Hyundai Santa Fe -

Used Car Review

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

HYUNDAI'S large Santa Fe off-roader the comes with an unbeatable five year warranty like every other car in the company's range, and some of that may still be transferable to secondhand owners.

The Korean maker is really getting things right these days and the quality of its cars is almost up with the Europeans and Japanese.

The Santa Fe is one of the best cars in the line-up. It comes at a good price new, which makes it cheaper than most contemporaries secondhand, and its capable both on and off-road.

I once drove one for nearly 500 miles in a long weekend and thoroughly enjoyed it. Off-road, the 4x4 versions - which is most of them - are surprisingly unstoppable, and will almost always get you where you want to go, whatever the weather.

That said, they don't have the ground clearance of a Land Rover Defender - but then - few other SUV's do!

They are big machines but are not intimidating. The 2012 incarnation is great looking from every angle and comes with five or seven seats.

There is only one engine option, a 2.2 litre turbo diesel producing a very good 195bhp or thereabouts.

This drives the front or all four wheels through either a smooth changing six speed manual gearbox, or an even smoother six speed automatic.

The power unit has more than enough power and torque for the weight, giving a zero to 60 miles an hour acceleration time of 9.8 seconds in the 4WD version with automatic gearbox. The manual is a little quicker and a little more economical too, giving a best of 47 miles per gallon in the old government figures.

That equates to about 37 to 40 when driving in the real world, which is still not bad for such a large vehicle.

Comfort is generally very good, soaking up the worst of roads in its stride, and a high seating position - something most buyers love - gives a very good view all round.

There isn't much in the way of wind, road or tyre noise and Hyundai has done a lot of work to improve this refinement leaving it smooth, quiet and relaxed.

Through corners it holds the road well thanks to the four-wheel-drive system, which cuts in only when the front wheels begin to lose traction.

There's quite a lot of body lean through quicker corners of course, and although the steering is light and lacks feedback, it is direct.

There is enough equipment to keep most drivers happy even in the lower order cars and the interior materials are good enough quality to last the course.

All come with a large array of safety gear including an Active Hood System that reduces the impact on a pedestrian in a collision, and a Trailer Stability Assist system for those who regularly tow.

Incidentally, the towing weights for manual and automatic are different. The manual models have a maximum braked trailer weight of 2500kg, while with the auto this reduces to 2000kg.

Other safety gear includes stability control, brake assist, emergency stop signal and a driver's knee airbag. It also comes with a hill descent system, hill start assist and seven airbags.

Euro NCAP awarded it five stars, including an impressive 96 per cent for adult occupant protection and it was rated as the safest Large Off-Road 4x4 of 2012.

The third row seats aren't as difficult to get into as in other large SUVs because the middle row slides forwards to allow adjustable legroom.

Other equipment in mid-range Premium guise includes alloy wheels, audio remote control, sat nav, a full-size spare wheel, parking sensors and leather seats.

It also has traction control, electric driver's seat, heated seats, cruise control and roof rails.

Pay about £11,500 for a '14 14-reg SE five seat auto, or £17,500 for a '17 17-reg Premium seven seat manual.

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