A little noise small price to pay

hyundai santafe 8

What is it?

WHAT a difference a year makes.

In the case of Hyundai’s Santa Fe, the good-looking mid-sized SUV of last year has become a head-turning stunner. And that’s just on the outside. It’s a similar story inside.

Revised and restyled from one end to the other, the seven-seater sports a snoot much like that of the Kona with low-slung headlights and high-rise squinty LED daylight running lights framing the wide cascading grille with its broad chrome upper lip.

The wheels on the top-spec Highlander, as reviewed, are machine-faced 19-inch alloys, tucked in slightly sunken arches, and the sleek lines continue to the rear, where the smart tailgate has also had some major beauty treatment and a satin silver skid plate.

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What’s it cost?

Santa Fe comes in three virtually lookalike grades, Active, Elite and Highlander, with prices starting at $41,850 and peaking at $60,795.

Only one of the five Actives has a petrol engine. The rest of the range gets a 2.2-litre turbo diesel with six or eight-speed automatic transmissions and mostly with all-wheel drive.

The spacious cabin has also been vastly improved with an 8.0-inch infotainment system perched on the restyled dash, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality and satellite navigation.

The Highlander also has a 7.0-inch TFT screen plus a retractable head-up display that shows navigation and speed, the latter pretty vital in these days of high-performing vehicles and cash-sniffing cameras all over the show.

It’s so quick and easy to reach and exceed 60km/h, especially in a well insulated vehicle.

There are a couple of USB sockets, AUX input and a handy Qi wireless phone charger.

Sound effects? How about an Infinity premium 10-speaker system with an external 550W amplifier?

The glovebox has a cooling function to keep the chocolate from melting, the front seats are air-cooled, there’s dual zone climate control, a dual-panel panoramic sunroof, leather trim finishes, comprehensive instrumentation et al, in a sophisticated surround.

The front seats are heated (so are those in the second row) and have power adjustment.

The seven-seater’s second row is on rails, so you can adjust it for kids, adults, pets or goods and access to the third row is pretty easy.

There’s a lot of storage inside, with bins, cupholders, a cubby, bottle holders to suit a week’s travelling and the cargo area can expand from 547 to 1645 litres.

There’s also a 12-volt socket in the boot.

Other features include park assist, reversing and surround view camera, cruise control and a suite of safety stuff, such as pedestrian and cyclist detection, blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert and lane keep assist.

hyundai santafe 7

What’s it go like?

Despite being named after a city in New Mexico, Hyundai spent a lot of time tuning the Santa Fe for Australian road conditions.

The AWD car handles very well, with a firm, but composed ride, light and accurate steering and good brakes. It’s a good thing to drive, and there’s a choice of four modes, so you can tailor the car to prevailing conditions, or your mood on the day.

The 8-speed auto is a delight and helps the vehicle achieve commendable fuel economy on the highways.

The 2.2-litre 147kW/440Nm four-cylinder turbo-diesel has an official average figure of  7.5L/100km. We recorded 8.1.

Towing capacity is 2000kg.

All Hyundais come with a five-year/unlimited km warranty, plus free roadside assistance for the first year.

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What we like?

  • Styling
  • Space
  • Economy
  • Luxury
  • Lots of great features
  • Long warranty

hyundai santafe 2

What we don’t like?

  • Slightly noisy diesel

hyundai santafe 3

The bottom line?

Good looking, well built, with more features than we have room for here, plus performance, comfort, economy — and a vast amount of space in a medium-sized SUV. We liked it.


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Hyundai Santa Fe, priced from $41,850
  • Looks - 8.5/10
  • Performance - 8.5/10
  • Safety - 8.5/10
  • Thirst - 8.5/10
  • Practicality - 8.5/10
  • Comfort - 8/10
  • Tech - 8.5/10
  • Value - 8/10

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