Hyundai Santa Fe
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Hyundai is famed for its good-value cars and the Santa Fe is one of the best examples. It’s a great choice for families – a large SUV with a spacious interior that costs the same as some rival brands’ mid-sized SUVs. The interior is comfortable and classy, while the option of a seven-seat layout makes it extremely versatile.
With a raised ride height and soft suspension, the Hyundai is easy and comfortable to drive, while its strong engine and four-wheel drive make it a fine tow car.
Reliability is good and, like all Hyundais, it benefits from the manufacturer’s five-year unlimited mileage warranty.
With sharp design (even more so in post-2019 models) and good-quality materials, the Santa Fe’s interior has a premium look and feel. The dashboard is logically laid out and the touchscreen infotainment system works well.
Space and comfort are the main attractions with the Santa Fe. A high ride height gives you and your passengers a panoramic view out, while a wide range of seat and steering wheel adjustment makes it easy to find your perfect seating position.
Sliding and reclining seats mean that those in the back can really stretch out, while there are several family-friendly storage compartments. The seven-seat versions have a third row of seats which fold easily out of the boot floor. Access is a bit tight for taller passengers but there’s enough headroom and legroom to make them perfect if you want to bring the grandparents or the kids’ friends along on shorter trips.
In five-seat mode, the Santa Fe’s 516-litre boot is easily capable of holding four full-sized suitcases. Fold all the seats down and it can do a very good impression of a removal van thanks to its vast load space.
The Santa Fe is relaxing to spend time in thanks to its smooth ride and supportive seats. It’s not as sporty as some big SUVs but it feels solid and stable at speed. It’s a big car but light steering and excellent visibility make it easy going around town and the standard parking sensors are welcome when squeezing into a tight spot.
The only engine option is a diesel, which gives you good acceleration both when you pull away and when you’re on the move. Apart from the entry-level Style model, all versions have four-wheel drive that can give you a bit more grip and control in slippery conditions. When combined with a towing capacity of 2000kg, it makes the Santa Fe a great choice for a tow car.
When it comes to outright value, few large SUVs score as highly as the Santa Fe. Not only does it cost less to buy than many similarly sized rivals, it’s also better equipped, featuring the sort of kit you’d normally expect from luxury cars.
For such a big car the Hyundai is surprisingly efficient with the diesel engine averaging about 46mpg (according to official figures) with the six speed manual gearbox and about 41mpg with the automatic gearbox.
When it comes to hassle-free motoring the Santa Fe is hard to beat. It’s popular with owners – who love its reliability and robustness – and has performed well in independent reliability and customer satisfaction surveys. All Hyundais are covered by a five-year unlimited mileage manufacturer warranty from new, so if you buy a used Santa Fe you’ll enjoy the balance of what’s left of it.
The Santa Fe’s safety record is impressive, with safety organisation Euro NCAP awarding it the full five stars in its tests. All versions feature multiple airbags and a lane departure warning system. Adaptive cruise control, which automatically keeps a safe distance to the car in front, is optional.
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The Santa Fe comes extremely well-equipped and even the most affordable models have all you’re likely to need. Mid-spec versions gain some very desirable extras though, such as leather trim, heated seats and four-wheel drive. Top-spec cars are luxurious, with a panoramic glass sunroof, keyless entry and xenon headlamps as standard.