The new Hyundai Santa Fe seven-seat SUV has arrived in showrooms, bringing an improved interior and more tech. Can it make even greater inroads than its well-regarded predecessor?

While this new model remains a little smaller than top-sellers such as the Toyota Kluger and Mazda CX-9, it offers more cabin room than the outgoing model ever did.

The Santa Fe looks totally different to the previous model, inside and out. The front now has the same ‘upside down face’ as the Kona, with the daytime LEDs placed high and the headlights low, either side of an impressive cascading grille.

There also appear to be improvements in cabin ‘ambience’ thanks to heavier use of high-grade materials and textures, modern active-safety features including some partially driverless tech, and fuel economy gains from an updated drivetrain.

The Range

The all-new Santa Fe range kicks off from $43,000 (plus on-road costs) and comes with the choice of four variants, one driveline and two engines, with pricing running all the way through to $60,500 (plus on-road costs).

At the entry level, is the Santa Fe Active in a 2.4-litre four-wheel-drive petrol, with a 2.2-litre four-wheel-drive turbo diesel available for an additional $3000.

The next step up is the Elite four-wheel-drive diesel with 18-inch alloys, and finally the Highlander rounds off the offering with a four-wheel-drive diesel with 19-inch alloys and all the fruit. There are nine colours available, with premium paints attracting an additional cost.

Hyundai has engineered a very premium feel to the interior with soft-touch material on the dashboard and centre console surrounds. There are some harder plastics around the door, but they don’t mark easily and appear to be built for durability given their location around hand entry/exit points.

Standard equipment is generous, you’ll get:

  • Six airbags
  • Autonomous emergency braking
  • Adaptive cruise control with stop/go, rear cross-traffic alert
  • Lane-keeping assist
  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • Rear parking sensors
  • A rear-view camera
  • Auto dusk-sensing headlamps
  • LED daytime-running lights
  • 17-inch alloy wheels
  • 0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Cloth trim for all seven seats

Stepping up into the Elite adds heated leather seats upfront, an 8.0-inch screen with sat nav, front parking sensors, proximity key, paddle shifters, Infinity stereo system, dual-zone climate control, tinted rear windows with sunshades, power tailgate and electric folding mirrors.

The top-of-the-range Highlander has all of the Elite’s equipment plus a panoramic glass roof, auto parking, surround view camera, LED headlights and tail-lights, 7.0-inch virtual instrument cluster, heated front and rear (outboard) seats, wireless phone charging and a head-up display.

Safety and comfort

The blind-spot collision avoidance also works to prevent the driver from moving into another lane if there is a vehicle present. It will even lock the rear doors if a passenger tries to exit the vehicle when another vehicle is approaching, it’s excellent technology that could prevent tragic accidents from taking place.

Leg and head room in the first row are good with several seat adjustments available. Second-row leg room is good, but head room is a little limited with the panoramic sunroof fitted to the Highlander. ISOFIX points are located on the two outboard seats, while the second-row slides and reclines to offer extra accommodation to third-row occupants.

Time for a new set of wheels?

If you are interested in learning more about the new 2018 Santa Fe range, or any other vehicles, the team at beCarWise have extensive experience in negotiating, procuring and novated leasing vehicles across Australia.