In-depth reviews

Hyundai Santa Fe review - Practicality, comfort and boot space

The Santa Fe majors on space, practicality and comfort, but the third row isn’t the most accommodating

All Hyundai Santa Fe models come as standard with seven seats, much like its Peugeot 5008 and Skoda Kodiaq rivals – though the Nissan X-Trail can be had with a choice of five or seven. In this company, the Hyundai’s rearmost bench seems a little tight and is best suited to children.  By contrast, the Santa Fe’s front and middle-row seats are very roomy. 

The driving position is excellent, especially in models further up the range with the fullest range of electric adjustment – it’s very easy to get comfortable behind the wheel. Visibility is similarly good for a car of this type; there’s a larger glasshouse than in the Peugeot 5008 and low-speed manoeuvring is made easier by the standard rear camera, or simpler still by the Premium SE's 360-degree camera system. 

The Santa Fe is a practical proposition, not least thanks to its wealth of clever interior features. The glovebox is large, the cabin is strewn with useful cubby holes and in the rear there are two USB slots and a 12V power outlet for charging all manner of devices. Front and rear armrests are standard; the former boasts a storage compartment, while the latter has two cupholders. The front cupholders are well located and of a decent size – much better than those of the Peugeot 5008, which get in the way - especially in combination with a manual transmission. 

Size

The Hyundai Santa Fe is almost exactly the same size as its two closest rivals, the Skoda Kodiaq and Peugeot 5008. All three measure 4.7 metres in length, give or take a couple of centimetres; the Hyundai is the widest at 1.89 metres, while the Peugeot is the narrowest at 1.84m. The Santa Fe stands slightly higher than the Skoda (1.68 metres) and the Peugeot (1.68 metres) at a shade over 1.7 metres. Despite its size, the Hyundai is still relatively easy to manoeuver in a tight spot.

The Hyundai’s roofline gives enough space for luggage and third-row passengers, but the boxier Peugeot is probably slightly more practical in this regard. However, most family buyers will not be disappointed by the Santa Fe’s practicality, especially if the rearmost seats are only used for children or for adults over shorter distances.  

Leg room, head room & passenger space 

There’s not much to complain about in the first two rows of seating – there’s ample space and adjustment in the front for even tall occupants to get comfortable, while the middle row can easily fit three adults abreast – a feat that’s made easier by a flat floor, and the option to slide the middle row forward or back using an electric switch. The Santa Fe has a wheelbase that’s 65mm longer than in the old model and this equates to more kneeroom than before; headroom is ample too.

The Skoda Kodiaq offers more space to its rearmost passengers, but the Hyundai’s 3rd row seats don’t feel as tight as those in the rear of the Peugeot 5008. It’s pretty even in the middle row stakes, and unlike the Peugeot 5008, our top-spec model’s panoramic sunroof wasn’t intrusive for those over six feet tall. 

Easily accessible ISOFIX points are provided in the front passenger seat and in the outer middle row seats only; by contrast, the Peugeot 5008 was one of the first SUVs to offer ISOFIX on all three of its middle row seats. The Skoda Kodiaq has two in the middle row, with a front-seat mount offered as an optional extra. 

Boot 

As with most cars in its class, the Santa Fe’s rearmost seats can be split-folded to lay flat and offer a large boot when not carrying seven passengers – 625 litres in this case. The third row seats are easily folded thanks to a pull-tag mechanism.

The middle row of seats split 60:40 and can be folded forward to give a total of 1,625 litres. The resultant space is a practical shape, with a wide, lipless opening to make loading heavier items easier. There’s also a luggage net and number of hooks to help keep things in place on the move. 

The boot space on offer trails the boxy Peugeot 5008’s 780-litre boot when its rear row is folded; the Skoda Kodiaq offers 720 litres with the rear row folded and a colossal 2,005 litres with all five rears folded flat. The Skoda’s boot floor is also flatter and squarer than that of the Hyundai when both rows are folded.

Towing

The Hyundai Santa Fe has decent towing credentials, with standard trailer stability assistance and a trailer wiring package. The maximum braked trailer tow weight is 2,500kg in cars with a manual transmission, regardless of the number of driven wheels. Automatic models are limited to a maximum braked tow weight of 2,000kg. If you need an automatic tow car and have more than 2,000kg to tow, a Skoda Kodiaq with a diesel engine and DSG gearbox matches the manual Santa Fe’s 2,500kg braked limit.

