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Now in its fourth generation, the 2018 Hyundai flagship model, the Santa Fe is the “ambassador for the brand’s new design language” as Hyundai Motor Group’s new Design Chief, Luc Donckerwolke refers to it. Luc’s background saw him as the former Design Director at Volkswagen Group’s Bentley, Lamborghini and Audi. So, we know that the Santa Fe was penned by a master.


The new model represents the very best of what Hyundai has to offer in the SUV world with their years of experience. The Santa Fe provides one of the best-in-class safety packages, remarkable roominess and innovative comfort features. It’s a great option for big families!


Aesthetically, the front of the Santa Fe is adorned with Hyundai’s cascading grille and composite light configuration that is both eye-catching and a family identifier. The Santa Fe is also characterised by a wide stance and rear that features three-dimensional light clusters. The new Santa Fe is both bold and unique in a crowd of familiar faces.


The interior of the Santa Fe reveals a large cavernous interior space. This allows for three rows of seating. The second and third rows offer enough room for adults, not just kids which it does with aplomb. In the second row, legroom is increased by 38 mm and the seat is 18 mm higher. There is a new one-touch walk into the third-row feature that eases passenger access to these seats. Headroom in the third row has been improved by 22 mm making the Santa Fe a very practical SUV for larger families. With that said, the standard luggage capacity is increased by 31 litres to 547 litres behind the second row of seats and can be extended to a massive 1 625 litres with both the third and second row of seats folded down.


Besides practicality, the Santa Fe’s interior floating dash, soft-touch materials and plush perforated leather seat that features quilted finish make for an upmarket ambience. I reviewed the entry-level Premium (if you can call it that) model. This model features all-you-need versus the Executive and Elite models that have additional luxury and safety features. You’ll find features like best-in-class safety packages and industry-first safety features. The innovative Rear Occupant Alert (in the Elite derivative) monitors the rear seats to detect passengers and alerts the driver when leaving the car. So, even if the kids are irritating you, the Santa Fe won’t let you leave them behind. The Elite also comes with an Electronic Child Safety Lock.


The Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist ­– a standard feature in the Executive and Elite derivatives – is a Hyundai first too. When reversing out of areas with low visibility, the system not only warns the driver if vehicles approach from the rear side, it also applies the brakes automatically. The Executive and Elite also boast a Blind Spot Detection system.


The Safety Exit Assist, also standard in the Executive and Elite derivatives, prevents accidents when vehicles approach from behind by temporarily locking the doors before being opened so that passengers will exit the car safely.

All derivatives have ABS (Anti-Lock Braking System); ESP (Electronic Stability Program); DBC (Downhill Brake Control) & HAC (Hill-start Assist Control).

All three derivatives are driven by the same 2.2-litre turbo diesel motor and 8-speed gearbox. The match is a great one. Throughout the car’s rev range, there is ample power while the 8-speed gearbox splices rapidly through its gear range to optimise fuel efficiency. The engine delivers 142 kW maximum power and 440 Nm maximum torque. These figures will get the large Santa Fe to 100km/h from a standstill in around 9.4 seconds.


Although the Santa Fe isn’t cheap – at R600 000 to R750 000 - it does offer value wrapped in a quality offering. Despite its size, the Santa Fe delivers a car-like ride. This is especially true when compared with its competition. If you’re part of a big family, enjoy a car-like ride and can’t afford other options that pass the R1 million mark, the Santa Fe is a good option.


Plus +

  • Ride quality
  • Vast space
  • Punchy engine


Minus –

  • Engine can sound load when revved
  • Front wheel-drive derivatives can suffer from wheel-spin on pull-offs.


The Competition

Ford Everest, KIA Sorento, Isuzu mu-X, Land Rover Discovery Sport and Toyota Fortuner



Santa Fe R 2.2 Premium automatic – R599 900

Santa Fe R 2.2 Executive automatic – R659 900

Santa Fe R 2.2 Elite automatic – R749 900


Service and Warranty

All prices include Hyundai Automotive SA’s 7-year/200 000km manufacturer’s warranty (consisting of the standard 5-year/150 000km warranty plus the additional 2-year/50 000km drivetrain warranty extension). An additional part of the package is a 5-year/90 000km service plan, and roadside assistance for 5 years or 150 000km.

My Choice

Santa Fe R 2.2 Executive automatic – R659 900



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