Earthy Brass Matte. That's the color. I really don't get these matte paint jobs. I know some people like them but not me. 

Hyundai's description of the Santa Fe XRT 2.5T AWD is "The rugged trim with off-road styling additions."  I don't know what to make of the styling of the Santa Fe; it's not unattractive it just doesn't stand out in my opinion. It is definitely boxy.

Surprisingly (or not) the 4,486 lb. Santa Fe XRT is powered by a four-cylinder, a 277 hp, 311 lb-ft, turbo-charged, 2.5-liter 4-cylinder. The power goes out to all four wheels (in AWD versions) through an 8-speed automatic transmission. Car and Driver says the Santa Fe will get from zero to sixty in 6.3 seconds. 

More important in these days of up and down gas prices is that the AWD version is rated at 26-mpg on the highway and 19 around town. I saw just over the highway number but below the city figure. You win some, you lose some.

There is seating for seven; two up front, three in the middle row, and two in the third row.

Although they say three in the middle maybe two adults and a child would be best.

The middle seat scoots forward to make access to the third row easier.

If you fold the third and middle rows flat there is just under 80 cubic feet of storage, with enough room behind the third row (14.6 cubic feet) for luggage for the family vacation.

Properly equipped the XRT can tow up to 4,500 lbs. 

Make no mistake, the 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe is not a small vehicle but it isn't huge. It is almost 3' shorter than a Suburban, and 6' narrower. In my book this is a plus - it makes it easier to park and maneuver.

All of this stuff - seating capacity, luggage capacity, towing capacity, etc - has no bearing on how it drives. It's a big SUV so don't expect it to be a sports car but it does just fine. The ride was good, not mushy but not truck like, more sedan than truck-based SUV. There is good visibility all around.

Photo courtesy of Hyundai

There are some things I didn't like, take the shifter. I am so tired of auto makers trying to reinvent something that has worked for decades. I know the shift lever is no longer mechanically connected to the transmission. But it was dead simple to use. PRNDL is seared in our brains. The Santa Fe's shifter is, well it's not intuitive. You push in on that little stubby thing for Park, twist it down for Reverse, and up for Drive.

And this brings me to another subject, techie stuff. Maybe, just maybe, we've reached the limit to what tech should be called on to do? I know I'm old but I do get tired trying to figure out how to operate everything. It's kind of like my smart phone, it has more computing power than the first Apollo moon shot but I probably only use around ten percent of its ability.

One thing I noticed on the Santa Fe is that logo is not as visible. Maybe it's the combination of the matte paints? Just an observation.

Now we come to price. The least expensive Santa Fe, a FWD SE, starts at $33,950. The 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe XRT 2.5T AWD as tested starts at $40,600, and the top of the line Calligraphy is $46,500. Prices are from https://www.hyundaiusa.com/us/en. Considering what some other SUVs go for the Santa Fe seems like a deal.


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