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2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy Test Drive

When it launched in 2001, the Santa Fe was Hyundai's first-ever SUV, and last year, it was the company's second-best-selling nameplate. One reason why this mid-size SUV is so popular is the abundance of choices it offers customers when it comes to build configurations. 

Not only are there a wide variety of hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrain options, there is a also a gamut of trim levels which vary from cost-effective to luxurious. Standing at the top of the Santa Fe lineup is the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy, which I was able to sample for this road test. 

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2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy Exterior

2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy Test Drive

Fresh off a styling update for the 2021 model year, the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe carries over unchanged, but the range-topping Calligraphy does stand out from the lower trims with two-tone 20-inch alloy wheels and a dark chrome grille insert. 

Perhaps the best design element of the Santa Fe Calligraphy is the monochromatic trim on the lower body and wheel openings, which is different from the matte black trim found on all other Santa Fe models. Like the Santa Fe Limited, satin chrome accent trim gives the Calligraphy extra style, and when paired with the Santa Fe's Calypso Red, these color treatments look amazing. 

When it was introduced back in 2018, the fourth-gen Santa Fe showcased Hyundai's avant-garde design language. But now that updated versions of the Sonata, Elantra, and Tucson are on the roads, it's become one of the more conservatively designed vehicles in the Hyundai lineup. That said, this family-friendly SUV is still a looker, and the imposing front end includes Hyundai's now-signature split-headlight setup, along with a stunning T-shaped daytime running light. Front end aside, the sharp body creases and stylish LED taillights make the Santa Fe an attractive SUV from any angle.

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2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy Interior

2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy Test Drive

The Santa Fe Calligraphy was introduced for the 2021 model year (expanding the use of this trim from the Palisade), and it essentially replaced the Santa Fe Limited Ultimate. This luxurious trim gets exclusive touches like premium Nappa leather seats, a suede headliner, quilted seat stitching, and a heads-up display. There's also heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a perforated leather steering wheel, a panoramic roof, and manual rear window shades. In terms of technology, the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy comes standard with a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, a 10.25-inch touchscreen navigation system, a 12-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, and wireless smartphone charging.

With the Palisade standing as Hyundai's three-row SUV, the Santa Fe is only offered in a two-row, five-passenger configuration. Looking at the spec sheet, the Santa Fe delivers superior headroom and legroom compared to the Honda Passport, and the overall passenger space isn't that far off from the larger Palisade. Likewise, with 36.4 cubic feet behind the rear seats (including a covered, partitioned area between the wheel wells) and 72.1 cubic feet with the rear seats folded flat, the Santa Fe has plenty of space for gear. Thanks to its exclusive engine, the Santa Fe Calligraphy can also tow up to 3,500 pounds.

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2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy Powertrain

2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy Test Drive

In addition to hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrain options, the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe lineup is available with three engine and transmission configurations. But it's the Calligraphy that comes standard with the most powerful 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, which delivers 281 horsepower and 311 lb-ft of torque. This engine is paired to an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, and my tester was equipped with the only feature optional on the Calligraphy trim level: Hyundai's HTRAC all-wheel drive system. With this powertrain, the Santa Fe Calligraphy HTRAC returns EPA-rated fuel economy estimates of 21 mpg city and 28 mpg highway.

Around town, the Santa Fe's quick steering makes it perfect for getting into tight parking spots, and on the highway, its smooth ride and a quiet cabin is impressive. I had the chance to test the HTRAC all-wheel-drive system on loose sand, and with the driver-selectable locking center differential engaged, this SUV powered out with no hesitation, meaning it should work equally well in muddy or icy road conditions. One thing I really appreciateed about driving the current Santa Fe is the excellent rearward visibility, which comes courtesy of the large rear quarter windows, narrow D-pillars, and more-vertical  liftgate glass.

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2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy Safety

2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy Test Drive

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe received a 5-Star overall crash rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 

All trim levels come standard with Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Full-Speed Adaptive Cruise Control, Rear Occupant Alert, Lane Keeping Assist, Blind Spot Collision Avoidance, Rear Cross Traffic Collision Avoidance, Safe Exit Assist, and Driver Attention Warning. The Calligraphy trim level (and the Limited) also adds front and rear parking distance warning, Highway Driving Assist, along with Hyundai's innovative Remote Smart Parking Assist.

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2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy Overall

2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy Test Drive

From EVs, to performance cars, to family sedans, to SUVs, Hyundai has its best model lineup ever. And if you're in the market for a two-row, mid-size SUV? The 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy the top option.

Models like the Honda Passport, Chevrolet Blazer, and Volkswagen Atlas have made the mid-size SUV segment crowded. But while the Santa Fe Calligraphy might pack loads of luxury, style, and tech, it doesn't break the bank. Because with a starting MSRP of $27,700, the Santa Fe is priced several thousands of dollars less than its rivals, and this fully loaded 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy had an as-tested price of $44,950. For those keeping score, that's only $3,850 more than a base 2023 Honda Passport!

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Jeffrey N. Ross | January 18, 2023

2022 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe

Layout

4-door
5-passenger
AWD

Engine/Transmission

Turbo 2.5L I4
281 hp, 311 lb-ft
8-speed dual clutch

Mileage

21 / 28 mpg
City / Highway

NHTSA Rating

★ ★ ★ ★ ★


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*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.

**Based on EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending on specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.