The UK market does without the long-wheelbase variant that the US market gets; Hyundai says there would be no demand. Instead, the Hyundai Santa Fe offered in the UK has three rows of seats, as before, and the same 2700mm wheelbase as its predecessor.
Given that the length is only marginally increased and the roofline has actually decreased, it’s a credit to Hyundai’s interior packaging that there is 11mm more headroom and 45mm of extra legroom in the middle row.
That the three-wide bench slides fore and aft is definitely an advantage. Occupants in the front and middle rows will have no complaints about spaciousness, but a failure to install tumbling seats in the second row means access is hampered.
The third row, located in the boot where the seats can fold flat into the floor, is fine for occasional use. Once folded, the boot retains a decent size; it’s over a metre long with the central row of seats in place, rising to almost two metres with them folded.
One of the things we liked about the old Santa Fe was its straightforwardness. Its interior wasn’t appealing in a conventional, perceived quality sense, but it was laid out very clearly and was comfortable over long distances. This new variant differs most from its predecessor on the inside, where little chrome-effect inserts and modern touches abound.
Material choices are better, too. There are perhaps a few too many different finishes but, by and large, the cabin’s perceived quality is vastly improved.
The functionality of old is mostly retained. The dials are clear and most switchgear is sited logically, although quite why the button to alter the steering’s weight is given such prominence is anyone’s guess, given how little it is likely to be used.
As for standard equipment, the entry-level Premium model includes 18in alloy wheels, auto lights and wipers, cruise control, electric windows, parking sensors and electrically adjustable, heated and folding door mirrors on the outside, with dual-zone climate control, an electrically adjustable driver's seat, premium sound system, heated front seats and a touchscreen infotainment system with sat nav included on the inside. Opt for the seven-seat version and besides an extra row of seats, there is climate control in the rear and adaptive suspension included in the package.