Now that the upstart Genesis brand is finding its footing in the luxury sector, having initially taken two of Hyundai’s most premium models (the G80 and G90) with it before adding one of its own (the…

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe Ultimate Road Test

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.0T Ultimate Turbo AWD
The totally redesigned 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe has a sharp looking new face. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

Now that the upstart Genesis brand is finding its footing in the luxury sector, having initially taken two of Hyundai’s most premium models (the G80 and G90) with it before adding one of its own (the new G70), the namesake South Korean giant is in the midst of a rebranding exercise that not only needs to differentiate itself from Genesis, but also keep it separate from Kia, which is arguably fighting over the same mainstream volume customer base. 

I think they’ve done an excellent job so far. Just compare the two brands’ mid-size SUV entries, the third-generation Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia’s current Sorento. They don’t look at all alike from the exterior styling to the interior design and execution, but the two companies benefit from a lot of development and component cost sharing that no doubt boosts the bottom line. 

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.0T Ultimate Turbo AWD
The Santa Fe, now undeniably mid-size, has long been the best-selling SUV in its class. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

Of note, that third-generation Santa Fe is now history, replaced by this much more dramatically penned fourth-generation model for 2019, complete with the new design language I mentioned at the beginning of this review. Its grille is large, deep and certainly distinctive, and its innovative use of frontal lighting, featuring narrow strips of LEDs up top and tightly grouped clusters of secondary driving lights down below, is starting to permeate the brand, showing up on the new Kona at the lower end, as well as the even newer Palisade at the upper end. 

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.0T Ultimate Turbo AWD
The Santa Fe isn’t quite as distinctive from the rear, but nevertheless attractive. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

Speaking of sizes, not everyone seems to agree on where the Santa Fe fits into the SUV scheme of things. It started life as more of a compact utility than anything truly mid-size, but like so many other vehicles it’s grown over the generations to the point that now it leans more toward mid-size than compact. Despite coming close to matching the length, width and height of five-passenger mainstays like the Ford Edge, some industry insiders still clump it into the compact SUV segment and therefore muddle the marketplace, so I’m here setting the record straight. 

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.0T Ultimate Turbo AWD
Ideal for city, suburbia, or the open road, the Santa Fe is perfect for average sized Canadian families. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

To be specific, at 4,770 millimetres (187.8 inches) long and 1,890 mm (74.4 in) wide the 2019 Santa Fe we’re testing here is a considerable 246 mm (9.7 in) longer than the current Ford Escape compact SUV yet only a fractional 9 mm (0.3 in) shorter than the Edge, while it’s 52 mm (2.0 in) wider than the former and only 38 mm (1.5 in) narrower than the latter. To be fair, the new Santa Fe is actually a full 70 mm (2.7 in) longer and 10 mm (0.4 in) wider than the outgoing model, this improving interior roominess. So while I’ve long considered the Santa Fe a mid-size crossover SUV, now we can all safely categorize it as such. 

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.0T Ultimate Turbo AWD
Now there’s very few styling similarities between Hyundai and Genesis, and none to Kia. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

As for the three-row Santa Fe XL, it currently remains available with last year’s design and a 2019 model year designation, but as you’ve probably already guessed it’s currently being replaced by the much more appealing (to me at least) 2020 Palisade noted a moment ago, which just happens to be in my garage this week. Between the smallest (so far) Kona/Kona EV and this Santa Fe is Hyundai’s Tucson, a model that’s still nice but starting to look a bit dated (expect an update next year for the 2021 model year), while an entirely new city car-sized crossover SUV dubbed Venue will slot in under the Kona for the 2020 model year, arriving this fall. 

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.0T Ultimate Turbo AWD
Narrow upper headlamps, LEDs in as-tested Ultimate trim, and secondary lighting clusters below have become trademark Hyundai design details. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

Lastly, I recently spent a week with the new 2019 Nexo (review forthcoming), a crossover SUV that’s only slightly smaller than the Santa Fe (albeit with a longer wheelbase), and unlike its spiritual predecessor the Tucson FCEV (fuel cell electric vehicle) that shared underpinnings with the second-generation Tucson, the Nexo only exists because of Hyundai’s desire to create a dedicated platform to further its hydrogen fuel cell and electric powertrain program. At $73k it won’t find many buyers, a problem made worse by a lack of hydrogen refueling stations (only three in Canada, one of which is in Ontario and the other two in BC — one being a Shell station luckily located a few kilometres from my home. 

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.0T Ultimate Turbo AWD
These 19-inch alloys are exclusive to the top-line Santa Fe Ultimate. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

Unlike the future-think Nexo, the near two-decade strong Santa Fe has always been a really strong seller for Hyundai, especially here in Canada. In fact, last year it was once again number one in the mid-size SUV segment with 24,040 units sold, well ahead of the second-place Ford Edge that only managed to pull in 19,156 new buyers in 2018. The Santa Fe has actually held first place in this category for more than a decade, an impressive feat considering how fierce the competition is. 

