- Spacious interior
- Generous equipment
- Five-year warranty
- Not as cheap as you’d imagine
- Notchy manual gearbox
- Only one engine option
Practical seven-seat SUV
The Hyundai Santa Fe is the biggest car in the Korean manufacturer’s lineup. First introduced in 2001, and now in its third generation, the Santa Fe is a great advert for Hyundai’s move upmarket, as it doesn’t feel anything like a bargain basement car. The quality throughout its construction is impressive, with practical cabin, generous equipment list, and comfortable ride quality. It’s not quite as complete as something like a Land Rover Discovery Sport, but then it is a lot cheaper. So if you’re looking for a practical, stylish family SUV, the Santa Fe is a great option to consider.
An update in 2013 saw a complete redesign, with improved quality in almost every area.
Spacious, practical, but not the finest quality
The Santa Fe is a car that value family practicality above all else, and it’s clear to see when you step inside. Everything feels well built, but it lacks the finesse of some rivals. There’s plenty of space both inside, and in the boot though, whilst equipment levels are generous no matter which trim you choose to go for.
The dashboard design of the Santa Fe is an attractive, contemporary affair, that’s simple, clear, and easy to use. Controls are well-damped and well-placed as well, so it shouldn’t take too long to adjust once you’re behind the wheel. Soft-touch materials adorn the majority of the cabin, though cheaper feeling textures can be found if you look hard enough. Compare it with the inside of the Discovery Sport, and it doesn’t quite stack up. Nevertheless, build quality is excellent, and it really feels like it’s built to withhold the rigours of family life.
Storage space is one area in which the Santa Fe really impresses. There’s plenty of room in the cabin for five full-sized adults, though if you go for the seven seat model, the sixth and seventh seats are only really useable for children. The huge 585 litre boot capacity is a plus though, with more than enough room for a big family shop, or a full family’s worth of travel luggage. There’s also no load lip as well, which makes getting heavy items in and out a doddle.
Equipment levels in the Santa Fe are generous no matter which trim you choose to go for. The entry-level SE trim comes with pretty much everything a family with need, as dual-zone climate control, electric windows, rear parking sensors, and alloy wheels are all included. Premium trim adds leather heated seats, as well as a few other goodies, but for most families, these additions will be unnecessary.
All in all the inside of the Santa Fe is pretty impressive. There’s plenty of space, the cabin is well built, and there’s plenty of practical storage space. You’ll also get plenty of kit, even as standard, so the Santa Fe really does represent excellent value for money.
Comfortable safe and secure
Large family SUVs aren’t built for the ultimate driving experience, as it’s simply not necessary in a family car. The Santa Fe doesn’t buck the trend, but it’s still a decent car to drive. Steering is light enough to make it easy to drive around town, though it does hinder its ability on winding country roads. Body roll is also noticeable, though it’s to be expected in a car of this class. 4WD models are genuinely capable off-road, though for most buyers this will only be useful for bad winter roads, and loose driveways.
Suspension and Chassis
The Santa Fe might not be a hoot to drive, but it’s without doubt comfortable. Hyundai engineered the Santa Fe specifically for UK roads, and it really tells. The suspension irons out all but the worst of poor road surfaces and potholes, though city-centre speed bumps can feel a little lumpy. Road noise is kept well in check however, and wind noise is reasonable for a car of this class, which makes the Santa Fe a pretty solid motorway cruiser.
Gearbox options in the Santa Fe come in two guises. The standard throughout most of the range is a six-speed manual transmission that does its job reasonably well, though the gear shift may be a little bit on the notchy side for some drivers. An optional six-speed automatic is also available, and it actually performs reasonably well, though it is sometimes slow to react when you want a quick kick of acceleration.
One diesel engine that does everything it needs to
When it comes to deciding how you want to power your Santa Fe, you’ve only got the one option. Hyundai have played things nice and simple with the Santa Fe, but the 2.2 litre diesel is up to the task, and is probably what most buyers would go for given a choice.
Petrolheads won’t be particularly impressed with the diesel engine on offer, but packs enough punch to cope with most day-to-day needs. The 2.2 litre CRDi unit produces a hefty 194bhp, and will accelerate from 0-62mph in 9.8 seconds. That’s pretty reasonable for a car of this class, and it never feels sluggish.
Eco-friendly buyers don’t usually consider big SUVs when they’re considering their next car, and the Santa Fe certainly isn’t a green car. The 159g/km of CO2 emissions are standard for a car of this class though, so road tax bands aren’t any higher than they would be in most rivals. Money-savers will be reasonably impressed however, due to the impressive fuel efficiency of 46.3mpg. Some small family hatchbacks don’t achieve this, so it’s especially impressive in a car with such presence.
The diesel engine in the Santa Fe does exactly what it needs to, nothing more, nothing less. It offers enough power, good fuel efficiency, and reasonable CO2 emissions. It’s not an award-winner, but it’s more than good enough for a large family SUV.
Full marks in NCAP safety tests, with impressive safety kit on offer
Like nearly every car in its class, the Hyundai Santa Fe easily achieved the highest possible 5-star NCAP safety rating. With scores of 96% in adult safety, 89% in child safety, and 71% in pedestrian safety, the Santa Fe is one of the safest cars in its class. The Santa Fe also comes as standard with seven airbags, electronic stability control, hill-start assist, and trailer assist for if you happen to be towing a caravan or a horsebox. The Santa Fe really is a safe car for both you and your passengers.
Superb value for money, if you avoid the cost of new-car depreciation
The Hyundai Santa Fe represent excellent value for money for family buyers. Whereas with most cars you’d have to consider your options carefully, the Santa Fe only offers one engine, so fuel efficiency and tax bands are the same across the board. That is unless you choose to go with an automatic gearbox, as this affects both negatively. Day-to-day costs are pretty average for the class, but the Santa Fe does come with an impressive 5-year warranty, and scores well in reliability tests, so you won’t be spending money at the garage.
Insurance groups do depend on which trim you choose to go for in the Santa Fe, though groups don’t differ an awful lot. The range starts in group 19 for the entry-level 2.2 CRDi SE, and climb up towards group 20 if you’re tempted by the range-topping 2.2 CRDi Premium SE. Whichever model you go for, you’ll be paying less than you would for an equivalent rival.
Depreciation is a large factor with the Santa Fe, but only if you choose to buy from new. With first year depreciation as high as 40%, you’re better off opting for an inspected used equivalent.
The Hyundai Santa Fe is one of the most impressive seven-seat large family SUVs on the market. It may be more expensive than Hyundais of old, but the improved quality, more efficient engines, and unbeatable warranty make it a great value option for family buyers. It might not have the prestige badge of some rivals, but it trumps them in practicality.
Buying a used Hyundai Santa Fe online with Carspring
If you’re after a used Hyundai Santa Fe for sale, it can all feel like a bit of an ordeal. What, with long days spent around gigantic car supermarkets, or time spent trawling through classified websites, looking for that ideal used Santa Fe. Carspring makes it simple. Buy your next used Hyundai Santa Fe online with the touch of a button. Simply decide on the model you want and choose how you want to pay.
Looking to finance your used Hyundai? Not a problem, we work with our carefully selected finance partners to ensure that, if you’re paying monthly for your used Hyundai Santa Fe, you know you’re getting the best rates. What’s more, with any Carspring used Santa Fe, you also get our 14-day money-back guarantee and 6 months’ free Carspring Warranty. Plus, you don’t have to leave your home. We’ll deliver your used Hyundai to you at a time and place of your choice.
*This is an approximate figure based on the range of the car’s list price and the AA’s average 1st-year depreciation cost of 40%.