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Hyundai Santa Fe Reviews


The Hyundai Santa Fe: now with that 'want one' feeling fitted as standard. Andy Enright reports

With far sharper styling, some fantastic equipment on offer and a punchy 200PS 2.2-litre diesel engine, the latest Hyundai Santa Fe punches its way upmarket on merit. Customers choose between five and seven seats, manual or auto transmissions and front or four-wheel drive. It's hard not to be impressed.

We're not really used to this. Mention the words 'Hyundai' and 'Santa Fe' to most people and they'd know that it was a 4x4 but beyond that there's precious little to keep Hyundai's SUV front and centre in the old memory bank. It's a tool that does a job, with no fuss, no hassle and no personality. I got to drive one of the last second generation versions and was amazed at how good it was, purely because I had zero preconceptions. It was that sort of car. All that has now changed. The latest MK3 Santa Fe was unveiled at the New York Auto Show in 2012 and aims its crosshairs a fair bit further upmarket, targeting some tougher opposition. In doing so, it's become a lot sassier in its styling and if, like many others, you've managed to overlook it in the past, I have a feeling that the latest Santa Fe will make that task a whole lot tougher.

The Santa Fe rides on a modified version of the Sonata chassis, with the same wheelbase as before and no great innovation in the basics. It's a specially UK-tuned MacPherson strut front end and a multilink rear suspension, but delve a little deeper and there are some interesting details. There's self-levelling suspension as standard on seven-seaters, a FLEX STEER System that delivers normal, sport and comfort steering modes, plus the drive system is interesting. As expected, it's front wheel drive most of the time, but when sensors detect slippage, up to 50 per cent of drive can be diverted to the rear wheels. Those who expect a little more of their 4x4s will like the fact that in especially slippery conditions, such as muddy off-roading or driving on snow or ice, four-wheel-drive can be selected with the push of the 'lock' button, delivering a 50/50 power split at speeds up to 25mph. There's also an economy-oriented front-wheel drive car offered. Engines? Hyundai unveiled one petrol and two diesel engines, but we're only scheduled to get the flagship motor remaining the 2.2-litre 'R' all-aluminium diesel powerplant. This has actually had its peak torque output dialled back a little in the interests of emissions but it's nothing you'd notice, the variable geometry turbo contributing to a healthy 431Nm, down 6Nm on its predecessor. It makes 200PS of peak power so it's got some kick to it. Customers get to choose between a six-speed manual or six-speed auto gearbox, both fitted with an extra tall cruising gear for economy. The automatic is innovative as it's fitted with a flat torque converter and its space-efficient layout means it's the most compact six-speed unit currently built, weighing 12kg less than a conventional automatic.

The latest Santa Fe isn't quite the sort of car that will have pedestrians bumbling slack-jawed into pavement furniture but it's undoubtedly a good looking thing. It has that inherent rightness to its proportioning that'll make it tricky not to throw a glance over your shoulder when you lock it and walk away. Most importantly, choose an upscale version and it looks - and there's not really a better word for it - expensive. That's exactly the desired result, as Hyundai is trying to push the Santa Fe upmarket. I love designer-speak and Hyundai reckons the Santa Fe's lines are influenced by its 'Fluidic Sculpture' form language, with its own design concept called 'Storm Edge' which captures the strong and dynamic images created by nature during the formation of a storm. I'll have what they're having. As before, there's a choice of five or seven-seat interior configurations. Although the wheelbase is the same as the old car, the rear overhang is quite a bit longer and a reshuffling of interior hardpoints means there's now quite a bit more space inside. Front- and second-row legroom have been increased - by 38mm and 45mm respectively - over the last-generation car, while a long, wide, single-frame panoramic sunroof allows high levels of natural light into the cabin. Luggage space has been increased by 37mm in depth over the previous generation model, yielding a capacity of 534 litres with the front five seats upright. The dashboard is neatly styled, even if the centre console does resemble a Transformer's head. This feature, and the rear three-quarter view both have an element of Ford in the design, which may be no bad thing.

