New Hyundai Santa Fe road test - well-built, reliable and good value

Derek Black takes a close look at the second generation Hyundai Santa Fe.

The Santa Fe has been a top seller for Hyundai over the past decade. Well-built, reliable and good value, this big 4×4 had a solid reputation. So what is new about the second generation?

It is much better looking for starters. This is a bolder, sleeker profile and a magnification of the current Hyundai family look. They call this design ‘Storm Edge’ and it has a European bent. Longer, lower and wider, the new Santa Fe has much more of a premium image.

As many SUVs function as family transport, Hyundai has retained the car’s core values of space and practicality. There are seven seat options as well as, for the first time, two-wheel drive versions for those who do most of their driving on the roads.

The 2.2-litre turbo diesel engine has been breathed upon to make it more efficient. This is a four-cylinder with an output of 194bhp – a power output that would not have disgraced a six-cylinder engine a few years ago. The Santa Fe can sprint from rest to 60mph in around 10 seconds, sharpish for a vehicle of its size.

Such are the improvements that the 2.2CRDi now returns 46mpg on the Combined Cycle and emissions are down to 159g/km. These figures are in line with more compact machines, so the Santa Fe offers its extra space without penalty.

There is a choice of six-speed manual or automatic gearboxes. Suspension is independent all around which should give a more car-like feel than most SUVs. The all-wheel drive system is simple to operate – automatically transfering power to all four wheels when it detects slippage. It comes with a hill descent system that automatically keeps the car’s speed under control on steep drops.

Towing capacity is 2,500kg braked and another innovation is a system to stabilise a trailer.

The Santa Fe got top marks in the EuroNCAP crash test and has an impressive barrage of safety equipment. Starting with seven air bags, this encompasses the latest safety technology including electronic stability control and an optional cruise control system that uses radar to warn if you are getting too close to the car in front.

Other techie features include headlamps that switch on automatically in dull conditions. Top models have reversing cameras and a parking assist system. This is the first Hyundai to have an ‘active hood’ – the bonnet cover rises in a collision to reduce injury to pedestrians.

The new generation Santa Fe costs from £25,495 for a five-seater Style model with two-wheel drive. Seven seaters cost from £26,695. Four-wheel drive models cost from £28,595. Even the flagship Premium SE model with seven seats, 4WD, automatic and the ‘Full Monte’ of equipment is a competitive £34,395.

These prices look good against more prestigious rivals. Unique to Hyundai is their Five Year Triple Care package – comprising a five-year unlimited warranty, five years of roadside assistance, and five years of vehicle health checks.

Review by Derek Black. You can contact Derek here.


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