One thing you may notice missing from this redesigned 2019 Santa Fe is a “Sport” model designation. The outgoing two-row SUV was named Santa Fe Sport in order to differentiate it from the larger three-row Santa Fe XL, but the brand’s product planners (et al) skipped the Sport nameplate when introducing the ironically sportier 2019 Santa Fe, because at the time they knew what we didn’t, the much grander three-row Palisade was on the way. 

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.0T Ultimate Turbo AWD
Hyundai reserves these LED taillights for the Ultimate model too. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

I’m not going to go into much detail about the new Santa Fe’s exterior styling, only to say this fourth-gen model had a tough act to follow, and to add that I like the new design. As for the Santa Fe’s interior styling, quality, fit, finish, etcetera, I’m pretty sure it will impress you. It’s one of the most luxurious crossover SUVs in its class, with more soft-touch surfaces than the majority of rivals, the entire middle portion of the dash-top comprised of a stitched and padded composite material that looks like rich leather, this followed up with a similar surfacing on the sides of the lower console, the door panel armrests, and the door inserts. 

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.0T Ultimate Turbo AWD
The Santa Fe will upgrade your expectations for mid-size SUV refinement. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

The door uppers get a nice high-quality pliable treatment front and back too, with the Santa Fe’s only hard plastic being the most forward portion of the dash top, including the instrument shroud below the otherwise soft-touch hood, plus a small portion of each upper door panel, the entire lower section, and the lower half of the instrument panel. These areas don’t get touched a lot anyway, which is why most mainstream automakers follow suit, and being how nice Hyundai finished off the meshed metal-look inlays that wrap around the upper edge of the instrument panel into the doors front to back, plus the lovely variation on that metallic theme lower down on each door panel, which are actually speaker grills for the upgraded Infinity audio system, it’s okay that they didn’t go all the way with the soft-touch composites. 

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.0T Ultimate Turbo AWD
There’s no shortage of soft-touch above the waste, and the quality of materials is truly impressive. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

Along with that high-grade metal there’s a lot of nice satin-finish metallic detailing throughout the rest of the cabin too. Hyundai encircled the gauge cluster in metal brightwork, plus tastefully applied it to the steering wheel’s lower spoke switchgear, the tablet-style infotainment touchscreen, the dash vents, the dual-zone automatic climate control interface, the gear selector, the door pulls, the beautifully finished power window switches and side mirror controller, plus more. 

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.0T Ultimate Turbo AWD
A 7-inch TFT LCD multi-information display sits within this colourful primary gauge cluster. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

While all this impresses, the first thing I noticed when entering my top-line Santa Fe was its luxurious and totally unique headliner. It’s similar to denim, although not blue jeans, but rather a light beige khaki-coloured material with slightly browner flecks within. It looks rich, plus it wraps all the way down each roof pillar front to back, which is unheard of in this class, while it also opens up overhead thanks to a wonderfully large panoramic sunroof. It’s power-actuated by a double-purpose slider button that opens the sunscreen (made from the same beige denim material) with a light tap, and the glass itself after a slightly harder pull rearward. The overhead console surrounding the powered sunroof button also integrates switchgear for four LED reading lamps, plus it houses one of the softest padded sunglass holders I’ve ever felt. 

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.0T Ultimate Turbo AWD
The Santa Fe Ultimate is one of the most feature-rich SUVs in the mainstream market. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

Of note, the redesigned 2019 Santa Fe includes some new trim lines, starting with the base Essential, which can be upgraded to Preferred, Preferred Turbo, Luxury, and finally this as-tested Ultimate trim. Before I get into the details of each, let me once again praise Hyundai for saying goodbye to the “Limited” trim designation, not only because it’s way overused, but also because no one ever limits the sale of anything that wears a Limited trim badge. I’m also personally grateful they didn’t swap it out for “Platinum” instead, as that precious metal is becoming ubiquitous too. 

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.0T Ultimate Turbo AWD
The Santa Fe’s touchscreen is one of the fastest reacting systems we’ve ever tested. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

I like the name Essential for a base model, especially one that includes standard heatable front seats plus a standard heated steering wheel, not to mention a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, a backup camera with active guidelines, dual USB charge ports, Bluetooth, auto on/off projector headlights with LED accents, fog lamps, 17-inch alloys, chrome and body-colour exterior detailing, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, two-way powered driver’s lumbar support, 60/40 split folding rear seatbacks with recline, an electromechanical parking brake with auto hold, Drive Mode Select with Comfort, Smart, and Sport modes, and much more for just $28,999 plus freight and fees (make sure to go to CarCostCanada for all the pricing details, plus rebate info and dealer invoice pricing that could save you thousands). 

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.0T Ultimate Turbo AWD
The optional overhead camera, standard in Luxury trim and above, makes parking easy. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

Pay just $30,199 and you’ll get Hyundai’s suite of SmartSense advanced driver assistive systems including auto high beam assist, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go, forward collision alert and mitigation with pedestrian detection, lane keeping assist, and Driver Attention Warning. 

