You know the Santa Fe is a good tow car after spending just a few miles inside, but it’s easy to miss just how good it is until you consider the price. Costing just over £22,000 (less if you haggle), the big Hyundai is one of the best-value cars in this year’s tests.
For more than £10,000 less than the XC60, and nearly £20,000 less than the Land Rover Discovery, this is a car that will happily tow the majority of caravans, has room for seven and possesses an enviable list of standard equipment.
It might not dart through the lane-change test with the precision of an E-Class or Discovery, but nonetheless it stayed on course until the final 35mph run, at which point it started to slide. When backing off from 70mph, the Al-Ko ATC system showed some movement from the caravan, but thankfully this was never enough to alarm the driver.
The engine is the star of the show. It’s much stronger than the old diesel fitted to the car we tested in 2007, pulling the Santa Fe and a twin-axle tourer from 30-60mph in just 13.5 seconds. Compared with the Discovery’s 3.0-litre diesel it can sound gruff, but it’s strong enough for any suitable match. You can expect 41.5mpg driving solo, according to official figures. That’s excellent for a car which weighs the thick end of two tonnes.
Judging from the specification, someone at Hyundai knows what towcar drivers want. There’s a normal spare wheel, a large boot (with five of the seven seats upright) and self-levelling suspension.