In-depth reviews

Hyundai Santa Fe review

The Hyundai Santa Fe is a practical, well-built family SUV with seven seats and loads of standard equipment

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

  • Lots of space
  • Very comfortable
  • Good standard equipment
  • Pricey top-spec models
  • Potential for poor residuals
  • Heavy steering feel

The Hyundai Santa Fe is a talented family car that combines space, comfort, great levels of standard kit and a fairly decent drive from its new hybrid and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) powertrains. It’s the largest SUV in the South Korean manufacturer’s range, offering seven seat-practicality and a luxurious feel that’s come a long way from the marque’s cheap and cheerful roots. 

Previously available with 2.2-litre turbodiesel power, a significant 2021 update has brought a revised front end and 1.6-litre petrol-powered mild-hybrid and plug-in hybrids into play, along with some revisions to the centre console and infotainment system. (At the time of writing Hyundai UK continues to offer new 2020 diesel cars too.)

The hybrid models use tech donated by the Hyundai Ioniq, and while the petrol engine lacks refinement, there’s a lot else to like.

About the Hyundai Santa Fe

The Hyundai Santa Fe is a worthy alternative to the array of large SUVs on sale today, thanks to its stylish exterior, comfy and lavishly-equipped interior, and a pair of hybrid powertrain options that arrived as part of an impressive mid-life revamp. 

As a result of the upgrades, we reckon even premium rivals like the Land Rover Discovery Sport will be looking over their shoulders at this imposing former upstart, while the Skoda Kodiaq, Peugeot 5008, Kia Sorento and Nissan X-Trail all nowadays feel like the Santa Fe’s natural peers.

The current generation Santa Fe arrived in 2018, somewhat limited by Hyundai’s decision to offer only a single 2.2 CRD diesel powertrain, albeit with two- or four-wheel drive options. The 2021 upgrade brings things bang up-to-date courtesy of hybrid tech carried over from the Ioniq hatchback, but once again the options are limited compared to rivals offering a range of petrol, diesel and hybrid power. 

Pick the Santa Fe in 227bhp mild-hybrid guise and you can choose from two- or four-wheel drive, but the 261bhp PHEV is four-wheel drive only. All versions come as standard with a six-speed automatic transmission.

As well as a new-look nose and headlamp design, the latest Santa Fe also comes with a revised interior and upgraded infotainment system. As before there are just two trim levels to choose from, badged Premium and Ultimate. Hyundai isn’t bragging either, as both the grades feature vast hauls of attractive goodies, with the Premium offering a 10.25-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a configurable 12.3-inch digital dashboard, full LED headlights, adaptive cruise control, a powerful 10-speaker audio system, a reversing camera, parking sensors and heated electrically adjusted seats. Go for the Ultimate and you’ll get a big Head-Up Display, a panoramic glass roof, an autonomous driving assistance pack, 360-degree cameras and ventilated front seats. 

The latest Santa Fe feels as big inside as it looks from the outside; there’s a vast amount of space and it’s a very comfortable place to spend time for driver and passengers alike. There’s a welcome feeling of quality, both in the Santa Fe’s build integrity and its composure on rough UK roads, that goes some way to justify its price. There are plenty of cheaper rivals, however, including the Skoda Kodiaq and Peugeot 5008, which do just as good a job. 

Hyundai’s five-year, unlimited-mileage warranty is among the best in class and judging by the manufacturer’s good reputation for reliability, serious problems are unlikely. However, given the Santa Fe’s considerable asking price, we do have some concerns about depreciation.

For an alternative review of the latest Hyundai Santa Fe SUV visit our sister site carbuyer.co.uk

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