SUV from central casting
Hyundai’s seven-seater plays the family favourite role
prime example— the extent and sophistication of their packages are overhauling the competition on more than mere affordability.
Some aspects of the Santa Fe surpass not only the best of Japan, which in any case we’ve come to quite expect, but also approach the perceivably more prestigious auto houses of Europe. Smirk if you must but Hyundai is coming ever closer to being what marketing types call aspirational’’.
As ever, as we say, to the fore. Still, even without driving it, we’d eschew the entry Santa Fe Active with the petrol engine — for all the buyers the $36,990 version will get, it might as well come without wheels. In reality the range starts at $38,990 for the auto.
Even so turbo diesel torque and economy are what’s required here and that means $41,990 for the Active, $45,990 for the mid-spec Elite which we drove this week, and $10 under $50K for the opulent Highlander.
Full kit lists would take up this page and much of the next. Suffice that all models get as standard an illuminated rear view camera (which you don’t get in, say, an $85K Benz E-Class). There’s an endlessly flexible seven-seat configuration including a flatfolding third row. All variants have a multimedia screen, the Elite copping a 7-inch touchscreen with satnav, electro-chromatic rear-view mirror with compass, 10-speaker sound and 18-inch alloys. It’s the one to get— the Highlander only adds such frippery as a full-length sunroof and bum-warming seats.
The market-leading warranty adds capped-price servicing and up to seven years’ complimentary roadside assist. Thus far, so logical.
On so clear a portal, the touchscreen satnav (along with various multimedia functions) is the most legible and intuitive I’ve used.
BMWpresents a bank of anonymous, indistinguishable buttons to bolster its wretched iDrive system and its fellow Germans remain addicted t knob-twiddling distraction. the Hyundai, such function that are not activated via fingertip are done via steeri wheel buttons.
If that’s sophisticatedly simple, the Flex Steer funct is sophistry. Billed as allowi the driver to customise stee weight, the three modes are virtually indistinguishable b all are united by artificial if functional feel. More impressive is the four-whee drive system that can be loc