Hyundai Santa Fe (2012): the full story

Published: 11 April 2012

Hyundai revealed the third-generation Santa Fe at the New York motor show, complete with new styling, improved practicality, and better efficiency.

Santa Fe – is it Christmas come early?

Sticking with the Santa Fe name shows that the Koreans still have space for badges outside the Hyundai ‘i#’ structure. But what is all-new is the fresh wardrobe for Hyundai’s new full-sized crossover – and the company has issued a new set of photos after the first few dribbled out ahead of its New York debut.

The more sculpted exterior is certainly endemic of Hyundai’s growing self-confidence, sporting LED running lamps in the headlight cluster, and creases on the flanks, mirroring the smaller ix35 crossover.

We’ll be able to choose from three powertrains when the new Santa Fe goes on sale in late 2012, all of which aim for pocket and planet-friendly efficiency.

Hit me with some numbers…

Petrol power comes courtesy of a 2.4-litre four-cylinder unit with 190bhp and a modest 197g/km CO2 output. More likely to top the sales charts are the turbodiesel motors, starting with a 2.0-litre, 147bhp/281lb ft option, and rising to the range-topping 2.2 lump good for 197bhp and a meaty 317lb ft.

Despite the brawnier output, the bigger motor actually emits less CO2: 145g/km versus 155g/km for the 2.0-litre. The usual two-/four-wheel drive capabilities and manual or auto transmissions are offered depending on the intended role for your particular Santa Fe.

Browse secondhand Hyundai Santa Fe cars for sale

What’s in it for the rest of the family?

Loved ones should be kept happy by the knowledge the new Santa Fe is considerably stiffer that the last car, improving safety and off-road ability. Meanwhile, Hyundai has concentrated on improving refinement by adding damped engine mounts increased soundproofing to reduce vibrations in the cabin.

The Santa Fe’s interior ticks all the current Hyundai cabin design boxes; there’s a dominant tall centre console boasting the sort of gadget count we’ve come to expect from the Korean establishment-challengers.

Safety has clearly been a priority, for occupants and pedestrians. Lane departure warnings, radar-operated cruise control and hill-hold assist make life as easy as possible for the driver, while the Santa Fe’s seven cabin airbags and a pop-up bonnet are on hand should a collision occur.

Given the growing success of the Hyundai brand in the UK, this latest iteration of one of their most successful models should be a hit. They’ve already sold 350,000 Santa Fes around Europe since its 2000 debut.

By Ollie Kew

Former road tester and staff writer of this parish