Hyundai Santa Fe 2.2 CRDi Premium 7-seat Manual

Top speed: 118 mph

Acceleration: 0-62 mph in 9.8 seconds

Fuel consumption: 41.5 mpg

CO2 emissions: 176 g/km

Price: £24,630

Rivals: Chevrolet Captiva, Kia Sorento, Land Rover Freelander, Vauxhall Antara

Hyundai's second-generation Santa Fe marked quite a leap forward compared with its predecessor when it was launched back in 2006. The slightly gargoyly styling of the original model was replaced by clean, smooth Euro-style lines, which gave the new car the appearance of a slightly curvier version of the Volkswagen Touareg. And what was under the skin generally lived up to the promise held out by those smart looks as well; a comfortable, roomy interior, a new diesel engine and surprisingly sharp on-road behaviour. In all, it was a worthy curtain-raiser for the Koreans' real breakthrough car, the Golf-class Hyundai i30 and its sister model, the Kia cee'd, which followed about a year later.



But how does it stack up now? The answer, it turns out, is “pretty well”. Rival models may have made big advances in the last few years, but a round of revisions introduced last year have added to the Santa Fe's basic strengths in order to help it stay competitive.



An updated 2.2-litre diesel engine, matched to a snappy six-speed manual gearbox (a six-speed automatic is also available), gives very strong performance for a car of this type and it doesn't make too much of a racket even when working hard, either, although some rivals probably have an edge in terms of refinement. The Santa Fe's handling is up to the job as well, providing a fairly car-like driving experience given this vehicle's bulk, height and weight.



Inside, the Santa Fe is pretty spacious, and it's one of the few SUVs in this price bracket to offer a convincing seven-seat option. One or two of the quirks that used to be found on old-school Korean models still remain, although they aren't really a problem once you get used to them. A right-hand indicator stalk is one – I lost count of the number of times I ended up signalling to other drivers that I intended to turn left with a quick sweep of the windscreen wipers - a steering column adjustable only for rake but not reach is another. The cabin design, which represented such progress for Hyundai five years ago now feels slightly dull compared with that of some rivals, but it all looks very solid and well screwed together. The Santa Fe's exterior styling is still pretty handsome, although it's nothing like as bold as some of Hyundai's and Kia's more recent radical efforts.



Our test car had the posher “Premium” trim, taking its price to £24,630; at that level, the Santa Fe is no longer notably cheap but it does still represent good value for money, especially when you consider that as well as doing the basics well, it also has a long list of standard equipment, including high-value features such as leather upholstery and self-levelling suspension. So the Santa Fe still has plenty going for it, although it may also be worth taking a look at the more recently introduced Sorento from Hyundai's sister brand Kia, which offers similarly strong value for money but feels a bit fresher.

News
A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Sport
Louis van Gaal watches over Nani
transfers
Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreThe Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
Sport
New Real Madrid signing James Rodríguez with club president Florentino Perez
transfersColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
Arts and Entertainment
Stir crazy: Noel Fielding in 'Luxury Comedy 2: Tales from Painted Hawaii'
comedyAs ‘Luxury Comedy’ returns, Noel Fielding on why mainstream success scares him and what the future holds for 'The Boosh'
Life and Style
Flow chart: Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types in 1900, yet scientists have still not come up with an explanation for their existence
lifeAll of us have one. Yet even now, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Arts and Entertainment
'Weird Al' Yankovic, or Alfred Matthew, at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Screening of
musicHis latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do our experts think he’s missed out?
Travel
Hotel Tour d’Auvergne in Paris launches pay-what-you-want
travelIt seems fraught with financial risk, but the policy has its benefits
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe best children's books for this summer
Life and Style
News to me: family events were recorded in the personal columns
techFamily events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped that
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Business Development Manager (District Heating)

    £55000 Per Annum plus company car and bonus scheme: The Green Recruitment Comp...

    Lead Hand - QC

    competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Lead Hand - QCProgressive are recruiting...

    Chemical Engineer/Project Coordinator

    £40000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Chemical Eng...

    Sustainability Manager

    Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Scheme Manager (BREEAM)...

    Day In a Page

    Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

    Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

    A land of the outright bizarre
    What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

    What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

    ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
    Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

    The worst kept secret in cinema

    A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
    Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

    The new hatched, matched and dispatched

    Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
    Why do we have blood types?

    Are you my type?

    All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
    Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

    Honesty box hotels

    Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

    Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

    The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
    Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

    The 'scroungers’ fight back

    The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
    Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

    Fireballs in space

    Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
    A Bible for billionaires

    A Bible for billionaires

    Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
    Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

    Paranoid parenting is on the rise

    And our children are suffering because of it
    For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

    Magna Carta Island goes on sale

    Yours for a cool £4m
    Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

    The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

    Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
    We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

    We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

    Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
    The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

    The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

    For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn