Should You Take the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Off Road?

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe can technically go off-road, but with its short ground clearance specs, we wouldn’t recommend it.
Written by Ethan Moser
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
Updated on Nov 23, 2022
While the 2022
Hyundai Santa Fe
might look like the rugged SUV you need to tackle the trails—but unfortunately, it’s all smoke and mirrors. When it comes to actual mechanical performance, the Santa Fe is not suited for off-roading. 
The perfect off-road capable truck or SUV can be a passport to adventure on the trails. But how can you be sure that your rugged-looking SUV is actually suitable for off-roading?
Here to answer that question in regards to the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe is
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Can the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe go off road?

No—not safely, anyhow. Unfortunately, despite its rugged looks, the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe lacks the necessary specs to be considered suitable for off-roading. 
Whether you’re buying the base
Santa Fe SE
trim for $28,495, or the most expensive Santa Fe trim—the
Limited PHEV
—for $47,305, this SUV falls just short of being suitable for off-roading.
But where exactly does the Santa Fe fail to measure up? Let’s take a closer look at the key specs you’ll need to be conscious of when considering a vehicle for use off-road. 

Ground clearance

The first—and arguably most important—spec you’ll need to consider is ground clearance. Ground clearance is the measurement between the bottom of your vehicle’s chassis and the ground, and it should be between 8.8 and 10.8 inches to be considered suitable for off-roading. Unfortunately, the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe has a minimum ground clearance of 8.2 inches, which falls shy of being sufficient for off-road adventures. 


Once again, the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe falls flat for off-roading by failing to produce low-end torque. Low-end torque refers to a relatively low lb-ft output at a higher rpm. When it comes to off-roading, low-end torque is preferable because power is more important than speed on the trail.
Unfortunately for the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe, its torque output of 181 lb-ft @ 4,000 RPM doesn’t provide the SUV with a lot of power to handle those off-road trails. 


Across the board, the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe features a set of P235/60TR18 tires. If you’re not a mechanic, here’s what that means. 
P235/60TR18 tires are approximately 235 millimeters wide with an aspect ratio of 60%. This means that the measurement of the tire’s sidewall—the distance from the rim of the tire to the tread—is 60% of its total width, or 141 millimeters. The ‘18’ at the end of the tire code indicates that the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe’s tires are designed to be installed on 18-inch wheels
These tires are suitable for use in mud and snow, making them a decent choice for off-roading—though this doesn’t make up for the Santa Fe’s lackluster ground clearance and torque specs. 


All-wheel drive is more or less a mandatory requirement for off-roading. The 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe comes with standard front-wheel drive, though all-wheel is available. While all-wheel drive might make your Santa Fe drive better in the snow, it won’t be enough to make the SUV suitable for use off-road. 


Off-roading is all about angles—specifically, the approach angle and departure angle: 
  • Approach angle: the maximum angle at which a vehicle can climb without interference 
  • Departure angle: the maximum angle at which a vehicle can descend without interference
Once again the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe shows its true colors as a highway-based SUV with approach and departure angles of 16.7 and 20.2 degrees, respectively. On a taller vehicle, that might be enough for some gentle off-roading, but it’s far from ideal for serious rock-crawling. 

Off-road rating: Don’t try it

super-sophisticated DIRT rating system, we’ve rated the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe’s off-roading capabilities. Here’s a breakdown of the system:
Don’t Try It
Vehicles better suited to highway conditions
In a Pinch
Vehicles that can handle off-road conditions in certain circumstances
Rough and Ready
Vehicles designed for casual off-roading
Trail Boss
True off-road vehicles capable of tackling a range of terrain
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We’re giving the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe a D rating. Despite its updated trail-ready exterior design, the ground clearance spec is only 0.1 inch taller than it was when the SUV was first introduced in 2000. You might be able to drive your Santa Fe down a dirt road, but when it comes to mild and more serious off-roading, you’re going to want to look elsewhere

The best off-road alternatives to the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe

Thankfully, there are plenty of great off-road capable alternatives to the Hyundai Santa Fe. Let’s take a look at some options that are cheaper, more powerful, and just better for off-roading in general.
Ground clearance
Best affordable alternative
2022 Subaru Crosstrek
8.7 inches
176 lb-ft
Best eco-friendly alternative
2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe
8.4 inches
470 lb-ft
Best alternative for serious off-roading
2022 Ford Expedition
9.8 inches
470 lb-ft

How to find affordable car insurance for off-road vehicles

While off-road vehicles open up a world of automotive possibilities, they do so at a price. Generally speaking, off-road capable trucks and SUVs are more expensive to finance and insure. This is because off-roading increases the likelihood that your vehicle could face serious damage. 
Thankfully, shopping with
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