The 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy Is Worth It For The 0-60 Boost

As the flagship trim for Hyundai's 2023 Santa Fe, the Calligraphy is a lot of things. Well-equipped with technology and comfort features, glittering with a little extra chrome compared to its more affordable trim-siblings, and offered with appealing features like all-wheel drive and Highway Driving Assist. One big reason you might want to consider spending extra on the top spec, though, is speed.

You could make a solid argument that the "Sport" in "SUV" has been forgotten, in most cases, in favor of the "Utility" part. After all, the flourishing SUV and crossover market has loaded up on two- and three-row options in recent years, all promising to be the most flexible, adaptable, and generally family-friendly option out there.

Hyundai offers two engines on the Santa Fe. More affordable trims get a 2.5-liter four-cylinder, with 191 horsepower and 181 lb-ft of torque. The Calligraphy — like the Limited trim just below it — steps that up to a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder, good for 281 horsepower and 311 lb-ft of torque. That brings with it a welcome bump in towing capabilities, climbing from 2,000 pounds to 3,500 pounds max.

Price versus power

The standard engine is affordable — the Santa Fe range kicks off at $28,200 (plus destination) for the front-wheel drive SE trim — but it's hardly going to shock anyone with its performance. It'll do 0-60 mph in under ten seconds, yes, but only barely. In Car and Driver's testing, the non-turbo Santa Fe clocked in at 9.6 seconds.

The Santa Fe Calligraphy's turbo engine, in contrast, will do the same 0-60 run in around 6.0 seconds. It feels perky, too, with the standard 8-speed wet dual-clutch transmission quick to shift even when the SUV isn't in Sport mode. Highway overtaking is a cinch, too, with no acceleration lag in that all-important 60-80 mph bracket.

Of course, there are other factors to consider than just outright pace. Fuel economy is impacted by the engine, too, and if gas prices are your primary concern then the non-turbo Santa Fe might be more appealing. The base engine is rated at 25 mpg in the city, 28 mpg on the highway, and 26 mpg combined. However the turbocharged version comes in at 22 mpg in the city, 28 mpg on the highway, and 25 mpg combined.