Most Popular

LEC launches affordable EV conversion for classic Mini
LEC MINI Electric
MINI

LEC launches affordable EV conversion for classic Mini

The conversion sees the Mini’s A-Series engine replaced with a dinky electric motor and a 20kWh battery for a range of 70 miles in the city
10 Jun 2021
New 2021 Volkswagen T7 Multivan replaces Caravelle
Volkswagen T7 Multivan - front
Volkswagen Caravelle

New 2021 Volkswagen T7 Multivan replaces Caravelle

The Volkswagen T7 Multivan MPV switches to the MQB platform and adds plug-in hybrid technology
10 Jun 2021
New 2021 Vauxhall Astra teased for the first time
Vauxhall Astra teaser 1
Vauxhall Astra

New 2021 Vauxhall Astra teased for the first time

The new Vauxhall Astra will get electrified powertrains and a more premium image
8 Jun 2021
New 2021 Tesla Model S Plaid launched with 1,006bhp
Tesla Model S facelift - front
Tesla Model S

New 2021 Tesla Model S Plaid launched with 1,006bhp

Range-topping version of the Tesla Model S officially unveiled, with a sprint time of 0-60mph in less than two seconds
10 Jun 2021
‘Our switch to electric will soon make driving manual cars a lost art'
Gearknob
Opinion

‘Our switch to electric will soon make driving manual cars a lost art'

Want to drive a manual car? You need to take your test in a manual car. So what happens once all driving-school cars are automatic EVs?
8 Jun 2021
New Skoda Enyaq iV 2021 review
Skoda Enyaq iV 80 Sportline - front
Skoda Enyaq

New Skoda Enyaq iV 2021 review

The new Skoda Enyaq iV is the Czech firm’s first bespoke electric car and we've tested the full range on UK roads
10 Jun 2021
Audi updates line-up for 2022 with new tech and trim features
Audi S5
Audi

Audi updates line-up for 2022 with new tech and trim features

Almost every car in Audi’s line-up has received a tweak, with major updates including Amazon Alexa integration and a Sonos stereo
11 Jun 2021
New 2021 Lexus NX arrives with firm’s first plug-in hybrid drivetrain
Lexus NX - front action
Lexus NX SUV

New 2021 Lexus NX arrives with firm’s first plug-in hybrid drivetrain

The new Lexus NX 350h features a standard hybrid set-up, while the NX 450h+ gets a plug-in hybrid powertrain capable of 40 miles of pure electric powe…
12 Jun 2021
'Factories are at a standstill because they can’t get the parts to finish cars'
Car manufacturing
Opinion

'Factories are at a standstill because they can’t get the parts to finish cars'

Steve Fowler points out the fresh issues facing global car manufacturing
9 Jun 2021
New Volkswagen T-Cross Black Edition 2021 review
Volkswagen T-Cross Black Edition - front
Volkswagen T-Cross

New Volkswagen T-Cross Black Edition 2021 review

The small Volkswagen T-Cross SUV turns on the style in new Black Edition trim
11 Jun 2021
New Toyota Land Cruiser 300 revealed with six-cylinder petrol and diesel power
Toyota Land Cruiser - front
Toyota Land Cruiser

New Toyota Land Cruiser 300 revealed with six-cylinder petrol and diesel power

Six-cylinder engine line-up and clever new suspension tech for the new large Toyota Land Cruiser, but it’s not destined for the UK
9 Jun 2021
Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport vs Cupra Leon 300
Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport vs Cupra Leon 300
Car group tests

Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport vs Cupra Leon 300

The capable Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport goes up against its new Cupra Leon 300 sibling in this hot hatch battle
12 Jun 2021
New Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet 2021 review
Mercedes E 300 Cabriolet - front
Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet

New Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet 2021 review

The soft-top Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet gets the same updates as the saloon and estate variants
10 Jun 2021
New Genesis G80 2021 review
Genesis G80
Genesis G80

New Genesis G80 2021 review

Is the new Genesis G80 a worthy competitor in the executive saloon segment?
9 Jun 2021