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Hyundai Santa Fe: Test Drive Review

Date: 26 October 2012   |   Author: Jack Carfrae

Category: Large 4x4
Price: £29,970
Key rival: Nissan X-trail

The Sante Fe, Hyundai's large, seven-seat 4x4, has been completely overhauled and is sporting all-new styling - synonymous with the brand's latest design direction - cleaner engines, and, in a similar vein to its most recent clutch of models, far greater quality cabin.

The driving experience is everything you'd expect from a large 4x4: it's smooth and comfortable, with light steering and a soft, if slightly floating, ride. What's somewhat unusual is the ability to toggle the steering settings between 'normal', 'sport' and 'comfort', which, in other cars, usually facilitates a change in the gearing and/or the chassis settings, but it purely applies to the weight of the steering with the Hyundai and seems a curious addition.

The Santa Fe has followed the lead of cars such as the i30 and the i40 in terms of its interior presentation. Obviously there are stark visual similarities to its smaller brethren with the switchgear and so on, but the same kind of significant progress has been made inside. It's arguably level pegging with the likes of Ford and Vauxhall and doesn't seem far shy of VW's famed levels of build quality, which is testament to the changes that have infiltrated Hyundai's range.

Space is unlikely to be an issue unless you're filling every seat (it's also available as a five-seater). The firm is claiming best-in-class rear passenger space, but while it isn't small, that seems a little presumptuous depending on exactly what it's being compared to, as 4x4s such as the Honda CR-V (tested on page 29) can trump it on second-row practicality, and other seven-seat 4x4s such as Volvo's XC90 are simply huge.

A front-wheel drive variant is available for the first time and brings emissions to a low of 155g/km and economy up to 47.9mpg. Appealing though the figures are, the company believes four-wheel drive is desirable in this corner of the market, so front-wheel drive variants are expected to make up a mere 10% of the sales mix.

Further up the range you're looking at a still impressive 159g/km and 46.3mpg from the manual 4x4 version, followed by a less alluring 178g/km and 41.5mpg from the six-speed automatic. Decent RVs, equipment and BIK levels mean it stacks up favourably against the direct rivals listed below.

As large 4x4s go, the Santa Fe still represents good value, even though the once large gap between its list prices and those of mainstream rivals is now much smaller. The step up in quality, good running costs for the size of car and Hyundai's reputation for reliability, along with its excellent aftermarket package, make it one of the most appealing and sensible seven-seat 4x4s on the market.

Hyundai Santa Fe 2.2 CRDi 194 Premium
P11D price£29,970
Residual value37.1%
Depreciation£18,845
Fuel£8435
SMR£2994
VED£510
National Insurance£3226
Cost per mile70.5p
Fuel consumption46.3mpg
CO2 (tax) 159g/km (25%)
BIK 20/40% per month£125/£250
Insurance (1-50)group 30
Warranty5yrs unlimited mls
Boot space516/1615 litres
(seven-seater)
Engine size/power2199cc /197hp
Top speed/0-62mph118mph/9.8secs
Score8/10
VerdictA big leap in
quality and still
good value for a
large 4x4


Verdict


A big leap in quality and still good value for a large 4x4
8/10

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