2021 Hyundai Santa Fe calligraphy review: the near-luxury SUV that strikes on most fronts

(Images: Hyundai)
Benefits The inconvenients
√ Sharper appearance, premium interior X The steering is too light
√ Smooth and spacious X Gentle driving can get choppy at times
Fast X No third row seat option


The fast acceleration, premium interior, and smooth ride of the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy reminded me of an American luxury sedan from the 1960s. A trip from coast to coast would likely leave a driver behind. refreshed.

This mid-size SUV is the top-of-the-range 2021 Santa Fe, which comes in several versions, including a hybrid. I was happy to have the Calligraphy version, which has standard all-wheel drive, a premium finish front grille with a new aggressive and wider design shared by all Santa Fe models, a new rear bumper shield and high-end materials. There are even automatic rear windows. It also has a fast-acting sunroof that really opens up the interior.

Performance, handling and handling

The 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy is powered by a new 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder developing 277 horsepower and 311 lb / ft of torque. 0-60 comes in in 6.2 seconds, which is good enough for an SUV of around 4000 pounds. The engine operates with a responsive eight-speed automatic transmission. Console push buttons, instead of conventional shift selectors, shift the driver from Park to Drive. Some prefer the physical lever, but I found the new setup to be convenient.

A driver can choose from four driving modes: Comfort, Sport, Smart and Snow. Comfort is naturally the best for a typical ride, although the ride doesn’t deteriorate much when the Santa Fe firms up while in Sport mode. The steering is fast, but also surprisingly light in all modes. Handling is good – almost sporty – and the revamped Santa Fe is easier than ever to maneuver in tight spaces. The action of the brake pedal is almost ideal.

Estimated city fuel economy is what you’d expect from a fast, rather heavy SUV. You should get around 21 MPG, but the highway figure is a more efficient 28 MPG. With today’s high premium gasoline prices, it’s good that Hyundai only needs regular grade fuel (87 octanes).

Calligraphy Hyundai Santa Fe 2021

Comfort and functionality

The quiet interior of the Santa Fe Calligraphy Church is upscale, especially for a “mainstream” model. It features premium nappa leather seat surfaces and door trim, exclusive headlining and beautiful seat stitching throughout. On the technology side, you get a new high-end Harman / Kardon audio system with a silent mode in the rear seats, a color head-up display, automatic dual temperature control, heated and ventilated front seats, air vents. rear air conditioning, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard equipment.

The new 12.3 inch digital dashboard display and the new 10.25 inch touchscreen are easy to use with a little practice. The small dashboard buttons for various functions are clearly marked. There is also a perforated leather steering wheel and heated tilt / telescoping rear seats and rear side sun shades. However, the driver’s side rear sun visor obstructs the driver’s view over the shoulder when it is raised.

The Santa Fe can easily accommodate up to five tall people in power supportive front and rear seats. Unlike the larger Hyundai Palisade SUV, the Santa Fe does not have a third row seat. But that’s just as good because the Santa Fe is more agile with, say, a shorter wheelbase of 108.9 inches and length of 188.4 inches. These dimensions are also slightly smaller than the closely related dimensions. Kia Sorento, which includes a third line. The front and rear cup holders are convenient, the door pockets can hold a lot of things, and the covered front console storage bin is spacious.

There appears to be a pickup-type cargo space when the rear seatbacks are folded down. Cargo space is good with the seat backs upright, although the Santa Fe is rather tall (at 66.3 inches) so the cargo floor is a bit high. The hands-free loading hatch is convenient when the arms are loaded.

Then there is the security technology

The safety technology of this Hyundai includes Forward Collision Avoidance Assistance with Pedestrian Detection, New Parking Collision Avoidance Assistance, Blind Spot Monitoring and Collision Prevention, Avoidance Assistance rear collision assistance, lane-keeping assist, driver attention warning, intelligent cruise control with Stop and Go, lane-keeping assistant and the brand’s new highway driving assistant, which takes over steering and keeps the vehicle centered in the lane if the GPS knows its own controlled access highway.

Calligraphy Hyundai Santa Fe 2021


Hyundai continues to improve its game, and it shows with the calligraphy Hyundai Santa Fe 2021. This model includes that 2.5T engine and all-wheel drive as well as 19-inch wheels, and costs $ 43,100. This undermines some big rivals, although my test car’s $ 300 Quartz White paint, $ 155 carpet floor mats, and shipping cost increased the base price to $ 43,730.

TFL’s latest experiment with the Santa Fe includes a comparison against the Mazda CX-5, indicated below:

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