Space is one of the main reasons people buy large SUVs, and the Santa Fe doesn’t disappoint. This is especially evident in the front of the cabin, where two tall adults will have room to stretch out – head- and leg room are plentiful, while shoulder room is similarly generous.
Access to the front seats is excellent, thanks to doors that open widely, and once inside there’s a large cubbyhole just in front of the gearlever that’s perfect for storing your mobile phone, wallet and keys. The glovebox is a good size, and each front door has a wide, deep pocket with a built-in bottle holder to keep bottles from rolling around.
Hyundai Santa Fe rear space
Generous head- and legroom, and decent space in the two optional rearmost seats
The Santa Fe’s impressive front space continues backwards to the next row, where two adults will be comfortable on a long journey thanks to generous head- and leg room. Sitting three children across the back seats will be fine, but three adults will be more of a squeeze if they’re broad-shouldered. At least the flat floor makes things better for the middle-seat passenger than in some rivals.
Access to the middle-row seats is good and there’s a decently sized door pocket on each side.
Things aren’t bad in the two rearmost seats of seven-seat versions, either. Sure, the seats are better suited to children rather than adults, but they’ll do the job just fine if you need to transport a couple of grown-ups a moderate distance. Getting to the seats requires some dexterity, though.
Although a Land Rover Discovery Sport offers a similarly generous amount of space inside, the Santa Fe has the Nissan X-Trail beaten, while most other closely priced SUVs don’t offer the option of seven seats at all.
Hyundai Santa Fe seating flexibility
Second- and third-row seats fold almost flat
The front passenger seat doesn’t come with electric adjustment as standard – you need to go for range-topping Premium SE trim for that. SE and Premium cars come with manual adjustment instead, but it’s easy to operate.
The middle row of seats can be split in a handy 40/20/40 configuration and the seatbacks folded down. On seven-seat models, the two rearmost seats split in a 50/50 configuration and fold flat into the boot floor out of the way when not being used. With all the seats down, the Santa Fe’s load bay is flat until the middle row of seats, at which point it rises slightly; it’s not enough to cause any major headaches, though.
Hyundai Santa Fe boot space
A good size and shape, despite some wheelarch intrusion
Another common reason for choosing a large SUV is the amount of boot space they offer. The Santa Fe’s boot is an impressive 585 litres for five-seat models and 516 litres in the seven-seater with the two rearmost seats folded down. That’s more space than a Land Rover Discovery Sport or Volvo XC60 can offer. With all seven seats in place, there’s enough room for a couple of small suitcases or a few weekend bags.
The boot is a relatively practical space, too. The floor is flush with the boot opening, so you don’t have to lift heavy items over an annoying lip. The boot opening is nice and wide, too, so bulky or awkward items such as pushchairs or bikes go in with ease.
The only real downside is the Santa Fe’s wheelarches, which protrude slightly into the back of the boot.