The new Hyundai Santa Fe is on sale in Ireland from €41,995
The new Hyundai Santa Fe is on sale in Ireland from €41,995

Caroline drives the 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe.

The Hyundai Santa Fe is a car that is well-liked by Irish families and the cornerstone of Hyundai’s SUV heritage since launch back in 2000. Over the years it’s undergone a few makeovers and now it’s back for generation four. With pricing starting from €41,995, and seven seats as standard, the Hyundai Santa Fe is the flagship SUV of the Hyundai brand. The Santa Fe rounds up an SUV range that includes the smaller Kona and Tucson, also big sellers in Ireland.

The 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe has had some cosmetic work done, most noticeable at the front with an interpretation of the brand’s corporate face and signature ‘Cascading Grille’. This is a smart and fashionable SUV that wears its bulk very well.

How practical is the 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe?

The new Santa Fe has a longer wheelbase and more interior room for occupants, housing three rows of seats. In the second row, legroom has been increased by 38 mm and the seat is 18 mm higher. Headroom in the third row has also been improved by 22 mm. Access to the third row has been improved with new one-touch folding seats. The rear bench split folds 60/40 and each side can be pushed back and forwards to make more space for those in row 3.

The interior of the new Hyundai Santa Fe
The interior of the new Hyundai Santa Fe

Boot space has also been increased to a massive 625 litres in five seat mode. There are also plenty of little storage places dotted around the cabin, ideal for a family car.

The 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe has a new interior with a focus on streamlining the design and improving the perceived quality. The dashboard layout is simple and classy with plenty of soft touch materials for a more premium feel.

What are my options?

The line up for the car in Ireland is straightforward enough in that all models are powered by a 2.2-litre diesel, are available in front wheel drive or four wheel drive, with a manual or automatic gearbox.

Standard equipment (Comfort Plus) includes 17″ alloys, roof rails, heated leather steering wheel, automatic air con, drive mode select, electric windows, radio with 5″ screen, auto lights and wipers, rear parking sensors, cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, driver fatigue detection and lane keep assist.

The Hyundai Santa Fe offers seating for seven
The Hyundai Santa Fe offers seating for seven

Executive Plus (from €43,995) adds 18″ alloys, privacy glass, electric parking brake, heated leather seats, front fog lamps, rear ventilation controls, front parking sensors, 7″ screen with Android Auto/Apple CarPlay and a wireless phone charger.

Premium Plus (from €57,495) adds 19″ alloys, electric adjustable driver’s seat, panoramic sunroof, LED headlamps, front and rear LED fog lamps, 8″ screen, navigation, head-up display and active cruise control.

The model I was driving was a top of the range Hyundai Santa Fe 4WD Premium Plus Auto with a list price of €57,495. The 2.2-litre diesel available for the Santa Fe meets enhanced Euro 6 emissions standards and comes with a healthy 197 hp and a 6 speed manual gearbox (or the option of a new 8 speed automatic). This engine gives the Santa Fe plenty of pulling power, while over a week of driving my fuel consumption averaged at 7.7l/100km. The front wheel drive models are the cheapest to tax at €390 per year.

Rear seating space in the Hyundai Santa Fe
Rear seating space in the Hyundai Santa Fe

Is the 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe nice to drive?

The 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe has undergone significant suspension and steering development to improve responsiveness and vehicle stability, while also enhancing comfort and overall quietness.

On the road the Santa Fe is a competent drive, with the automatic gearbox adding a certain amount of ease to the driving experience. The engine does a confident job of keeping the Santa Fe up to pace, without getting too raucous. The Santa Fe is stable through the corners and far from being sporty, it does a commendable job of keeping driver and passengers comfortable on board.

In this new generation, the Hyundai Santa Fe has stepped up another gear. The Santa Fe’s well-established customer base are sure to love these sophisticated good looks, and well-appointed, spacious interior. The seven seat SUV market has ramped up in recent years with new entrants like the Peugeot 5008 and Skoda Kodiaq. The Hyundai may command a higher starting price but the considerable cache of the Santa Fe name is sure to keep this high on the list of desirable seven seat SUVs.

Caroline Kidd

The Hyundai Santa Fe remains a highly desirable family SUV
The Hyundai Santa Fe remains a highly desirable family SUV

Model tested: Hyundai Santa Fe 4WD Premium Plus Auto
€57,495 (Range from €41,995)
Engine: 2.2-litre turbo diesel
197 hp
Torque: 440 Nm
9.4 seconds
Top speed: 204 km/h
CO2 emissions: 
164 g/km
Motor tax: 
€570 per year