Is Hyundai’s new Santa Fe on the right track

In a bid to keep its head of steam going, Hyundai has a train of new models coming. Motoring writer KEITH WARD finds out if the Santa Fe is on the right track. 

The Hyundai Santa Fe comes with seats for seven – as long as two of them are fairly small.

HYUNDAI have in train a host of new models in a bid to consolidate the huge boom in their UK sales from the government’s temporary scrappage scheme.
While the big push has been in smaller models, the hefty four-wheel-drive Santa Fe is also winning plaudits in its latest form.
In an eight-strong range, priced from £21,620, you choose from two levels of trim, either manual or auto gearbox and opt for five or seven seats, to go with the unique engine. A more efficient chain-cam 2.2 four-cylinder diesel has replaced the former V6, and the manual is a smoother six-speed instead of five.
Our test vehicle was a five-seater. At a premium of only £350 it is probably worth going for the two extra rear seats, suitable only for small people, which fold away neatly into the floor until called for and don’t hinder day-to-day running.
Slightly bulkier than a Freelander, the Santa Fe offers a comfortable, family-friendly cabin, fair pace, that reassuring five-year warranty and a fulsome list of features, especially in the superior Premium version.
They run to such as dual-zone climate control, cruise control, eight-way electric adjustment for the driver’s seat, heated front seats and ISOfix child seat anchorages on the two outer middle row chairs.
Also 18-inch alloys, automatic headlights and wiper, front fogs, all-round airbags, leather trim for seats, steering wheel and gearknob, reversing sensors to aid parking and an upmarket audio with repeater controls on the steering wheel.
In practical terms, the boot deck stretches, with the rear seats lowered, to well over five feet, while concealed below it is a seven-inch deep, sectioned tray for extra storage. Roof rails are standard.
On the road, there is some engine noise from cold and while the car feels stable at all times, low-speed manoeuvring produces body jerks and movements enough to please a cool-style disco dancer. Cruising on an open road, it settles into middle-age tranquillity, albeit with a pleasing turn of overtaking power when called upon.

Model: Hyundai Santa Fe 2.2 CRDi Premium
Body: Hefty 4×4; five seats; five doors; 18-inch alloys
Size: Length 4,660 mm; width 1,890 mm; height 1,760; weight 1,780 kg
Boot: Length 1,040 mm to 1,610; capacity 969 to 2,247 litres; sill ht 710
Engine: Diesel; 2,199 cc; 4-cyl; 6-speed manual; 4WD
Power: 194 bhp @ 3,800 rpm; max torque 311 lb ft @ 1,800-2,500 rpm
Pace: 118 mph; 0-62 in 9.8 secs
MPG: On test 36.4; official combined 41.5
CO2: 176 g/km; Tax disc £300 first yr then £200; tax liability 27%
Warranty: Five yrs, unlimited mileage; 10 yrs anti-perforation; 12 mths breakdown
Insurance: Group 30
PRICE: £23,370