The Hyundai Santa Fe has been one of the top choices for a seven-seat family SUV for some time now. Despite newer versions of the Nissan Pathfinder, Toyota Kluger and Kia Sorento all arriving after the third-generation Santa Fe, an update at the end of 2015 has helped maintain its appeal. The top spec Highlander continues to be the most popular version of the Santa Fe, and here’s our top 5 reasons to buy it.
#1 Size and versatility
At 4700mm, the Santa Fe is a bit shorter than its newer rivals, which along with a lower bonnet makes it surprisingly easy to manoeuvre in tight situations.
The middle row of seats slide to balance room across all rear passengers, so if you’re seating short people in the middle you can give taller third row passengers more space and vice versa.
Third row passengers also get their own ventilation van control, and the seats are all pretty easy to put up and down.
There’s also a total of four 12V power sockets, and cargo storage ranges from a generous 516 litres VDA with the third row up to 1516 litres with both rear rows folded.
The Highlander has all the toys you could really ask for, as standard. From leather trim, to satnav, to a glass panoramic sunroof, electric tailgate, heated and ventilated front seats, active cruise control and a full-size alloy spare.
The Highlander also has an auto parking system, which can deal with both parallel and 90-degree parking spots.
The Santa Fe is the first in its class to offer AEB, which is fitted standard to the Highlander. Aside from a maximum five star ANCAP safety rating, the Highlander also gets blind spot, lane departure and rear cross traffic alerts.
#4 Diesel engine
The Highlander gets a responsive and efficient 147kW/440Nm 2.2-litre turbodiesel engine standard. Its lazy urge and highway efficiency is better suited to the typical usage of these vehicles than a big petrol V6, and is rated at an impressive 7.7L/100km on the combined cycle.
The Santa Fe’s basic ‘Fluidic Sculpture’ design may be four years old, but minor changes with last year’s facelift has helped it keep its edgy, hatch on steroids look that many people will prefer over the ‘king of the road’ look of some big SUVs.