here, you can also replace the three-place second row with a pair of bucket seats.
Ultimate trim completes the range with the addition of HID headlights, 8.0-inch infotainment display with navigation, upgraded sound system, 360-degree exterior camera views and the Bluelink system, which allows access to certain vehicle functions via smartphone.
Hyundai’s fuel consumption estimates are 13.2/9.4 L/100 km (city/highway) for FWD models and 13.4/9.7 for most AWD trims. Only the Ultimate trim differs with less attractive ratings of 14.1/10.8 L/100 km.
This vehicle has not yet been reviewed