2024 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid Quick Take: Checking the Box

Kyle Patrick
by Kyle Patrick
After a few months on the market, Hyundai's boxy mid-sizer regains a hybrid option. Image credit: Kyle Patrick

After only a few rotations of its wheels its clear: the hybrid is the correct version of the 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe.

I drove the pure-ICE Santa Fe a few months back and found it a well-stocked, super-practical, right-sized family hauler. The turbo 2.5-liter is plenty muscular, and for the the slightly-more-off-roady XRT trim, it makes sense. Let’s be real though: most buyers will likely never explore anything more daunting than a cottage road, and for everything else, the improved fuel economy—and even manners—of the hybrid make it the smarter buy.

Full disclosure: As part of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada’s (AJAC) annual EcoRun—of which I am an event co-chair—I spent a brief stint in the electrified version of Hyundai’s newly boxy mid-sizer.

What’s New?

That little hybrid badge is the only visual clue to electrification. Image credit: Eamonn O'Connell

The blocky look, for starters. The Santa Fe has never really stuck with a consistent look over the previous four generations, so why start now? The H-pattern headlights are a clever touch, while the oversized wheel arches break up all the flat surfaces. While it’s bigger and boxier than its predecessor, this new Santa Fe more cleanly cuts through the air with a 0.29 drag coefficient compared to 0.33 of old. The underlying platform is the same as before: the Hyundai Motor Group’s N3 platform also underpins the similarly-sized Kia Sorento. The growth spurt means the return of three-row seating, while maintaining a footprint a good half-foot shy of the Palisade.

The hybrid powertrain is largely the same as before though the combo of 1.6-liter turbo-four and electric motor now makes 231 horsepower and 271 pound-feet of torque. American buyers can choose between front- or all-wheel drive: as is common, Canada only does the latter.

Powertrain and Fuel Economy: Satisfying and Smooth

Go on, count the number of H's you see. We'll wait. Image credit: Eamonn O'Connell

Is the hybrid slower than the gas model? At highway speeds probably, but around the pretty Quebec suburb of Beloeil, there’s little between them in terms of acceleration. The hybrid is more responsive too, as that electric motor provides a quick hit of torque early on. Exercise a modicum of restraint and it’s easy to keep the little four-pot out of the equation too, further improving fuel economy. Speaking of, official figures are 34 mpg (6.9 L/100 km) for both highway and combined; the city rating is fractionally better. The six-speed auto is fine for most purposes, only really seeming stretched on shorter on-ramps.

Ride Quality and Comfort: Goldilocks

A big panoramic roof gives folks in the second and third rows extra natural light. Image credit: Eamonn O'Connell

The Santa Fe hides few surprises in our short drive together. Its ride is well-damped, rightly prioritizing passenger comfort over outright agility. That’s not to say it doesn’t handle: the shape suggests a stodginess that never truly materializes. Where the Palisade drives big, the Santa Fe doesn’t. Detail work keeps NVH low, lending this big box an almost premium feel on the highway. The steering is expectedly light, yet consistent.

Front-row comfort should be solid: my drive isn’t even an hour, but these thrones are the same shape as the ones in the Calligraphy, only wrapped in faux leather instead of Nappa. Only that model features second-row captain’s chairs, where the rest get a perfectly functional bench. The third row is fairly easy to access, and should be fine for adults under six-foot for shorter trips. Even on this lower trim, Hyundai includes a pair of buttons to power fold the third row from the tailgate; you’ll still have to manually raise them back up, mind you.

Interior Style and Quality: Mid-Tier Mover

Why don't more SUVs do this?! Image credit: Eamonn O'Connell

In Canada, the hybrid powertrain is locked to the lower trims. Say goodbye to the dual wireless charger, upgraded Bose audio, and UV-C sterilization compartment, most of which are exclusive to Calligraphy anyway. Same goes for a more colorful cabin. The basics are all here though: a clean dashboard design features tasteful bits of chrome trim and plenty more Hs, and the redesigned steering wheel gives off big budget Land Rover vibes. That big center console feels solidly secure, and offers plenty of storage space. That’s the Santa Fe’s biggest strength: lots of clever storage solutions for a family on the go. The lower center console section can open from the second row, so passing things front-to-back is simple. Third-row folks don’t get left out either, with climate controls handily located on the (wide) armrests, by the cupholders.

Hyundai’s safety lineup is pretty solid, but this model’s lack of the useful Blind View Monitor is a big miss.

Value, Dollars and Sense: Wicked Three-Row Deal

Hyundai's hybrid powertrain isn't available on the XRT trim in either America or Canada. Image credit: Eamonn O'Connell

This is where things get a little confusing, as there isn’t an exact American counterpart for this Can-spec tester. Up in the Great White North, this Preferred with Trend Package is the priciest Santa Fe hybrid you normally can get, yet its $47,249 CAD sticker is below what a top-rung Honda CR-V will run these days. The exception is the limited production NHL Edition, which exclusively pairs the hybrid with the Calligraphy trim.

In America the closest equivalent is the $47,045 Santa Fe Luxury AWD, but as that price suggests, it includes additional niceties not found on the tester. While it shares the same 20-inch wheels, the Luxury does get the blind-spot view monitor, Bose sound system, and genuine leather seating surfaces, amongst other perks. US buyers can pair the hybrid with every trim except XRT.

Final Thoughts: 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid

Despite the looks, this is still six inches shorter than the Palisade. Image credit: Eamonn O'Connell

Our time together was brief, but the smooth attitude and nearly 50-percent better fuel economy was enough to make the 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid the pick of the litter. Unless you’re regularly towing—or are in Canada and simply want the top trim—this one offers a hugely desirable combination of value and space.

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Much better fuel economy

Hybrid is low-trims only in Canada

Well-packaged third row

Missing the best driver assists

Excellent value

In-fighting with Palisade

2024 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid


1.6L I4 Turbo w/hybrid


231 hp, 271 lb-ft



US Fuel Economy (mpg):


CAN Fuel Economy (L/100 km):


Starting Price (USD):

$38,345 (inc. dest.)

As-Tested Price (USD):

See text

Starting Price (CAD):

$42,999 (inc. dest.)

As-Tested Price (CAD):

$47,249 (inc. dest.)

Kyle Patrick
Kyle Patrick

Kyle began his automotive obsession before he even started school, courtesy of a remote control Porsche and various LEGO sets. He later studied advertising and graphic design at Humber College, which led him to writing about cars (both real and digital). He is now a proud member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), where he was the Journalist of the Year runner-up for 2021.

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 1 comment
  • CJR CJR on Jun 20, 2024

    I’m not convinced Hyundai is over their fragile turbo four cylinder engines. Enough to keep me from buying one.