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What Car? says

4 out of 5 stars

For Well built, stylish and available with seven seats

Against Not the cheapest to run; hard to come by

Verdict Only its rarity stops the Santa Fe from being a great used SUV

Go for… 2.2 CRTD CDX

Avoid… 2.7 V6 CDX+

Hyundai Santa Fe 4x4
  • 1. It's good to drive, with a smooth ride and accurate handling, yet it's also capable of mild off-road duties.
  • 2. The option of two extra seats in the boot means that the Santa Fe can double as a decent people carrier. The extra seats fold down flat into the boot floor when not required
  • 3. A 186bhp 2.7 V6 petrol model and a 148bhp 2.2 CRTD diesel were available from launch, but despite its power advantage, the petrol model isn’t much faster.
  • 4. The diesel does an average of 38.7mpg, which is comparable with rivals, however, it produces between 191g/km and 193g/km of CO2
  • 5. One of the biggest problems, though, is the air-con system. It can need re-gassing in less than two years
  • 6. Its rarity means some dealers might try to overcharge – so haggle hard.
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Hyundai Santa Fe 4x4 full review with expert trade views

Put the Santa Fe on your shortlist if you’re looking for a comfortable and capable SUV that won’t cost a fortune to buy.

It's good to drive, with a smooth ride and accurate handling, yet it's also capable of mild off-road duties. The diesel models are refined with little wind- or road noise, while their power, size and weight also makes them an ideal towcar, which has made it a hit with caravan owners.

The option of two extra seats in the boot means that the Santa Fe can double as a decent people carrier. The extra seats fold down flat into the boot floor when not required, but legroom is limited, so they’re best for children.

Despite all of its abilities, the Santa Fe has never been a big seller as a new car, so the supply of used cars is limited.

Trade view

Its rarity means some dealers might try to overcharge – so haggle hard.

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor

A 186bhp 2.7 V6 petrol model and a 148bhp 2.2 CRTD diesel were available from launch, but despite its power advantage, the petrol model isn’t much faster. The diesel unit has plenty of grunt, giving the car decent acceleration. So, with its impressive performance and noticeably better fuel economy, the diesel is the one to buy.

The entry-level GSI model is well equipped, with 17-inch alloys, air-con and electric windows all round. It also comes with six airbags (eight in the seven-seater), but doesn’t have electronic stability control fitted. It’s worth looking for the CDX model, because it comes with climate and cruise controls, a leather interior and upgraded alloys.

The Seven-seat version is far more desirable on the used market, and prices reflect this. However, it’s worth spending the extra money for the added practicality. From mid 2006, the diesel engine had a power increase from 148bhp to 155bhp, yet CO2 emissions fell by 2g/km. Towards the end of 2009, the Santa Fe underwent a series of revisions and improvements.

Trade view

An SUV that feels far classier than you might imagine

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor

The diesel does an average of 38.7mpg, which is comparable with rivals, however, it produces between 191g/km and 193g/km of CO2 – putting it in one of the highest road tax bands.

It’s a similar story with servicing, with the Hyundai's costs in line with rivals from the likes of Citroen, Mitsubishi and Vauxhall. The Santa Fe also has proved reliable, and owners also benefit from the car's five-year warranty, which is valid from the date of the car’s first registration.

Insurance is around group 13 for the entire range, which is typical for a car of this size and performance.

Trade view

Its rarity means some dealers might try to overcharge – so haggle hard.

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor

There are few reported issues with the Santa Fe, although it’s not completely problem-free. Hyundais traditionally suffer from electrical issues and this SUV is no different, with components such as the powered seats affected. Even when it’s working correctly, the stereo isn’t that good and poor reception is commonplace.

One of the biggest problems, though, is the air-con system. It can need re-gassing in less than two years, and in some cases the compressor drive-belt can develop problems.

Trade view

An SUV that feels far classier than you might imagine

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor
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