Car review - Hyundai Santa Fe

PUBLISHED: 00:00 26 July 2014

Hyundai Santa Fe

Hyundai Santa Fe

not Archant

Our motoring correspondent Syd Taylor saddles up a Hyundai and hits the trail

Hyundai Santa FeHyundai Santa Fe

If you’re on the trail for SUV serendipity you just might want to say ‘Hi’ to the Hyundai Santa Fe which was voted the best large SUV in 2013. It’s a sleek and appealing ‘whip crack away’ seven seater from Korea with indomitable presence that’s practical, classy and well equipped inside and outside and carries a proper five year, unlimited mileage, warranty.

Since its entry into this highly competitive market, rivals have quaked. And with good reason, for you’d be hard-pressed to match its ‘bangs for bucks’ that Hyundai make it their business to deliver. At £32,375, the Premium spec.7 seat 2.2 CRDi six speed automatic with ‘on demand’ four-wheel drive is up there with the best for much less - and it’s top quality too.

We all know that the appeal of the SUV is dependent on ultra practicality and versatility. You can go anywhere with anyone in any weather and virtually on any highway short of the Rocky Mountains in one of these because this is no ‘soft-roader’.

There’s acres of room for five and their luggage and if you flip up the other two seats from the boot floor, there’s still room for luggage. Put all seats down and you have a veritable pantechnicon.

The name given to this model is redolent of adventurous treks ‘Out West’ but for the British market Hyundai have made subtle and clever adaptions. UK models have chassis tuned to the unique demands of our great British roads.

A cynic might claim, therefore, that this SUV is ‘pothole perfect’ and capable of undertaking journeys without terminal damage to the chassis. A positive thinking person like your correspondent relishes the good roadholding, the tautness behind the wheel and the effortless ‘red-carpeting’ of rough highways. In a Santa Fe you might be forgiven for thinking that the Minister of Transport had - in a fit of the vapours - lavished untold fortunes on our roads. Unfortunately this is not so: merely a consequence of the Santa Fe’s impressive road manners. The chassis certainly betrays no load carrying imperfections. Driving along it feels as smooth as silk with a ride as supple as a Spanish saddle of the finest leather. For a big car it’s so easy to drive.

The torquey 2.2, 194 bhp diesel offers lovely smooth and linear performance, taking you to near 120 mph and yet you don’t struggle to get the claimed 41.5 mpg combined.

With indomitable presence and sculptural purposefulness the Santa Fe delivers like a galloping Pony Express. If you’re in the market for a big-hearted hunk of a car that won’t take a massive chunk out of your earnings, here is utility value that’s worth flagging up: and never has practicality felt so luxurious.

You could carry the Queen of Sheba and guarantee not to spill her sherbet in one of these - and it’s also a fairway to carry a gaggle of golfers to the eighteenth.

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