The Hyundai Santa Fe bridges the gap between compact 4x4s like the Honda CR-V and Nissan X-Trail and larger seven-seaters such as the Land Rover Discovery and Volvo XC90. It’s closer in price to the compact 4×4 brigade, but there’s room for seven inside.
The two rearmost seats are for kids only, but they’re handy to have nonetheless. Fold them away and there’s an impressive amount of luggage space. Of our holiday load, only the Aquaroll wouldn’t fit.
The news wasn’t so good when we headed onto the test track, however. Progress to 60mph was quite laboured, and a big gap between first and second gears hampered pick-up from low speed. The hill start proved a struggle in two-wheel-drive mode. With four-wheel drive selected, the Santa Fe was happier towing up our 1-in-6 slope, but still needed lots of revs.
There’s a firm edge to the Santa Fe’s ride. This usually translates into a trouble-free run through the lane-change test, but not in this case, as the caravan pushed the back end of the car around causing the electronic stability programme to cut in.