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Hyundai Santa Fe review - Engines, drive & performance (2018-2023)

While safe and easy to drive, the Hyundai Santa Fe is unlikely to get the pulse racing

Carbuyer Rating

3.8 out of 5

Owners Rating
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Engines, drive & performance Rating

3.5 out of 5

​The one area where the Hyundai Santa Fe presents its weakest challenge to premium rivals is driver appeal. Driving the South Korean SUV is by no means a chore, but a Land Rover Discovery Sport - or even a Skoda Kodiaq - is more likely to put a smile on your face.

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While there's not much in the way of reward, there’s not much required in the way of effort to drive the Santa Fe either; it resists body lean admirably in sharp corners for such a large SUV, feels secure and has plenty of grip. The four-wheel drive system can help if you reach the Santa Fe's limits because you can feel it shuffling torque to different wheels to help prevent understeer. But, for most drivers, front-wheel drive will be the better choice because it makes the Santa Fe more efficient.

Hyundai Santa Fe hybrid

The hybrid version is fitted with a 1.6-litre petrol turbo engine and a 59bhp electric motor, bringing its total up to 227bhp - more than the old 2.2-litre diesel. It feels just as quick but unfortunately the 1.6-litre engine sounds rather harsh, even when it isn't working particularly hard. Acceleration from 0-62mph takes 9.1 seconds, while its top speed is 116mph.

Plug-in hybrid

The PHEV uses the same petrol engine as the hybrid but has a more powerful 90bhp electric motor, for an increased total of 261bhp. Despite the extra power on offer, the PHEV isn’t much quicker than the hybrid due to the extra weight of the car’s larger battery; 0-62mph takes 8.8 seconds. When the battery is depleted and the electric motor isn’t chipping in, the petrol engine feels strained and can struggle with the weight it’s having to push forwards.

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Which Is Best?

Cheapest

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

Most Economical

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    £47,605

Fastest

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