2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited PHEV – Bottom Line Review

2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited PHEV AWD: California Complyin' in cordable electrified version of premium mid size CUV gets costly at $42k to start & $47k as tested

CORD- ABLE BETTER PLACE LIVABLE  = Thirteen years after being admitted to the Union and adopting a design by local Daughters of the American Revolution, the State of New Mexico could finally unfurl a banner genuinely it’s own. The 47th State’s red “Zia sun” on a yellow background melds the peace sign of the Pueblan indigenous peoples with the territorial history as a Spanish colony. The rays of the Zia Sun are stacked in quadruples denotes the seasons, the periods of the day, the wind directions and the stages of life.

Consistent with the nearly inexhaustible energy from the glowing orb which heats the Solar System and the clean, sometimes harnessable Wind, Korean carmaking conglomerate Hyundai brings a part zero tailpipe emissions version of a popular mid sized crossover utility wagon, previously reviewed by Roadblazing.com. The 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe plug-in battery electric hybrid aspires to the promise of it’s New Mexican state capital namesake to make the rest planet a “Better Place to Live In.”

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WHAT: Newly motivated 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited PHEV AWD rounds out the popular mid-size family sports activity vehicle, now in the fourth year of its 4th generation.

2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited PHEV AWD: 1.6L turbo engine adds 90 hp AC motor boost + 32 miles EV range + conventional 6-spd automatic + AWD


Standard Power: 1591 cc Atkinson cycle, dual VVT-i DOHC 16V I-4 cylinder gasoline engine: 177 hp (131 kW) / 195 lb-ft @ 1500 rpm w/ idle stop and go + 6-speed torque converter automatic planetary transaxle + [STD] PTU to viscous multi-clutch differential all-wheel drive

NET HYBRID POWER RATING: 260 hp (169 kW) @ 5500 rpm, 224 lb-ft @ 1500-4400 rpm

parallel to: 1 x 360 V synchronous AC traction / regenerative charging motor: 90 hp (66 kW) @ 1600 rpm, 224 lb-ft @ 0-1600 rpm

1 x 240V synchronous AC Hybrid Starter Generator: 8 kW

electric supply battery: 64 Lithium Ion Polymer cells, 270V, 6.0 amp hr, 13.80 kWh, J-1772

electric charging: 3.6 kW, 16A J-1772 Level 2 AC charging, 4.5 hrs. to 80% charge state

2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited PHEV AWD: adding joules at local Whole Foods L2 6 kW charger is free of cost w/ clever EV ditties

  • Idle Stop and Go;
  • Energy Flow Modes x 3 = Automatic, EV and Hybrid
  • Drive Modes x 3 = Eco, Comfort, Sport
  • -1 No battery EV lockout control

WHAT (A) STYLING DIFFERENCE: The model year 2020 mid-cycle tailoring of the original TM series Santa Fe’s “Tiger nose,” fully widening the brand’s Fluidic Sculpture poured molten steel lattice front grille, remains intact. That also implies around razor thin upper directionals split from lower split bi-segment LED headlamps and more formidable folded lower corner vertical creasing. Lower fuselage cladding is body color matched, while front & rear lower valances drop the simulated bash plates. The rear lower bumper cover adopts a bowtie chrome and mesh pattern with a full span reflector strip above. Rather than “Hybrid” badging at every side scheme employed by at least one carmaker, “plug-in” badging on the right lower liftgate area is the only nomenclature that betrays electrified fueling.

2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited PHEV AWD: wide poured molten grille flanked by LED headlamps, underscored by folded corner fangs

Other Styling Notables: Low cowl to dual valley clamshell hood; Tall thin fender outline extending to creased beltline;  Chrome band rising creased cheatline and pronounced rocker panels;  Dramatic D-pillar Hofmeister kink softened by wrap-around boomerang taillamps;  Emphatic roof spoiler, mid & lower tailgate to rear quarter panel creasing;

2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited PHEV AWD: full width bumper cover reflector bar & PHEV badging is new

WHY: California Complying electrified family SUV remains a beautiful place to be.

