Hyundai Santa Fe SUV

Price range

$36,990 – $49,990


Good: Affordable; Value-packed; Fuel-efficient; Awesome styling; Comfortable and care free driving.

Not so Good: Third row seats are reserved for kids (it’s pretty tight); Steering feel not as good as the competition.

Design and Engineering

Good : Arriving down under in September 2012 the Hyundai Santa Fe is set to make its competition quake in their boots.

Featuring Hyundai’s ‘Fluidic Sculpture’ design, the seven-seater Santa Fe falls into line with the rest of Hyundai’s model lineup.

Hyundai calls its latest design concept ‘Storm Edge’; apparently it captures the strong and dynamic images created by nature during the formation of a storm. All we know is it looks great.

From the front the Santa Fe strikes a bold and muscular appearance, the signature diamond shaped front grille is blinged out with chrome highlights and the strong crease lines that run down the bonnet complement the bold look.

Active models receive 17-inch alloy wheels, while Elite models get 18-inch alloy wheels and the top spec Highlander gets 19-inch alloy wheels as standard.

From the rear, the Santa Fe continues its bold design, the rear shoulder lines sits high and wide, while the roof slopes sharply and the rear window lip spoiler gives the rear a sporty design.

Not so good : We are really impressed with the new design and styling of the Santa Fe, so we’ll leave it up to you guys to decide.

Interior and Styling

Good : Inside, the Santa Fe looks great, the centre dash features sharply sculpted air vents and geometric shapes that intertwine with one another.

Most surfaces are finished in a soft-touch material while satin chrome details are matched back to either cloth or leather/leatherette seats depending on grade.

There is also a 4.3-inch touch screen audio system for Active models and a 7-inch touch screen premium audio system with satellite navigation for Elite & Highlander models. And, it gets even better with a rear view camera and rear park assist, automatic dusk-sensing headlamps and front & rear air-conditioning with third row air-conditioning vents all standard across the range.

Elite and Highlander models add a suite of features including; proximity key with push-button start, auto-dimming mirror with in-built compass, climate control air-conditioning, and solar control glass with a privacy tint.

There is also an abundance of room with seven seats that are easily adjustable and come standard across the range.

The second row seats are 40:20:40 split to offer exceptional convenience for loading and stowage, while the third row features 50:50 split full-folding seats.

The list of STANDARD features makes the Santa Fe quite a strong value-for-money proposition, and indeed, a class-leader in many categories.

Not so good : There are no complaints from us here; the Santa Fe is a solid package no matter what grade you choose.


Good : The Hyundai Santa Fe comes with the choice of two engines, petrol and diesel.

First up is a 2.4-litre GDi petrol engine (Active models only), producing 141kW of power and 242Nm of torque when matched to a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic (optional). Next up, available across all grades, the 2.2-litre CRDi diesel engine produces 145kW of power and 421 Nm (manual), 436 Nm (auto) of torque. Active models come standard with a six-speed manual, while Elite and Highlander models come with a six-speed automatic as standard.

The 2.2-litre CRDi diesel engine matched to the 6-speed automatic delivers power to the wheels in a smooth and linear manner. The diesel is also quite refined, with minimal engine vibration noticeable while sitting idle at the lights.

Not so good : On paper the 2.4-litre GDi petrol engine looks a little underpowered when compared to Ford’s V6 Territory and Toyota’s V6 Kluger.

Ride and Handling

Good : The Santa Fe features an active AWD system that automatically adapts to road conditions – depending on the situation the system engages rear wheel traction control for optimum full-time all-wheel-drive performance.

There is also a 4WD ‘Lock’ mode that is easily engaged at the push of a button (located on the console), and instantly splits power 50/50 front-to-rear. However, you can only travel to speeds up to 40 km/h before the system switches to ‘Auto’ mode.

Hyundai say they have done extensive suspension tuning over Australian roads, and it shows. The Santa Fe remains compliant over most road surfaces and soaks up any imperfections with ease.

Not so good : The Santa Fe is fitted with Hyundai’s Flex Steer system, apparently the systems allows drivers to adjust the feel and feedback. We found the level of feedback not as sharp as the competition.

Buying and Owning

Good : The list of standard features makes the Santa Fe great value-for-money. There’s also Hyundai’s 5 Year / unlimited kilometre Warranty, Capped Price Servicing and 12 months Roadside Assist.

Plus you have the peace of mind in knowing that the Santa Fe comes with a 5 Star ANCAP rating, featuring Vehicle Stability Management (VSM), Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Traction Control System (TCS), Anti-skid Braking Systemn (ABS) with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist System (BAS), Hill-start Assist Control (HAC), Downhill Brake Control (DBC) and seven airbags.

Not so good : Perhaps the only thing that will deter potential buyers is the 100kg maximum towball towing capacity, but if you don’t plan on towing a trailer then the Santa Fe is defiantly worth a look.

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