Adding all-wheel drive will set you back another $2,000 in Essential trim, or it comes standard with the $35,099 Preferred model that also makes the just-noted SmartSense package standard, while including even more safety features such as blindspot detection, rear cross-traffic alert with collision avoidance, a rear occupant alert system that remembers if you opened a rear door prior to driving and then reminds you that someone or something may still be in back when exiting, and finally safe exit assist that warns of traffic at your side when opening your door. 

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.0T Ultimate Turbo AWD
Dual-zone auto HVAC, 3-way seat heaters and coolers, a heated steering wheel and more help make the Santa Fe fabulously comfortable. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

Plenty of additional features are included in Preferred trim too, such as 18-inch alloys, turn signals integrated within the side mirror housings, proximity keyless access with pushbutton ignition, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, rear parking sensors, a Homelink garage door opener, dual-zone automatic climate control (with a CleanAir Ionizer, Predictive Logic and auto defog), BlueLink smartphone telematics, satellite radio, an eight-way powered driver’s seat, fore and aft sliding rear seats, plus more. Of note, the Santa Fe’s 2.4-litre base engine is still standard in Preferred trim, but you can now opt for a turbocharged 2.0-litre engine for $2,000 extra. 

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.0T Ultimate Turbo AWD
All Santa Fe trims get a quick-shifting 8-speed automatic with auto start/stop to save fuel. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

Heading up to $41,899 Luxury trim adds the turbo engine and AWD as standard equipment, plus dark chrome exterior door handles, door scuff plates, LED interior lighting, a 7.0-inch TFT LCD multi-information display within the primary instrument cluster, the aforementioned powered panoramic sunroof, a 360-degree Surround View parking camera, a deluxe cloth roofliner, leather console moulding, memory, four-way powered lumbar support and an extendable lower cushion for the driver’s seat, an eight-way powered front passenger’s seat, perforated leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, heatable rear outboard seats, rear side window sunshades, a proximity actuated smart liftgate, and more. 

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.0T Ultimate Turbo AWD
These are comfortable front seats, the driver’s aided by 4-way powered lumbar support. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

Lastly, my $44,999 Ultimate trimmed tester included most everything from Luxury trim plus 19-inch alloys, satin exterior trim and door handles, LED headlights, LED fog lamps, LED taillights, rain-sensing wipers, a head-up display that projects key info onto the windscreen ahead of the driver, a larger 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with navigation and traffic flow info including incident data via HD radio, plus a 12-speaker 630-watt Infinity audio system with QuantumLogic Surround sound and Clari-Fi music restoration technology, a wireless charging pad, and more. 

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.0T Ultimate Turbo AWD
The panoramic sunroof is massive, features a powered sunscreen and powers open. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

The two engines just mentioned are carryover, although both receive new variable valve timing for quicker response and better fuel economy. The base 2.4-litre four-cylinder continues to make 185 horsepower and 178 lb-ft of torque, while the top-line turbo 2.0-litre four increases power to 235 and torque to 260 lb-ft. Santa Fe fans will immediately notice that the upgraded engine is down 5 horsepower, but I can promise you it’s not at all noticeable. In fact, the new Santa Fe feels quicker than the outgoing one thanks to a much more advanced eight-speed automatic replacing the old six-speed unit, the new one also receiving standard auto start/stop that shuts the engine off when it would otherwise be idling in order to reduce emissions and save fuel. 

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.0T Ultimate Turbo AWD
Rear seating space is very generous, plus the seats slide forward, rearward, and recline nicely. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

Fuel economy is therefore improved over the outgoing model, with the 2.4 FWD base model now rated at 10.8 L/100km in the city, 8.0 on the highway and 9.6 combined compared to the old model’s respective 11.1 city, 8.6 highway and 10.0 combined; the same engine with AWD now capable of a claimed 11.2 city, 8.7 highway and 10.1 combined compared to 12.0, 9.1 and 10.7 respectively with last year’s Santa Fe 2.4 AWD; and finally 12.3 city, 9.8 highway and 11.2 combined for the 2.0-litre turbo instead of 12.5, 9.6 and 11.2 when compared to the same engine in the previous generation. Yes, a bit surprising the new eight-speed auto and auto start/stop system resulted in zero combined fuel economy improvement with the turbo, but when factoring in that most mileage is done in the city then it’s a positive. 

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.0T Ultimate Turbo AWD
There’s plenty of room for cargo, but I would have preferred some type of centre pass-through. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

The Santa Fe’s HTRAC All-Wheel Drive (AWD) system sends most of the powertrain’s torque to the front wheels in order to save fuel unless slippery conditions require additional traction at back, but choosing one of the available driving modes intelligently apportions motive power where it can most effectively improve efficiency or performance, based on need. For instance, Comfort mode splits front/rear torque approximately 70/30 for all-weather stability, while Eco mode pulls more to the front wheels, Sport mode pushes up to 50 percent to the rear wheels, and Smart mode varies all of the above as needed. 