WHEN: On-Sale (in the U.S.) since Autumn 2021

WHERE: Hyundai new vehicle dealers

WHERE MADE: Ulsan, South Korea

WHERE TO:   Downhill brake control; 7.3″ ground clearance is more muddy grassy field than ravine capable.


The promised potency of the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe PHEV‘s is a bit of a desert mirage. Dipping into the well, with a several hundred pound 13.8 kWh LiIon battery aboard, doesn’t yield the expected swell which can be found in a Toyota RAV4 Prime PHEV. With 5 kWh in greater joules aboard, the latter is in a beyond accelerating league by comparison. It can be deduced that the lack of bottom end torque correlates to battery preservation. The six-speed torque converter represents smoothness rather than snappy. Thus, the Santa Fe PHEV lacks the grunt of the potent 2.5 turbo Calligraphy with 8-speed automated dual clutch gearbox. What commends it over the [half class smaller] RAV4 Prime PHEV is overall refinement in control and insulation from powerplant or road sound.

The independent chassis exhibits tautness without ever feeling too tightly wound up.  Lateral control becomes flaky only in strong crosswinds, and even in fast sweep the approach to understeer is progressive. Large diameter shoes and socks are successfully isolated but then so is road feedback. Brake pedal reaction straddles the middle ground between mushy and oversensitive, but beware dive on hard stops.

HOW FAR: 32 combined miles per gallon observed fuel economy = 10% < EPA estimate; Roadtrip Worthy =  520 miles highway range; 32 miles Battery Electric range

2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited PHEV AWD: energy flow, battery range, charging settings

HOW BIG/ LITTLE: In the middle of mid-size 2-Row crossover SUVs:

2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited PHEV AWD: convenient 60/40% split reclining and sliding 2nd Row seating

√ 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe PHEV wheelbase = 0.6″ > Kia Sorento PHEV , 0.9″ < Toyota RAV4 Prime PHEV

+1: 40.9″-inches Row 2 legroom = 2.9″ > Kia Sorento PHEV, 0.3″ > Toyota RAV4 Prime PHEV

HOW USEFUL: Acceptably low load floor; 60/40% split sliding, reclining & folding 2nd Row seats w/ cargo bay power release; Floating center stack  Available cargo shade cover; +1 Sub-cargo floor storage management; +1 Wide front seat cushion; +1 Outward visibility from low cowl, narrow front & side pillars, tall tailgate window; +1 Front & 2nd Row door pocket storage; -1 Tow Rating: 2000 lbs.

2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited PHEV AWD:

PARTICULARLY USEFUL: +1 Power liftgate operation w/ available variable speed and proximity activation.

+1 Cargo space (max.) = 24% > Kia Sorento PHEV, 3% < Toyota RAV4 Prime PHEV

HOW SAFE IIHS Top Safety Pick +; 6 airbags; Rear camera – 360° Surround view cameras (available); Forward & rear sonar park assist; Blind Spot Warning; Forward collision avoidance braking; Full adaptive cruise control; Lane departure warning, keep assist Lane Change collision avoidance;  Rear Cross Traffic Alert;  Automatic high beam headlamps; Rain sensing windshield wipers;

2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited PHEV AWD: visual advanced driver assist safety includes lane watch, blind sport warn & avoidance, surround camera w/ park warning

SAFETY STANDOUTS: +1 2nd Row occupancy, parcel reminder w/ motion sensing; +1 Safe Exit side approaching traffic 2nd Row lock-in.

AVAILABLE CONVENIENCE: Remote park assist insertion / extraction

HOW PEOPLE FRIENDLY:  Top trim available for the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Plug-In Hybrid = the tested “Limited, the micro-suede headlined, tucked seam dash-topped “Santa Fe Calligraphy.” Still, there is quilting in the Harman Kardon door speakers grills as well as the upper seat backs. Refined denim in the headliner flows down the cabin pillars. A rising canted center stack houses a push-button transmission selector and a gaggle of drive mode and climate buttons. Elegant tandem lateral metallic banding spans the upper dash cowl, including vent-work then extending into door panels, where the upper layer is filled that illegitimate carbon fiber.

