The five-seat Santa Fe offers 585 litres of luggage space with the rear seats up and 1680 litres with them folded. The seven-seater adds a pair of fold-flat seats (which are adequate for children but slightly cramped for adults) and the boot capacities fall to 516 and 1615 litres.
Calling the Style trim level ‘base’ is probably a misnomer, for it is well equipped and includes 18in alloys, heated front seats, air-con, privacy glass, Bluetooth connectivity and cruise control as standard. Our five-seat test car adds just one option, metallic paint at £495.
What's it like?
Like its four-wheel-drive sibling, this front-drive Santa Fe offers good ride comfort and a hushed driving environment, which combine to make it very pleasant and easy to drive.
The handling is adequate, and feels slightly defter than the four-wheel-drive version, although some body lean during cornering remains.
The steering offers little feel, and even switching between the three modes offered by Hyundai’s Flex Steer adjustable system doesn’t compensate for the deficit of connectedness between steering wheel and asphalt.
The five-seat car seen here is 66kg lighter than the equivalent four-wheel drive version, a saving that contributes to a 0-62mph time that’s more than half a second faster, at 9.4sec.
Of course, the Santa Fe isn’t designed to be a rocket away from the traffic lights, and of more interest is the economy gain: a claimed 47.9mpg on the combined cycle represents an improvement of 1.6mpg over the greenest four-wheel drive variant, and CO2 falls slightly from 159g/km to 155g/km.
Our test on varied roads around Surrey yielded an indicated average of 41.9mpg; it shouldn’t be too much of a challenge for careful motorists to achieve a figure closer to mid-40s.
Should I buy one?
With the latest Santa Fe range taking a step up in terms of cost compared to the previous-generation car, this model expands the affordable end of the model range by requiring less initial outlay and potentially offering lower running costs than the four-wheel-drive versions.
Hyundai reckons this two-wheel-drive crossover will make up just a small percentage of sales, yet it represents an interesting option for frugal motorists who desire hard-wearing, high-riding family transport but concede that they are rarely, if ever, likely to drive their Hyundai up the side of a mountain.
And if Britain’s annual dusting of winter snow causes you sleepless nights, the £1400 you’d save over the cost of the cheapest four-wheel-drive version could potentially be spent on winter tyres instead.
Hyundai Santa Fe Style 2WD 2.2 CRDi
Price £25,495 0-62mph 9.4sec Top speed 118mph Economy 47.9mpg CO2 155g/km Kerb weight 1863kg Engine 4 cyls, 2198cc, diesel Power 194bhp at 3800rpm Torque 311 lb ft at 1800-2500rpm Gearbox 6-spd manual