The Korean automaker has been improving models year on year with quality levels rivaling those that have been in the game far longer. The new look third-generation Hyundai Santa Fe is a stylish 7-seater that’s available with a 290 hp 3.3-liter V6, all-wheel drive, a feature-rich interior with active and passive safety systems that give the SUV a starting price tag of $30,800. This includes the best warranty in the US right now: 10-years / 100 000 miles.
Hyundai’s Santa Fe is a sort of left field choice when SUV shopping because it’s a great car in just about every respect, but for some reason the automaker’s name often doesn’t pop up when people start shopping. It’s a pity, because it’s got everything you could want or need in a 7-seater with great tech and spec, as well as the best warranty available – it comes in at a whopping ten years. The Korean brand should be added to your wish list if you’re in the market, because it looks like you can’t really go wrong.
Inside the Santa Fe things are good, better than most expect in a Hyundai. Seating is for seven (unless the 2nd row captain’s chairs are optioned), and the support and materials make for a comfortable drive. If the car is destined for kiddie transport, stain-resistant cloth is a must have, but the leather is best. There’s great space for passengers and cargo, if needed some seat manipulation can free up 80 cubic feet of space. Seating in the optional 12-way power driver’s seat affords the perfect position, and the dash layout and infotainment system has a good flow to it and the controls are perfectly in reach. Conveniences are there too like rear seat ventilation, heated seats in the 1st and 2nd row and a 150-volt power outlet for portable electronics.
With the Hyundai not having a complete makeover, but rather some upgrades and changes in key places and that’s resulted in a large SUV that pleases the eye, but that has the drive and the performance being much the same as with the previous incarnation of the Santa Fe. The gearing in the 6-speed automatic transmission is nice and smooth with the right changes at the right times. Steering is quite light but stiffens when force is applied; the rest of the feedback is typical of a 7-seater, it’s not going to set your soul on fire but it won’t kill it either. The Hyundai is definitely good enough to be a daily driver without having anything get annoying, things are smooth and adequately responsive, road noise is kept to an absolute minimum while being pretty comfortable.
A 290 hp V6 motor producing 252 lb-ft from its 3.3-liter capacity is what powers the Hyundai Santa Fe. This engine is strong enough to give the 7-seater SUV a sense of urgency; it’s responsive and smooth. You’re able to get the SUV up to 60 mph in a little over seven seconds if the need dictates. The 6-speed automatic transmission is good and has the right ratios and shift points to make proper use of the power. Rivals score better here as many have more gears available, and it’s for this reason that the Hyundai is a little on the thirsty side. Consumption comes in at with EPA figures of combined use at 19 mpg, city ravel at 17 mpg and a usage of 22 mpg.
The Santa Fe has great features, especially at the different price points. A few different packages are available that differ in tech and spec. Some of the options available in different combinations includes an 8-inch touchscreen navigation, a multi-view camera system that gives a 360-degree view of the exterior and smart cruise control. Safety is as good as it gets in an SUV too with a full marks rating thanks to all the usual systems that a new car features like blind spot detection, rear cross traffic alert and lane change assist.
What we have here is an SUV from one of the younger brands on the scene with a product that is capable of showing up some of the old timers in both spec level and refinement. The four models and various tech and spec combinations make for a wide choice for buyers, and even the lowest spec has enough on board to satisfy many. If you take the top option, it’s around $8,500 more expensive than the base model, and that $39,400 get’s you a keck of a lot of car.