Use the Ac­tive voice

Base Santa Fe diesel is a clar­ion call for value and is a smart fam­ily choice

Herald Sun - Motoring - - The Tick - CHIEF RE­PORTER

THERE al­ways seems to be a deal in Hyundai show­rooms, a tac­tic that helped the brand to clear the 100,000 sales mark for the first time last year.

This month it’s a free diesel up­grade on the Santa Fe, which gives me a good rea­son to jump into one.

But this time around I’m not open­ing the door on the to­pline High­lander, which draws more than half of Santa Fe buy­ers de­spite its $54,000 price tag, and in­stead I go for the start­ing-price Ac­tive.

The cur­rent deal means a Santa Fe diesel man­ual starts at $38,490, the ba­sic petrol price, with the auto jump­ing to $40,990. It’s pretty tasty stuff in a class where its only real sev­enseater price ri­vals are the Ford Ter­ri­tory, Nis­san Pathfinder, Toy­ota Kluger and — no sur­prise, in the South Korean clone car wars — Kia’s Sorento.

In a world that’s over­stuffed with SUVs, the Santa Fe is a nice sur­prise. What it says on the box is what you get.

It’s a big, fam­ily-friendly SUV with good cabin space and the stuff you re­ally need.

It would be bet­ter if the tow rat­ing was higher than two tonnes but it’s not the sort of se­ri­ous four-wheel drive you would take on a big trip into the out­back. For city and sub­ur­ban use it’s fine. The view is good, it’s rel­a­tively easy to park con­sid­er­ing its heft and there is good ac­cess to the three rows of seats. The lug­gage space is im­pres­sive as a five-seater but — and it’s not re­motely alone — I wouldn’t want to carry seven peo­ple and their gear for more than a few kilo­me­tres.

The CRDi Ac­tive, as it’s called, comes with a six-speed auto and a diesel that makes 145kW/436Nm. It can be a bit slug­gish at times but there is solid pulling power and it is easy to re­sort to the man­ual side of the shift even with­out flappy pad­dles when you need to go.

The econ­omy is good and the noise lev­els are fine, for the class and price. It’s def­i­nitely not the qui­etest diesel I’ve driven this year but it’s all right.

One thing I love is the sus­pen­sion. It’s been prop­erly

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