Although Hyundai is getting plenty of well-earned attention for its Ioniq 5 crossover EV, and anticipation builds around the Santa Fe–sized Ioniq 7 electric SUV expected next year, with a total of 10 electrified vehicles due for its U.S. lineup by then, Hyundai is just getting ready to roll out its first plug-in hybrid SUV.
That’s the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe Plug-In Hybrid, and it arrives at dealerships in early August, Hyundai Motor North America recently confirmed to Green Car Reports.
It follows a more nuanced strategy that Hyundai is taking with plug-in hybrids, as it aims PHEV tech away from cars—why there’s no plug-in hybrid version of the midsize Sonata—and toward SUVs.
The 2022 Santa Fe Plug-In Hybrid has already been EPA-rated at 31 all-electric miles on plug-in charge, from a 13.8-kwh liquid-cooled battery pack (12.4 kwh usable). Its 33 mpg combined rating as a hybrid lands between the 32-mpg Santa Fe Hybrid and 34-mpg Santa Fe Hybrid Blue base model (both 2021 models). Hyundai hasn’t yet disclosed charging details, but the 3.3-kw onboard charger in U.S.-market versions will limit charging times to around four hours.
Hyundai Santa Fe Plug-In Hybrid – system layout
Like the Santa Fe Hybrid—Hyundai’s first hybrid SUV—the Plug-In Hybrid uses a version of the single-motor hybrid system Hyundai has been refining in incremental steps for the past decade, since its original use in the 2011 Sonata Hybrid. With it, a 66.9-kw (90-horsepower) electric motor—a 50% boost vs. the Santa Fe Hybrid’s motor—is nested between a 177-hp, 1.6-liter turbo-4 engine and 6-speed automatic transmission, with a motor-integrated engine clutch that can take the engine completely out of the propulsion mix in lower-load conditions. A stout 13-kw starter-generator helps bring the engine back into the mix when needed or adds charge when needed, although Hyundai doesn’t indicate that the Santa Fe PHEV has a charge-restoring mode.
The Plug-In Hybrid makes a peak 260 hp for the combined system—versus 226 hp for the Hybrid—and both models deliver all-wheel drive with a version of Hyundai’s HTRAC mechanical system and Normal, Smart, and Sport modes.
Pricing for the Santa Fe PHEV hasn’t yet been announced. It’s expected to be eligible for a federal EV tax credit of $6,587 under the existing framework—although it’s yet unclear if the amounts of this credit might change due to pending EV-savvy infrastructure legislation. That could be why Hyundai is waiting so long to price this model.
The Santa Fe Hybrid starts at $34,835 for the base Blue model, or $38,785 for the SEL Premium that adds leather upholstery, Harman Kardon audio, a panoramic sunroof, and an upsized 10.25-inch touchscreen. The top Limited, at $41,135, comes with a heated steering wheel, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, and top active-safety and driver-assistance features. Plug-In Hybrid models are expected to skip the Blue trim and span from SEL Convenience version to the top Limited.
Plug-in hybrid SUVs haven’t fully met the demand that they could, as of yet. Toyota hasn’t stepped up supply of the 42-mile RAV4 Prime, and as of yet the only mass-market alternative is the dated Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. A plug-in hybrid version of the Kia Sorento is likely arriving next year, and the Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe revealed this past week will make the segment more interesting, likely including off-road capability. Will the Santa Fe Plug-In Hybrid be widely available and priced right? Check back in a few weeks.