What is it?
There is now another reason to consider the already-successful Hyundai Santa Fe SUV, because the Korean manufacturer is offering a two-wheel drive version for the first time.
That’s permanent two-wheel drive, of course, because on four-wheel-drive versions, power only gets transferred to the rear axle during adverse road conditions, so Santa Fes that spend their days on shopping expeditions rather than Arctic ones are operating predominantly in front-wheel drive anyway.
We were very impressed with the Hyundai Santa Fe's all-round abilities when we road tested the four-wheel-drive version late last year. We found it mixed a little bit of quality, desirability and dynamism with the versatility and practicality for which we loved the previous-generation car.
The two-wheel-drive version aims to build on those attributes. Available in five or ultra-practical seven-seat configuration but only in the base ‘Style’ trim level and with a manual six-speed gearbox, this Santa Fe is powered by the range’s only engine, a 2.2-litre oil-burner with 194bhp and 311 lb ft.
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.