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2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid Limited AWD Offers Alternative to Toyota RAV4 and Highlander Hybrids

We test and review the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid Limited AWD and find that it has a lot in common with Toyota’s hybrids, along with some added plusses.

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

The Santa Fe is a two-row, five-passenger SUV with ample interior space for all passengers. It is 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 seating for children. All have excellent fuel economy ratings and all are offered with AWD and also spare tires.

Hyundai Santa Fe comparison chart by John Goreham2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid Limited AWD - What Does It Cost?
The 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid Limited AWD rings in at $41,555 including destination fees, but less dealer markups. This pricing is closer to the RAV4 than the Highlander. Hyundai has a 10-year warranty, which is double that of Toyota's, and Hyundai offers three years of include maintenance, vs. Toyota’s two years. If you plan to keep your vehicle for the full warranty period, we feel Hyundai’s longer warranty is a real advantage over Toyota.

Hyundai Santa Fe Image Courtesy of Hyundai2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid Limited AWD - What Powers It?
Hyundai chose a small-displacement turbocharged gas engine augmented with a hybrid drive system to power its Santa Fe Hybrid. Peak Torque is about 195 lb-ft. This engine is coupled to a six-speed transmission.

2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid Limited AWD - How Does It Drive?
The Santa Fe Hybrid Limited AWD is not thrilling to drive. It is rather uninspiring in its acceleration. The ride was a bit more firm than we like. That could be due to the low-profile tires of this top trim. Particularly with late winter potholes in abundance. However, overall, the vehicle would make for a good family vehicle. Our biggest surprise was often the engine and electric motor were on and off and how we could detect the changes. The engine doesn’t sound premium when pushed, and the small turbo works hard to accelerate this big vehicle in situations like highway on-ramps.

Hyundai Santa Fe spare tire image by John Goreham2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid Limited AWD - Interior, Features, And Content
Inside, this Limited trim offers all of the amenities one should expect from a top-trim SUV. The seats are heated and cooled, there is a heated steering wheel, and the materials all feel premium.

The infotainment system was a good mix of tactile buttons and a screen. We liked the buttons. Too many models now hide important things inside the infotainment screen menus. For example, we recently tested the Ioniq 5 from Hyundai and this was one of very few things we didn’t like about it.

We were very pleased to see that the Santa Fe Hybrid has a spare tire! It’s tucked up under the rear of the vehicle like in the Highlander.

2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid Limited AWD - What’s Missing?
We couldn’t find anything missing from the Santa Fe Hybrid Limited except wireless Android Auto and Apple Car Play. We find this frustrating since it is offered in the Elantra.

2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid Limited AWD - Conclusion
If you're shopping for a Toyota Hybrid SUV, it is well worth your time to consider Hyundai’s alternatives. We found the Santa Fe Hybrid Limited AWD to be a perfect example of a vehicle that one should cross-shop with Toyota’s trusted options.

*Note: Our Test vehicle was a media fleet vehicle from model year 2021. The model is unchanged except for pricing in 2022, and our price shown is the current price.

Hyundai Santa Fe exterior and interior image courtesy of Hyundai. Chart and spare tire images by John Goreham.

John Goreham is a long-time New England Motor Press Association member and recovering engineer. John's interest in EVs goes back to 1990 when he designed the thermal control system for an EV battery as part of an academic team. After earning his mechanical engineering degree, John completed a marketing program at Northeastern University and worked with automotive component manufacturers, in the semiconductor industry, and in biotech. In addition to Torque News, John's work has appeared in print in dozens of American news outlets and he provides reviews to many vehicle shopping sites. You can follow John on TikTok @ToknCars, on Twitter, and view his credentials at Linkedin

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