Best large SUV: New Car Awards 2014
The Hyundai Santa Fe is the 2014 Auto Express large SUV of the Year, with the Land Rover Discovery and Range Rover Sport commended
There have been a number of new arrivals to the large SUV class in the past 12 months, but none has been able to knock the Hyundai Santa Fe off its top spot.
A year on from its maiden win, the stylish and capable Hyundai continues to prove that the Korean brand is now a serious player in the mainstream marketplace. For instance, it has the sort of eye-catching exterior styling you’d expect from a much more expensive premium machine, while the interior effortlessly blends desirability and versatility.
At the heart of its appeal as a family-friendly SUV is its ability to accommodate seven people, thanks to the addition of a neat pair of rear seats that fold out of the boot floor. If carrying capacity is your top priority, then there’s always the five-seat version, which boasts a vast 585-litre load bay.
Yet there’s style to match the substance, because the Hyundai’s interior is eye-catchingly designed and finished with top-notch materials, while all versions come with enough equipment to shame a luxury limousine. And while there’s only one engine option, the 2.2-litre CRDi diesel is smooth, punchy and surprisingly efficient. There’s also a choice of two and four-wheel-drive transmissions – the latter gets useful additions for off-roading, such as a differential lock and hill descent control.
The Santa Fe’s qualities shine through on the road, too, where you’ll discover assured handling, an absorbent ride and decent refinement. Further highlights include a high-set driving position that gives you a commanding view of your surroundings and the choice of precise six-speed manual or unobtrusive automatic gearboxes.
If you’re still not convinced, check out the value-for-money prices and excellent five-year warranty. On this evidence, it’s not hard to see why the Hyundai has maintained its grip on the large SUV class.
Hyundai Santa Fe 2.2 CRDi seven-seat 4WD Premium (£31,220)
The 2.2-litre diesel is the only engine, so it’s just a case of picking the right trim. We think the well equipped Premium model in seven-seat 4WD guise is all the SUV you’ll need.
Commended large SUVs
Land Rover Discovery
A recent facelift has helped keep the hugely desirable Land Rover Discovery at the top of its game. Imposing looks, an incredibly practical interior and superb off-road ability are the car’s major calling cards. Yet it’s just as capable on the road, and the V6 diesel serves up effortless performance.
Range Rover Sport
It’s not the cheapest choice, but the Range Rover Sport’s blend of abilities is hard to ignore. Lightweight aluminium build and clever air-suspension mean agile handling, while the brand’s trademark off-road expertise means few models can compete with a Sport in the rough stuff.
- 1IntroductionWe reveal the best new cars on sale today in every sector of the market, plus we name our overall 2014 Car of the Year
- 2Car of the Year 2014The British-built MINI is Auto Express' Car of the Year 2014
- 3City Car of the YearThe Skoda Citigo is the 2014 Auto Express City Car of the Year, with the Hyundai i10 and Toyota Aygo commended
- 4Supermini of the YearThe Ford Fiesta is the 2014 Auto Express Supermini of the Year, with the Dacia Sandero and Peugeot 208 commended
- 5Premium Small Car of the YearThe MINI is the 2014 Auto Express Premium Small Car of the Year, with the Audi A1 and Citroen DS3 commended
- 6Small Family Car of the Year The SEAT Leon is the 2014 Auto Express Small Family Car of the Year, with the Mazda 3 and Volkswagen Golf commended
- 7Family Car of the Year The Mazda 6 is the 2014 Auto Express Family Car of the Year, with the Skoda Superb and Vauxhall Insignia commended
- 8Estate Car of the Year The SEAT Leon ST is the 2014 Auto Express Estate of the Year, with the BMW 5 Series and Skoda Octavia Estate commended
- 9MPV of the Year The Citroen Grand C4 Picasso is the 2014 Auto Express MPV of the Year, with the Citroen C4 Picasso and SEAT Alhambra commended
- 10Crossover of the Year The Nissan Qashqai is the 2014 Auto Express Crossover of the Year, with the Citroen C4 Cactus and Mazda CX-5 commended