Santa Fe 2.2 CRDi Premium 7-seat Auto
after the famous Santa Fe
4x4 is available with a 2.2-litre diesel
engine, all-wheel drive and with five
or seven seats and priced from
WITH A HIGHER BRAND PROFILE, a significantly improved powertrain and sharper
styling, the new Santa Fe should now be on the right track to benefit from the
worst Winter for three decades with 4x4s once again high up on
the agenda for many new car buyers, it could be the right vehicle at the right
Specification, size, build quality, reliability, comfort and attractive pricing
have all previously been sound reasons to buy a Santa Fe. And in this respect
nothing has changed.
Good news is the new versions are a few hundred pounds cheaper, and with more
power and more equipment, than the models they replace. These 'mores' add up
to around £2,000 better value for money. Prices range from £21,495 to £25,495.
All models have a new 2.2-litre turbodiesel engine with six-speed manual or
automatic transmission options and there are five- and seven-seat versions of
both the Style and Premium trim levels on offer. Although retail customers make
up the majority of Hyundai's current customers, business user-choosers are now
looking at the brand because of the lower tax implications, five-year warranty
and value for money.
The latest Santa Fe's styling changes are concentrated on the finer details,
and its strong silhouette is instantly recognisable. At the front, the black
two-bar grille is replaced by a chrome-edged three-bar version that brings more
distinction and flows into the strong creases running down the bonnet. Revised
headlight clusters sit above a new, more sculpted bumper which also houses new
fog lights in a black surround. The rear gains a new bumper that curves neatly
into more distinctive light clusters, while trapezoidal exhaust pipes and new
alloy wheel designs improve the car's stance and presence on the road.
In the cabin, carbon black trim replaces the previous wood finishes to highlight
the Santa Fe's modern feel, and the standard CD/RDS radio now comes with an
AUX/USB connection with full iPod control for increased functionality.
The two-model range now comprises of entry-level Style and higher spec Premium.
Style models are packed with standard equipment: 17-inch alloy wheels, reversing
sensors, ESP, air conditioning and electrically-operated windows and door mirrors
are among the standard features. Premium specification adds, amongst other things,
18-inch wheels, dual climate control, heated leather seats with electric adjustment
for the driver and automated lights and wipers.
new Santa Fe retains its MPV-rivalling practicality, with the more versatile
seven-seat option available for a modest £750 on both Style and Premium models.
In either version it offers a huge 969 litres of load space in the five-seat
configuration rising to a van-like 2,247 litres with all the rear seats folded.
This is an increase of 34 litres over the previous model.
versions are also fitted with a self-levelling rear suspension and rear privacy
glass as standard, while five-seat versions get a substantial under-floor storage
area that is ideal for keeping wet or dirty items away from the main boot area.
The really big plus point for seven-seat models is that the middle and rear
rows fold easily into the floor to provide a large flat load base.
come at the expense of
economy as the
combined cycle figure for
models now breaks the
really doesn't matter whether you need seven seats or not: leave the rear row
folded and you still have huge carrying space and that is important for our
modern-day active lifestyles. This feature would be my main reason to buy this
vehicle it is just so practical and user-friendly. But if you want to
use it as a towing vehicle and many people buy an SUV for just that very
purpose, be it caravan, boat or horse trailer the maximum braked towing
weight has been increased by 300kg to 2,500kg.
Another reason to buy the new Santa Fe is its new 2.2-litre direct injection,
balancer shaft diesel engine. This Euro V-compliant, all-aluminium 2,199cc powerplant
offers up 194bhp backed by 311lb ft of torque (322lb ft when specified with
an automatic gearbox). This amounts to improvements of 26% and 27% respectively
over the previous engine. Peak torque arrives at just 1,800rpm so the unit is
responsive and the power progressive and it works well with the slick new six-speed
auto gearbox a nice combination. Top speed is 118mph and 0-62mph takes
Performance doesn't come at the expense of economy as the combined cycle figure
for manual transmission models now breaks the 40mpg barrier and emissions have
fallen significantly to 176g/km, moving it down the Vehicle Excise Duty ratings
to Band I which currently costs £175 (from April 2010 it will be £300 for its
first year of registration before dropping to £200 a year).
However, choosing an automatic transmission model means higher VED charges:
the official combined cycle fuel economy is 38.2mpg exactly what my test
model returned but with emissions of 194-197g/km this means a Group J
VED band of £215 a year (increasing from April 2010 under the new first year
rules to £425 before returning to £235). For business users, Benefit-in-Kind
tax levels range from 26 to 30% depending on the version chosen. To offset the
running costs, service interval times have been doubled to 20,000 miles and
the five-year unlimited mileage warranty helps offset tax implications.
The previous Santa Fe always offered a comfortable ride, if perhaps a bit too
soft so the handling was on the sloppy side. The new model's suspension has
been revised and tuned for UK roads and is certainly firmer (but not so much
as to be annoying) and the handling is now sharper, more controlled and relatively
precise. And the suspension still makes light work of absorbing the shocks and
jolts from the ever-increasing number of potholes.
The Santa Fe has a 4-star EuroNCAP rating for both adult and child occupants.
The vehicle is also now fitted with a rollover sensor which detects any possible
inversion and automatically deploys side airbags and the seat belt pre-tensioners.
All versions are fitted with twin front, side and full length curtain airbags
while active head restraints are now standard.
Alongside the on-demand four-wheel drive system fitted across the range, all
models now come with ESP in addition to traction control and ABS with electronic
brakeforce distribution. In normal conditions the 'torque on demand' system
runs in two-wheel drive mode unless sensors detect a loss of grip. Drive is
then automatically split between the front and rear axles to maximise traction.
The system can be locked into four-wheel drive mode by the simple push of a
button but there is no low ratio setting so it's sensible off-roading rather
than workhorse traction.
Gripes: foot operated parking brake, indicator/wiper stalks on the wrong sides
of the column for UK use, some interior trim is a bit plasticky although it
looks okay, not all that cheap to run and residual values need to be improved.
Plus points: very roomy, versatile interior space, good looks, well priced,
fine new diesel engine and auto transmission, drives well and the five-year
warranty. As a package, the new Santa Fe offers a great deal and that
could be the unofficial 'mission statement' from Hyundai: 'whatever the model,
it's a great deal'. David Miles
Hyundai Santa Fe 2.2 CRDi Premium 7-seat Auto | £25,495
Maximum speed: 118mph | 0-62mph: 10.2 seconds | Overall test MPG: 38.2mpg
Power: 194bhp | Torque: 322lb ft | CO2 197g/km | Insurance group 30