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In-depth reviews

Hyundai Santa Fe review - Interior, design and technology

Quality and design have taken a step forward, with huge amounts of space on offer inside the Santa Fe

With a much bolder appearance than the previous generation Hyundai Santa Fe, the latest car has a look that’s inspired by the smaller Hyundai Kona, with a large hexagonal grille, slim headlights, plus new bumpers and redesigned tail lights. Wheels range from 17 to 19-inches and sit within obligatory pumped-up wheel arches. The overall look is one of a more upmarket offering than before, and one that compares favorably to handsome, fashion-forward rivals like the Peugeot 5008 and Skoda Kodiaq. 

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The usual array of silvers, greys and blacks make up the bulk of the car’s colour palette, with Lava Orange, Stormy Sea blue and Horizon Red offering welcome splashes of colour. We’re particularly fond of Rain Forest – a greenish-blue metallic grey. Metallic paint is optional across the range; all models get chrome and dark chrome-coloured exterior trim, with Lava Orange and Phantom Black models boasting more dark chrome trim elements.

The makeover continues inside where the Santa Fe’s vast cabin gets a curvaceous dashboard, comfortable seating and up-to-date infotainment displayed on a 8.0-inch screen. The Premium and Premium SE models gain swathes of grey, black or burgundy leather, matched to faux leather trim on the dashboard and door cards, offering a more luxurious feel. The Peugeot 5008 feels a little more exciting inside in terms of design, but the Hyundai is a match for the Skoda Kodiaq in terms of overall quality.

Premium models get 18-inch alloys, but most changes are on the inside. Leather upholstery is added along with its matching faux leather dash trim, while there’s cloth trim on the A-, B- and C-pillars. Both front seats gain heating and full electric adjustment including height and lumbar, while the outer middle-row seats are also heated.  

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The SE Premium tops the range. 19-inch alloys are the biggest change on the outside here, while memory and ventilation functions are added to the front seats inside. Manual rear door blinds are fitted, as is a panoramic glass sunroof with electric tilt and slide functionality.

Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment

The Hyundai Santa Fe Premium and Premium SE models get a 8.0-inch system with sat-nav and online connectivity services. Annual map updates for the car’s sat-nav (if fitted) are provided for at least 10 years. 

As in other Hyundai models, the system is clear and simple to use, offering easy control over audio, connectivity, navigation and vehicle set-up. Bluetooth connectivity with voice recognition is standard, as are Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The touchscreen system is used to control most functions, but steering wheel buttons can be used to operate phone and audio systems. 

A digital display is standard, flanked by analogue auxiliary readouts. This display lacks the flair of Peugeot’s all-digital i-Cockpit system and it’s not quite as clear and sensible as the Kodiaq’s Virtual Cockpit. Overall, Hyundai’s effort sits somewhere between the two, which isn’t a bad place to be.

Premium and Premium SE versions are fitted with USB points up front and in the rear cabin, while a 10-speaker system developed by American hi-fi brand KRELL, is also standard. It features a subwoofer and external amplifier for deeper bass and improved sound quality.

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