From £25,850
Superb new diesel engine revitalises Hyundai’s seven-seat 4x4
Autocar
15 November 2009

What is it?

Hyundai’s seven-seat 4x4 has received a mild refresh to spruce up the styling and make it more in tune with the times.

It gets a revised bumper and light clusters, front and rear, plus a new grille, fog lights and exhaust. Much more important, however, is the new 2.2-litre turbodiesel ‘R’ engine, which it shares with the new Kia Sorento.

What’s it like?

The motor is a superb unit, undoubtedly the best in its class. It pulls well from just above idle, strongly above 1800rpm and spins easily to the red line. Combined with the new six-speed manual gearbox, it allows for easy progress and confident overtaking.

The longer top gear improves fuel economy (38.7mpg) and makes motorway cruising pleasantly relaxed. The engine has enough flexibility to let you leave the Santa Fe in sixth for most overtaking above 60mph. The gearshift in the six-speed 'box is quite notchy, even when the fluids are warm, and many buyers might be happier with the new auto ‘box.

The visual modifications sharpen up the Santa Fe’s character, giving it a more up-to-date feel, as does the standard USB/AUX socket. Seating might be more accurately described as 5+2. Although the third row of seats will hold children fairly comfortably, there is very little space for luggage, making the Santa Fe a seven-seater for school runs but not school holidays.

Perhaps the most disappointing thing about the Santa Fe is what hasn’t changed from the original. The ride and handling are surprisingly fine, but it really grates to get into a two-tonne seven-seater with a brand new engine and drivetrain only to find that the steering wheel is too close the dash for a six-footer and, unbelievably, doesn’t adjust for reach.

Should I buy one?

Hyundai has lowered the pricing structure for the Santa Fe. This should be good news for company car buyers - along with the lower CO2 rating - and provide stiff competition for the new Kia Sorento, which is equipped with the same diesel engine and gearbox.

Ed Keohane

Advertisement
Advertisement

Find an Autocar review

Join the debate

Comments
11
Add a comment…
Jon Hardcastle 4 January 2010

Re: Hyundai Santa Fe 2.2 CRDi

MattH wrote:

Why do you keep saying this, it does and always has adjusted for reach and height, I am 6' 2", I drive one with the steering wheel fully extended and it is very comfortable.

Having sat in one today I could not get the stearing wheel to adjust for reach but I could get comfortable without this facility and I'm 6'3". Not sure that you are right about the weight though I read it was 1.9 tonnes.

MattH 25 November 2009

Re: Hyundai Santa Fe 2.2 CRDi

kairoo wrote:
what's so great about a 'superb new' engine that struggles to beat 10 secs. for 0-62mph? a lesser powered, similarly sized and weighted BMW X3 2 litre diesel manages the sprint a whole second faster(8.9 secs). also its top speed is 10mph down on the Bimmer(128mph).

The X3 is based on the 1 series platform and is a much narrower and shorter car, a better comparision would be the X5. The SF weights 2.6 tonnes the X3 1.8 tonnes, it nearly 40% heavier.

MattH 25 November 2009

Re: Hyundai Santa Fe 2.2 CRDi

"Perhaps the most disappointing thing about the Santa Fe is what hasn’t changed from the original. The ride and handling are surprisingly fine, but it really grates to get into a two-tonne seven-seater with a brand new engine and drivetrain only to find that the steering wheel is too close the dash for a six-footer and, unbelievably, doesn’t adjust for reach."

Why do you keep saying this, it does and always has adjusted for reach and height, I am 6' 2", I drive one with the steering wheel fully extended and it is very comfortable.

Find an Autocar car review