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Kelley Blue Book: Review: The all-new 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Plug-in Hybrid

Pros

Averaging around 33 mpg

All-wheel drive is standard

Electric-only range is 30 miles

Great warranty

Cons

Over-the-shoulder vision hindered by wide rear pillars

What’s new?

This plug-in hybrid drivetrain is all-new

The new-for-2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Plug-In Hybrid is the most fuel-efficient version of the company’s popular SUV/crossover.

The 5-seater Santa Fe is larger than a typical compact crossover, yet not quite as big as, say, the midsize Hyundai Palisade that comes with three rows of seating. It’s an excellent machine, however, and we named it a Best Buy for its class in 2021. Which was also when it received a significant revamp.

The 2022 Santa Fe Plug-in Hybrid

Hyundai

What’s the difference between a hybrid and a plug-in hybrid? Both drivetrains still have a combustion engine on board. A hybrid uses its electric motor as a starter for the engine and to keep the systems going (like power-assisted steering and braking) when the engine is off, as well as providing some drive.

A plug-in hybrid leans a little more heavily on its electric side. Its battery can be recharged from an outside source (hence the “plug-in” part) and provides some useful distance in electric mode. Hyundai
HYMTF,
+1.77%

claims the Santa Fe Plug-In Hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) can run for 30 miles solely on battery power. But naturally, the gasoline engine contributes to a far greater total range.

The Santa Fe has an impressive amount of standard equipment, including many safety features, plus comfortable seats and a pleasant ride quality. And every Hyundai powertrain is covered by a 10-year/100,00-mile warranty.

2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Plug-in Hybrid pricing

We expect the 2022 Santa Fe Plug-In Hybrid to start at around $35,000 when it goes on sale in July 2021. That’s for the SEL trim, although it will also be available in a plusher Limited trim.

For comparison, the 2021 Toyota
TM,
+1.85%

RAV4 Prime PHEV is priced from around $38,000. The Ford
F,
-0.20%

Escape PHEV is approximately $34,000. And the 2021 Mitsubishi
8058,
+2.32%

Outlander PHEV (a new generation is anticipated for 2022) is in the $37,500 region. Keep in mind that plug-in hybrids may be eligible for certain federal and state incentives.

Before buying, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to find out what others in your area paid for their new Santa Fe Plug-In Hybrid. Toyota will no doubt have the best resale values, but Hyundai should still be respectable.

Which model is right for me?

2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Plug-In Hybrid SEL

Keyless entry/start
12.3-inch digital instrument cluster
8-inch infotainment touchscreen
Wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration
18-inch alloy wheels

2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Plug-In Hybrid Limited

Panoramic sunroof
Leather seating surfaces
Heated/leather-wrapped steering wheel
Heated/ventilated front seats
Heated rear outboard seats
10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen
Remote Smart Parking Assist

Driving the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Plug-in Hybrid

At the time of compiling this review, we had yet to get behind the wheel of the 2022 Santa Fe PHEV. But there are certain ingredients we’re looking forward to trying.

Firstly, 258 lb-ft of torque, which should provide some punch. And with the battery pack located under the floor, the center of gravity is low, giving the Santa Fe PHEV stability and beneficial weight distribution.

Also see: The new 2022 Acura MDX is sporty and luxurious

The ability to travel up to 30 miles using only the battery means that the weekly grocery run and general local errands can all be done without using any gasoline. Just plug in the charger overnight.

Interior comfort

Hyundai vehicles are becoming more upscale. Not so long ago, if we had seen an interior with a 12.3-inch digital driver information display, 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen, heated rear seats, and a 12-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, we would have assumed it was something like a BMW
BMW,
-0.36%
.
Now these things are in a Hyundai Santa Fe Plug-In Hybrid.

Even the “entry-level” SEL has most of the above, along with soft-touch plastics and an overall design that’s both logical and leaning toward luxurious. Limited trim adds leather seating surfaces and a panoramic sunroof.

Neither version has a gear lever. A shift-by-wire arrangement frees up space in the center console for things like a wireless charging compartment.

Clever packaging has ensured that passenger and cargo space doesn’t suffer from the addition of plug-in hybrid hardware.

Exterior styling

There isn’t any great differentiation between the 2022 Santa Fe PHEV and the rest of the range. Which could well be a positive since the current Santa Fe — having received a restyle last year — has arguably never looked better.

The SEL version has 18-inch alloy wheels, and the Limited’s wheels are an inch bigger in diameter. If there’s one minor gripe, it’s that the rear pillars are wide enough to hinder over-the-shoulder outward vision, but the standard blind-spot monitoring compensates.

Don’t miss: How does this car seem to run on almost nothing? It’s really quite something

Favorite features

Plug-In Hybrid Drivetrain
This is the first time Hyundai has put a plug-in hybrid drivetrain into a production SUV/crossover. Before this, Hyundai tested the PHEV waters with an Ioniq variant. The combination of the turbocharged gasoline engine and the ability to achieve the equivalent of 76 miles per gallon seems like the best of both worlds.

Remote Smart Parking Assist
We were all impressed when BMW introduced this kind of function in the 5 Series luxury sedan a few years ago. Now, in trickle-down technology at work, it’s available in a mainstream marque. Drivers can get out of the vehicle and then maneuver it into (and out of) its parking space using the key fob. It’s a standard feature in the top Limited trim.

Standard features

In SEL trim, the 2022 Santa Fe PHEV comes with LED headlights, roof rails, heated side mirrors, keyless entry/start, air conditioning, heated front seats, special stain-resistant cloth upholstery, power-adjustable driver’s seat, 12.3-inch instrument cluster, and the company’s Blue Link Connected Car service for remote functions.

An 8-inch touchscreen controls an infotainment system with wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration, four USB ports (two each, front and rear), and satellite radio.

A comprehensive array of driver assistance features includes forward-collision avoidance with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian/cyclist detection, blind-spot avoidance with rear cross-traffic alert and reverse emergency braking, adaptive cruise control with stop/go, Safe Exit Assist, and rear occupant alert.

Factory options

The SEL trim is eligible for options that are standard in Limited trim. Such as acoustic glass for the front side windows, panoramic sunroof, hands-free tailgate operation, dual-zone automatic climate control, 10.25-inch touchscreen, leather seating surfaces, leather-wrapped steering wheel, 6-way power-adjustable front passenger seat, power-folding 2nd-row seats, wireless charging, and a 12-speaker/630-watt Harman Kardon surround-sound system.

Limited trim also comes with rain-sensing wipers, heated/ventilated front seats, driver’s-side memory settings, heated rear seats, 115-volt outlet, 360-degree camera system, and Remote Smart Parking Assist.

Engine & transmission

The 2022 Santa Fe PHEV uses a turbocharged 1.6-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine, complemented by an electric motor — energized from a 13.8 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack — for a total system output of 260 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque.

A 6-speed automatic transmission is employed, not a continuously variable transmission (CVT) often found in hybrids and never really loved. And all-wheel drive is standard.

How economical is the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Plug-In Hybrid? The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has yet to provide fuel economy estimates. But Hyundai has its own figures, claiming an electric-only range of 30 miles.

1.6-liter turbocharged inline-4
260 combined horsepower
258 lb-ft combined torque
Combined fuel economy (estimated): 33 mpg
Miles-per-gallon equivalent (estimated): 76 MPGe

This story originally ran on KBB.com

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