Hyundai’s all new Santa Fe Highlander seven-seat AWD SUV has in some ways redefined the benchmark offering in the family 7 seat wagon market. Our test included a selection of roads including freeway, back roads, gravel and some poorly maintained forest trails. What impressed the most was its composure and quietness.
Jump inside the Santa Fe and interior lighting is a feature with a premium feel arising from map lamps, mood lamps, and cabin lighting. In front of the driver is a soft feel thick rimmed steering wheel , both height and reach adjustable with controls that fall easily to hand. The dash features two large dials housing speedo and tacho with temperature, fuel, water temp and transmission within the dials. Between these lies a multi function display.
Tall drivers can make themselves very comfortable with 12-way power driver’s memory electric leather seat, There is also heated front and second row (outboard) seating. One practical new feature is the Flex steer adjustment that allows the driver to select the level of feedback and input.
The centre console stack houses the usual controls with a 7″ screen sat nav and the stereo features a 10 speaker surround system. There is ample storage and stowage options including moulded cup holders, seat back pockets and door pockets, and clever tubs and wells conveniently located in the centre console.
The new Santa Fe offers multi-function second row seating with forward-and-back slide, recline and 40:20:40 split. They are comfortable but really for two not three people. The third row features 50:50 split full-folding seating, best suited for smaller children with shorter legs. Head room and visibility are restricted. In addition the third row seats can be folded flat and second row seats almost flat to offer optimal load transporting capability.
Key standard features include: seven-airbags, rear view camera, Electrochromatic rear view mirror with compass, rear park assist, automatic dusk-sensing HID Xenon projector beam headlamps, front & rear climate control air-conditioning with third row vents, MDPS with Hyundai Flex-Steer™ system, full iPod®/USB connectivity and Bluetooth®, glove box cooling and full-length panoramic glass sunroof. Safety features include VSM, ESC, TCS, ABS, EBD, BAS, HAC & DBC., and ATCC.
The new Santa Fe offers the powerful R-Series 2.2-litre CRDi that produces maximum torque of 436 Nm and 145 kW of power and when combined with the 6 speed automatic transmission is a leader in this segment. Off road ability comes from an active AWD system, which assesses road conditions and automatically implements rear wheel traction control for optimum full-time all-wheel-drive. The 4WD ‘Lock’ mode instantly arms a 50/50 power split front-to-rear. For beach driving, forest trails etc it is more than adequate especially with the Downhill Brake Control assistance.
For a family that aspires to an active lifestyle, and a vehicle packed with features, has advanced safety and handling as well as some premium touches that are often found on expensive European imports, the Santa Fe has to be, or should be near the top of your shopping list.
What is good:
• Engine transmission combination
• Internal ambiance
• Value for money
What is not so good:
• Rear seat visibility
• Soft Road feel
• Poor towball rating
Model Hyundai Santa Fe Highlander
Model Price $54,846 RDAP
Drivetrain AWD 2.2L Diesel 6 speed auto
Power 145 Kw @ 3,8000 rpm
Torque 436 Nm @ 1,800 rpm
Safety 5 Star
CO2 Emissions 192 g/km
Green Vehicle Rating 2½ Star
Economy (ADR comb) 7.3 L/100km
Tow Capacity Max 2000 kg
Tow Ball Rating 100 kg
Servicing $379 every 12 month/15,000km
Warranty 5yr/unlimited Km with full roadside assist
Overall OzRoamer Rating 85/100
Behind the Wheel 9
Ride & Handling 8
Fit for Purpose 9
Towing Ability 7
Off Road Ability 7
Value for Money 9