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.0T Ultimate Turbo AWD
The load floor is nice and flat with all seats folded. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

Just like the outgoing third-generation Santa Fe, the new model incorporates a fully independent suspension with MacPherson struts in front and a multi-link setup at the rear, plus a stabilizer bar at each end for improved handling. The steering is motor-driven powered rack and pinion, and felt even more responsive than the setup in its regular-wheelbase Sport predecessor, while the suspension setup impressed even more. In fact, I’m not sure how Hyundai made its ride so compliant and easy on the backside, yet didn’t these seemingly soft underpinnings didn’t impact the Santa Fe’s handling one iota. The new Santa Fe manages corners better than the previous one, my tester’s upgraded 19-inch alloys and lower-profile 235/55 all-season tires no doubt assisting in this respect, but then again this should negatively affect ride quality and it certainly didn’t. 

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.0T Ultimate Turbo AWD
Storage space below the load floor comes in handy. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

As mentioned earlier, the revised turbocharged engine makes a bit less power than the outgoing one, but it certainly doesn’t feel any less energetic off the line. The eight-speed automatic is ultra-smooth and quite quick through the cogs as well, while the Santa Fe’s Drive Mode Integrated Control System can be set up for Sport mode that lets revs go higher between shifts, provides snappier engagement, improves throttle response, stiffens the steering, and as noted earlier apportions up to 50 percent of the AWD system’s torque to the rear, although I mostly left it in Smart mode as it combines the fuel savings of Eco mode, the smoother drivability of Comfort mode, and the driver engagement of Sport mode, depending on the way the it’s being driven. 

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.0T Ultimate Turbo AWD
The new 2019 Santa Fe is once again one of the best offerings in the mid-size SUV class. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

Of course, family vehicles always compromise performance for comfort, which is as it should be because that’s what most buyers in this category want. The 10-way powered driver’s seat was wonderfully comfortable all week, its powered lumbar adjustment finding the small of my back easily thanks to its optimal four-way design. Forced air can blow through the perforations in the upholstery to keep things cool in summer, a relieving feature, and there’s plenty of space up front to move around in. It’s roomy behind too, made even better by seat recliners that go way back, and the second row’s fore and aft sliding feature that provides more space for luggage when necessary. 

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.0T Ultimate Turbo AWD
It’s difficult not to recommend this SUV. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann)

The five-seat Santa Fe’s interior volume measures 4,151 litres (146.6 cubic feet), while its maximum cargo capacity is 1,016 litres (35.9 cubic feet) behind the second row and 2,019 litres (71.3 cubic feet) with its 60/40-split rear seatbacks lowered, a process that is made easier via powered release buttons on the cargo wall. Being a skier I would have appreciated 40/20/40 spit-folding rear seatbacks or a centre pass-through, especially considering how much nicer trips to the mountain would be for those in back if they could take advantage of the outboard seat heaters, so maybe Hyundai could consider this for a mid-cycle update in a couple of years. 

Just the same, the new 2019 Santa Fe is easily one of the better five-occupant crossover SUVs available, and should be considered if you’re in the market.

With the Genesis Coupe now long gone, and Genesis itself becoming a standalone luxury brand, this completely redesigned 2019 Veloster becomes the only dedicated sports model in Hyundai’s lineup.  That’s…

2019 Hyundai Veloster Turbo Tech

2019 Hyundai Veloster Turbo Tech
Hyundai fully redesigned its Veloster for 2019, and we’ve got a top-line Turbo Tech in our garage. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

With the Genesis Coupe now long gone, and Genesis itself becoming a standalone luxury brand, this completely redesigned 2019 Veloster becomes the only dedicated sports model in Hyundai’s lineup. 

That’s a pretty heavy weight for this little front-drive compact to carry, but it continues to walk with a swagger of confidence thanks to truly unique styling that preserves the original model’s unorthodox hatchback shape and its most identifiable feature, the long driver’s door that makes it look like a regular sports coupe from one side, and the extra rear passenger’s side door that allows easier access to the back seats. 

2019 Hyundai Veloster Turbo Tech
With one door on the driver’s side and two for passengers, the Veloster continues to strike a unique profile. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Yet there’s no way you’ll mistake the Veloster for a compact sedan or even a regular hatchback when one whizzes by, its third door sneakily hiding its handle in the rearmost section of the side glass surround as if doubling as a tiny quarter window, while the car’s general shape is much longer, lower and leaner, and its rear liftback design much more vertical and dramatically styled than the average compact commuter car. 

