The 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid Limited AWD offers an alternative to the Toyota RAV4 and Highlander hybrids

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid Limited AWD offers an alternative to the Toyota RAV4 and Highlander hybrids

Hyundai has the second largest fleet of green vehicle models in America. No automaker except Toyota has more model offerings in more segments. We know and love Toyota hybrids from many years of testing. This week, we had the chance to sample one of Hyundai’s most attractive new hybrid models, the 2022 Santa Fe*. What we’ve discovered is that buyers considering a Toyota RAV4 Hybrid or Highlander Hybrid now have a very attractive alternative.

The Santa Fe is a two-row, five-passenger SUV with ample interior space for all passengers. It’s bigger inside than the RAV4 Hybrid. Toyota’s Highlander Hybrid is larger inside than the Santa Fe and offers an additional third row for temporary child seats. All have excellent fuel economy ratings and all are offered with all-wheel drive as well as spare tires.

2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid Limited AWD – How much does it cost?
The 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid Limited AWD rings in at $41,555 including destination charges, but minus dealer markups. This price is closer to the RAV4 than the Highlander. Hyundai has a 10-year warranty, twice that of Toyota, and Hyundai offers three years of included maintenance, compared to two years for Toyota. If you plan to keep your vehicle for the full warranty period, we think Hyundai’s longer warranty is a real advantage over Toyota.

Hyundai Santa Fe Image courtesy of Hyundai

2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid Limited AWD – What’s Powering It?
Hyundai chose a small-displacement turbocharged gasoline engine complemented by a hybrid drive system to power its Santa Fe Hybrid. Maximum torque is around 195 lb-ft. This engine is mated to a six-speed transmission.

2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid Limited AWD – How does it drive?
The Santa Fe Hybrid Limited AWD isn’t exciting to drive. It is rather uninteresting in its acceleration. The ride was a bit firmer than we like. This could be due to the low profile tires of this higher version. Especially with late winter potholes aplenty. However, overall the vehicle would make a good family vehicle. Our biggest surprise was how often the motor and electric motor switched on and off and how we could detect the changes. The engine doesn’t sound top-end when pushed, and the little turbo works hard to accelerate this big vehicle in situations like freeway ramps.

Hyundai Santa Fe spare tire image by John Goreham

2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid Limited AWD – Interior, Features and Contents
Inside, this Limited trim offers all the amenities one would expect from a premium SUV. The seats are heated and cooled, there’s a heated steering wheel, and the materials are all premium.

The infotainment system was a good mix of touch buttons and a screen. We liked the buttons. Too many models now hide important items in the infotainment screen menus. For example, we recently tested Hyundai’s Ioniq 5 and it was one of the few things we didn’t like.

We were very happy to see that the Santa Fe Hybrid has a spare tire! It is hidden under the rear of the vehicle like in the Highlander.

2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid Limited AWD – What’s Missing?
We didn’t find anything lacking in the Santa Fe Hybrid Limited except for wireless Android Auto and Apple Car Play. We find that frustrating since it’s offered in the Elantra.

2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid Limited AWD – Conclusion
If you’re shopping for a Toyota hybrid SUV, it’s worth taking the time to consider Hyundai’s alternatives. We found the Santa Fe Hybrid Limited AWD to be a perfect example of a vehicle to be crossed with Toyota’s trusted options.

*Note: Our test vehicle was a 2021 model year Fleet Media vehicle. The model is unchanged except for the price in 2022, and our listed price is the current price.

Hyundai Santa Fe exterior and interior image courtesy of Hyundai. Spare tire graphics and images by John Goreham.

John Goreham it’s been a long time New England Automotive Press Association member and recovery engineer. John’s interest in electric vehicles dates back to 1990 when he designed the thermal control system for an electric vehicle battery as part of a university team. After graduating in mechanical engineering, John completed a marketing program at Northeastern University and worked with automotive component manufacturers, in the semiconductor industry, and in biotechnology. In addition to Torque News, John’s work has appeared in dozens of US media outlets and provides reviews for numerous vehicle-buying sites. You can follow John on TikTok @ToknCarsto Twitterand check his credentials on LinkedIn

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