Hyundai Santa Fe Review

Gumtree Rating

4.5 rating

The largest SUV from Hyundai, the Santa Fe was an instant hit in the American market when it was first released in 2001. Evolving through the years, this practical and stylish offering from the South Korean manufacturer has taken on a much more global appeal, all the while maintaining its great value. It’s a spacious, well-built seven-seater that can comfortably chauffeur you for years. Rugged styling and more modern interiors on the newer generations add to its charm, making it a great option for large families.

Visit the Hyundai Santa Fe model page to explore available cars and learn more.

What we think about the Hyundai Santa Fe

Superb practicality along with lots of standard equipment make the Santa Fe a standout choice in the family SUV segment.

Pros

+

Plenty of space

+

Comfort

+

Value for money on the used market

Cons

The interiors could look better

Unexciting drive

Newer models are a bit pricey

The Santa Fe has spanned more than two decades and is currently in its fourth generation. Through the years, it’s been made available with engines ranging from 1.8-litre up to 2.2-litre options. The fourth generation, released in 2018, introduced hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants. Trims on offer include the entry-level SE, SEL and Limited.

Driving performance of the Hyundai Santa Fe

Our Driving Rating8 / 10

While the first-generation Santa Fe offers a smooth and comfortable ride, it suffers from a lack of input from the steering. However, the subsequent generations have altered the feel considerably. Although it can’t be described as exciting, the weighty steering on the latest generation means the car is much more confident on the road. The Santa Fe focuses on practicality rather than performance, which is noticeable in its very capable gearboxes – both the automatic and manual variants. All in all, expect a quiet and easy drive that’s ideal for a relaxing cruise.

Safety and reliability of the Hyundai Santa Fe

Our Safety Rating9 / 10

A great warranty package from Hyundai is the first indication of the reliability on offer here. All generations have scored well on crash tests too. The second generation received four stars from Euro NCAP, while the third and fourth generation models boast a full five-star rating. All variants from the second generation onwards come with driver and passenger-side airbags, Isofix child support points and front fog lights. Automatic Emergency Braking with pedestrian detection, which stabilises the car in case of mishaps, is also standard in the latest generation. Opt for the more expensive trims for the most comprehensive safety kit, but you’ll get a feature-packed vehicle with any newer model.

Under the bonnet of the Hyundai Santa Fe

Our Engine Rating7 / 10

On the latest generation there’s only one diesel engine on offer, a 2.2-litre CRDi turbo that achieves 0 to 62 mph in 9.5 seconds. The hybrid models share a 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine. While the mild hybrid takes 9.1 seconds to go from 0 to 62 mph, the PHEV is more impressive at 8.8 seconds. The third generation is only available with a 2.2-litre turbocharged diesel powertrain, which puts out 195 bhp. The diesel units are the most popular in the older generations. Although the engine choice is fairly limited for the UK market, expect a refined and quiet ride across the board.

What you'll find in the Hyundai Santa Fe

Our Design Rating8 / 10

Since early in it’s life, the Santa Fe’s appeal has been its rugged design. While the first generation wasn’t quite so refined in terms of looks, that all changed with the 2006 model. The latest facelift amplifies the bold appearance with the cascading grille design as well as LED headlamps, while the introduction of curvier lines definitely gives it some more road presence in this crowded market. Going with the Premium spec gets you 19-inch alloy wheels that really stand out on the road.

Comfort and interiors in the Hyundai Santa Fe

Our Comfort Rating9 / 10

As a big SUV, expect lots of legroom and headroom for your passengers, but keep in mind that the rearmost seats are only practical for the kids. The Santa Fe takes the win for incredible boot space though – there’s plenty of room to fit prams and bulky furniture, and you can always use the roof rack bars for what doesn’t go in. In the latest generation, the standard reversing camera makes parking a breeze. If you’re looking for a proper seven-seater for accommodating adults, the third generation models are a good option. All in all, the Santa Fe fares very well in terms of comfort and practicality.

Hyundai Santa Fe interior dashboard

What features you'll find in the Hyundai Santa Fe

Our Features Rating9 / 10

Hyundai has managed to pack in a lot of standard tech with all generations of the Santa Fe. Electric mirrors, lumbar support and alloy wheels are standard on all models. From the 2006 models on, you also get traction control, which stabilises the car in wet or gravelly road conditions. Build quality and design have improved vastly over the years, and the latest generation has a more premium feel. The 2018 model brings the latest in infotainment tech with a central 10.5-inch screen and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard. Upgrading to the Ultimate trim adds a head-up display with 360-degree camera views.

What fuel efficiency to expect from the Hyundai Santa Fe

Our Fuel Consumption Rating7 / 10

The first and second-gen engines aren’t very frugal, with fuel consumption ranging between 30 and 39 mpg on average. The second-generation engines fair much better at 41 to 47 mpg. It’s important to note that these cars used older testing methods, which means you may get even lower efficiency when actually out on the road. The latest-gen diesel gives between 38 and 41 mpg on the newer WLTP testing method, and these figures are closer to what you’ll get with real-world usage. As you’d expect, the PHEV scores best here with a highly impressive 173.7 mpg.

Running costs of the Hyundai Santa Fe

Our Cost Rating8 / 10

On the latest generation, the Santa Fe sits in insurance groups 39-40, which means insurance costs are slightly higher compared to rivals like the Skoda Kodiaq. However, Hyundai’s unlimited mileage five-year warranty means that you have a reliable machine that will rarely give you any trouble. What’s more, you also get five free annual health checks with the 2018 model. Plus, Hyundai’s online quoting system makes it easy for you to figure out your service costs well in advance. The Santa Fe hasn’t had any major reported issues, so you can be confident of a long-lasting purchase that won’t break the bank.

Our verdict of the Hyundai Santa Fe

4.5 rating

4.5 / 5 Gumtree rating

Spacious, practical and with decent looks – the Hyundai Santa Fe checks all the boxes for a reliable family SUV.