The Santa Fe isn’t the quietest or most relaxing way to transport you and your family. Engine noise isn’t too intrusive at low revs, but push it beyond around 2000rpm and it becomes gruff. At higher revs, you can also feel a fair amount of vibration through the steering wheel and pedals; in manual models, this comes through the gearlever as well.
The engine has a chance to settle a tad on the motorway, but then you’re more likely to notice the sound of the wind rushing over the large door mirrors.
At least road noise is kept at bay pretty well, while the optional automatic gearbox shifts gear smoothly enough. The manual gearbox has a notchy shift.
Ultimately, a Nissan X-Trail has far better engine refinement than the Santa Fe, while a Land Rover Discovery Sport or BMW X3 do a better job of keeping wind and road noise outside.