The Hyundai Santa Fe has always been one of the cheapest seven-seat SUVs you can buy. But now it’s heading upmarket with a price that’s £3,000 higher than before.
We got behind the wheel of an early prototype, and first impressions are good. With a bold front end and cleaner lines, it looks more expensive. The only engine option is a 197bhp 2.2-litre diesel which is smooth and efficient: Hyundai claims 46.3mpg and 159g/km of CO2 in the four-wheel- drive manual model.
Performance isn’t blistering, but the car covers 0-62mph in 9.8 seconds. It feels much more grown-up on the move, too. The suspension deals with bumps well – although it’s a little on the firm side – while the Sante Fe is composed around corners. The only complaint concerns the steering, which occasionally feels a little bit vague.
Our pre-production car had soft-touch materials covering the dash, classy-looking dials and solid switchgear, ensuring it felt classy and ready for the showroom. Practicality is as impressive as ever, too: the boot is vast and even the two extra seats that fold up out of the floor are usable for small adults. So the new Santa Fe certainly justifies the increase in price.