Hyundai Santa Fe long-term test

Hyundai's latest Santa Fe is now fighting in the same territory as premium rivals from Audi and BMW. Is it worth your money? We've got four months to find out...

Hyundai Santa Fe
  • The car: Hyundai Santa Fe 2.2 CRDi Premium SE 
  • Run by: John Bradshaw, chief photographer
  • Why it’s here: The appeal of an SUV still remains after my time in an estate
  • Needs to: Offer plenty of space for all my photography gear, provide a comfortable ride on long journeys and have a raft of equipment and modern safety tech

Price £43,295 Price as tested £43,985 Miles covered 6950 Official Economy 38.7mpg (WLTP combined) Test economy 34mpg Options fitted Earthy Bronze metallic paint (£690) 

27th March 2019 - Run for the border

Santa Fe Supercars

There’s nothing like a long journey to get acquainted with a new car; prolonged hours behind the wheel give you plenty of time to hone in on the truly important stuff such as comfort, refinement and practicality. So when the opportunity came up with sister publication Autocar to shoot three sports cars in the Scottish borders, I jumped at the chance.

The three sports cars in question were the new Audi R8, Porsche 911 and Lotus Evora 410 – all of which are marketed as thrilling driver’s cars that can be used day-to-day. And of course, if you had deep enough pockets and were duly committed, you could use them as such. However, even on our initial run up the M1, it didn’t take long before I was hearing my colleagues grumble over the radio of sore backs, exhaust drone and road noise.

Now of course, if you’ve ever driven a sports car, you’ll know that sore backs are only a temporary problem, as before long you need to pull over and get fuel giving you an opportunity for a tactical stretch. But happily, that’s something I simply didn’t need to do in the Hyundai Santa Fe with its monstrous 450mile range. Indeed, it soon occurred to me that in the real world a big diesel SUV like the Santa Fe with its adjustable lumbar support and adaptive cruise control is a far quicker and more comfortable grand tourer than a mid-engined sports car.

Hyundai Santa Fe Parked In Field

However, once we reached some of Northumbria’s greatest driving roads, I was a little worried that the three sports cars would simply clear off into the distance. And yet, to my surprise, that didn’t turn out to be the case. Thanks to my elevated driving position I could see further ahead than the others, and with the Hyundai’s 2.2-litre diesel making plenty of low down torque, it was also perfectly quick enough to pull of the odd overtake.

Now of course, in the corners the big Hyundai does adopt a bit of lean – it is a tall SUV, after all – but there was plenty of grip and it never lurched around like my last large SUV, the Ford Edge.

Put simply, the Santa Fe more than held its own as a support vehicle, and after covering around 1000 miles in just two days I felt as fresh as a daisy upon my return to London – something that couldn’t be said for my Autocar colleagues. In fact, I wish it was hanging around a little longer, as I think it’d make the ideal ski trip car, something I’ll talk more about next time.

Hyundai Santa Fe Audi R8

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