2019 Hyundai Veloster Turbo Tech
The Turbo gets some special grille and lower fascia detailing to set it apart from its normally aspirated sibling. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Of course, other than providing plenty of room up front and a fairly accommodating rear passenger compartment the Veloster is anything but the compact class average, yet its much more practical design makes it one of the more pragmatic choices amongst compact sports coupes, albeit this list has been dwindling in recent years and now disparate at best with only the Honda Civic Coupe available in three regular trims plus the sportier Si, plus the rear-wheel drive Subaru BRZ and Toyota 86 twins, and finally the soon to be discontinued VW Beetle. Certainly there are other sporty four- and five-door compacts from the legendary VW GTI/Golf R and Subaru WRX/STI to Ford’s Fiesta and Focus ST and RS models, the latter blue ovals already slated for cancellation, while a handful of mainstream volume brands still off larger performance cars, but the days of compact sport coupes seem numbered. 

2019 Hyundai Veloster Turbo Tech
This hidden rear door handle gets passengers into the back seats. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Reason enough for the Veloster to break the rules with its three-door body style (or four-door if you include the hatch), but rest assured its underpinnings are comparatively straightforward. It comes standard with a 2.0-litre base four-cylinder engine good for 147 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque, which drives the front wheels through a standard six-speed manual or optional six-speed automatic, whereas the Veloster Turbo model in our garage this week is 400 cubic centimetres smaller a just 1.6 litres yet puts out a much more energetic 201 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque. It still drives the front wheels through a standard six-speed manual gearbox, but those wanting automation can option up to a quick-shifting seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox with paddle shifters on the steering wheel. 

2019 Hyundai Veloster Turbo Tech
The Turbo comes very well equipped in standard guise, but our tester also includes a nicely outfitted Tech package. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Our tester includes the manual as we’d prefer if it were staying with us longer than a week, plus it also gets a $3,000 available Turbo Tech package featuring a powered head-up display system with a Sport mode function, rain-sensing wipers, rear parking sensors, automatic climate control with an auto defogger, a larger 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen with integrated navigation, eight-speaker Infinity audio with an external amplifier, leather upholstery, and two-way powered driver seat lumbar support. 

2019 Hyundai Veloster Turbo Tech
The Tech package includes a larger 8-inch touchscreen with navigation. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Another $500 provides an upgrade to the Performance package that adds unique 18-inch alloy wheels on 225/40 Michelin Pilot summer-performance tires, while all of the above was added to a Veloster Turbo that already comes standard with LED headlights, LED side mirror turn signal repeaters, LED taillights, a unique grille and extended side sills, proximity-sensing keyless access with pushbutton ignition, a 4.2-inch TFT multi-information display replacing a more conventional 3.5-inch trip computer within the gauge cluster, a powered glass sunroof, silver vent rings, checkered dash trim, partial cloth/leather upholstery with red stitching instead of blue, leatherette door trim, red interior accents, and more. 

2019 Hyundai Veloster Turbo Tech
These sporty leather seats come as part of the Tech package. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Of course, Turbo trim pulls up plenty of features from the base model mentioned earlier, including auto on/off headlights, LED daytime running lights, power-adjustable heated side mirrors, remote entry, a leather-wrapped heatable multifunction steering wheel, a tilt and telescopic steering column, cruise control, power windows, illuminated vanity mirrors, a sunglasses holder, filtered air conditioning, a one-inch smaller 7.0-inch infotainment touchscreen with standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a rearview camera with dynamic guidelines, six-speaker audio, Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity with audio streaming, a leather-wrapped shift knob, heated front seats, manual six-way driver and four-way front passenger seat adjustments, blindspot detection with rear cross-traffic alert, all the expected active and passive safety features, plus more. 

2019 Hyundai Veloster Turbo Tech
The Veloster looks like a sports coupe, but it’s practical like a 4-door hatchback. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Before moving on from trims and features, Hyundai now offers the even more capable Veloster N for 2019, boasting a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder good for a meaty 275 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. It comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission featuring downshift rev-matching, an electronically controlled limited slip differential for getting power down to the road, an electronically controlled suspension attached to unique 19-inch alloy wheels on 235/35 Pirelli summer-performance tires for maximizing lateral grip, Normal, Sport, N and Custom drive mode selections, a driver-adjustable active exhaust system, and more. 

2019 Hyundai Veloster Turbo Tech
The Veloster provides a decently sized cargo hold plus the versatility of 60/40 split-folding rear seatbacks. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

This $34,999 model gets unique styling details including some red paintwork along its lower extremities and the option of Chalk White, Phantom Black and exclusive Performance Blue (more of a baby blue) exterior colours, plus inside it features blue-stitched N exclusive cloth sport seats and other upgrades. 

2019 Hyundai Veloster Turbo Tech
Come back soon for the full review to find out how well this little Veloster Turbo hauls… (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Base Veloster and Veloster Turbo trims are much more affordable, the former starting at just $20,999 plus freight and fees, and the latter for only $25,899. You can add the conventional automatic to the base model for another $1,300, whereas the more performance-oriented dual-clutch automated gearbox ups the Turbo’s price by $1,500. This meant my almost fully featured test model came to $29,399, just shy of a fully loaded Veloster Turbo Tech DCT’s $30,399 list price. To get full 2019 Veloster pricing details include models, trims and options, not to mention detailed rebate info and dealer invoice pricing that could save you thousands, make sure to check out CarCostCanada. 

