Our Fleet Test Drive: Hyundai Santa Fe - Final Report
05 June 2007
Author: Tristan Young
 A lack of TA – Traffic Announcement – function on the radio
Hyundai is only now starting to get serious in the business car market, so it was appropriate that we ran the firm's most sensible fleet offering - the 2.2-litre diesel Santa Fe off-roader - as part of our long-term fleet.
With seven seats and plenty of equipment in CDX form the car was well received by those who used it for transporting families. However, although the third row of seats was easy to fold out or stow away, the sixth and seventh seats  were rarely used in anger. Most preferred a massive boot plus comfortable seating for five.
In fact, comfort and ease of use were the Santa Fe's most endearing traits. We'd also chosen an automatic version, which while feeling a touch slow, was just how the car should be ordered. The auto' 'box  meant stress-free driving in central London and when stuck in jams on the UK's roads network. And because the car isn't in any way sporty, the control gained with a manual wasn't missed either.
Picking an automatic usually has the downside of crippling the fuel consumption, but our figure wasn't as horrific as we'd feared it might be, with a 26.4mpg average being recorded over the 5603 miles in our hands. This meant the cost per mile was also respectable at 48.9 pence per mile against a predicted figure of 43.8p.
Negatives were few and far between. The lack of a boot cover worried some drivers, but it just meant we left fewer things on display when the car was parked. More annoying, but less of a worry, was the radio's  lack of a TA (Traffic Announcement) function. The car was also stickered by the anti-4x4 brigade in its first few days.
Externally, the car held its own for looks and even convinced one neighbour to buy one for himself having first seen it parked on our publisher's driveway. It was also 100% reliable, so we never had cause to test the standard five-year warranty (most makers only offer three years).
The Santa Fe performed impressively in its few months with us - there are still only a few 4x4s that can carry seven in comfort.