Read Caroline’s Hyundai Santa Fe review for everything you need to know about buying Hyundai’s flagship SUV in Ireland.

In 2021, Hyundai launched a new version of the popular Santa Fe seven seat SUV in Ireland.

The big news for the launch of this new model is the arrival of a new plug-in hybrid to the Santa Fe range.

With pricing starting from €56,445, the Hyundai Santa Fe plug-in hybrid is now the entry into the Santa Fe range. The Premium trim version with more equipment is available from €60,445.

Hyundai will also sell you a diesel Santa Fe from €64,895, with diesel four wheel drive models priced from €69,995.

The new Hyundai Santa Fe on test for Changing Lanes
The new Hyundai Santa Fe on test for Changing Lanes

What’s so special about the Hyundai Santa Fe?

The Hyundai Santa Fe is following the move in the industry towards electrification. Hyundai’s largest SUV is now available for the very first time as a plug-in hybrid on the Irish market.

But for drivers where diesel still makes a lot of sense, that’s available in the range too.

All models for the Irish market come with 7 seats.

The big Hyundai has had some work done beyond powertrain in the latest series of improvements. Everything has been done with the aim of making this popular SUV more premium.

The profile and rear remain almost identical to the generation of the Santa Fe that launched in 2018. But the front end has a new look that is more bold and distinctive than what has come before.

At the rear, there’s a new taillight design and a red reflector band has been added to connect the taillights. The rear bumper has also been gently reshaped for a more sophisticated design. The car looks great, with a substantial presence for a flagship SUV.

19″ alloy wheels, roof rails and chrome door handles come as standard for the Santa Fe plug-in hybrid.

Hyundai has revamped the Santa Fe to make it more premium
Hyundai has revamped the Santa Fe to make it more premium

Inside the Santa Fe

Inside, the interior of the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe has also been significantly updated for a more premium feel.

It works well. There’s a new lower dashboard design, a redesigned centre console and a new 10.25-inch touchscreen. There are new shift-by-wire buttons for the automatic transmission. For the first time, the new Santa Fe comes with a Terrain Mode selector in the centre console to switch between different drive modes. There’s also a new 12.3-inch fully digital cluster for the driver.

Leather upholstery, parking camera, wireless phone charging, heated steering wheel and heated seats come as standard. The Premium model gets a powered tailgate, around view monitor and panoramic glass roof.

All cars come with a suite of safety equipment including adaptive cruise control and lane follow assist.

In terms of practicality, the Santa Fe has seating for seven, with two extra seats in the third row. The battery pack for the hybrid is positioned beneath the driver and passenger seats, with no impact on cabin or boot space.

As a result of the platform update, the new Santa Fe has 3 cm more leg room in the second row. While there is 4 cm more leg room for passengers in third row. Boot capacity has been increased too, with a total of 571 litres in 5 seat mode.

The cabin is huge, with plenty of headroom and legroom in the second row. The seats in the third row are ideal for children and can be folded down and stored neatly when not in use.

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

Driving the Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid

The new Santa Fe is the first Hyundai model in Europe to be based on the brand’s new, third-generation vehicle platform. The new platform allows for significant improvements in performance, handling, efficiency and safety for the latest version of the Santa Fe.

Steering has been altered for more agile handling. Noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) performance is improved through reinforced sound-absorbing systems in vibration-sensitive parts of the body.

On the road the Santa Fe is every inch the premium SUV with a smooth and refined drive, no matter the road surface. It handles well for a large SUV, with great visibility all round.

The Santa Fe plug-in hybrid uses a 1.6-litre T-GDi ‘Smartstream’ petrol engine paired with a 66.9 kW electric motor drawing its power from a 13.8 kWh battery. It’s available with four-wheel drive and the total power output is 265 PS, while combined torque is 350 Nm. It’s paired to a newly-developed 6-speed automatic transmission.

Plug-in hybrid happens to suit the Santa Fe very well, with plenty of power available and a serene cabin experience. This model has the advantage of allowing you to charge the Santa Fe at home for example, and then drive it electric for a range of up to 58 km. This is ideal for drivers who have a short commute perhaps or spend a lot of time driving in and out of town.

Over a week of driving my average fuel consumption was 6.8 litres per 100 km, so with regular charging the Santa Fe will really come into its own.

Rear legroom in the Santa Fe
Rear legroom in the Santa Fe

Did you like it?

Hyundai brings the Santa Fe into the big time.The Hyundai Santa Fe is a salubrious and well-kitted out car that feels like a flagship from behind the wheel.

With a well-appointed cabin featuring the latest digital technology features, Hyundai delivers on its ambition to move Santa Fe upmarket. The new interior design is a big improvement over the previous version of the Santa Fe.

Large family seven seat SUVs like this one don’t come cheap, but in return the Santa Fe offers fabulous interior space and practicality.

Interestingly the petrol plug in hybrid is now the most affordable entry into the Santa Fe range. With four wheel drive and a healthy power output, it’s a feasible alternative to a diesel SUV.

On the road the Santa Fe is smooth and refined, with the hybrid adding a serene quality to this car. For urban drivers, it’s a large SUV with a conscience, running happily on electric power for a range that is ideal to exploit in low speed driving situations around town for example.

The brand is on a roll here with the new generation Tucson still Ireland’s bestselling car so far this year and the Hyundai IONIQ 5 the bestselling electric car. With seating for seven, the Santa Fe offers even more flexibility in a hotly contested segment of the market.

The Santa Fe seven seat SUV is on sale now
The Hyundai Santa Fe seven seat SUV is on sale now

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Hyundai Santa Fe Plug-in Hybrid Executive Plus Auto 4WD
Engine: 1.6-litre petrol electric hybrid
261 hp
Torque: 350 Nm
8.8 seconds
Top speed: 187 km/h
CO2 emissions:
37 g/km
Motor tax: 
€140 per year