Three trim levels are offered are prices starting at around the £26,000 mark, with a model-for-model £1,200 premium for the seven-seat interior layout that most British buyers will want. The entry-level Style version isn't at all badly equipped with 18-inch alloy wheels, reverse parking sensors, daytime running lights, self-levelling suspension on the seven-seat version, air-conditioning, Bluetooth connectivity and a multi-function steering wheel. Graduate to the Premium version, which Hyundai predicts most customers will, and you'll get touchscreen satellite navigation, a reverse parking camera, electrically folding door mirrors, dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, roof rails and black or beige leather seat upholstery. The range-topping Premium SE models open at around £33,000 and have a huge amount of standard gear in them. It's certainly enough to turn the head of a Freelander buyer. You'll get 19-inch alloy wheels, electric driver's seat adjustment, panoramic sunroof, xenon headlights, keyless entry, front parking sensors, tyre pressure monitors and a LCD multimedia display. There are a number of options that are well worth considering too. Hyundai has fitted the third-generation Santa Fe with driver aids, such as radar-controlled, adaptive cruise control. . An optional 220 Volt power socket can provide direct power to appliances including laptops, printers and vacuum cleaners. Located in the luggage bay, the socket can power equipment rated up to 200 Watts without a specific inverter.

Two-wheel drive models will return a respectable 47.9mpg on the combined cycle while emitting 155g/km of CO2. You won't get clobbered too hard if you want the all-weather security of four-wheel drive with your return being a very creditable 46.3mpg figure. Emissions creep up by a mere 4g/km to 159g/km. Resale values of the last Santa Fe stood up very well and although Hyundai is pushing at the bounds of the badge equity a little with the well-specified Premium SE sailing well over £30k, the demand for economical, smart, reliable and well-equipped 'somewhat compact' SUVs is still comparatively vibrant. The Santa Fe, like all Hyundai models, is covered by a five year triple care package, which includes a five year unlimited mileage warranty, roadside assistance and free vehicle health checks.

The Hyundai Santa Fe started out as a bit of an oddity and then improved really quickly. When a manufacturer improves that rapidly, it often performs well objectively but takes a little longer to really find its confidence. Hyundai is certainly coming with a bit of swagger in the shape of the third generation Santa Fe, realising that if it's to break out of its budget niche, it needs something quite special. It looks to have done exactly that with this much improved car. Well built and with a kit list that many rivals can only shake their heads at, it makes all the right numbers too. Although there's no choice when it comes to engines, UK buyers can decide whether they want front or four wheel drive and five seats or seven. Plus there's auto or manual transmissions and a range of three trim levels, so Hyundai hope to have most customer eventualities covered off. Keep your eye on this one. It's going places.

Hyundai Santa Fe Videos

Hyundai Santa Fe Images


The Hyundai Santa Fe is a luxurious, spacious SUV for all your family needs! It is the South Korean car manufacturers version of the people carrier models we see in all other car makes. This one is a little dream!

Key Hyundai Santa Fe Points

The Hyundai Santa Fe is a large vehicle that has been available since 2001. It is available for lease in two trim types, SE and Premium. The SE offering a lot of standard features already. The engine sizes are available only as a 2.2 litre diesel CRDi, with 18" alloy wheels, solid body paint including the wing mirrors and door handles, you'll have auto lights and auto wipers, dual climate control, a tinted windscreen, with a large sun roof, as well as your up-to-date technological needs, including Bluetooth with voice control, a CD player and stereo with MP3 compatibility and also a AUX and USB connection. Wow-wee we say!

Why Lease a Hyundai Santa Fe

The Hyundai Santa Fe is an affordable SUV for lease as it is very spacious and can be leased in a 5 seater or 7 seater! So this car can accommodate the size of your family, whether you have a big family or just a budding one. The Hyundai Santa Fe gives plenty of leg room and head space, and really is a comfortable and luxurious car to drive. It offers smooth driving, and gets you reliably from A to B.

Five reasons to lease a Hyundai Santa Fe

  • Accommodating for your family
  • Luxurious and comfortable
  • Available in 5 or 7 seats, and can also be folded back with ease
  • Latest internal technology
  • Affordable as well as gorgeous!


If luxury, coupled with affordability is what you're after to fit your growing family then the Hyundai Santa Fe is the ultimate car for your leasing needs. Check out our car hub and view the range of pictures we have for you to browse through, after you see this car, you will be convinced!


As good as we are At All Car Leasing we can’t possibly know everything about the Hyundai Santa Fe, so for further information on the Hyundai Santa Fe why not check out the following resources –

The official Hyundai Santa Fe page

The Hyundai Santa Fe reviews on Auto Express

Hyundai Santa Fe owner’s club