Top versions look pricey, but all models hold their value well
As long as you keep the Santa Fe as cheap as possible, it looks good value against rivals. Top-end versions are priced against 2.0-litre BMW X3s, but the big Hyundai doesn’t make as much financial sense at these prices.
The Santa Fe’s engine shouldn’t cost and arm and a leg in fuel. Its official average economy figure is more than 45mpg (with a manual gearbox), and our real-world True MPG tests show you shouldn’t have too much trouble getting near it – we managed 40.4mpg.
The manual version’s CO2 emissions aren’t too bad, but most people will opt for the automatic, which comes with a far higher figure. This means the auto isn’t a good choice for those running a Santa Fe as a company car, but in truth no version fares particularly well compared with most rivals.
The good news is that whichever Santa Fe you go for, resale values are strong, so you won’t lose as much in depreciation over three years as you would in some large SUVs.
Hyundai makes it fairly cheap to service your Santa Fe, too, because you can choose to buy a three- or five-year servicing plan when you order the car. The one-off payment covers routine servicing costs and works out cheaper than just turning up each time the servicing light comes on.
Hyundai Santa Fe equipment
Good standard equipment, even on entry-level model
The only optional extras are metallic paint and cream leather seats in place of black ones – and the seat colour is a no-cost option. This shortage of options isn’t a problem, though, because every Santa Fe comes loaded with kit.
Premium and Premium SE are the best examples of this, with luxuries such as heated front and rear leather seats and a panoramic sunroof, but we’d stick with entry-level SE trim because it gets everything you need and keeps the price down. Dual-zone climate control, 18in alloy wheels and rear parking sensors are all standard, but you do need to choose between the five-seat version and the seven-seater. Given that the two rearmost seats in the seven-seat Santa Fe fold away completely when not in use, we’d be tempted to spend the extra for the extra versatility.
Hyundai Santa Fe reliability
Hyundai scores well in reliability surveys; long warranty and breakdown cover
This generation of Santa Fe did not feature in our most recent customer satisfaction survey, but Hyundai as a brand scored excellent marks for reliability and finished near the top of all the manufacturers included.
You also get the reassurance of a five-year warranty, and there’s no limit to the number of miles you can cover, either. Hyundai throws in five years of breakdown cover, too.
Hyundai Santa Fe safety & security
Decent standard kit, but lags behind some rivals for high-tech safety aids
Every Santa Fe comes with seven airbags and a host of electronic driver aids, including stability control, hill-start assist and Trailer Stability Assist. Tyre pressure monitoring is also standard across the range.
However, you can’t get some of the more advanced safety aids such as blindspot warning and automatic emergency braking, which are available on some rivals. A lane departure-warning system is standard on range-topping Premium SE trim, though.
The Santa Fe received the maximum five stars in its Euro NCAP crash test in 2012, with scores of 96% for adult protection, 89% for child protection and 71% for pedestrian protection.
Standard security kit includes an immobiliser, deadlocks and locking wheel nuts, but there’s no alarm. Security experts Thatcham awarded the car four out of five for its resistance to being stolen, and three out of five for its resistance to being broken into.
Entry-level SE models come with dual-zone climate control, rear parking sensors, Bluetooth and voice control. That’s a good amount for the money, so it’s what we’d go for.
Mid-level Premium trim adds heated leather seats, a reversing camera and touch-screen sat-nav to the SE’s kit list. It’s still decently priced, so is worth a look if you like your luxuries.
Range-topping Premium SE cars get electric front-seat adjustment, a panoramic sunroof, front parking sensors, a self-parking system, powered tailgate and keyless entry and engine starting. The price pushes the Santa Fe up against some more accomplished rivals, though, so this is the hardest model to make a financial case for.