We've just been racking up the kilometres on our long term tester, the Santa Fe Elite CRDi. We've passed the 8500km mark, and with no real dramas, there's not a lot to report.
To be honest, we'd rather it that way, as it means trouble free motoring for any who buys a Santa Fe. The engine is strong, the gearbox smooth, the brakes are good and dynamically it's more car-like than four-wheel-drive. Steering feel is nothing outstanding, but it's not too artificial either.
If you're wondering about space, you'll probably be surprised to learn that it is exactly the same width inside as a Toyota Prado. Yes, we checked with a tape measure. This means that it's possible to have a seven-seat diesel SUV without spending a fortune - the SLX CRDi starts from $41,990.
Fuel usage is still coming in at 9.8L/100km, and that's city-only driving. The other engine related piece of interest is how well the Santa Fe holds up to the heat. On a 35-plus-degree day, we had the car running for virtually all of it as we skipped from shop to shop trying to keep someone in the family happy with a spate of retail therapy.
So it was stop-start conditions with the air-con switched to the "Antarctic" position. The electric fan and compressor clicked on and off the entire time, both trying to keep their part of the car cool. One eye was kept on the bank balance as more bags were loaded (thank goodness we had an SUV) and the other on the temperature gauge. The needle didn't move an inch. The bank balance was another story...
The stereo also must be mentioned. In the Elite, you get seven speakers, including a subwoofer, and when connected to an iPod or with an MP3 CD, the sound is nothing short of brilliant. There's plenty of bass, the treble is crystal clear, and there's no drowning out by the mid-range.
Add to that easy to clean leather seats, self-dimming rear view mirror, dual-zone climate control, sun-roof and roof racks and you'll agree that the Santa Fe is a pretty comprehensive package.
Next update we'll be wrapping up and handing the car back. We've already taken the car on our long trip and are just calculating the fuel usage. Oh, and trying to calm ourselves down from the near-miss with a couple of kangaroos. Watch this space.