Hyundai Santa Fe Active: Price, fuel use, features, safety
Big family SUVs need to be comfortable, roomy, safe and have enough grunt to be able to overtake with a full compliment of passengers and luggage. And Hyundai’s cheapest seven-seat Santa Fe has all those qualities, but does it do it as well as its competitors? Here is everything you need to know about the Hyundai Santa Fe Active.
The petrol V6, matched to front-wheel drive, is the cheapest ticket to the Santa Fe range at $4000 less than the all-wheel drive diesel. The Active grade has a smallish centre screen but it will mirror your smartphone, displaying messages, call directories, music selections and satnav directions. There are four USB outlets and a couple of 12V plugs for kids’ devices too. The steering wheel and gear knob are wrapped in leather but the seats are covered in two-tone grey on darker grey cloth. You start the car with a regular key in a lock rather than pushing a button. Rear passengers are looked after with vents in the second row and individual aircon controls for the third row. Spacious and well thought out, the cabin has soft-touch surfaces on the dash and interesting diamond patterns on the doors, with a splash of chrome here and there. You can pre-pay your first five services and the cost is very reasonable. Five-year warranty is standard.
The Santa Fe isn’t as big as rivals such as the Toyota Kluger and Mazda CX-9 but designers have made very good use of the available space. The second row gets ample head and legroom and the seats slide and recline, allowing you to mix and match legroom for five or seven passengers. Access to the third row is better than in most seven seaters — push a button and the middle row folds and slides forward. It requires some gymnastics for bigger and older passengers to reach the third row but, once there, they have enough foot and headroom to be comfortable on a shorter journey. Vision is good and the Santa Fe soaks up bumps and corrugations well.
The Santa Fe performed well in physical crash tests, scoring 94 per cent for adult occupant protection and 86 per cent for child protection. Standard driver assistance tech includes autonomous emergency braking — including cyclist and pedestrian detection — and smart cruise control that automatically slows, stops and takes off in traffic. Blind spot warning, lane keep assist and rear cross-traffic alert are also standard. The Santa Fe dips its high-beams for oncoming traffic and alerts you when you might be getting tired. There are six airbags but they don’t extend all the way to the third row.
Owners of Commodore and Falcon wagons will feel at home with the V6, which puts out a healthy 206kW/336Nm. The smooth-shifting eight-speed auto keeps it in its sweet spot and kick-down response when overtaking is satisfying. Less experienced drivers will need to be careful getting that power to the ground, especially in the wet. It’s quite easy to spin the front tyres under acceleration and there’s also a little tugging at the steering wheel. That apart, it’s a great car for chewing up the kilometres, combining a comfortable ride with confidence-inspiring composure through corners. If you’re getting out of a diesel SUV, prepare for a shock at the pump. It likes a drink.
Toyota Kluger FWD, from about $49,200
Bigger, with a bit more power and torque, but getting long in the tooth. A new model has been launched overseas. A 2019-plate version is $42,990 for now.
Mazda CX-8, from $41,490
Sits between the CX-5 and CX-9 and comes with a petrol 2.5-litre that is down on power but more fuel-efficient. Well priced, with classy interior.
Kia Sorento, from $44,490
Identically priced, shares the V6 with the Santa Fe but is another that’s due for replacement soon. Warranty is industry-leading seven years.
The clever interior and lusty V6 make the Santa Fe a great long-distance family tourer. Just go easy on the accelerator.
Hyundai Santa Fe Active vitals
Price: $44,490 drive-away
Warranty/servicing: 5 years/unlimited km, $1770 for 5 years
Safety: 5 stars, 6 airbags, AEB, blind spot warning, lane keep assist, rear cross traffic alert
Engine: 3.5-litre V6, 206kW/336Nm
Originally published as Hyundai’s answer to Aussie favourite