Review

Hyundai Santa Fe SUV

Price  £31,850 - £39,000

Hyundai Santa Fe SUV

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • Five-year warranty
  • Lots of interior space
  • Stylish modern design
Cons
  • Quite expensive to buy
  • Automatic gearbox is poor
  • Third-row seat access and space

At a glance

“The Hyundai Santa Fe is a practical and comfortable seven-seat SUV, but it doesn’t provide the driving experience or value offered by some rivals.”

With the exception of the rare Genesis executive saloon, the Hyundai Santa Fe SUV is the most expensive and luxurious car offered by the South Korean brand. While it boasts leather seats, four-wheel drive and a punchy 2.2-litre diesel engine as standard, the lack of an ‘entry-level’ model means the Santa Fe is quite expensive to buy.

Rivals like the Land Rover Discovery Sport, Nissan X-Trail and Mitsubishi Outlander offer a wider choice of engines and better fuel economy, too. The Kia Sorento SUV manages to be about £3,000 cheaper than the Santa Fe, despite using the same diesel engine.

That 197bhp 2.2-litre diesel is powerful enough to get the Santa Fe from 0-62mph in just nine seconds, while fuel economy of 46.3mpg and CO2 emissions of 161g/km (making road tax £185 a year) are reasonable rather than noteworthy. This engine does give the Santa Fe good towing ability, plus there's the option of an automatic gearbox – although specifying this sees the car's fuel economy drop to 42.2mpg and road tax jump two bands to £230 a year.

On the road, the Santa Fe is surprisingly enjoyable to drive for a large SUV. It's not quite as much fun as the Mazda CX-5, but it does a good job of insulating you from potholes and poor road surfaces without suffering too much body lean in corners.

Inside, the Santa Fe is spacious for both driver and passengers. It's a five-seater as standard, with the option of turning it into a seven-seater for about £1,000. The dashboard is well built and the controls are easy to use, but it lacks any real design flair compared to rivals. There are also some scratchy plastics on display, which is disappointing given the Santa Fe's relatively high starting price.

At least standard equipment is very generous. The Santa Fe is only available in two trim levels – Premium and Premium SE. Both come with heated leather seats, split-folding rear seats, Bluetooth phone connectivity, cruise control, rear parking sensors and air-conditioning. You also get rain-sensing windscreen wipers, roof rails and a touchscreen sat-nav system with a rear-view parking camera.

Upgrading to Premium SE (which is only available with seven seats) will leave you wanting for little. This top-spec trim gives you larger 19-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry, hands-free boot opening, power-adjustable ventilated front seats and a panoramic sunroof.

Choosing Premium SE with the automatic gearbox sees the Santa Fe nudging £40,000, though. For than money, you could have a well-specified Land Rover Discovery Sport – a more desirable and superior car that's likely to retain more value on the secondhand market.

In terms of reliability, the current Santa Fe didn’t feature in our 2015 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, but Hyundai's 21st-place finish (out of 32 carmakers) indicates a below-average ownership experience. You do get a five-year/unlimited-mileage warranty as standard, though, so Santa Fe ownership should cause you few sleepless nights. A five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP adds further peace of mind.

MPG, running costs & CO2

3 / 5

The Hyundai Santa Fe diesel isn't the most economical, but it's relatively cheap to own

Engines, drive & performance

3.5 / 5

The Hyundai Santa Fe is capable and dependable rather than fun to drive

Interior & comfort

3.7 / 5

The Hyundai Santa Fe is comfortable and well equipped, but its interior lacks the wow factor

Practicality & boot space

4 / 5

Huge boot and seven-seat option are key selling points of the Hyundai Santa Fe

Reliability & safety

4 / 5

The Hyundai Santa Fe comes with excellent five-year warranty and plenty of safety kit

What the others say

3.9 / 5
based on 4 reviews
4 / 5
"The Hyundai Santa Fe is a good looking, well built seven-seat SUV with a limited model range and a high asking price."
4 / 5
"The seven-seat version of the Hyundai Santa Fe makes a fine alternative to an MPV, but there are better-value SUVs out there."
4 / 5
"It's a far superior model than before and easily good enough to consider alongside a Honda CR-V."
7 / 10
"The latest Santa Fe might just be all the car you ever need. Think cut-price Discovery."
What owners say 
4.48125
4.5 /5 based on 16 reviews
94%
 of people would recommend this car to a friend

Owner rating:

2 star   0
1 star   0
Last updated 
18 Apr 2016
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