It's a good thing Hyundai's Santa Fe is equipped with seven seats as standard because you never know when you're going to need them. The third row of seats, divided into two seats, are among the largest and most comfortable in the class. They pack flat into the floor when not required but can be easily raised in a matter of seconds. And they're even up to adults on short runs if you're heading off somewhere and only want to take one car.
Features include leather and climate control air conditioning, push button start, electric brake, a reversing camera it's got the lot. The touchscreen navigation system is big and bright and easy to use and the speed camera warnings are a real bonus it even takes into account the traffic conditions when calculating the route.
Santa Fe's 2.2-litre turbo diesel is the diamond in the crown of this car. Producing 145kW of power and 436Nm of torque in combination with with the auto (421Nm with manual), it's nice and quiet, and barely noticeable inside the cabin.
The engine is paired with Hyundai's in-house 6-speed auto, with the facility to change gears manually if desired, delivering a good mix of power and economy. Fuel consumption is rated at 7.3 litres/100km and it has a 64-litre tank giving it a theoretical range of 867km.
What a good looking bus. The previous one was a bit curvaceous but this one presents a sleeker, more sophisticated persona. Anyone who has ridden in the back of a 4WD or people mover knows just how claustrophobic it can get back there and that makes air conditioning a must. It's good to see the car comes with front and rear air, with third row airconditioning vents standard across the range.
Gets a full five stars for safety, with seven airbags as standard including a driver's knee bag to prevent the lower legs in an accident. It's equipped with electronic stability and traction control, along with Advanced Traction Cornering Control (ATCC), a reversing camera and rear parking sensors.
The new electric steering system is speed sensitive, more accurate and quicker to respond. You can even adjust the level of steering assistance but it's really more of a gimmick than anything else. It's fitted with dual flow dampers designed to deliver a smoother ride in normal conditions, but provide a firmer, more dynamic response when required.
We've clocked up about 2000km, with a best of 806km from a single tank. The trip computer is showing 8.6 litres/100km good for a vehicle this size and weight but not quite as good as the original diesel that we tested.
We'll get a better feel as the Hyundai Santa Fe stays with us over the next couple of months. Stay tuned.
Attracts plenty of comment. Should be at the top of the shopping list for family 4WDs. This is the mid range model but it comes with everything you really need and nothing you don't.
Hyundai Santa Fe Elite
Price: from $45,990
Warranty: 5 year roadside
Engine: 2.2-litre diesel 4-cyl, 145kW/436Nm
Transmission: 6-speed auto, AWD
Thirst: 7.3L/100km, CO2 192g/km
Subaru Forester XT
Price: from $40,990
Engine: 2.0-litre diesel 4-cyl, 108kW/350Nm
Transmission: 6-speed manual, AWD
Thirst: 6.0L/100km, CO2 158g/km
Holden Captiva diesel
Price: from $39,490
Engine: 2.2-litre 4-cyl turbo diesel, 135kW/400Nm
Transmission: 6-speed auto, 4WD
Kia Sorento Platinum diesel
Price: from $49,190
Engine: 2.2-litre 4-cyl turbo diesel 145kW/436Nm
Transmission: 6-speed auto, 4WD