The driver’s seat is well designed, with plenty of lower-back support and decent side support. All versions also come with electronic lumbar adjustment to make fine-tuning the driving position even easier.
You need to go for Premium trim to get full electric seat adjustment, while going for a top-spec Premium SE gets you electric adjustment with a memory function, but the manual adjustment on entry-level models is easy to use. Whichever Santa Fe version you go for, the seat adjusts a long way backwards and forwards, and up and down.
The pedals on manual models are well aligned with the driver’s seat, so there’s no danger of sitting at a funny angle for hours on end. The automatic version is similarly good, helped by having just two pedals.
The heavily stylised dashboard can look a little confusing at first glance, but most of the controls are clearly labelled and simple to use.
Hyundai Santa Fe visibility
Good both forwards and backwards
The Santa Fe has a proper large SUV seating position, which means you get a commanding view of your surroundings. Forward visibility is brilliant, thanks to a large windscreen and thin pillars, while the side view from the front seats is equally impressive.
The windows in the middle row are just as large as those up front, so visibility is equally good and there’s no chance of your passengers feeling claustrophobic.
Things aren’t nearly as good in the rearmost seats in seven-seat versions, due to the small windows and the steeply rising windowline.
This also limits your over-the-shoulder view from the driver’s seat, although the large rear window ensures a decent view straight backwards.
Rear parking sensors are standard across the range, while a reversing camera is fitted from Premium trim upwards. Range-topping Premium SE models also get front parking sensors.
Hyundai Santa Fe infotainment
One of the better systems on the market
Even entry-level SE versions come with plenty of infotainment equipment as standard. Bluetooth, voice control, a CD player, six speakers and USB and aux connections are all included. However, you get only a small colour screen on which to view everything, even if the rotary dials and buttons that control it all are large and easy to use.
Upgrading to Premium or Premium SE trim gets you a far more advanced system – a 7.0in colour touchscreen that includes sat-nav, plus an ungraded sound system with more speakers and a subwoofer. This system is also simple to use because the on-screen buttons are large and clear, so are easy to press while driving. The menus are simple, too, while connecting you mobile phone is the work of seconds – although that’s also the case with the entry-level set-up.
The infotainment system compares well with those in rivals, too. It’s on a par with the one in the Land Rover Discovery Sport, and easier to use than the Nissan X-Trail’s set-up.
Hyundai Santa Fe build quality
Well built and functional rather than plush
There isn’t much in the way of wow factor inside the Santa Fe’s cabin, but it isn’t designed to compete with those of the most upmarket SUVs. Instead, everything feels solidly bolted together, albeit from functional rather than luxurious materials.
That’s not to say there aren’t some areas of softer-touch plastics, especially near the top of the dashboard, and the switchgear is all nicely damped, giving a slick feel. The materials used at knee level and below aren’t as plush, though, and some of the silver plastic highlights look and feel a little tacky.