A standard 2019 Veloster upgrade that deserves the most attention of all is a change from a torsion beam rear suspension design to a new independent multi-link setup, which should theoretically improve comfort as well as high-speed stability over uneven road surfaces. We’ll be sure to cover this and plenty more in our upcoming road test review, but until it gets published make sure to check out our comprehensive photo gallery above…

The Santa Fe is one of the crossover SUV sector’s most popular entries, and it’s entirely new for 2019. We’ve got it in our garage this week, and without saying too much we’re impressed.  First…

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.0T Ultimate Turbo AWD

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.0T Ultimate Turbo AWD
The redesigned Hyundai Santa Fe takes on an entirely new look for 2019, appearing best in top-line 2.0T Ultimate Turbo AWD trim. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

The Santa Fe is one of the crossover SUV sector’s most popular entries, and it’s entirely new for 2019. We’ve got it in our garage this week, and without saying too much we’re impressed. 

First off, let’s clear up some confusion. The Santa Fe started life as more of a compact SUV than anything truly mid-size, but like so many other vehicles it has grown over the generations to the point that it now leans more towards mid-size than compact. Despite coming close to matching the length, width and height of a five-passenger mainstays like the Ford Edge, some industry insiders still call it compact and therefore muddle the marketplace, so I’m here setting the record straight. 

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.0T Ultimate Turbo AWD
The regular five-occupant Santa Fe is longer than it was before, now unquestionably in the mid-size camp. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

To be even more specific, at 4,770 millimetres (187.8 inches) long and 1,890 mm (74.4 in) wide the 2019 Santa Fe we’re testing here is a considerable 246 mm (9.7 in) longer than the current Ford Escape compact SUV yet only a fractional 9 mm (0.3 in) shorter than the Edge, while it’s 52 mm (2.0 in) wider than the former and only 38 mm (1.5 in) narrower than the latter. To be fair, the new Santa Fe is actually a full 70 mm (2.7 in) longer and 10 mm (0.4 in) wider than the outgoing model, this improving interior roominess. So while I’ve long considered the Santa Fe a mid-size crossover SUV, now we can all safely categorize as such and call it a day. This becomes even clearer when factoring the size of the three-row Santa Fe XL, which I’ll cover in a future review. 

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.0T Ultimate Turbo AWD
The Santa Fe gets some sophisticated exterior detailing that elevates the look to premium levels. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

This being a Garage piece, I won’t go into too much detail about the Santa Fe’s interior quality, fit, finish, styling, etcetera, or my experiences behind the wheel. Anyone who has read my reviews of previous Santa Fe Sport models, the vehicle this model replaces, will know I was a fan, so suffice to say this one is better in every respect. I’ll leave it there for now. 

Like the outgoing model this new one uses the same powertrains, although both receive new variable valve timing for improved response and fuel economy. The base engine remains the well-proven 2.4-litre four-cylinder making 185 horsepower and 178 lb-ft of torque, while the top-line turbocharged 2.0-litre four increase power to 235 and torque to 260 lb-ft. Astute readers will notice the upgraded engine is down 5 horsepower, and patient readers will come back to find out if that’s noticeable when I cover it in my review. 

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.0T Ultimate Turbo AWD
LED headlights, LED fog lamps, 19-inch alloys… the Santa Fe 2.0T Ultimate Turbo AWD has the goods. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

For now, take solace that the outgoing Santa Fe Sport’s six-speed automatic has been replaced by a much more advanced eight-speed auto with standard auto start/stop that shuts the engine off when it would otherwise be idling to reduce emissions and save fuel. Fuel economy is therefore improved over the outgoing model, with the 2.4 FWD base model now rated at 10.7 L/100km in the city, 8.2 on the highway and 9.6 combined compared to the old model’s respective 11.1 city, 8.6 highway and 10.0 combined; the same engine with AWD now capable of a claimed 11.2 city, 8.7 highway and 10.1 combined compared to 12.0, 9.1 and 10.7 respectively with last year’s Santa Fe 2.4 AWD; and finally 12.3 city, 9.8 highway and 11.2 combined for the 2.0-litre turbo instead of 12.5, 9.6 and 11.2 when compared to the same engine in the previous generation. Yes, a bit surprising that the new eight-speed auto and auto start/stop system resulted in zero combined fuel economy improvement with the turbo, but when factoring in that most mileage is done in the city then it can be seen as a positive. 

