Pulling away from junctions or allowing yourself a moment’s Gatso-free foot-down pleasure produces a satisfying amount of grunt from the heart of the CRTD’s lump.
But put a hill or steep incline in the mix and the Hyundai’s heavy weight starts to take effect.
To put this into perspective, the Santa Fe was unable to overhaul a young mum in her Renault Scenic during a foot-to-the-floor overtaking manoeuvre. Victory was the Scenic’s as we trundled up the first hill on the A605.
But in fairness, for everyday driving and level motorway cruising, Hyundai’s mid-range SUV is a perfectly good performer.
Having been handed the keys of the Santa Fe for the first time since AM took delivery at the end of March, the last fortnight has been spent becoming a convert to the benefits of the superior road presence, visibility and all-round practicality afforded by the 4x4 experience.
In traffic, there’s a sense of “you’re going to let me in whether you like it or not, pal”, combined with a feeling of impregnability which soon becomes addictive.
And not having to stoop down to strap a wriggling 16-month-old son into his car seat has been an absolute joy.
One grumble has to be the lack of rear parking sensor. For a vehicle of this size, it’s a necessity, not a luxury. If a top of the line Range Rover is synonymous with Premiership footballers, then the Santa Fe experience is more like being a player for a lower league team. However, at less than 20 grand it’s a very compelling package.
Price: £19,990 (as tested)
Engine: 2.0-litre CRTD, 111bhp, 192lb-ft torque
Test period: March-June
Start mileage: 1,000
Mileage now: 3,962
CAP RV (3yr/30k): £6,400 (34%)
CAP RV (3yr/60k): £5,375 (28%)
Likes: Visability, practicality, interior space
Dislikes: Thirst for diesel, lack of rear parking sensor