Hyundai Santa Fe (2012-2017) Review

RRP from
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This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car
  • Easy to drive
  • Lots of standard equipment
  • Comfortable on bumpy roads
  • Only one engine available
  • Some cheap materials inside
  • Pricier than many alternatives
42.8 - 47.1
CO2 emissions
159 - 174 g/km
First year road tax
£830 - £1,240
Safety rating

The Hyundai Santa Fe’s a comfortable family SUV that’s easy to drive,reasonably practical and available with seven seats, but it’s more expensive than some alternatives

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The Hyundai Santa Fe is a high-riding family SUV with a big boot and the option of five or seven seats. It’s well worth a look if you’re after a comfortable large SUV that’s easy to drive.

It’s a bit older than most alternative SUVs, and it doesn’t look quite as sharp as the Skoda Kodiaq or come with a flashy cabin like the Peugeot 5008, but inside everything’s easy to use and feels pretty solid. You get a touchscreen infotainment system as standard with satellite navigation, but neither feature feels quite as modern as the systems in most alternatives.

There are only two trim levels to choose from but both come with electrically adjustable seats and part-leather trim as standard. The high seating position means it’s dead easy to see out of and there’s ample headroom in the front and back for tall adults to get comfy. You can pay extra for an extra pair of seats in the boot to turn the Santa Fe into seven-seater, but they’re only really comfy for kids.

Flip these rearmost seats down and the Santa Fe’s 585-litre boot is even more practical than the 565-litre Nissan X-Trail’s – and the Hyundai’s cabin is dotted with even more storage spaces than the Nissan too.

That said, if it’s outright carrying capacity you’re after then the Skoda Kodiaq with its simply enormous boot will be a better bet. For anything other than moving house, however, the Hyundai will do just fine.

You don’t get a choice of engine in the Santa Fe – they all come with a punchy 2.2-litre diesel which is reasonably quiet unless you accelerate hard, and fairly economical. It’s worth paying for the optional automatic gearbox – it changes gears smoothly and takes some of the stress out of driving. You do get four-wheel-drive as standard, but it’s only really useful for a bit of extra grip in winter – it won’t get you as far off road as a Land Rover Discovery Sport will.

The Santa Fe’s quite pricy, but you do get loads of equipment as standard. It’s just a shame it doesn’t feel as modern inside as most newer SUVs

Mat Watson
carwow expert

Stick to the roads and you’ll appreciate just how comfortable the Santa Fe is over bumps. It’s no limousine, but it’s better than plenty of other high-riding SUVs. You won’t hear too much wind and tyre noise at motorway speeds and all seven-seat models come with rear air suspension to help soften the blow of monster potholes.

So it’s a bit disappointing that the Santa Fe doesn’t come with any modern crash-avoidance systems like you get in a Skoda Kodiaq, but it’s still a reasonably safe family SUV. It earned a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating back in 2012, although the tests have got far stricter since then.

But if you can live with that compromise, the Hyundai Santa Fe makes an excellent choice for a practical, family SUV that’s comfortable and easy to drive.

You can read more in-depth info on the Hyundai Santa Fe in the interior, practicality, driving and specifications sections of our review over the following pages. Or, to see what kind of offers are available on the Hyundai Santa Fe, click through to our deals page.

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