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.0T Ultimate Turbo AWD
This two-tone interior theme adds a rich elegance to the Santa Fe interior. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Like the outgoing Santa Fe, the new one features a fully independent suspension with MacPherson struts up front and a multi-link setup in the back, plus stabilizer bars at both ends for improved handling. The steering is motor-driven powered rack and pinion, 

Some other changes worth mentioning here in this Garage story include new trim lines, starting with the base Essential, and then upgraded with Preferred, Preferred Turbo, Luxury, and finally the as-tested Ultimate I’m driving this week. First, kudos to Hyundai for ditching the name “Limited” for a trim line they’d sell as many as they could if consumers would buy them, and more praise for not following the status quo and naming their top-line model “Platinum”. 

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.0T Ultimate Turbo AWD
It’s got style, but is the quality there? Come back for the full review and we’ll let you know what we think of the new Santa Fe’s interior. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

I like the name Essential for a base model, especially one that includes standard heatable front seats and a standard heated steering wheel, not to mention 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, a backup camera, dual USB charge ports, Bluetooth, illuminated vanity mirrors, auto on/off projector headlights with LED accents, fog lamps, 17-inch alloy wheels, chrome and body-colour exterior detailing, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, two-way powered driver’s lumbar support, 60/40 split folding rear seatbacks with recline, electromechanical parking brake with auto hold, Drive Mode Select with Comfort, Smart, and Sport modes, and much more for just $28,999 plus freight and fees (go to CarCostCanada for detailed pricing, plus rebate info and dealer invoice pricing that could save you thousands). 

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.0T Ultimate Turbo AWD
Luxury and Ultimate trims include this 7.0-inch TFT LCD multi-information display within the primary instrument cluster. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Ante up $30,199 and you’ll get Hyundai’s suite of SmartSense advanced driver assistive systems including auto high beam assist, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go, forward collision alert and mitigation with pedestrian detection, lane keeping assist, and Driver Attention Warning. 

All-wheel drive costs $2,000 with Essential trim or comes standard with Preferred trim, at which point the SmartSense package is included as well, plus blindspot detection, rear cross-traffic alert with collision avoidance, a rear occupant alert system that remembers if you opened a rear door prior to driving and then reminds that someone or something may still be in back when exiting, and finally safe exit assist that warns of traffic at your side when opening your door, for a total of $35,099. 

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.0T Ultimate Turbo AWD
Ultimate trim adds this larger 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with navigation plus traffic flow and incident data via HD radio. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Additional Preferred features include 18-inch alloy wheels, turn signals added to the side mirror housings, proximity keyless access with pushbutton ignition, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, rear parking sensors, a Homelink garage door opener, dual-zone automatic climate control with a CleanAir Ionizer, Predictive Logic and auto defog, BlueLink smartphone telematics, satellite radio, an eight-way powered driver’s seat, rear fore and aft sliding seats, and more. The 2.4-litre base engine is still standard in Preferred trim, but the turbocharged 2.0-litre engine is now a $2,000 option. 

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.0T Ultimate Turbo AWD
As comfortable as they look? Find out in the upcoming review. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Moving up to $41,899 Luxury trim adds the turbo engine and AWD as standard, plus dark chrome exterior door handles, door scuff plates, LED interior lighting, a 7.0-inch TFT LCD multi-information display within the primary instrument cluster, a powered panoramic sunroof, a 360-degree Surround View parking camera, a deluxe cloth roofliner, leather console moulding, memory, four-way powered lumbar support and an extendable lower cushion for the driver’s seat, an eight-way powered front passenger’s seat, perforated leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, heatable rear seats, rear side window sunshades, a proximity actuated smart liftgate, and more. 

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.0T Ultimate Turbo AWD
The rear seats slide back and forth and recline. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

My $44,999 Ultimate trimmed tester included most everything from Luxury trim plus 19-inch alloys, satin exterior trim and door handles, LED headlights, LED fog lamps, LED taillights, rain-sensing wipers, a head-up display that projects key info onto the windscreen ahead of the driver, larger 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment with navigation and traffic flow including incident data via HD radio, 12-speaker 630-watt Infinity audio with QuantumLogic Surround sound and Clari-Fi music restoration technology, a wireless charging pad, and more. 

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.0T Ultimate Turbo AWD
This longest ever five-passenger Santa Fe makes for the roomiest ever Santa Fe. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

The five-seat Santa Fe boasts interior volume of 4,151 litres (146.6 cubic feet) and cargo capacity measuring 1,016 litres (35.9 cubic feet) behind the second row and 2,019 litres (71.3 cubic feet) with the rear seatback laid flat, a process that is made easier via powered release buttons on the cargo wall. 

Being that this Garage review has turned into a comprehensive buyer’s guide, let’s cap it off here for now and leave something for the upcoming review. Make sure you come back soon for the good, bad and ugly experiential commentary…

Hyundai has built a lot of great compact cars over the years, but the new Elantra Sport might be its first true foray into true sport compact territory. It boasts a 201-hp turbo-four, 6-speed manual or…

2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport Road Test

Hyundai introduced its redesigned 2017 Elantra sedan so early last year that I'm having trouble thinking of this latest test car as a 2017 model, but so it is. Truly, by the time the 2018 model rolls around later this year the Elantra Limited that went to press on March 29, 2016 will be more than a year and a half old, but we're really only talking numbers.

