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.

2019
Category Winners
2019 Up to 1400kg

Škoda Octavia

Hatch 1.5 TSI 150PS SE L DSG

2019 1400-1549kg

Seat Ateca

2.0 TSI 190PS FR DSG

2019 1700-1899kg

BMW 520d

Touring xDrive M Sport

2019 1900kg+

Land Rover Discovery

3.0 SDV6 HSE

2019 Best Budget 4x4

Dacia Duster

1.5 dCi Ambiance 4x4

2019 Best Plug-In Hybrid

Land Rover Range Rover Sport

P400e HSE Dynamic

2019 Best Ultralight Tow Car

Seat Arona

1.0 TSI 115 FR

2019 Fuel Economy Award

Ford Focus Estate

1.5 EcoBlue 120PS Titanium X

Previous Winners
2018
1700-1899kg

BMW 520d

Touring xDrive M Sport

2017
1900kg+

Land Rover Discovery

3.0 Td6 HSE*

2016
1400-1549kg

Skoda Superb Hatch

2.0 TDI 150PS SE Business

2015
1400-1549kg

Volkswagen Passat Estate

2.0 TDI BMT 150PS SE Business DSG

2014
1400-1549kg

Nissan Qashqai

1.6 dCi (130PS) Stop/Start System Acenta Premium

2013
Up to 1424kg

Skoda Octavia

2.0 TDI CR 150PS Elegance

2012
1725–1899kg

Jaguar XF

2.2D Premium Luxury

2011
1425-1574kg

Volkswagen Passat Estate

2.0 TDI 170 Bluemotion Sport

2010
1900kg+

Land Rover Discovery 4

3.0 TDV6 XS

2009
1900kg+

Volvo XC60

D5 SE Geartronic

2008
1575-1724kg

Ford Mondeo Estate

2.0 TDCi Titanium auto

2007
1575-1724kg

Volkswagen Passat Estate

2.0 TDI Sport 4Motion

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