The fourth generation Santa Fe is a practical seven seater that gives you a comfortable saloon-like ride for both you and the whole whanau. Compared to the previous generation, there is more cabin space and an additional 31 litres of cargo space.
Hyundai no longer offer five-seated variants of the Santa Fe, and family continues to be their main focus thanks to added safety features like rear-seat occupant alert, which warns you if you’ve left a child unattended in a back seat. It also has Safe Exit Assist, which stops the rear doors from being opened if another vehicle is approaching.
Style-wise, a dominant sweeping chrome accent floats along the bonnet and a stack of impressive cascading lights run beside the grill. The front of the vehicle seems rather reminiscent of Hyundai’s smaller Kona in many ways. The new Santa Fe is slightly larger than the previous model - 80mm longer and 10mm wider, to be exact - and all these details combine to create a striking SUV with good curb appeal.
So how well does it tow?
The reversing camera allowed for relatively easy coupling with the trailer, however, the rear window wasn’t the biggest, and vision was reduced even more when all the seats upright.
On the hill section of our route, it took around 15 seconds to accelerate from 50kph to 80kph at 3500rpm, with the eight-speed gearbox performing well and kicking down confidently. The engine has been carried over from the previous generation and its performance fell in line with the Toyota RAV4 and Mitisubishi Triton that we’ve tested previously.
With motorway cruising at 90kph, the rpm dropped down to 1900 rpm in 6th gear, however when we selected seventh gear, the engine felt labored and the rpm fell to just 1500rpm; with no load, this gear would be a good option for added fuel efficiency. At these speeds, the cabin was fairly quiet and well insulated from both road and engine noise. The eight-speed transmission worked well in manual mode, however, in testing we found it preferable to just leave it in automatic.
On some of the more uneven road surfaces we encountered with the Santa Fe, the ride would feel a touch soft, but we imagine that a harder suspension choice would have a negative effect on comfort for the occupants.
It’s good to see that all models now come with AWD and Smart Cruise Control, as well as Lane Keeping Assist and Blind Spot Monitoring - all of which help make the Santa Fe a great option when looking for a safe, comfortable vehicle for towing.
Overall, this is a good comfortable family vehicle with extra space and convenience for road trips and holidays. Its safety suite is impressive, and having the ability to tow is the icing on the cake. We envision that the Santa Fe will continue to do well in the popular seven seater SUV segment.
+ New innovative safety technologies
- Not the cheapest 7-seater SUV
- Rear-view vision could be better