An out­stand­ing im­prover, the Santa Fe feels worth more than mid-$40k

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Car News - STU­ART MARTIN stu­art.martin@cars­

Hyundai’s mid-spec Elite is a familyfriendly sev­enseater with a smart drive-train and agree­able styling

ONCE seen as the poor sec­ond cousin of the automotive in­dus­try, the Kore­ans are fast be­com­ing the trend­set­ters. Hyundai is well worth a spot on the shop­ping list when the fam­ily is look­ing for a val­ue­for-money daily du­ties wagon. The new Santa Fe has im­proved driv­ing man­ners and agree­able styling.


The Elite, the mid­dle Santa Fe vari­ant, re­tails for $45,990 and has a solid fea­tures list for the out­lay. The Elite has a pow­er­ad­justable driver’s seat, du­al­zone cli­mate con­trol with rear vents and sep­a­rate fan con­trol, 10-speaker USB/iPod/ Blue­tooth touch­screen sound and SUNA sat­nav sys­tem, rain­sens­ing wipers, 18-inch al­loy wheels (in­clud­ing a full-size spare) and auto-dim­ming cen­tre mir­ror. There are seven seats in all Santa Fes.

Nice touches like pud­dle lamps that light up on ap­proach, purely by key prox­im­ity, and side win­dow blinds show the brand is work­ing hard to win sales.


The 2.2-litre turbo diesel (145kW/436Nm) is a quiet, force­ful and wor­thy pow­er­plant, teamed with an in-house six-speed auto that is among the more in­tel­li­gent ex­am­ples around. It’s a well­matched pack­age and re­turns a claimed 7.3L/100km. Our stint of pre­dom­i­nantly metropoli­tan run­ning used 9.4L.

Kia got the clev­erAWD sys­tem first but now it’s been adapted to the par­ent com­pany’s car. Trac­tion is am­ple and drive to the rear is not tardy. The real-time traf­fic info on the sat­nav for the most part was ac­cu­rate and well ahead of ra­dio traf­fic re­ports.


It’s one of the bet­ter-look­ing Hyundais yet, although per­haps that is not yet a mam­moth com­pli­ment. It’s from the Flu­idic Sculp­ture de­sign book, a more co­he­sive and hand­some look, and no one is go­ing to mis­take this for a rock-hop­ping off-roader.

The cabin is ver­sa­tile and has a qual­ity feel. The sec­ond row of seats is ad­justable and the third row, while still only for smaller off­spring, folds into the floor to pro­vide use­ful load­space. The un­der­floor stor­age in the rear holds the lug­gage blind when all three rows are in use— an­other clever, use­ful touch.


The Santa Fe is a top-scor­ing five-star ef­fort from ANCAP. A driver’s knee airbag adds to the usual half-dozen airbags, au­to­matic head­lights and rain­sens­ing wipers, rear cam­era (which was a lit­tle stilted in

The Korean that can: The seven-seat Elite is fam­ily friendly, with a smart driv­e­train and agree­able styling

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