Last year’s 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe only qualified for the lower-tier, Top Safety Pick award because not all available headlight systems on the car earned "good" or even "acceptable" ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). With Hyundai’s minor improvements on the headlight systems, all models built after July 2021 now come with exclusively "good" and "acceptable" headlight ratings.
Improving in this category proved to earn Hyundai big rewards, as the Santa Fe upgraded award tiers to the highest level this year.
, but below the larger, three-row Hyundai Palisade SUV. The report also describes the car as having a roomy backseat and large center console.
Hyundai made major upgrades to the Santa Fe throughout 2021, and gave the car more powerful engines, a refreshed interior, and even created a hybrid model. Now, the Santa Fe comes in a standard, turbo, and hybrid version. The hybrid model is rated as the most comfortable and overall best Hyundai Santa Fe model.
But Consumer Reports does have a few critiques of the car. Reporters state that the center console has too many buttons, which make it difficult to navigate while driving. Plus, the standard model of the car was described as having an overly noisy engine, which can be noticeable while driving.
The Top Safety Pick+ award is presented by the IIHS each year to show consumers the best, safest vehicle options in a given year. The award comes in two tiers: Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick+, with only the safest, most highly rated vehicles earning the plus award.
To qualify for either award, a car must earn a rating of "good" in all six of the IIHS’ crashworthiness evaluations. These test categories include: driver side small overlap front, passenger side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraint tests. The vehicles must also have a front crash prevention system that earns advanced or superior ratings in both vehicle-to vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian crashes, according to the
The difference between the Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick+ award all comes down to the headlights. On top of the qualifications listed above, to earn a plus award the vehicle must also have "good" or "acceptable" rated headlights across all trims.
Other Hyundai Santa Fe features
Described by Hyundai as the "adventurous family SUV," the Santa Fe is an ultimate family car. In terms of interior, the car has premium Nappa leather seating and door handles, plus LED lightning signatures.
The Santa Fe comes in four trims: SE, SEL, Limited and Calligraphy. The starting price points range from $27,200 for the SE on the low end to $40,960 for the Calligraphy on the high end.
, featuring four wheel drive and the ability to hook up your trailer or jump up to 3,500 lbs. With all these impressive features, plus its newly earned top-notch safety rating, the Hyundai Santa Fe is a viable option for anyone looking to purchase a new car.
Alexandra Maloney is an insurance writer who specializes in vehicle rankings and basic insurance topics. Alexandra’s mission is to create articles that help car owners select the best vehicle and insurance coverage for their lifestyle, budget, and drive. Alexandra has written more than 300 articles for Jerry, ranging from vehicle safety topics to vehicle maintenance costs. Before joining Jerry, Alexandra studied journalism and business administration at the University of Richmond.