What's the used Hyundai Santa Fe 4x4 like?
Let’s face it, if you’re in the market for a seven-seater car an SUV is generally a more appealing prospect than the older and more frumpy MPV. You can now choose from a whole host of premium products that’ll carry seven people, but some of these cost a great deal of money to buy, even used.
The Hyundai Santa Fe has, in its previous guises, always offered a fair amount of space for a reasonable amount of cash, and in its later versions the option of seven seats. The third-generation model was good to look at and reasonable to drive, and sold extremely well. This all-new car is the fourth-gen model, and it keeps the capacious interior but ups the exterior style and upgrades the oily bits underneath.
There is still only the one engine option in the UK, though, a 197bhp 2.2-litre four-cylinder diesel unit that receives subtle upgrades over the previous-gen car in order to make it more efficient. Of more interest, perhaps, is that buyers will soon be able to choose a petrol-electric hybrid option as well. There is the option of front or four-wheel drive, and even a choice between a six-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic gearbox.
Trim-wise, even entry-level SE trim gets you a fair amount of kit, including 17in alloy wheels, a 7.0in touchscreen, automatic lights and wipers, dual-zone climate control and cruise control. Then mid-level Premium trim adds an 8.0in touchscreen with sat-nav, heated seats (front and back), a heated steering wheel and leather seats. Meanwhile, range-topping Premium SE adds such niceties as ventilated front seats and a panoramic roof.
On the road, the Santa Fe feels like a large and relatively heavy car, despite the healthy low-down torque of its diesel engine. There’s an annoying gap sometimes between putting your foot down and the car actually responding, especially away from a standstill after the stop/start system has cut the engine’s power, but on the whole it’s a tidy enough performer.
It handles corners fairly well, too, though of course it’s no sports car. The steering is rather heavy, but there’s a good amount of grip available and its behaviour is predictable in most situations. Around town, its ride can feel slightly agitated, however, and can be caught out by large potholes and ruts, although it does settle down at speed.
Inside, the Santa Fe has a good driving position, with plenty of adjustment in the steering wheel and the seat. All versions come with full lumbar adjustment. The dashboard is logically laid out with clearly marked, well-spaced buttons and dials, making it really easy to use – even when you’re driving. Visibility is good, especially to the front and sides, while the rear view is hampered slightly by the thick pillars, although all versions come with a reversing camera and parking sensors as standard.
Where the Santa Fe really scores is in interior space. Up front is roomy and airy, with plenty of storage bins and spaces for odds and ends. The second-row seats are wonderfully spacious, however, with room for three abreast, while the two rearmost seats are big enough for moderately sized adults for shorter journeys, and more flexible youngsters won’t complain. It’s easy to fold away or pull up those third-row seats, too, and the boot space left when you do is vast. Fold the second-row seats down and you could house a baby elephant in there without too much trouble. The second-row seats slide back and forth and recline, too, so the whole Santa Fe experience is one of flexibility and immense practicality.
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