Some of us love having a fancy badge on our SUV that tells the neighbors that we spent some money on our new vehicle. Some of us don’t care about what the badge says, but how comfortable we can be inside, and for those folks, the 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy may be a surprise luxury SUV.
Do not you believe it? The new Calligraphy Edition offers luxurious details and technology that rivals SUVs costing $20,000 more, but with an understated Santa Fe badge on the exterior.
What do you mean by a luxurious Hyundai Santa Fe?
In the luxury SUV, there are some principles, whether it is Lexus, BMW or Hyundai. Your SUV needs leather seats, chrome or black trim, big wheels, interior lighting you can control, a head-up display, and heated/ventilated seats. The Santa Fe can put a check next to each box on the Calligraphy border. The Limited trim has many of those options, too, but not the soft-touch Nappa leather.
Sure, many of the staples of the entry-value-packed SE trim-level model carry over to the top-of-the-line Calligraphy version. But not many people complain about the eight-speed automatic transmission or the 2.5-liter turbocharged gasoline engine that makes 277 horsepower. It also comes in Hybrid and PHEV versions, but we’re focusing on the gas version here.
Calligraphy inside is where it’s at
Many luxury SUVs like to announce their presence with a giant shiny grille (ahem, Lexus), but Hyundai simply adds a few chrome pieces to the exterior. That’s just fine because the premium quality is evident in the interior with Nappa leather-wrapped seats and doors, a microfiber headliner, and a premium stereo.
Sure, if you’re familiar with the $28,000 base version of the Santa Fe, you’ll see familiar details. But overall, the Calligraphy does a good job of hiding its cheap roots and covering them up with leather and diamond-shaped stitching and plastic. It is also spacious, according to US news and world report.
Hyundai’s new technology also helps
The Calligraphy comes with a giant 10.25-inch touchscreen as well as a large digital display cluster. It has eight-way driver and passenger seats that are naturally heated and cooled. Navigation-based cruise control is standard, as is Hyundai’s suite of driver aids and wireless charging. Hyundai also offers a phone app that allows you to control many functions from outside the SUV, such as a remote start.
What’s new for 2023?
The 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe is basically a transfer model. There are a few changes, such as the availability of a black grille or silver grille on some trim levels, and a new black lower door trim on the SEL model. Availability of the 12.3 digital instrument cluster and navigation-based Intelligent Cruise Control has also been expanded, as have H-Tex seating surfaces on base models.
The Santa Fe Slots between Tucson and Palisade
The Santa Fe is Hyundai’s midsize SUV, in the sense that the Tucson is smaller and the Palisade is larger. The Tucson and Santa Fe are strictly five-seat, while the Palisade can fit up to eight.
How much does a fully charged Santa Fe cost?
The Calligraphy trim adds all options except all-wheel drive, for a final price of $42,050. All-wheel drive adds $1,700 to any Santa Fe model. Not everyone can imagine a $42,050 Hyundai, but for the complete package, the Calligraphy seems to hold its own.