The Hyundai Santa Fe is the flagship model from the company and competes in the premium SUV space, which is dominated by the Toyota Fortuner and Ford Endeavour. The Santa Fe is now assembled in the country from CKD kits and uses more locally sourced components. However, this SUV is not really cheap and comes in 2WD manual, 2WD automatic and 4WD automatic variants. The ex-showroom prices top out at well over Rs.30 lakhs for the top end variant. Does it live up to the steep price tag?
The Santa Fe certainly looks imposing on the road. The Santa Fe has good road presence with ample chrome usage for the signature hexagonal grille from Hyundai along with the bumper detailing and sweptback headlights. The Santa Fe has an aggressive shoulder line in tandem with a stylish glasshouse. The rear is also pretty smart with the cut arcing over the tailgate and you will also notice the superb headlight detailing. The Xenon headlights come with LED daytime running lamps as well. Design wise, the Santa Fe definitely does not disappoint and of course, it is massive in terms of overall size.
The cabin feels luxurious with its brown and beige plastics which are a nice contrast to the silver accents inside. The seats come with very fine stitching and the cabin feels way better in comparison to cars like the Honda CR-V. The touch screen unit is on the smaller side though the dashboard looks premium. The front seats have good support while there is ample legroom in the middle row. The third row does not have convenient access since the middle seats only slide forward. However, third row legroom is excellent and offers ample space for occupants. The Santa Fe has the last row seats folding flat while the middle row also splits 40:20:40 for maximizing overall luggage space.
The Santa Fe also comes with dual zone climate control, air conditioning vents for all three rows, cruise control, push-button start, six airbags and a rear view camera. There is 12 way powered adjustability for the driver’s seat. There is no height adjust for the passenger seat and this is a little inconvenient for shorter passengers to view the road ahead properly. Also, the Santa Fe misses out on a sunroof, which is a standard offering for cars in this class. The Santa Fe makes use of a 2.2 litre 194 BHP CRDi engine and this is hugely responsive and offers ample power. The 6-speed automatic transmission unit is also pretty responsive but there is a slight tendency for earlier up shifting which makes it best to use the manual mode on bumpy or twisting roads.
The steering offers better feedback on roads like these. The steering has three weight-altering modes. The Comfort mode is best for the city while the Sport mode is okay for the highways. The Santa Fe takes care of bumps and jolts with ease while the high-speed stability quotient is also decent. However, there is some bouncing at the back and a fair amount of body roll when you drive the SUV really fast. However, cabin noise is kept to a bare minimum and this makes the SUV one of the best options for cruising along highways and long roads.
The common rail turbo-diesel 2199 cc engine also dishes out 44.5 kgm of peak torque at 1800-2500 RPM which is very good and of course, the SUV handles exceedingly well on almost all kinds of roads. The Santa Fe has the looks, features and performance to match but does it prove to be a value proposition in this segment? That is a question you will have after checking the SUV out.