Smoo-ooth. Hyundai has really nailed the way the car feels when it drives. It’s positively silky, and not heavy in the slightest, like a few of the other cars in this class can be. The Santa Fe cruises along exactly how I thought it would when I first heard the name.
Granted, being in the top of the range Highlander, the lush, creamy leather seats may have had something to do with the serene feeling that comes over you, because this car does make you feel great. It’s high off the road so you immediately feel safer, and it’s big, but not enormous.
The steering is responsive, so the car handles really well. It has enough power to get up the hill near my house quite easily, and while not exactly zippy, it’s strong. If it were a celebrity (what? You don’t give your cars celebrity doppelgangers?), it would be Pink, because it’s gutsy but a really sweet drive.
The small turning circle really helps - the Toyota Kluger, Nissan Pathfinder and Mazda CX-9 all have a turning circle of 11.8 while the Santa Fe’s is 10.9 - positively tiny for a seven-seater. And you notice it when you’re trying to park or do u-turns. Ever tried to drop the kids at school and had to do a million turns while looking for a park? Yep. This helps.
It’s also shorter than those other seven seaters, which means it’s easier to park. The front and rear parking sensors and reversing camera are invaluable, and if you really get stuck it has 'Auto Parking' which means it will park itself.