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
£37,476 - £48,521

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 enhance the South Korean brand's reputation. The latest Hyundai Santa Fe offers the same SUV package as its predecessors, rivalling seven-seat SUVs like the Skoda Kodiaq, Nissan X-Trail, Peugeot 5008, Kia Sorento and Volvo XC90 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 a pair of new 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.

Top 10 best 7-seater cars 2022

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. However, in our 2021 Driver Power survey, 21% of owners reported a fault with their cars in the first year, which was more than the average.

Next Steps

Which Is Best?

Cheapest

  • Name
    2.2 CRDi Premium 5dr 4WD
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £37,476

Most Economical

  • Name
    1.6 TGDi Plug-in Hybrid Premium 5dr 4WD Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £45,226

Fastest

  • Name
    1.6 TGDi Plug-in Hybrid Premium 5dr 4WD Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £45,226

Recommended

Volvo XC60 SUV review
Volvo XC60 SUV front 3/4 tracking
Volvo XC60
14 Jan 2022

Volvo XC60 SUV review

Ford Fiesta hatchback review
Ford Fiesta Best Buy cutout
Ford Fiesta
14 Jan 2022

Ford Fiesta hatchback review

Nissan Qashqai SUV review
2021 Nissan Qashqai driving along road
Nissan Qashqai
14 Jan 2022

Nissan Qashqai SUV review

Used Nissan Qashqai review: 2014-2021 (Mk2)
Nissan Qashqai
Nissan Qashqai SUV
13 Jan 2022

Used Nissan Qashqai review: 2014-2021 (Mk2)

Have You Considered

Genesis GV80 SUV review
Genesis GV80 SUV
Genesis GV80
2 Jan 2022

Genesis GV80 SUV review

Skoda Karoq SUV review
Skoda Karoq SUV front 3/4 tracking
Skoda Karoq
16 Dec 2021

Skoda Karoq SUV review

Most Popular

UK road tax costs 2021/2022 explained
2021 Road Tax explained
Tips and advice
7 Jan 2022

UK road tax costs 2021/2022 explained

Best 0% APR car deals
Hyundai Bayon deals
Deals
5 Jan 2022

Best 0% APR car deals

2022 Citroen C5 Aircross facelift gets bold styling makeover
Citroen C5 Aircross facelift
Citroen C5 Aircross
12 Jan 2022

2022 Citroen C5 Aircross facelift gets bold styling makeover

More on Santa Fe

Show me:
New 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe on sale from £40,250
2020 Hyundai Santa Fe driving
Hyundai Santa Fe
2 Mar 2021

New 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe on sale from £40,250

New Hyundai Santa Fe SUV available with hybrid and plug-in hybrid options
New 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe due in September
Hyundai Santa Fe SUV
27 May 2020

New 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe due in September

Hyundai set to replace its seven-seat SUV after just two years on sale
2018 Mitsubishi Shogun Sport prices, engines and on-sale date
Mitsubishi Shogun
20 Jun 2018

2018 Mitsubishi Shogun Sport prices, engines and on-sale date

The seven-seat Mitsubishi Shogun Sport arrives in July to take on the Skoda Kodiaq
Hyundai Santa Fe (2013-2018)
Hyundai Santa Fe SUV
27 Feb 2018

Hyundai Santa Fe (2013-2018)

"The Hyundai Santa Fe is a pretty stylish seven-seater SUV that’s big and practical inside, but also quite expensive to buy"
Hyundai unveils new i20 Active and Santa Fe SUV at Frankfurt
Hyundai i20 Coupe
16 Sep 2015

Hyundai unveils new i20 Active and Santa Fe SUV at Frankfurt

Korean brand showcases new SUVs among a flurry of motor show activity
All-new Hyundai Tucson teased
Hyundai Santa Fe SUV
3 Feb 2015

All-new Hyundai Tucson teased

The replacement for the Hyundai ix35 - the Hyundai Tucson - has been teased ahead of its launch next month
Hyundai Santa Fe SUV (2006-2012)
Hyundai Santa Fe SUV
28 Jun 2013

Hyundai Santa Fe SUV (2006-2012)

"Spacious, practical and competent off-road, the Santa Fe is accomplished but lacks driving enjoyment."

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
10 Aug 2021

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Electric car charging station
Tips and advice
5 Nov 2021

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?
PCP vs HP
Tips and advice
29 Sep 2021

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
23 Jul 2021

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Top 10 best car interiors 2022
Peugeot 208 hatchback
Best cars
25 Jun 2021

Top 10 best car interiors 2022

Top 10 best electric cars 2022
Ioniq 5
Best cars
1 Dec 2021

Top 10 best electric cars 2022

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2022
Toyota Prius front 3/4 cornering
Best cars
15 Dec 2021

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2022

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2022
Audi RS 3 driving - front view
Hot hatches
27 Oct 2021

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2022