TEST – Hyundai Santa Fe PHEV (2022): almost alone in the world

TEST – Hyundai Santa Fe PHEV (2022): almost alone in the world


To have 7 seats with a hybrid engine, plug-in or not, the choice is still limited and requires looking towards the expensive behemoths. However, some generalists, especially on the Korean side, offer interesting offers. The larger Hyundai Santa Fe is available in PHEV while retaining its 3rd row and good handling capabilities.

With small XXL cars almost disappearing from the landscape, families who need more volume and 7 seats have no other choice: an SUV, or nothing! Like its technical cousin the Kia Sorento, the Santa Fe is therefore one of the larger sizes it can do bring the family and the luggage, while avoiding the blow of our national malus. As a simple hybrid, it already does not have many competitors. Toyota Highlander, if possible, fulfills the specifications at a higher price (from 64,800 €).

In PHEV, its closest rival is Ford, with the larger Explorer. The American does not have space or power, but invoices its stature and its muscle V6 (457 hp plus) at a very high price: 79,400 € minimum. Attention, Santa Fe is not cheap for all that. Starting at 54,550 € in Plug-in… For those who missed the episode, it’s been a long time since Hyundai has had anything for the overall champion of bad prices. We can make excuses for it, we will come back to this.

Hyundai is one of the few automakers to put real all-wheel drive on the list. In the Santa Fe lineup, the PHEV is also the only one to benefit from it. There are many off-road driving modes (sand, snow, mud, etc.)

Good to know: expect repeat purchases and sales.

It is possible to find out the resale or trade-in value of your car with the Auto Turbo rating of your Hyundai Santa Fe, an alternative to the Argus rating.

Extended Tucson

At this price, we therefore have a large SUV with a length of 4.79 m (15 cm longer than a Peugeot 5008 for example), with a real wheel drive (and a real drive shaft, something that has become rare elsewhere than among donors ) and a respectable power level: 265 hp in total, like the Tucson that takes the engine and the platform (extended along the way). A good sign for its road characteristics, before measuring kilometers with us. A variety of routes of around 1,200 km await us, crossing a good part of the north-western quarter of France.

As with the classic hybrid Santa Fe, we especially remember the first kilometers of its comfort, felt and filtered well despite the large 19-inch rims. And its carelessness, too: it is not very agile when the road starts to turn, with a body mark marked the same if you push it. Nothing wrong with security, of course. Let’s just say that this comfort preference encourages you to stay disciplined! At least the suspension wasn’t overly stiffened to compensate for the extra weight., as often seen in other hybrids. There, therefore, the smoothness of the walk comes first… more than its strength. To move 2,080 kg, there is nothing too big with a 4-cylinder 1.6 l turbo (180 hp alone) that ensures the hot part has little torque (and discretion) when it comes to relaunching, at constant speed.

TEST - Hyundai Santa Fe PHEV (2022): almost alone in the world

There is no miracle: the Santa Fe PHEV is heavier by more than 200 kg compared to the standard hybrid, and it is well over 2 tons. In terms of performance, 265 hp (and 350 Nm of combined torque) has little to do but give the right reminders.

In general, The 13.8 kWh battery theoretically allows a range of 60 kilometers in all-electric mode, staying away from expressways and keeping the foot light. Be careful, any mild acceleration activates the 4 cylinder, even in EV mode, unlike most other PHEVs on the market which keep a cool temperature in almost all conditions. We find this management to be a little special on the Tucson with the same engine.
In practice, we can calculate about fifty kilometers making it possible to ensure many daily electric trips. That’s the idea, as usual, with PHEV hybrids: electric during the week, hybrid at the weekend… Suffice it to say that chaining long-distance trips without even charging them is not the best use, we won’t repeat it enough. Its long-term desirability is obviously dependent on overall usage and load usage.

After a few hundred kilometers, however, we expected the worst. In the hybrid, the system is well managed and always maintains a minimum charge, to support the 4 cylinders. Consumption remains under control: around 8 l/100 km on the highway, not bad for a big kid of this weight. Alas, the battery and peripherals connected to the electrification have seriously reduced the tank: only 47 liters is a little for a large SUV and harms complete freedom on long trips. Its long-term desirability is obviously dependent on overall usage and load usage.

Hyundai, from Tucson to Santa Fe – TURBO report from 05/29/2022

TEST - Hyundai Santa Fe PHEV (2022): almost alone in the world

Seat available, the Santa Fe Plug-in retains the same load capacity as the hybrid (571 litres) but loses under-floor storage. The space in the 2nd row remains very large.

7 time zones

To put it, the Santa Fe is also a welcoming traveler. At least for five residents, who benefit from the welcome and are dressed to the nines in the interior. There would be something to say about the specific and dated ergonomics of the center console full of buttons, but we get used to it. American style, in short! Upholstery should match, and there is a lot of space, at least in the second position. The bench seat slides, the file sits and even if the central place is stable, we take advantage of the flat floor, for once without a large transmission tunnel. On the other hand, the seats in the third row will be reserved for children or small builders: the place is small but has the characteristic of being there to help.

On the trunk side, transplanting the battery is almost painless. The storage room under the floor disappears, alas, and there is no space available to keep cables that are not allowed to hang… As with almost all PHEVs. The overall volume is not large due to the size but it remains very accurate, offering a rear seat of 571 l (782 l extended to maximum) to 1,649 l with the rear sections folded down. Some competitors, however under influence, do better: Skoda Kodiaq and Peugeot 5008, in particular, are champions of volume.

TEST - Hyundai Santa Fe PHEV (2022): almost alone in the world

More than ever, deciding to charge and drive as much as possible on electric power is important to justify the additional cost of this expensive plug-in hybrid. One charge allows you to travel about 50 km in electric mode (about 30 km on the highway).

Equipment: full of techno

Korean culture is simple. Everything is standard, and the technological content is rich, including at the entry level of business : adaptive cruise control, reversing camera, blind spot alert, lane keeping, induction charger available automatically. Comfort equipment is not to be missed, with leather upholstery and a well-made Krell sound system as usual.

On our board Executive test model, the highest level of equipment is full wealth! Fortunately … because the price is going up another level (€61,050, fortunately without penalties). Therefore, heated / ventilated seats, a 360 camera, rear balance adjustment, a roof panel or even a blinds display on the device screen is to activate the turn signal (this always has its effect).

Technical characteristics Hyundai Santa Fe PHEV (2022)

Tested model: Hyundai Santa Fe PHEV 265 Executive
Dimensions L x W x H 4.785 / 1.900 / 1.710m
The base of the wheels 2.765 m
Trunk volume 7/5/2 places 130l / 571l / 1,649l
Unloaded weight 2.080 kg
Engine 4-cylinder gasoline, turbo, 1,598 cc + electric synchronous motor
Collective power 265 hp at 1,500 rpm (thermal: 180 hp, electric: 91 hp)
Combined torque 350 Nm at 1,500 rpm
Contagion 4-wheel drive, 6-speed automatic transmission
0 to 100 km/h 8.8s
High speed 187 km/h
Advertised use 1.6 l / 100 km (WLTP), maximum declared electric range: 63 km (WLTP)
CO2 level 37g/km (WLTP)
Bonus / malus 2020 0 €
Price from €54,550 (tested model: €61,050)