Hyundai's Santa Fe compact crossover is all-new for 2019. The little SUV - this is what was the Santa Fe Sport, not the three-row XL - gets bolder and chunkier new styling, making it look much like a bigger, tougher version of the Elantra GT hatchback. And yes, that's a compliment.
The new model is 70 mm longer and 10 mm wider than before, offering up more interior space. The company has added to the refinement of that chassis with improved handling and steering feel. We said it wasn't as sporty as the Honda CR-V or Mazda CX-5, but that it "appears to have taken ride quality and noise suppression to a higher level without any loss of body control."
The engines carry over from last year, though they add variable valve timing to improve fuel consumption. The base 2.4L four makes 185 hp and 178 lb-ft. Or you can upgrade to a 2.0L turbo four that puts out 235 hp and 260 lb-ft. Both get idle stop and use a new eight-speed automatic. 2.4L models with front-drive are rated for 10.7 L/100 km city, 8.2 highway. Drive all four and it's rated for 11.2/8.7. Splurge for the turbo and you can expect 12.3/9.8.
With a new Santa Fe comes a new trim structure for the brand. Base model is now the Essential. That gets a host of features like 17-inch alloys, heated front seats and steering wheel, and a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support. Spend a little more and add Hyundai's SmartSense active safety pack that adds forward collision mitigation with pedestrian detection, lane-keep assist, high-beam assist, and adaptive cruise. All-wheel drive is optional.
The mid-trim is the Preferred that gets all-wheel drive, 18-inch alloys, proximity key with push-start, power driver seat, dual-zone climate control, and BlueLink smartphone telematics. It has the SmartSense system included along with blind spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert and collision avoidance, rear occupant alert, and safe exit assist. The turbo engine can be optioned.
Luxury trim adds leather, a 360-degree camera, LED lighting inside and out, ventilated front seats and heated rear seats. The top Ultimate trim adds 19-inch wheels, power liftgate, 8-inch screen with navigation, head-up display, and an Infinity sound system.