2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited PHEV AWD: driver entry w/ quilt styled door audio speaker grille

Contrast stitched perforated leather seating, front heated & cooled, 2nd Row heated; Front 12-way power seats, w/ driver knee extension, 3-position memory; 4 power windows = full express; Height adjustable front pax seat; Tilt & telescoping, cross-stitched leather wrapped steering wheel w brushed metallic / stylish toggle and button supplemental drive, redundant audio communications controls; Neatly grouped center console switches; Drive mode variable color LCD center dial speedometer trip data / drive status display; Large bezel encased mid-dash twin dial and button climate control; +1 Brushed metallic integrated steering wheel spoke controls; +1 Easily accessible left lower dashboard dimmer & driver assist switches; +1 Wind & road noise isolation;

Cool Gizmo(s): 2nd Row occupancy / parcel reminder & motion sensing remote app notification; Side Exit approaching vehicular and bicycle traffic 2nd Row lock-in; Remote park assist insertion / extraction

2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited PHEV AWD: center console w/ storage, connectivity, 2nd Row vents


Details Done Right: Drive mode variable 12.3″-inch color LCD center dial speedometer trip data / drive status display; Fully padded and contrast stitched layered twin-cowl dashboard; Middle dashboard pebble graining; Metallic vent bezels;  Cool blue night switch illumination; Sunwash resistant deep gauge binnacle & canopy;  Quilted mesh Infinity door speaker grilles.

Nearly Non-Descript: -1 Shiny faux carbon fiber appliques; -1 Thinner cargo bay carpets and folding floor storage covers;

HOW “APP” -LICABLE: Panoramic mid dash-top 10.25″-inch capacitive touch LCD infotainment screen; +1 Large icons; Voice learning hands-free communications; 12-speaker, 630 W Infinity Q-Logic audio w/ streaming audio & HD radio; Native GPS cloud navigation w/ voice commands & guidance; Mobile powered Android Auto/ Apple Car Play application & navigation overlays; Blue Link Apps; Android Auto & Apple CarPlay wired projection

2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited PHEV AWD: navigating the interstate w/ turn by turn displays & audio guidance

Subscription based: Sirius XM & Sirius XM TravelLink (90 days included trial); Blue Link Connected telematics (3 years included); Wi-Fi 2 GB within 90 days trial by Verizon

USB-C x 4, 12V x 1; 115V AC x 1; +1 Deep lower center stack mobile device pocket; Qi wireless charging; 12V x 1 in cargo bay.

HOW MUCH: $47,135 = 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited 1.6T PHEV AWD. Final assembly outside the U.S. = INELIGIBILITY for the Clean Vehicle federal tax Credit per Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 amendment, effective August 17, 2022, (though eligibility remains for state by state purchase rebates).

WHAT’S MISSING: Steering wheel shift paddles, snappier gearbox

ANY COMPETITION: Kia Sorento PHEV: +1 3rd Row seating; Toyota RAV4 Prime PHEV: +1 the speed

BOTTOM LINE: The only reason to buy this PHEV over the HEV version is CARB Compliance Conscience.

Contributing Editor: G. Straton

In 1989, Susan Frissell first published “Women With Wheels,” a 12-page pioneering newsletter geared towards women. In 2001 the newsletter morphed into WomenWithWheels.com website. Susan has also contributed to many news sources, penned two syndicated columns and co-published the book “Girls Go Racing: Driving to Esteems.” Susan is a member and former first female officer of the Midwest Automotive Media Association. In her non- spare time she is a practicing psychologist. Susan’s rides: a 2022 Lexus IS 300 and a 2000's Ford T-Bird convertible.

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