This all-new Santa Fe showcases Hyundai’s bolder and bigger design language and really reignites the brand’s mojo which has been slipping in recent years. This 2019 model is the most complete, family-oriented SUV in its segment.  It’s that good.  Now, if you’re on a tight budget there’s the front-drive Santa Fe SE for under $25,000.  But 6 trim levels up is this range-topping Ultimate 2.0T AWD for $39,970 before any available incentives.  And that includes everything the Santa Fe offers as standard. It’s incredibly well-stocked, drives with a reassuring polish and pays special attention to cabin aesthetics and ergonomics.  It recaptures the MO from Hyundai’s maturation process; providing a generous, modern package at a price that undercuts the competition.

At 235 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque, the 2.0-liter turbo’s output doesn’t wow on paper but it never feels inadequate, producing strong low-end acceleration, mated to a new 8-speed automatic transmission that doesn’t interfere with the fluid driving experience. I also like having this Smart drive mode in addition to the Comfort and Sport settings that automatically selects the proper steering effort, engine and transmission control logic based on the driver’s habits.  It works really well and helps save a little gas and that’s a good thing, because at 21mpg the Santa Fe trails the more powerful Ford Edge by 2mpg in mixed driving and 4mpg on the highway.

The interior dimensions of the Santa Fe have grown to give 2nd row passengers more space.  And, there’s more cargo room behind these seats.  All told it’s a great place to spend time with this beautiful panoramic sunroof, 2 USB ports, slide and recline heated seats, and window sunshades.

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2016 CHEVROLET MALIBU VIDEO REVIEW by Auto Critic Steve Hammes My first car was a 1978 Chevy Malibu Classic; a rear-drive, V8 sedan with an 8-track tape player and a headliner held up by push pins. But in car years,…

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TestDriveNow QUICK TAKES: 2016 HYUNDAI SONATA SPORT 2.0T OVERVIEW The award-winning Hyundai Sonata lineup heads into 2016 offering more features, minor styling updates, suspension upgrades and improved fuel economy on models equipped with the 2.4L engine. The 2016 Sonata starts…

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2015 Audi Q3 VIDEO REVIEW In this increasingly crowded world, small is the new big.  And there’s no hotter segment right now than the small crossover and the luxury brands have taken note, which is why Audi has decided to…

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2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe 2.0T VIDEO REVIEW

2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe 2.0T  VIDEO REVIEW   After my first test-drive of the all-new ATS 3.6, it not only became my new favorite Cadillac but my top pick in the compact luxury sports sedan segment. And now, Caddy is…

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