Upmarket materials and lots of high-tech equipment make the Hyundai Santa Fe a fine place to spend your commute, but it doesn’t feel quite as sturdy as some alternatives
The Hyundai Santa Fe’s interior is filled with lots of soft, plush-feeling materials and the broad sweeping design helps it stand out from other Hyundai SUVs. With a dual-layered dashboard that stretches out and around in front of you, it’s similar to the Jaguar F-Pace and makes the cabin feel especially airy.
Unfortunately, the Hyundai Santa Fe isn’t quite as posh as SUVs from the likes of Jaguar, BMW and Mercedes, but that doesn’t mean it fees cheap inside. The door trims, dashboard and central armrest all come with a soft plastic finish and even entry-level SE cars get a leather-wrapped steering wheel and some chrome-effect door handles.
Step up to a mid-range Premium car and you get faux (but still pretty convincing) leather trim on the dashboard and some additional soft trim on the doors. These models also come with partial leather seats in your choice of sporty (but slightly claustrophobic) grey and black or an airier, but rather staid, beige.
To make the Santa Fe’s cabin feel as roomy as possible, you’ll want to pick the top Premium SE specification. Models with this trim come with a huge opening glass roof that helps make sure your passengers in the rearmost seats won’t feel like they’re trapped in a nicely upholstered cave.
Hyundai interiors of old were about as stylish and as well-equipped as a tent – thankfully, the new Santa Fe’s cabin looks more like it belongs in a boutique hotel than a campsite
Entry-level SE models come with a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system. It’s mounted above the dashboard so you can glance at it easily as you drive along and it comes with a colourful screen that’s bright enough to read in direct sunlight.
The menus are reasonably easy to navigate through and there are plenty of physical shortcut buttons to help you quickly skip between key features. The system also includes a neat feature that lets you create your own page and fill it with your favourite shortcuts – to things like your preferred radio stations or to go straight to the sat-nav’s destination input screen.
Overall, it’s not quite as intuitive as the system you get in a Skoda Kodiaq, but you can easily change the radio station or make a call using the standard Bluetooth connection without taking your eyes off the road for too long.
Sadly, entry-level SE cars don’t come with sat-nav, but you do get smartphone mirroring for Apple and Android devices so you can use your phone’s navigation apps through the Hyundai’s built-in screen instead.
Go for a Premium or Premium SE model and you get a wider 8.0-inch screen that’s even easier to read and comes with built-in sat-nav as standard. This is easy to program and it doesn’t take long to enter an address using the on-screen keyboard, but it’s not quite as good as using Google Maps through Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
Speaking of smartphone mirroring, these features also let you play music from streaming services such as Spotify through the car’s stereo. In a model with SE trim, this is a fairly nondescript six-speaker unit, but Premium and Premium SE cars get a much louder Krell stereo with 10 speakers and a subwoofer for punchier basslines.
All but SE cars also come with a wireless charging pad for your phone, too, so you won’t have to worry about constant music streaming draining your battery.
All but SE cars come with a wireless charging pad for your phone, too, so you won’t have to worry about constant music streaming draining your battery.