Ian Lamming sits comfortably in good company in the latest SUV from Hyundai.
NOW here’s a tough ask, if not an impossible one. Sandwiched between two of the poshest SUVs in the world, the latest 4×4 from Korea finds itself in fine and splendid company.
So firstly the tastebuds are tantalised by a 400K Rolls-Royce Cullinan and then they are sated by the 230K Bentley Bentayga Speed. That’s Royal Oscietra Caviar washed down with a nice Chateau Latour then. Surely they will make mincemeat of a humble Hyundai, won’t they?
Well, the fact that the new Santa Fe is still to my taste says a great deal for the talents of this new seven seater 4×4.
Granted it doesn’t attract the public attention of the two automotive legends but it really is an impressive motor.
First of all I love the look of the new Hyundai – all radiator grille and tiny lights, great proportions and contemporary aesthetics. It has true road presence and appeal.
It’s also large and roomy with a rear set of seats ready to emerge from the boot floor and bags of space for driver and passengers alike. Seats and excellent cabin ambiance ensure that Santa Fe is a very relaxing ride, especially long distance and on lengthy commutes. It is quiet and relaxed and the ideal tool for towns, countryside and motorways, yet surprisingly sharp through the twisties and always comfortable for your bones.
It is four wheel drive too, with downhill brake control and lockable diff, so if the need to venture off-piste arises you can tackle the rough stuff with confidence. On the road the system is very clever, shifting the power around to the wheels with the highest level of traction. All you do is enjoy the drive, which is fun and involving.
The 2.2 litre diesel is a doozy chucking out 200PS, so there is plenty of power on tap for all conditions. Mated to a slick eight-speed automatic gearbox, Santa Fe has the ability to overtake the tardy and climb the steepest hills with ease.
Dash and dials are nice and clear and simple, the touchscreen infotainment is intuitive and easy to use and it comes with satnav and surround and ‘overhead-view’ cameras to help you manoeuvre and park what is a big substantial vehicle.
Santa Fe is also very well equipped with high quality leather, climate control, electric tailgate, remote window control, electrically operated seats with memory, a decent sound system and all the latest Bluetooth paraphernalia and touchscreen.
The sum total is a vehicle which offers everything from a car you could ever wish for – at a 10th of the price of the Roller, which really does put it in perspective. Tough acts to follow? Not for the Hyundai Santa Fe.
Hyundai Santa Fe Premium SE 2.2 CRDi 4WD
Engine: 2.2 diesel
0-62mph: 9.6 secs
Top speed: 126mph
Combined MPG: 42.2
Transmission: eight-speed manual
CO2 g/km: 174