Laid-back SUV

reveals truth about

quality

Hyundai Santa Fe, side
Hyundai Santa Fe, front
Hyundai Santa Fe, rear
Hyundai Santa Fe, interior
Hyundai Santa Fe, boot

NOW that the voting is over and the embittered point scoring has faded perhaps it is safe to make one or two observations about the election. Well one very obvious one really; these days you can't believe a thing you are told.

Not by the politicians, of course. You never could trust the ice where they are concerned but the opinion polls, which seem to have either been conducted in a passing parallel universe or based on statistics gleaned exclusively from a small wooden puppet with a very long nose.

And that may well be the root of bizarre variance between what the nation appeared to say it would do and what is actually did. The Pinocchio factor, as political historians may well come to call it if they listen to me.

Should we be surprised? No not really. Be honest here, if you are stopped in the street by a clipboard on a stick or interrupted between pudding and theopening credits of Emmerdale you will say just about anythingto get away sharpish.

What spread do I use on my toast? Axle grease and sawdust, bye. Do I ever floss? Between the toes after bouts of Grecian wrestling.

Cold calling by telephone brings out the worst. Well in me at least. Retaliation has included such things as asking a representative to call at a fictitious address to pleas for consideration as Mr Orme's widow is distraught in the next room with the shock of it all, him having just popped out for a loaf and dental hygiene requisites at lunchtime.

Opinions on cars are another area where reality and higgledy-piggledy land are often confused. Take the tap-room prejudice when it comes to Korean cars. You may have heard it: "It's a good job they have long warranties you need it, rough inside, slow, badly built. But at least they are cheap." Yes, well maybe when Gladstone was PM but not now.

Cheap is certainly not a word to use, not for the Hyundai Santa Fe Premium SE four-wheel-drive seven-seat CRDi. If you think £35,430 is cheap perhaps free child care is wasted on your family.

Neither is the Santa Fe cheap in any other sense, the premium is telling no lies in boasting an elevated package. In fact all Santa Fe models come with a host of features, electronic and otherwise, the Premium SE adds luxury with full leather with the seats electrically adjustable, sensors front and back, keyless entry and a sun roof.

That's on top of a huge technical package which includes self -levelling suspension, parking camera, trailer stability alert and all the other passive gubbins to keep you out of the NHS debate. And, of course, there is every known switch and connection known to the computer chip, including sat nav.

That does lead to a relatively busy fascia but you soon settle in and it is easy to use. The elevated driver position is enjoyable and but over the shoulder there are blind spots caused by thick rear pillars.

Performance pretty satisfying for a full-on lardy 4x4. This is the quickest among direct rivals like the X-Trail and much less fussed on the road, a laid back SUV for a relaxed life. It will hit 62mph in 10.1 seconds but it is gruff pulling away. Oh, and there is only the 2.2 diesel available.

Not that there is any discomfort to worry about. High profile tyres and supple suspension soak up the daily bumps of UK roads. That brings with it some lean in bends but, honestly, that's not the way you would want to drive it.

Nothing in this class gets invitations toGreen party barbeques but expect just over 40mpg on average which helps keep emissions to 178g/km, still £225 a year in tax after a £350 first year spanking. Well, think of it as having your own pothole fixed.

If I was buying one I would go the whole nine yards and go for the smoothly shifting automatic.

It's been a bit dry lately to make a serious mess off road of all wheel drive reputations but the Santa Fe coped well with the muck available. Probably all that mud that's been slung.

Despite being a pit on the pricy side this stylish, exceptionally well kitted out all-wheel drive alternative to an MPV is well worth putting a cross in the box for, without a word of a lie.

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