Hyundai might not be the first brand name that comes to mind when it comes to luxury SUVs and crossovers. However, that might start to change when more people take notice of the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy model. The Calligraphy trim is a new addition for 2021. It’s got all the sophistication of a premium SUV without the six-figure price tag.
The 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe has some tough competition in the mid-sized SUV segment. There’s the Nissan Murano, Honda Passport, Kia Sorento, and Jeep Grand Cherokee just to name a few. Luckily, the Calligraphy model trim offers true luxury amenities and features at a competitive price point.
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Style Elements of the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy
The new Santa Fe SUV has been updated for 2021. The front end has a unique LED headlight design with two narrow daytime running lights that come together and trail down the front fascia. The grille is wide and has a cascading pattern.
From the profile, the Santa Fe has large, rounded wheel wells and creases in the side paneling that travel from front to rear. The recessed wheel well trim might not be the Santa Fe’s best stylistic feature. It looks as if something fell off the vehicle. Hyundai designers could have easily slapped on a bit of body paneling to flush out the profile.
The rear of the vehicle has narrow, tapered taillights to follow the design elements of the front. It’s a smart rear end that doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel of SUV design. The liftgate in the back opens automatically and there’s a rear skid plate underneath.
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Interior Amenities of the Santa Fe Calligraphy Model
The 2021 Santa Fe Calligraphy model has a spacious interior with luxury features in all the right places. The interior has quilted Nappa leather seating, an electronic gearshift knob, and ambient lighting. You’d have to remind yourself that this is still a Hyundai and not a flashy Genesis G80.
The center console slides all the interface surfaces down the dashboard. The 10-inch touchscreen navigation sits high over the dash. There are air-con vents in the center and the radio, climate controls, parking brake and gear shifter are beneath it. Admittedly, this is probably the worst feature of the Santa Fe’s interior because there are so many tactile buttons and knobs. It could take the driver’s attention away from the road.
The Calligraphy model provides plenty of space for all the occupants. Five passengers can fit, but four would ride more comfortably. There are 44 inches of legroom and 57.5 inches of hip room up front for the driver and passenger. That’s more wiggle room than the Kia Sorento and the Nissan Murano. All told, there are 115.5 cubic feet of passenger volume in the new Santa Fe SUV and 72.1 cu. Ft. of cargo space.
The Calligraphy model comes with a panoramic sunroof and a Harmon Kardon premium sound system. These are features from the premium package, but the top-level Calligraphy model bundles all the best features from all the available packages into the final build. That includes heated front and rear seats, wireless device charging, and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity.
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Performance of the Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy
For a mid-sized SUV, the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe gets above-average gas mileage in Calligraphy form. Drivers can expect to travel 28 miles per gallon on the highway and 21 miles per gallon in the city when equipped with all-wheel drive. Those numbers change ever so slightly with front-wheel drive, granting drivers of the Santa Fe SUV 22 MPG in the city and 25 MPG combined.
The Calligraphy model of the Santa Fe comes equipped with Hyundai’s 2.5 Liter turbo inline 4. This powertrain efficiently motivates the mid-sized SUV with 277 horsepower and 311-pound feet of torque. Front-wheel drive is standard, but all interested shoppers should opt for the HTRAC all-wheel drive in their final build-out. The Calligraphy model has an updated transmission. It’s an 8-speed wet dual-clutch with SHIFTRONIC technology. There’s a multi-link suspension in the rear and MacPherson struts on the front. Both axles benefit from gas shock dampers and stabilizer bars.
The 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe can’t match the towing capacity of the Jeep Grand Cherokee, but still puts on decent numbers when outfitted with trailer brakes and trailer sway control. The Calligraphy model can tow 3,500 pounds, but without the right towing package those numbers fall to just 1,500 lbs.
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Top Safety Equipment for the Calligraphy Model
One of the strong suits of the Calligraphy model is that it comes with all the best safety equipment that Hyundai has to offer. For other Santa Fe models, these features are optional, but the Calligraphy puts it all in the build-out.
The automatic emergency braking has been improved over the previous year’s Santa Fe SUV. Now, it can detect vehicles, bikes, and pedestrians. The safety system can automatically bring the vehicle to a direct halt to avoid a collision.
The Calligraphy model comes with some autonomous driving features that you won’t find on the Honda Passport or the Nisan Murano. The 2021 Santa Fe has Remote Smart Parking Assist which can basically park the vehicle by remote. This is especially helpful if you’re stuck in a tight space with vehicles all around your SUV. You can stand outside and watch as the 2021 Santa Fe exits the parking space by itself.
Another class-exclusive safety feature for the Calligraphy model is the advanced monitoring system. You can use the onboard cameras and radar array to get surround views of the vehicle and even a live feed of your blind side. Partner that with a heads-up display and you’ve got peace of mind behind the wheel.
Final Build Notes for the 2021 Santa Fe Calligraphy Model
There are two versions of the Calligraphy trim available from Hyundai. The one with 19-inch wheels has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $42,100. The Calligraphy model with 20-inch alloy wheels has an MSRP of $42,300. At that price, the Calligraphy model can rival any premium SUV or crossover on the market.
The Calligraphy model gets a grab bag of luxurious amenities and top-level safety features. It has a 10-inch navigation screen and a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster with a heads-up display for the windshield. That’s totally Audi Q5 territory and the 2021 Santa Fe has all the other automakers nervous. You can’t find that much technology on display with the Ford, Nissan, and Honda budget SUVs.
One of the main reasons that the 2021 Santa Fe is a gamechanger is that Hyundai has arguably the best warranty in the automotive industry. Not only do buyers get the best Hyundai features for the Calligraphy model, but they also get 3 years of hassle-free maintenance, a 10-year powertrain warranty, a 5-year new vehicle warranty, and 5 years of roadside assistance. It’s hard to beat that level of consumer confidence.
If you’re like the style and features of the 2021 Santa Fe from Hyundai, then you should take a second look at the Calligraphy model. It comes fully loaded with all-wheel drive, semi-autonomous safety features, and stylish 20-inch wheels. It doesn’t take an automotive expert to tell that this is a smart buy that can last for a few hundred thousand miles or more.