The Look 

The Drive

On Board Computer

Camera & Parking

Seats & Rear Bench 

Cup Holders & Cubby Holes

Boot

Safety (Euro NCAP) 

A fabulous 7-seater contender

Starting price: £42,890

The Pros

Robust interior

Great parking camera and monitor

Spacious cabin

Entry level has lots of kit

Cons

Boot smaller than some competitors

Intro

A fabulous contender for a robust and versatile 7-seater.  We were delighted to get our hands on the Hyundai Santa Fe. Diesel models start from £43,725, Hybrid from £42,890 and we drove a Plug-in hybrid which starts from £48,035.

First impressions did not disappoint!  We had heard great things about this family car. The exterior comes in a creamy white pearl and, if you are after one of the muted metallic colours, the upgrade is £690 on any model. A strong and solid looking car to deal with family life.

This award winning car competes with the Kia Sorento, Skoda Kodiaq and Volvo XC90 to name a few.

On the road the car had presence and was great to drive both in town and on the main roads. The gear changer is effortless with the buttons at your fingertips. Next to this is a rotary button and, even a novice driver, can switch to snow or mud terrain to prevent wheel slip and optimise control.

The Plug-in Hybrid has up to 32 electric miles depending on how you use the car.

All the models have front and back parking sensors along with a reversing camera.  However, we thought the BVM (Blind Spot View Monitor) was just brilliant and every vehicle should have this tech.  What is it you may ask?  Well, when you indicate to turn left or right a camera pulls through the image, of the blind spot, on your digital display.  Therefore, if you are waiting at a junction to turn left and a cyclist creeps up on the passenger side you can see him / her on your monitor.  It is also useful when parking and reversing.  This car has it all covered to keep everyone safe. Our children thought this was pretty cool.

The Santa Fe has HUD (heads up display) and can project your speed, speed limit and navigation on the windscreen just in front of the steering wheel. There is the option to turn this off if it is not for you.  All in all, even the entry level, had loads of kit and would work well for everyday life and we even filled the boot and took this great car to a mini rugby tournament.

Interior

Like its exterior the car feels solid and could potentially be a great contender for parents of boys!

All the buttons from the gear changer to the child locks are all beautifully positioned around the driver’s seat. Hyundai have gone for buttons as opposed to everything buried in a touchscreen which can certainly be safer, when driving down a busy motorway, you can blindly adjust the controls like the air-conditioning.  All models have a heated steering wheel which is a real treat on the many cold winter mornings.

The digital display is crisp with good graphics and the 10.25 inch touchscreen infotainment is responsive and easy to use. The screen is also placed at a good height.  Standard models have a rear view parking camera and with an upgrade you can have a 360 degree camera.  The Santa Fe also has ultrasonic sensors  which will automatically break if it thinks you may collide with an obstacle…. which is normally a small, sneaky bollard at a supermarket! There are the usual whistles and bells such as Apple CarPlay, Android Auto through to the navigation map with live services to make sure you find your way, to the next sports ground or children’s party, on time.

In the Ultimate model we drove there was a panoramic glass sunroof that at a touch of a button glided open and the screen comes across too so there is no fear of blinding small humans in the rear seats on a sunny day.  There is also privacy glass for the rear passengers and pull-down built-in blinds.

Seats & Passenger Space

The front seats have lots of adjustment to get comfy and have a great view of the road ahead.  There is a memory function too so that you can quickly get back to your ideal spot after your partner has changed everything after one small journey.  All models have front heated seats and upgrades include rear heated and front ventilated options for those hotter moments.

Hyundai have designed the vehicles with hard wearing an@ wipeable leather to tackle melted chocolate through to copious amounts of mud.  We all like to say post a car wash “no more snacks or food in the car” and this normally lasts a mammoth 25 minutes.

The cabin feels spacious with great leg room in the second row.  There are automatic child locks to prevent busy little hands from opening the passenger doors. We found that the rear doors have a good opening which helps when trying to get a lively toddler into a childseat.  Plus there is an electric button on the front passenger seat which can quickly move the seat forward allowing more space in the back.  We could fit two child seats and a small booster on the rear bench or 3 large teenagers.  The floor is flat which is a big tick for the middle passenger. Like most cars with a third row, as an adult, they are not somewhere you want to sit for much time.  However, for the younger passenger the seats are wide with a good headrest. Our children gave them a thumbs up!

The Santa Fe has 3 isofix points.  One in the front passenger and 2 on the outer rear seats.

Cups & Cubby

We found the car to have lots of useful spaces. Good sized door bins to storage spaces under the middle console, armrest, glovebox and even a tray space on the dashboard for perhaps an iPad.  All three rows have their own cupholders and there is a pocket for storage on the back of the front seats.

In the front there is wireless charging along with USB ports in both the middle console for front and rear charging.  There is also a 220v socket which is great if your laptop needs a boost. A must to keep passengers happy on those long drives away.

Boot Space

The Santa Fe boot space as a 5-seat is 571 litres so fairly average for this sized car.  A pram or buggy could be pushed all the way back width ways to create maximum space.  There is no load lip and the family Labrador was happy with the headroom!  There is no parcel shelf, but the much more useful rotary and retractable blind which is handy when you need to load the boot with taller items (big shops and a wealth of school bags).  All of the models have an automatic tailgate button.  Such a life saver when you maybe juggling children and bags.

If you have made a trip to Ikea then the full boot capacity. with all the rear seats down, is 1689 litres.  We could not find the spec for the boot when all 7 seats are in use.  However, we could still load a buggy, wellies and squashable bags.

Finally, if you need to tow anything then do consider the diesel model first which can pull up to 2500kg.

Summary

We can definitely recommend a test drive of the Santa Fe and even the entry levels are kitted out with nearly everything you need.  Hyundai have a good reliability track record and this vehicle has a 5 year unlimited mileage warranty. The vehicle also has a wealth of safety features to give you peace of mind from sensors, to prevent you reversing out into a moving car, through to lane keep assist which will alert the driver if the car deviates from the intended lane / course.

This is a car which will cope with the hard knocks of family life along with the flexibility to cover parent taxi driving through to long journeys away.

Starting price from: £ 42,890 (Hybrid), £48,035 PHEV, £43,725 Diesel

Car seats : Joie Trillo 2/3 (ember) : width 55cm

Baby seat : Maxicosi CabrioFix (depth 71.5cm / width 44.5cm)

Booster : Halfords Essential : width 39.5cm

Car Dimensions - Kate and Claire

Dimensions

4785 (L) x 1900 (W) x 1710 (H)

Boot Capacity - Kate and Claire

Boot Capacity

571 litres (5 seat)

Backseat Size Kate and Claire Reviews

Backseat Dimensions

Miles per Gallon - Kate and Claire

Miles per gallon

44.1 MPG (Hybrid)

Range - Kate and Claire

Electric Miles

32 miles (PHEV)

Speedometer - Kate and Claire

Speed

0-62mph in 8.8 secs