Hyundai Santa Fe
Hyundai Santa Fe

How It Drove - Ride and Handling

We were pleasantly surprised by the Hyundai Santa Fe; it has very good road manners, the steering is a little woolly but no worse than most SUV’s in its class. The ride remains compliant, soaking up the worst of road surfaces and potholes. Even off-road, albeit on rough farm tracks the Hyundai is quite capable of absorbing quite severe impacts.

Unlike the previous Santa Fe, it now features a torque on demand four wheel drive system, similar to that in its smaller sibling the Tucson. In normal conditions, only the front wheels are driven. Electronic sensors monitor road and driving conditions and automatically engage all-wheel drive when required, to gain the best possible traction and maintain vehicle stability, working in conjunction with the vehicle’s other active safety systems, including ESP (electronic stability programme), ABS with EBD and TCR (traction control). When conditions demand, four wheel drive can be engaged simply by pushing the 4WD button on the front console.  This locks all four wheels into permanent drive for better performance when travelling off-road or on low-grip road surfaces.

There is a little torque steer when pulling off with enthusiasm, especially in the wet but to be honest you are having to provoke it.

Overall the Santa Fe is enjoyable to drive with little compromise, we were very impressed.

Ease of Use

All round visibility is good and access to the front and middle row seats is good. The sill height is lower than some four wheel drives, so the Santa Fe should be a good choice for those of you with mobility problems.

You can buy the Santa Fe with either five or seven seats depending on your needs. Access to the third row of seats is via the middle row/rear doors - although leg room in the rear is compromised for adults, children should be quite comfortable and head room is surprisingly good. The two rear most passengers have full seat belts, adjustable head restraints and even benefit from their own air conditioning control plus a 12v socket for games, etc.

One problem you will face with seven passengers is that you are not going to be able to fit seven passenger’s worth of luggage on board (although that is the case with most 7 seaters) and you may well need a top box.

The two furthest most rear seats lift out of the floor with the minimum of fuss and return to give you a flush rear load space. The central row of seats also fold pretty much flat to give you 2,213 litres of luggage space. Our test car wasn’t supplied with a load cover, although the rear windows from the ‘B’ pillar back are heavily tinted which helps to protect your possessions.

The CDX+ model is equipped with rain sensitive wipers, auto-dimming rear view mirror and automatic cruise control as standard these features were really helpful on a long wet Motorway journey, although Xenon headlights as standard would have completed the package.

continues... | Part Three
Hyundai Santa Fe News

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