Hyundai Santa Fe

Ultimate 1.6 T-GDi

Plug-in Hybrid

Hyundai Santa Fe PHEV, 2022, front
Hyundai Santa Fe PHEV, 2022, side
Hyundai Santa Fe PHEV, 2022, rear
Hyundai Santa Fe PHEV, 2022, interior
Hyundai Santa Fe PHEV, 2022, display screen
Hyundai Santa Fe PHEV, 2022, badge
Hyundai Santa Fe PHEV, 2022, rear seats
Hyundai Santa Fe PHEV, 2022, charging point
Hyundai Santa Fe PHEV, 2022, boot

THERE is a Hans Christian Andersen song that tells the story of an ugly duckling, which over time transformed into a beautiful swan.

The first Santa Fe was a bit of an ugly duckling, functional, affordable but not a show stopper in the beauty stakes.

The latest Santa Fe is another matter altogether, a stylish, good looking seven-seat flagship of the Hyundai range.

Once pretty much bargain basement, this is now a true premium vehicle, packed with equipment and finished with high-end quality materials. With a starting price of more than £40k that should be expected.

It now features a 1.6-litre T-GDi engine combined with either a 230PS full hybrid or a 265PS plug-in hybrid option driven here, with emissions of just 37g/km of CO2. Both are mated with a six-speed fully automatic gearbox and with the choice of two or intelligent four wheel drive.

The eye catching styling includesT-shaped LEDs, large honeycomb-style grille, and front bumper. While the rear features connected tail lamps, full length lower reflector and a redesigned bumper., together with smart alloys.

Gear changes are via a central stack with large push buttons and it features a 10.25-inch touchscreen while the driver benefits from 12.3 inch digital cockpit style cluster.

The touchscreen controls navigation, infotainment with a KRELL Premium Audio - 10 Speaker System and DAB radio. It also offers connectivity for smartphones, Bluetooth with voice recognition and Bluelink Connected Car Services. There is also a wireless phone charging pad.

There are two versions, the Premium with kit that includes, full LED headlamps privacy glass and roof rails, while the interior features powered and heated driver and front passenger seats, second row one-touch folding seats, luggage compartment heated front and rear seats, dual zone climate control air conditioning, and heated steering wheel.

This range-topping Ultimate adds surround view monitor parking system with parking collision avoidance assist, remote smart parking assist and head up display.

For a relatively small engine for the size of car, there is plenty of power on tap. The plug-in hybrid technology mates 1.6 petrol power unit with an electric motor to deliver decent pace, but low CO2 emissions and decent economy.

It is quick off the mark, sitting 60mph in around nine second, while the claimed economy in the near perfect world of running almost exclusively on electric is a whopping, but theoretical 173mpg.

This has to be compared against other plug-ins which measure in the same way, but in the real world, using electric with a range of around 35miles and petrol id nearer the mid-50s mark. If you drive locally and charge up regularly you will get that huge fuel economy, but with longer distances and motorway driving, you will use more fuel, bringing economy way down.

For such a big car, the ride and handling are surprisingly sharp with the suspension tuned to soak up all but the very worst of road surface lumps bumps and potholes, although there is some body roll on corners. When the weather gets tricky or when tackling mild offroad conditions, then the four wheel mode can be selected for appropriate conditions.

It is a hugely practical vehicle, featuring folding and twisting and folding flat seats as well as adjustable 60-40 split second row seats which allow for a multitude of combinations for stowage. With seven seats in situ, boot space is not huge, but can be opened up to a maximum of 1,649 litres.

The rearmost two seats are fairly substantial and accessible, so adults can be seated in relative comfort, although hundreds of miles would don't be recommended.

Nets and hooks in the boot space keep things from flying around and the powered boot lid can be opened with a kick motion at the rear of the car.

Safety kit includes full range of airbags, autonomous emergency braking hill start and descent control systems are also standard, along with lane departure warning with lane-keep assist.

5yrs/100,000 miles

FAST FACTS

Hyundai Santa Fe Ultimate 1.6 T-GDi Plug-in Hybrid

Price: £49,010

Mechanical:261ps, 1.6 litre petrol engine and and electric motor driving all wheels via wheels via 7-speed,auto gearbox

Max Speed: 116mph

0-62mph: 8.8 seconds

Combined MPG: 173.4mpg

Insurance Group:27

C02 emissions: 37g/km

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