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Andy Harris
Motoring and Property Editor
@ytimesmotoring
3:00 AM 5th March 2022
cars

Hyundai’s Santa Fe – A Family Favourite

Korean manufacturer Hyundai continues to bolster its reputation for making reliable and affordable cars. Alongside sister brand Kia, sales have steadily increased and the quality of its cars has improved to such an extent that they are now a common sight on our roads.

The Santa Fe is Hyundai’s flagship model and last year it had a comprehensive makeover.

My range-topping Ultimate test car now weighs in at a heady £45,815, an increase over the outgoing model and in keeping with the brand’s move upmarket.

The Santa Fe is now powered by a 1.6-litre hybrid petrol engine and is available in either self-charging or plug-in guises. Mated with an automatic gearbox and with four-wheel drive, my test car proved to be a brisk performer.

Hyundai quote 38.2mpg for the combined cycle and after a week of mixed motoring, the trip computer on H7 HYU read a little over 36mpg, a decent result.

The engine is a refined unit and with a generous 350Nm of torque, there is always power aplenty for swift overtaking manoeuvres, though the automatic gearbox can sometimes be a little slow to respond. Better to use the steering wheel mounted paddles...

The Santa Fe should make a good towcar and is rated to pull a braked trailer of up to 1,650kg.

Aiding progress in all conditions was four-wheel drive system. The system increases traction whilst enhancing cornering performance. It was welcome on a rain-soaked motorway dash to the Cotswolds for a launch event.

The system is configurable, with off-road settings for sand, mud and snow.

As a vehicle designed primarily to move a family in comfort, the Santa Fe is mostly accomplished. The suspension does a good job of isolating the cabin from all but the very worst sections of broken tarmac. There is perhaps a tad more body roll than is ideal, though high-speed handling is safe and secure. It is not a car to thrill, more one to soothe and cosset.

The Santa Fe’s interior will impress with soft-touch materials much in evidence. All models now get seven seats as standard. The front and middle seats are comfortable and spacious and adults will fit, just, in the rearmost seats, though accessing them is a bit of a challenge.

Top spec Ultimate trim wants for nothing and impressive features include the opening panoramic glass roof, premium sound system and an easy to use infotainment system.

A comprehensive raft of safety equipment is fitted, making the Santa Fe one of the safest cars in its class.

Five-year comprehensive warranties come as standard with all Hyundai cars, a testament to their longevity and build quality. I doubt that it will ever be needed. Only sister company Kia does it better, with an extra two year’s cover on top.

The Santa Fe is an easy car to live with. It is a relaxing car to drive and is spacious and generously equipped. Its robust nature will endear it to families and the 4x4 versions offer that extra reassurance for when the weather turns bad.

It is the sort of car to buy and run for a decade, assured in the knowledge that it will be a faithful and dependable companion, ready to take on any task that is thrown at it and with a certain amount of style too.

I would be inclined to choose the slightly more expensive plug-in model (add £3,195) as this will substantially reduce the official CO2 figure and will allow for a modest range of electric only running. BIK drops from a heady 36% to just 10%, ideal for business users.

Fast Facts

Hyundai Santa 1.6T GDi Hybrid 4WD
Price £45,815
Range from £40,250
6-speed automatic gearbox
0 to 62mph in 9.1 seconds
Top speed 116mph
Combined economy 38.2mpg
Emissions 168g/km CO2
BIK 36%