Had this car for over a month now having purchased for my wife. spent a year looking at various cars as needed either 'wide' 4x4 or seven seater. the wide category where I could get two baby seats and a teenager in the rear limited choice to X5, Disco and ML but I wasn't prepared to pay £35k+ for. Had looked at the Hyundai over a year ago and decided to let my wife make the choice between the various options in the price bracket that seemed sensible for a second car. tried the Honda CRV - no bigger than her golf inside - granted bigger boot, but no extra space for kids - same with the x-trail, RAV4 etc. Santa Fe won hands down. car is fantastic to drive - quietest diesel i have driven, lovely driving position and space (i'm 6"3). avg fuel is low thirties and has good torque for a big car. I've had some very nice cars over the years from TT's to Porsches and you don't feel like you have downgraded in this car. Okay, so its not an X5 or ML interior but then I've saved £15k and still get the smile factor driving this wonderful vehicle. Dealer was fantastic too - Platts of High Wycombe, highly recommended.
I've had this car now for 6 months. It was a choice between a second hand Mercedes ML (very expensive for what it is), a bottom of the range Freelander (too much like a lorry as my wife says), and a Kia Sorento (not nearly the same quality). I didn't consider the X Trail because I have a caravan to pull and I needed the horsepower. I'm now sure I made the right choice. Good points: Great to drive. The nicest car I've ever driven. Very smooth. The engine really pulls (I was originally suspicious of it only being a 2.2 but its 155hp is more than enough to pull my caravan - I have to keep checking my rear view mirror to make sure the caravan's still there! It's comfortable and the upholstery is high quality - I chose the beige leather seats. My Spanish parents-in-law are frequent passenger and they say there is no comparison between this car and my brother-in-law's, a very expensive top of the range Chrysler. The Sante Fe is much nicer. Bags of room and a very big space at the back for my labrador dog who now travels in style. Bad points: The suspension could be better: you feel every bump on the road, and where I live the roads are not that good. Forget about off-roading. There is a lot of swaying on corners, but I suspect this is true of all high-sided vehicles.
The main thing is that my family likes it and my wife is in love with the car.
So, yes, I would recommend it.
Owned since November 2006 and I am amazed at the wide range of fuel consumption figures listed within these reviews.
I have the manual 2.2 diesel and I can confirm that after 36K miles I consistantly get over 42mpg on the motorway at 75mph and if I drive slower I can squeeze 50mpg+ easily.
Plus sides to this car are, reliability, unlimited mileage 5yr warranty, price and quite decent levels of equipment on the CDX. The ESP and ABS all kick in when they should and it's a quiet motorway cruiser. Kids love it and it's still pretty rare on the road, which is nice.
The main gripes for me is the length of the seat cushion. The seats are way too short for anyone 5.9ft+ and this can cause knock on issues with your seating position. I don't find it that comfy on journeys over 2hrs.
The second gripe for me is the short 10K service intervals. Servicing can get really expensive if you want to keep your warranty valid.
Other than those two minor gripes my first impressions of Korean motoring are very positive and I would now definately think about buying another.
Ex-BMW driver so I can speak with valid experience about build quality, The new santa fe is easily on par with my previous 3 and 520 diesels.
I can't say the same about the dealerships though they really need to play catch up with the cars that Hyundai are now turning out because they seriously let down this cracking car.
just a quick line to let all diesel drivers know that my car took 12k miles to get anywhere near the manufacturers mpg statistics.at first it was on 24mpg, but now it's 31mpg.so you have to percivere with the engine for a fair time.
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