Hyundai Santa Fe 2.2 CRDi Premium SE 4WD
Week ending January 31
Driven this week 1010
The Santa Fe is starting to pile on the miles. All this driving has started to illuminate some of its strengths and weaknesses.
Panoramic glass roofs are not that uncommon these days, and I talked about how much I'm grateful for the less common tilt-and-slide opening feature the other week. Recent weekend excursions with friends and their three-year-old son highlighted another great feature. They are a great way to keep children entertained and occupied, (think of it as ‘I spy in HD’) so the cabin is much quieter on longer journeys, which equals calmer times for everyone aboard – slight wind noise from the large door mirrors aside.
Another strong point is the amount of space on offer. The middle seats are very comfortable for adults and children. They also have plenty of room for child seats and they're at the perfect height for loading your little one without having to bend down. The rear doors open very wide, too. The backrests are adjustable so you can make sure that the child seat is fitted as safely as possible, while making sure that other passengers are comfortable, too. It's all pretty fuss-free.
There's plenty of room in the boot for all my camera equipment, but I do have a couple of complaints. First off, on the seven-seat model, owners must pay £129 to get a load cover and secondly, that load cover isn't very well designed. The seatbelts for the third row of seats get in the way when you pull the cover across, which makes loading and unloading more of a chore than necessary. There are clips to hold the seatbelts in place, but they're no match for the cover, which dislodges the belts every time. That means you have to wrestle the cover past the belts first, rather than just locate it into the recesses that hold it in place.
Otherwise, things are progressing nicely. I'm a bit concerned about the Santa Fe's thirst for fuel, though, so I'll keep an eye on that to see if I can get closer to the claimed figure of 41.5mpg.
By Will Williams
Week ending January 24
Driven this week 690
I’m fairly familiar with Hyundai’s line-up, given that three years ago I ran an ix35, and I spent the year after that in an i40 Tourer. This week I decided to see how the brand has moved on by trying photographer Will Williams’ Santa Fe.
The sat-nav screen hasn’t moved on much. It’s almost identical in size to that in the i40, and although the software is slightly different the touch-screen is still quite slow to react. You have to press it pretty firmly, too.
I thought the seats weren’t as good as those in the i40, which offered greater support; after a long journey in the Santa Fe the backs of my thighs were aching. That’s a shame because the high-up driving position and all-round view are excellent.
The engine has plenty of torque, so when you hit the motorway the automatic gearbox on our car can shuffle up into top gear and stay there most of the time. I was disappointed with my average of 32.1mpg, having hoped for something nearer 40mpg.
I’m a fan of the car’s looks though, which seem more defined and less fussy than my old ix35’s styling. I’d say the Santa Fe definitely looks good from most angles.
By Stephen Hopkins
Week ending January 17
Driven this week 1250
With all the rain that has been falling of late I've been trying to make the most of the occasional break in the weather and enjoy the sunroof in the Santa Fe.
Not only does it flood the cabin with light but you can open the front section, tilt up for a little bit of fresh air or slide it back to get the quasi-convertible feel, well sort of. It's great in that it only needs one touch to open or close, you don't have to keep your finger on the button for the full duration, unlike some rivals.
However, less well thought out is the sun blind. I suspect most owners will keep the sun blind open, but, as soon as you close the open sunroof, it automatically closes the blind, so you have to wait for it to finish closing then push the sun blind button to open it again independently.
Although, with the rattle that has emanated from the sunroof runners from day one, having the blind closed isn't such a bad thing as it mutes the pesky noise. I must get it looked at soon.
The car needs servicing every 10,000 miles, though, and I'm already half way there so will probably wait until the 10k mark and get the car looked at whilst it is in for a service.
By Will Williams
Week ending January 10
Driven this week 900
After a good long break exploring flood-ridden Devon and Cornwall, I was getting used to the admiring glances that the Santa Fe draws, but my Uncle was particularly keen on taking a closer look. He now owns a VW Tiguan but previously owned a first generation Santa Fe. Naturally he’s interested in seeing how it compares to that old model one, and his smaller Tiguan.
First impressions were very positive: he loved the confident styling and the space it offers. He was also pleasantly surprised by the ride quality after spotting the enormous 19-inch wheels.
However, he also noticed a few issues. Firstly, getting in and out of the middle row of seats can be a bit tricky. You need to squeeze your feet over the pillar and sill, which is curved and reduces the size of the door opening.
Secondly - like me - he couldn't get on with the steering. He found it overly light in all three of the Flex Steer settings, and didn't like the vagueness of the action through corners.
However, one positive that we both agreed on was the excellent vantage point from the front seats, helping to see over hedges for oncoming tractors and early sight of the ‘lakes’ of standing water. All things considered, I'm looking forward to putting many more miles under the Hyundai's slick-looking ‘smoked’ wheels.
By Will Williams
Week ending January 3
Driven this week 700
I'm all for taking instructions when I need to, but the Hyundai's built in sat-nav is particularly forceful in issuing commands.
The thing is, I prefer using just the screen for directional prompts and I usually turn the voice guidance off in any car that I’m driving. The Santa Fe lets you do this in the nav menu, but every time you switch the car off and on again, it resets the voice guidance to ‘on’.
It does the same every time you enter a new destination - even if you’ve not switched the ignition off. This is frustrating.
I've consulted the manual, but I've yet to find a permanent solution. It seems it may be a little foible of the Santa Fe, so I best pack my ear plugs in future.
By Will Williams - Will.Williams@whatcar.com