In-depth reviews

Hyundai Santa Fe SUV review

"The seven-seat Hyundai Santa Fe is a fashionable replacement for an MPV"

Carbuyer Rating

4.3 out of 5

Owners Rating

3.0 out of 5

Read owner reviews
Price
£39,406 - £48,371

Pros

  • Spacious seven-seater
  • Hybrid powertrains
  • Attractive interior

Cons

  • Coarse engine note
  • Slightly firm ride
  • Expensive

From relative obscurity, the Hyundai badge has come to be a common sight on the UK's roads and cars like the Santa Fe have done much to reinforce the South Korean brand's reputation. The latest Hyundai Santa Fe offers the same SUV package as its predecessors, rivalling seven-seat versions of the Skoda Kodiaq, Nissan X-Trail, Peugeot 5008 and Kia Sorento in the process. 

A facelift in 2021 pushed the car more upmarket to give it a genuine chance to challenge the Land Rover Discovery Sport. More significant than most midlife updates, the Santa Fe not only got a new look but also received new technology and hybrid powertrains.

An enlarged front grille dominates the nose and now flows into the headlight units. Slit-like LED lights sit higher up, for a distinctive signature look. It's a more confident look than the smaller Hyundai Kona and more aggressive too. The theme continues at the rear, where a full-width light bar and clean bumper design help achieve a bold but unfussy look. The smart exterior style of the Santa Fe gets it off to a good start, then, and that continues inside.

The way the doors curve round into the top of the dashboard is a neat design touch. The layout is clear and the materials look and feel superior to many previous Hyundais and are a closer match for a Land Rover. Equipment is generous across the range, with LED lights, heated front and rear seats, a powered tailgate, Krell sound system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto all standard. Both models also get sat nav, which wasn’t fitted as standard on the now-discontinued entry-level SE trim.

While the old Santa Fe was only available with one diesel engine - a 2.2-litre four-cylinder diesel with 197bhp - the updated model comes with hybrid and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) options. The hybrid mixes a 1.6-litre petrol engine and electric motor for a total of 227bhp. The PHEV gets a more powerful electric motor and bigger battery, increasing its fuel-efficiency from around 44mpg in the hybrid to just over 170mpg in the PHEV. 

Performance is reasonable but not breathtaking, with 0-62mph taking under 10 seconds, and the handling is safe, smooth and comfortable rather than entertaining.

As a good-looking and practical family SUV, the Santa Fe stacks up well, with its spacious seven-seat interior and big boot. Standard autonomous emergency braking bodes well for safety along and only 8.9% of Hyundai owners reported any faults with their cars in our 2020 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey. It should be a trouble-free and relatively cost-effective ownership proposition.

Next Steps

Which Is Best?

Cheapest

  • Name
    1.6 TGDi Hybrid Premium 5dr Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £39,406

Most Economical

  • Name
    1.6 TGDi Plug-in Hybrid Premium 5dr 4WD Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £45,076

Fastest

  • Name
    1.6 TGDi Hybrid Premium 5dr Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £39,406

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