Find a car review

Make
Model

Hyundai Santa Fe review

Want a big, good value family SUV? Nope? That's a shame - this one isn't bad at all. And it's got 194bhp.

Evo rating
Price
from £23,995
  • Great for families
  • Less great for drivers

What is it?

It’s the Hyundai Santa Fe 2.2 CRDi, a dead on rival for the likes of Land Rover’s Freelander. It’s four wheel-drive, can be had with seven seats and eschews the crossover trendiness of the Nissan Qashqai and Mini Countryman for a more straightforward approach.

Subscribe to evo magazine

If you're passionate about the world's greatest performance cars, experience the thrill of driving with evo magazine. Try your first 5 issues for £5.

Technical highlights?

The engine by a country mile. Not so much for the impressive power and torque outputs (most rivals lag 40bhp-odd behind), but for how smooth it is. OK, so when cold it rattles and chugs for the first few miles, but once warmed through it’s impressively soft and good natured.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

What’s it like to drive?

Pretty rubbish by our usual way of measuring these things. It doesn’t like to be hurried and if you are bold enough to try a good chuck at a likely corner, it feels like the loaded front wheel is tucking under, causing the chassis to trip over itself.

It’s a big cumbersome SUV, so you treat it as such and when you do you realise it actually has a good blend of grip, ride and go and can be driven smoothly and swiftly without too much stress and ache. Slow down early for bends, then power through and the nose stays on line and the turbo delivers enough force to make things interesting.

I’m not convinced by the frame’s integrity on pitted roads, though – you can almost detect the A-pillars shaking and the steering is a little wayward.

How does it compare?

If you’re in the market for one of these things, then you could do much worse. The Santa Fe is twice the size of a Freelander or Honda CR-V inside, the extra seats are genuinely usable and structural shake and cheap materials aside, it actually feels very robust. And compare the power outputs with other 2.2-litre rivals: Freelander has 148bhp and 310lb ft, CR-V 148bhp and 258lb ft – although both are marginally cleaner and more efficient, plus the Honda handles more deftly and the Freelander driving experience has more integrity. 

Advertisement - Article continues below

Anything else I need to know?

Big, hard wearing and relaxing, it’s a chuffing great family car, and with prices starting at £21,495 it really is very good value.

Specifications

EngineIn-line 4cyl, 2199cc, turbodiesel
Max power194bhp/3800rpm
Max torque311lb ft/1800-2500rpm
0-609.8secs (claimed)
Top speed118mph
On saleNow, £23,995
Advertisement

Have You Considered

Visit/mercedes/gle/201748/2019-mercedes-gle400d-review-a-worthy-original
Mercedes GLE

2019 Mercedes GLE400d review – a worthy original

12 Sep 2019
Visit/porsche/porsche-911-carrera-4/201744/2019-porsche-911-carrera-4-and-carrera-4-cabriolet-detailed
Porsche 911 Carrera 4

2019 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 and Carrera 4 Cabriolet detailed

12 Sep 2019
Visit/mercedes/201726/mercedes-amg-electric-car-to-target-porsche-taycan-and-tesla-model-s
Mercedes

Mercedes-AMG electric car to target Porsche Taycan and Tesla Model S

10 Sep 2019
Visit/volkswagen/18328/2020-volkswagen-id3-revealed-vws-electric-revolution-is-here
Volkswagen

2020 Volkswagen ID.3 revealed - VW’s electric revolution is here

9 May 2019

Most Popular

Visit/best-cars/201772/best-v8-cars-past-and-present-our-favourite-eights-and-the-cars-theyre-found-in
Best cars

Best V8 cars past and present – our favourite eights and the cars they’re found in

Whether it’s smooth and sophisticated or motorsport-like in its aggression, the V8 remains one of our favourite engine types, warts and all
20 Sep 2019
Visit/spy-shots/201770/porsche-cayman-gt4-rs-spied-718-to-receive-rennsport-treatment
spy shots

Porsche Cayman GT4 RS spied – 718 to receive Rennsport treatment

More power, more aero and less weight are already on the cards for Stuttgart’s fastest Cayman
19 Sep 2019
Visit/hyundai/i30-n-hatchback/201775/hyundai-i30-n-versus-hyundai-i30-tcr
Hyundai i30 N hatchback

Hyundai i30 N versus Hyundai i30 TCR

Can evo magazine’s Dickie Meaden beat Steve Sutcliffe in a straight(ish) race? We sent them to the Circuit Nuvolari with a pair of Hyundai i30 Ns to f…
20 Sep 2019
Visit/article/201613/goodyear-eagle-f1-supersport-picked-by-porsche
Sponsored

Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperSport - picked by Porsche

Goodyear has many close associations with premium global car brands, but being asked to develop a trackday tyre for Porsche's extreme 911 GT3 RS was a…
14 Aug 2019