The Hyundai Santa Fe Mid-size SUV for 2023 continues to deliver robust family value adventure in a gorgeous yet rough and tumble package that drives with a refined confidence – around town, on the highway and into rugged back country as well.
In recognition, the 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe has been honored with the 2023 Kelley Blue Book (KBB) Best Mid-Size Two-Row SUV award – the fourth year in a row it has won that honor.
Additional honors for the Hyundai Santa Fe recognizing it as a top choice for family value has come from the likes of Consumer Reports – 2023 Best Buy, U.S. News & World Report – Best SUV Brand, Car and Driver Editor’s Choice, U.S. News and World Report – Best Cars for the Money among others.
We agree with them all – so let’s take a look at some of the features that have earned this mid-size SUV such acclaim.
2023 Santa Fe as tested
Our friends at Hyundai sent us a 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid Limited for a weeklong evaluation around central Texas.
(NOTE: the Santa Fe for 2023 comes in gasoline, plug-in hybrid and full hybrid trims)
Our test Santa Fe Limited came in a bold “Stormy Sea” Blue with Chrome trims and a carefully selected mix of chrome, black and gunmetal gray accents.
It had a MSRP of $41,570. Adding floor mats and destination charges, it was delivered to our driveway for $43,115.
Our thoughts, in a few words, is that the 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid Limited is a solid performing exceptional value for old and young families alike. And yes, even for older empty nesters like ourselves who are on the go as often as we can.
Under the hood, the 2023 Santa Fe Hybrid Limited is powered by a Smartstream 1.6L Turbo GDI In-line 4-cylinder gas engine integrated with a single 44.2 kW Electric Motor producing a combined 226 horsepower and 195 lb.-ft. of torque. Power is delivered through a 6-speed Shiftronic automatic transmission with paddle shifters.
Drive Modes on the Limited include ECO/SPORT/SMART/SNOW. ECO is for fuel efficiency, SPORT to optimize performance and SMART which uses operator drive habits to ‘toggle’ between NORMAL and SPORT as driving situations present.
We love the Hyundai HTRAC Dynamic AWD w/Torque Distribution System. This one does nearly all the thinking for the driver. It automatically adjusts between 100:0 – 50:50 (F/R Axle power) in NORMAL drive conditions. Shifting it into AWD LOCK, the Santa Fe adjusts to deliver axle power 80:20 – 50:50. In either case, the driver is always getting AWD performance tailored to the driving conditions.
The Santa Fe Hybrid Limited AWD tows too. Equipped standard with Trailer Sway Control, it handles 2,000 pounds with the optional Trailer Brake Controller (1,650 pounds without). Enough capacity to get a nice assortment of recreational toys to your favorite play location.
Furthermore, it has a Downhill Brake Controller (DBC) in the event you take your Santa Fe up into more rugged country than you anticipated. After going up with the AWD, the DBC will make coming back down a bit easier and safer.
Kudos to the Hyundai use of Chrome, Silver and Gun Metal accents (in contrast to the popular all “Black” we see everywhere today) on our test vehicle. The mixed accents look was a ‘sharp’ match to its ‘Stormy Sea” Blue color – running on 19-inch Chromed Alloy Wheels with Gun Metal Gray accents.
Key elements of note include a Panoramic Sunroof, Hands Free Smart Rear Liftgate, Rear Spoiler, Roof Rails, all LED Lighting front and rear, Automatic Headlights, Side Mirror Puddle Lamps, Heated Power Folding Mirrors and Rain-Sensing Wipers.
Kudos also to the Hyundai choice of materials, placement of controls and simplicity of overall layout inside our 2023 Santa Fe Hybrid Limited AWD.
In particular, we call out the careful placement of the infotainment screen at the top of the dash. Texas is the home of hot summer glare most of the day. We found no instances where that glare impaired our view of the screen.
Furthermore, their selection of materials and surface coatings of dash materials virtually eliminated visual impairment to the road or other instrumentation often caused by such glare.
Some of the interior functional features of note included: LED Interior Lighting, 12.3-inch Digital Instrument Cluster, Leather Seating Surfaces, Power Driver Seat Cushion Extension, Heated and Ventilated Front Seating, Heated Rear Seating, Surround View Monitor, Reclining Fold Flat Rear Seating with Power Release, Rear Side-Window Sunshades, and more.
As for carrying your ‘stuff’, interior cargo space is 72.1 cubic feet behind the first row and 36.4 cubic feet behind the second row. In addition, there is more cargo space hidden beneath the cargo deck floor.
Audio and Infotainment
The Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid Limited is equipped with a 10.25-inch Wide Touchscreen with Onboard Navigation and Traffic Flow.
Audio is via a Harman Kardon Premium 12-Speaker Audio with QuantumLogic Surround and Clari-Fi Music Restoration Technology.
Additional features include SiriusXM, wired Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth Hands Free, Dual front/rear USB outlets, AC Power Outlet, 12V front and cargo space power outlets, Dynamic Voice Recognition, Wireless Smartphone Charging, and Rear Seat Quiet Mode.
Standard telematics include Bluelink Connected Car System + and OTR (over-the-air) map updates.
Safety and Driver Assistance
The 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe (including Hybrid) has been rated a Top Safety Pick + by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
A full suite of Hyundai SmartSense safety and assist features comes on the Santa Fe Hybrid. Included are: Driver Attention Alert, Blind-Spot Collision Assist, Lane-Keeping Assist, Ultrasonic Rear Occupant Alert, Safe Exit, Remote Parking Assist, Rear Cross Traffic Collision Avoidance Assist, Parking Distance Warning Forward and Reverse, Lane Follow and Highway Driving Assist and more.
Note: The 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe is protected from theft by an electronic shift lock and ignition key interlock integrated with remote keyless entry and panic alarm immobilizer.
Model Line up
The 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid comes in three trims, all AWD. They are Blue ($36,210), SEL Premium Hybrid ($40,070) and the Limited ($41,870).
Santa Fe for 2023 is also available as a Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) and a gasoline engine only version.
See them all at the 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe website or visit your local dealer.
KEY DATA: 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid Limited AWD
- Model: Santa Fe
- Trim: Hybrid Limited
- Class: Mid-Size SUV
- Seating: Five
- MSRP: $41,570
- As Tested: $43,115
- Powertrain: 1.6L Turbo 4-cylinder gas engine
- Hybrid 44.2 kW Electric motor
- Horsepower: 226 Combined
- Torque: 195 lb.-ft.
- Transmission: 6-speed Shiftronic Automatic w/Paddle Shifters
- Drive Modes: ECO/SPORT/SMART/SNOW
- Drive System: HTRAC AWD
- Suspension: McPherson Strut w/coil springs (F)
- Multi-Link Independent (R)
- Ground Clearance: 8.2-inches
- Wheels: 19-inch Alloy Sport Wheels
- Tires: 235/55R19 All-Season
- Towing: 2,000 lbs. w/Trailer Brakes
- Fuel Economy: 33/30/32 mpg
- Fuel Capacity: 17.7 gallons
- Range: 531 miles highway
Source: Media Test Drive and Press Release Materials