We had high expectations of the Hyundai Santa Fe, given how strongly the old model performed a few years back. The new car has a lot going for it, but we do have some reservations.
In particular, the lane-change test was poor, with the driver struggling to keep car and caravan under control. It felt susceptible to crosswinds, too.
On the plus side the brakes were excellent, needing just 10.5m to stop 3.5 tonnes of car and caravan from 30mph.
The electronic handbrake held car and tourer steady on the 1-in-6 test hill, and released smoothly. So long as the driver balanced clutch and throttle carefully the Hyundai reached the top of the slope without fuss, although more clutch slip was needed in reverse.
Leave the caravan behind and the Santa Fe is one of the better-driving big 4x4s you can buy for sensible money. You certainly wouldn’t call it sporty, but it corners tidily and rides comfortably.
Inside, there’s space for seven, although head- and legroom are tight for adults in seats six and seven. Those in the first two rows have plenty of space, and the finish quality is a definite improvement over the old car’s.
A five-year warranty package should make owning the Santa Fe stress-free.