Still, the 2017 Elantra Sport I tested more recently feels like an entirely different car than the Limited from before. Unlike so many performance pretenders, the "Sport" moniker on this special Elantra sedan's rear trunk lid does more than denote stylish body cladding, larger alloys and racier interior trim with sporty red accents, but rather includes all of the above-done very tastefully I might add-while signifying a completely reworked powertrain and suspension package for a car that really lives up to its name.

First off, the new Elantra Sport is the only version of the four-door model above the base "L Manual" Read Full Story
With Q1 behind us we probably shouldn’t forecast 2017 as the year of the car’s return, as SUV growth is still at unprecedented rates, but some models give the future of ground-hugging models hope.…

2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport

2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport
This good looking compact Hyundai sedan is one of the best performing cars in its class. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
With Q1 behind us we probably shouldn’t forecast 2017 as the year of the car’s return, as SUV growth is still at unprecedented rates, but some models give the future of ground-hugging models hope. After hovering around the 65k mark for the past half decade Honda’s Civic once again shows that the market for cars is ripe if you build something people want to buy (consider that thought for a moment Dodge), the ever-growing compact finding 7,251 buyers so far this year and 64,552 during calendar year 2016, while Toyota’s new Corolla family (it now includes the orphaned Scion iM in its ranks) was good for 5,996 deliveries over the first three months of 2017 and 48,195 last year.
2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport
Hyundai backs up the racy looking Elantra Sport with a 201-hp turbo four and superb handling. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
How about Hyundai and its Elantra? Thought you’d never ask. It’s running in third so far this year at 4,334 units despite being second in 2016 with 48,875, but 2017 is still young so we’ll just have to wait and see how things come out in the wash (we should really include Veloster sales in with the Elantra as it’s a sporty compact that effectively does battle with the Civic Coupe, although its miniscule 229 deliveries over Q1 2017 and 1,831 last year won’t help it measure up to the Corolla family second-place sales lead).
2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport
A well laid out and refined cabin makes the Elantra Sport easy to live with. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
Just the same the Elantra has a lot going for it, including the five-door Elantra GT. We drove that car way back in September of 2015 as its ushered in a new grille design for the 2016 model year, and then in March of 2016 we reviewed the completely redesigned 2017 Elantra Sedan in Limited guise as well, but since then Hyundai released new Sport trim for the four-door model and it’s been a breath of fresh air.
2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport
Leather seats, a superb infotainment system, and yes, that’s right, you’re looking at a 6-speed manual in an upscale Elantra. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
I won’t go into detail about its driving dynamics as that would give away the real meat of our upcoming road test review, but let’s just say the brand’s new engineering team is doing as much for chassis development as its design team has improved styling. In fact, I might go as far to say the new Elantra Sport, which is the only Elantra above the base LE to incorporate a manual transmission, is the spiritual successor to previous Civic Si models (not the outrageously quick Nürburgring trouncing 2018 five-door) due to its 201 horsepower 1.6-litre turbocharged and direct-injected four-cylinder and wonderful balance, or maybe more accurately it’s the spiritual successor to Nissan’s long missing-in-action Sentra SE-R (I’ll probably get hate mail if I push the Si issue). Either way it’s a superb driving car that I’ll dissect in an upcoming review.
2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport
Leather upholstered sport seats offer up plenty of side bolstering for excellent support. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
Much of its newfound goodness is the result of a new suspension appropriately named “Superstructure” by its creators. It utilizes more than 50-percent ultra-high tensile steels bonded together by aerospace-sourced adhesives (yes, we’re talking Hyundai here, not Audi), resulting in a much stiffer, lighter weight, and safer body structure that’s also a whole lot more exciting to drive. Hyundai has revised the suspension geometry too, while also isolating the body shell with a new subframe design, and made it quieter via increased sound deadening methods and materials including thicker glass all-round, making this the quietest and most refined Elantra yet.
2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport
Rear seat roominess and comfort is just as good as the regular Elantra sedan. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
The entire interior was improved with the 2017 update too, thanks to a new design and better materials including more soft-touch surfaces. What’s more, mid-range models equipped with backup cameras get a large 7.0-inch infotainment touchscreen while top-line models receive an even grander 8.0-inch display with navigation. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also part of the package, giving this fun-loving Hyundai more connectivity options than any new Porsche.
2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport
All that performance and it’s practical too. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)
At $24,999 the Sport is priced just higher than the mid-range Elantra SE and just below Limited trim, so it’s not top of the line (that position reserved for the $28,799 Limited Ultimate), but rather sits in its own performance category we hope Hyundai builds upon with yet more features and accessories. Come back soon to read our detailed review of the 2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport…