Hyundai Santa Fe 2019 - An SUV for all the family
The Hyundai Santa Fe is a large family SUV capable of carrying up to seven passengers. Hyundai has found a way of creating space for seven seats whilst keeping the relative size of the Santa Fe down. In fact, it is shorter than most of its rivals, such as the Land Rover Discovery Sport or Volvo XC90.
The Santa Fe began its life back in 2000 with the Korean firm, hoping to muscle into a relatively and noncompetitive market. It quickly became a popular seller across many parts of the United States, especially in the North American market. This was thanks to its practicality, comfort for travelling long distances and also the excellent value for money it offered. Over the next couple of decades, Hyundai has updated the Santa Fe to maintain its customers across the globe. We now have the 4th generation model, and it looks better than ever.
The new Santa Fe is now in a market which is filling up with more and more compact SUV's, with the ability to carry seven passengers. The changes they have made needed to be good, and they are. The new Santa Fe is a little more aggressive and rugged compared with previous models, and the interior is vastly improved, using high-quality materials throughout along with the latest technologies. The Santa Fe can now be classed as a premium, luxury and quality SUV, happy to rival even the well-known premium brands - such as Audi, BMW and Volkswagen.
The new Santa Fe is available in three trim levels, SE, Premium and Premium SE, all of which offer excellent levels of standard equipment.
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Engine, Power and Performance
The Santa Fe is only available with one engine choice at this current time. It's a 2.2-litre CRDi turbo-diesel engine, developing 200PS and 440Nm of torque. It will get from 0-62mph in 9.4 secs and go on to a top speed of 127mph. Not quick or exhilarating, but that's not what the Santa Fe is meant to be. It's to cruise in comfort no matter how long the journey.
If you opt for the entry-level SE trim model, then you can only have front-wheel drive, but you do get a choice of either a six-speed manual or the newly developed eight-speed automatic transmission.
If you've chosen the mid-range Premium trim, then you get a choice of front-wheel drive or Hyundai's new HTRAC four-wheel-drive system. As before you have the option to choose either a manual or automatic transmission.
Finally, if you have chosen the top-spec Premium SE trim then you get the choice of FWD or 4WD, but you can only have with the eight-speed automatic transmission, there is no manual option in this trim level.
The Automatic transmission is smooth and responsive on the whole and only struggles a little if you try to accelerate off the line a little too aggressively. However quickly rectifies itself and gains traction, especially with the new HTRAC 4WD system in place.
If you are planning to use the Santa Fe to pull your caravan, then you may need to consider what weight you need to pull. The manual transmission can tow up to 2500kg, whilst the automatic can only manage 2000kg. You don't want to get caught out in this area if you need to tow your caravan on holiday.
Interior Quality and Technology
The interior of the new Santa Fe feels luxurious and of a far more premium quality than in any model before it. What Hyundai has done is, fit each trim levels with large amounts of standard kit, which increases as you go up the trim levels but minimised the number of optional extras available. I like this approach as there are no "hidden" costs and if there are certain features you want, then you have to pick the appropriate trim level.
Entry-level SE trim gets you features such as; Bluetooth connectivity with voice recognition, smartphone mirroring with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, rear-view camera and a 7-inch colour touchscreen with Smart Device Integration. The Smart Device Integration with the touchscreen is a great feature, as you don't get sat-nav as standard on the entry-level model, so you can use your smartphone as a sat-nav and mirror onto the screen etc.
Choose either Premium or Premium SE, and you get even more standard equipment on top of what you get with the SE such as; a larger 8-inch colour touchscreen with built-in 3D sat-nav, heated steering wheel, wireless phone charging pad and a 10-speaker Krell premium sound system.
The top-spec Premium SE also gets an electric panoramic glass sunroof as standard, along with a full-colour head-up display (HUD) which will project a variety of important information such as; speed, sat-nav commands, fuel levels and safety assists. It is the first time a UK model Santa Fe has featured a HUD, and to get as a standard feature is excellent!
The level of equipment and features fitted as standard across the range is nothing short of impressive. Although at first, the Santa Fe may appear expensive, when you look through the list of what's included, it is actually superb value for money.
Space, Practicality and Safety
The Hyundai Santa Fe is a compact seven-seater but, as with all cars of this ilk, the rear two seats are only really suitable for children, not adults. If you treat the Santa Fe as a 5+2, then it is very spacious and practical.
In the front, both driver and passenger will find an abundance of space, even the larger of adults will have plenty of legroom, headroom and shoulder room. The steering wheel and rack can be adjusted, as can both front seats, so finding a comfortable position should be no problem. The driver's seat comes with electrically adjustable lumbar support as standard, making driving as smooth and comfortable as possible.
On the middle row, again space is very generous with plenty of legroom and headroom, even if you have the panoramic sunroof. Another bonus, thanks to the Santa Fe's flat floor, is that the person who gets the middle seat will find more foot space than in most other cars (who find a central transmission tunnel in the way).
There are various storage cubbies throughout the cabin including door pockets, cupholders and a decent-sized glovebox.
The boot, when in the 5-seat mode, has a large capacity of 547-litres, which rises to a cavernous 1625-litres will the seats folded down. If you have all seven seats in place, the boot space is larger than that found in the Land Rover Discovery Sport.
The Hyundai Santa Fe scored an impressive 5-star rating when put through the Euro NCAP safety tests. This is thanks to a large selection of the latest safety assists included as standard across all trim levels. Some of the standard features include; multiple airbags, Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) with pedestrian recognition and Lane Departure Warning System with Lane Keep Assist (LKAS). Higher spec models come with Blind Spot Detection System and Rear Cross Traffic Alert, to name just a couple.
Overall, the new Hyundai Santa Fe is a wonderful SUV and a massive improvement on the outgoing model. It offers excellent practicality and comfort, with a list of standard features in each trim level to leave most of its rivals trailing.