Hyundai Santa Fe review: Priceless, but needs to be priced less

Mar 22 2014, 14:11 IST
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Hyundai Santa Fe excels in almost all spheres, but its sticker price places it in territory ruled by smaller SUVs from Audi and BMW. Hyundai Santa Fe excels in almost all spheres, but its sticker price places it in territory ruled by smaller SUVs from Audi and BMW.
SummarySanta Fe excels in almost every sphere and is superior than many of its Japanese, American rivals.

as are there in the Elantra, plus maybe sunroof as an option.

Still, there is great attention to detail and the feature list includes cruise control, rear parking sensors and camera, cooled glovebox, rear window curtains, smart key with push button start, rain sensing wipers, etc. A nice feature is the ‘solar glass’ windshield that protects you against ultraviolet and infrared rays. And a segment-first feature is ‘Flex Steer’ that allows the driver to switch among three steering modes—Comfort, Normal and Sport.

Under the hood

The 2.2L CRDi diesel engine equipped with e-VGT turbocharger powers the Santa Fe. Delivering a maximum power of 197PS@3,800rpm and a maximum torque of 44.5kgm@1800-2500rpm, the unit is a gem.

On the road

On well-paved roads, the Santa Fe is a very fine cruiser. We undertook a 360-km long journey in the 4WD variant—from Delhi to Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan—completed it in just five hours, without a break, used cruise control liberally, and at the end of it we were as refreshed as when we had begun. That’s the beauty of this SUV—be it high speeds or low, be it straight roads or curves, ride quality remains plush. But on bumpy roads you do feel some amount of body roll, although that is well controlled.

Off the road

We Indians love our SUVs so much that we barely use them as Sport Utility Vehicles. In fact, the editor of AutoX, and a friend, Dhruv Behl once told me, “In India, SUV stands for Stylish Urban Vanity.” After all, there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of sport, or utility, in many SUVs we have. The Santa Fe 4WD, however, is different. While on a smooth road only the front-wheel drive mode works, as soon as the SUV senses the need—such as a slip detected on any of the wheels—it automatically shifts into a four-wheel drive mode. We took the Santa Fe on the sand dunes and also into a dry river bed, and not once did we feel an apparent loss of traction. The ground clearance of 185 mm is decent for limited off-roading activities, and then there are skid plates that prevent underbody damage to an extent.


You get six airbags, anti-lock braking system, electronic stability control, vehicle stability management, brake assist, traction control and all four wheels are equipped with disc brakes.


The Santa Fe excels in almost every sphere—be it external design, in-cabin luxury, safety features, on the highway,

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