Hyundai Santa Fe review (2018-2023)

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

Carbuyer Rating

3.8 out of 5

Owners Rating

3.0 out of 5

Read owner reviews
Price
£43,215 - £52,015

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, made possible by switching to a new platform.

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 seven-seater cars 2023Top 10 best 7-seater cars 2024

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 as well. 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.

Which Is Best?

Cheapest

  • Name
    2.2 CRDi SE 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £31,956

Most Economical

  • Name
    1.6 TGDi Plug-in Hybrid Premium 5dr 4WD Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £47,605

Fastest

  • Name
    1.6 TGDi Plug-in Hybrid Premium 5dr 4WD Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £47,605

Recommended

Volkswagen Tiguan review – family SUV with a trusted formula
Volkswagen Tiguan drive
In-depth reviews
21 Feb 2024

Volkswagen Tiguan review – family SUV with a trusted formula

Fisker Ocean review – mid-size electric SUV with quirky features
Fisker Ocean SUV
In-depth reviews
21 Feb 2024

Fisker Ocean review – mid-size electric SUV with quirky features

Dacia Duster review – a great-value SUV that owners love
Dacia Duster SUV
In-depth reviews
20 Feb 2024

Dacia Duster review – a great-value SUV that owners love

All-new KGM Torres is a £35k SUV from reborn SsangYong
KGM Torres front quarter
News
19 Feb 2024

All-new KGM Torres is a £35k SUV from reborn SsangYong

Have You Considered

Land Rover Discovery Sport review - the family SUV for towing and off-roading
Land Rover Discovery Sport SUV
In-depth reviews
7 Feb 2024

Land Rover Discovery Sport review - the family SUV for towing and off-roading

Vauxhall Grandland review - a family-friendly SUV, but lacks flair
Vauxhall Grandland SUV - front 3/4 dynamic
In-depth reviews
6 Feb 2024

Vauxhall Grandland review - a family-friendly SUV, but lacks flair

Most Popular

Hot car deal: sporty Skoda Octavia vRS Estate for £278 a month
octavia vrs hot deal
Deals
19 Feb 2024

Hot car deal: sporty Skoda Octavia vRS Estate for £278 a month

All-new KGM Torres is a £35k SUV from reborn SsangYong
KGM Torres front quarter
News
19 Feb 2024

All-new KGM Torres is a £35k SUV from reborn SsangYong

Hot car deal: racy Cupra Ateca SUV for just £234 a month
cupra ateca
Deals
16 Feb 2024

Hot car deal: racy Cupra Ateca SUV for just £234 a month

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
19 Dec 2023

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Public EV charge point
Tips and advice
11 Jan 2023

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
17 May 2022

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
12 Apr 2023

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

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

Top 10 best car interiors

Top 10 best electric cars 2024
The best electric cars 2023
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

Top 10 best electric cars 2024

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2024
The best cheap-to-run cars 2023
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2024

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2024
Fastest hot hatchbacks hero
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2024