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The Hyundai Sante Fe has become the latest member of CarAdvice’s long-term test fleet.
We liked the South Korean brand’s new-generation large SUV when we sampled it at its official local launch, and now we have a number of months to get to know it as a regular drive. On the subjective front, we also reckon it’s one of the finest-looking SUVs on the market.
If the smaller Hyundai ix35 felt like it was trying a bit too hard with the company’s ‘fluidic sculpture’ design language, the Santa Fe is all the better for being more restrained with its use of sweeping lines, and its proportions are near-perfect.
Our variant, the Hyundai Santa Fe Elite, costs $45,990 before on-road charges are added, and sits between the $41,990 diesel-powered automatic Active and the $49,990 top of the range Highlander.
As a higher-spec model, a liberally filled features list is expected – and offered. Above the entry Active, the mid-range Elite gains 18-inch alloy wheels, rain-sensing wipers, a seven-inch touch with screen satellite navigation, premium six-speaker audio system, leather and leatherette upholstery, automatic climate control air conditioning, rear privacy tint, heated and folding electric mirrors and a cooled glovebox. Other notable features include an auto-dimming rear view mirror, auto hill hold function and keyless start.
All Santa Fe models come with a full-size spare wheel, rear-view camera, foglights, rear parking sensors, Bluetooth with audio streaming, seven airbags, electronic vehicle stability control and a generous five-year warranty. And seven seats.
Our first month with the Hyundai Santa Fe, though, required the big SUV to carry furniture and other household items, rather than people, as part of a two-stage house move.
The first stage was a trip down to Canberra from Sydney to donate some furniture for the sister-in-law’s new flat (I should be in the good books for some time).
There’s a large coffee table, TV unit, bedside table and a square dining table with four chairs.
The rearmost (third row) seats are already folded flush into the boot floor, so it’s just a case of flicking a lever either side of the Santa Fe’s cargo area to release the second row seatbacks into a near-flat position and create a sizeable 1615 litres of capacity.
It proves that an SUV any smaller than this Hyundai wouldn’t have been sufficient because the fit is tight, but we just manage to squeeze it in – and using towels to help avoid scratches.
The Hyundai Santa Fe Elite is available only with the company’s 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel. And while that means a higher price than if it was offered with the 2.4-litre petrol four-cylinder available in the base Active, the diesel brings with it the SUV’s best fuel economy figures.
The Santa Fe’s official consumption is 7.3L/100km, and the trip computer sat around the 7.0L/100km mark on the way down to the nation’s capital, increased to 7.5L/100km as more city driving came into the equation, then dropped back to 7.0L by our return.
We love simple innovations here at CarAdvice, and it was part two of our move where we discovered one of the Santa Fe’s neat tricks.
Cargo blinds are often a nuisance when you don’t need them. You typically face a choice of leaving the bar and scroll blind section at home, or finding somewhere in the vehicle to place it.
No such issue in the Santa Fe. The rearmost part of the cargo floor is a small, hinged lid that lifts up to reveal a bespoke hidey hole for the blind. Brilliant.
The move is all completed now, so for our next Hyundai Santa Fe report we’ll delve deeper into the way it drives and also provide some real world fuel consumption figures.