The Telegraph’s Erin Baker has been ably demonstrating the advantages of long-term reviewing through her extensive inspection of the new Hyundai Santa Fe. Driving the vehicle over months instead of hours, and with a growing family along for many of the rides, this is one review that really digs down into whether the Santa Fe should be considered for your next SUV.

As noted by Baker herself, “The Santa Fe provides the perfect example of where a road tester’s opinion might differ from an owner’s.”

Take performance. Baker remarks that a road tester is “never going to give this set-up five stars”. The suspension is reportedly quite soft, with plenty of lateral roll and “fairly indirect handling”. That said, the family – young and old alike – loved the way the Hyundai Santa Fe felt on the road. The Hyundai Santa Fe is “Tigger-ish, riding joyfully down the road on its springs, gathering itself, collecting the rebound through forgiving dampers.”

In fact, Baker ended up saying that she’d easily choose the Hyundai Santa Fe’s architecture over that of the Bentley Bentayga or Audi SQ7, which is hardly the result you might have expected. The 198bhp, 325 lb-ft of torque engine certainly seems to be surpassing expectations.

Fuel economy was a sticking point at first, but it transpired that the vehicle had been set to measure efficiency from the second it rolled off the production line. With several tanks going from brimming full to completely drained, the Hyundai Santa Fe has been “holding fast at 32mpg on a mixture of urban and motorway driving”. For a vehicle capable of carrying up to seven, that’s certainly not a real-world score to be sniffed at.

Talking of seven-passenger seating, the Santa Fe is clearly a fantastic family vehicle. Three kid’s bikes, one of which still sports stabilizers, were accommodated in the boot when the third row was collapsed. Better yet, the interior’s luxury fittings don’t seem to interfere in any way with everyday practicality, with both the black leather and plastics “wipe-clean and hard-wearing”. Infotainment also seems to grow on drivers over time. The satnav, for example, is “a pretty old-looking affair”, but its knob is easier to zoom with than finger swipes; the voice command mute button isn’t hidden; it doesn’t provide unnecessary or unasked for information.

Even over a long-term testing period that needed to account for two adults and four young boys, the Hyundai Santa Fe held up with distinction.

 

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