By combining a four-speed automatic gearbox with its slightly lethargic 2.0 turbo-diesel, Hyundai has unwittingly created an ideal SUV for young families and grandparents. Its reluctance to go anywhere quickly will force owners to relax and take life at a slightly less frantic pace.
Do so, and they will really enjoy it. The Santa Fe is a comfortable vehicle, and well-equipped, too.
The CDX comes with cruise control, leather seats (heated in the front), electric sunroof and heated mirrors as standard. Ours also has the rear privacy glass option, which takes the worry out of leaving things in the spacious back while parked at the beach.
The tinted glass really adds to the Santa Fe’s presence on the road. Although it’s strictly a soft-roader (power is normally sent to the front wheels, and only split between all four when traction is lost), its rugged styling and chunky alloy wheels help it hold its own when parked beside a true-breed such as the Land Rover Discovery.
As well as a relaxing drive, the Santa Fe promises buyers relaxing ownership too. Hyundai’s market-leading five year warranty provides real peace of mind motoring, and because the CRTD requires servicing every 10,000 miles (the Suzuki Grand Vitara’s servicing is every 9,000) its running cost is reasonable.
The one thing we won’t miss is its fuel economy. We’ve been averaging 26mpg, compared to Hyundai’s official figure of 30.7mpg, which has meant that the Santa Fe has often been passed over in favour of something more efficient when any of the AM team has had a long journey ahead.
Hyundai Santa Fe Auto
Price: £19,990 (as tested)
Engine: 2.0-litre CRTD, 111bhp, 192lb ft torque
Test period: March-June
Start mileage: 1,000
Mileage now: 4,243
CAP RV (3yr/30k): £6,400 (34%)
CAP RV (3yr/60k): £5,375 (28%)
Likes: Comfort, equipment, peace of mind
Dislikes: Sluggish pace, economy, poor off-road ability