Our editors spend all year evaluating cars for our annual Best Buy Awards. We test drive more than 300 models a year, looking for vehicles that combine affordability, dependability, reliability, and low ownership and operating costs. These attributes go hand-in-hand with vehicles offering comfort, convenience, the latest in high-tech driver and safety assists, intuitive infotainment, and, simultaneously, are satisfying to drive.
Financial considerations weigh heavily. They include 5-Year Cost to Own numbers that factor in depreciation, insurance, maintenance, financing, fuel, fees, and taxes.
Finally, we bring the best contenders in for head-to-head testing.
The Santa Fe wins on the numbers. A starting price as low as $28,200 and a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty make it slide more easily into your budget than many rivals.
It also wins on an incredible array of choices. Four powertrains and 10 trim levels make it easy to find the combination of traits you prefer in a car. And if you’re planning to keep your vehicle for a decade (why not, with warranty coverage for the entire time?), a plug-in hybrid option gives you the virtues of both a traditional gas-powered car and an innovative electric vehicle.
It sounds like we’re telling a value story — and we are — but our editors were also impressed with the fit and finish of the Santa Fe’s thoughtful cabin.
There are a lot of good midsize SUVs for sale. Last year, the category briefly surpassed full-size trucks as the vehicles Americans bought the most. But the 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe tops them all as our choice for the best value in its class.