Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Hyundai Santa Fe Premium Se 2.2 Crdi; Executive Motoring

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Hyundai Santa Fe Premium Se 2.2 Crdi; Executive Motoring

Article excerpt

Byline: Enda Mullen

IN some ways watching Hyundai's progress over the past decade has been like watching a small child grow, mature and ultimately flourish.

The first models I drove were okay but had their drawbacks. Put simply they were good value but a little rough around the edges and lacked in terms of quality, sophistication and overall refinement.

The intervening years have been characterised by progress that has been at time gradual and consistent and at other times rapid.

Whatever the case, whereas once upon a time Hyundai were chasing the tails of European and Japanese rivals, they have now pretty much caught up - and in many ways are competing on a level playing field.

Hyundai's cars might not represent the cheap as chips options they once did but they do still represent value for money - the only difference these days being that they come in a quality package that doesn't involve buyers making any compromises.

The Santa Fe has always been a popular model and the previous generation version proved a big seller in the UK market.

The latest version should see that trend continue, as it's a vehicle in which Hyundai has got pretty much everything right.

For starters it looks good and definitely fits in the bracket of being one of those sleek and stylish SUVs thought more of as a crossover than a traditional SUV.

An imposing and purposeful front end combine with a rising window line at the back to create a vehicle that certainly demands to be noticed. And crucially it manages to achieve its sporty profile without compromising in terms of practicality.

This car is slightly longer than its predecessor - by 30mm - a tad narrower - by 10mm - and sits a lot lower thanks to a significant height reduction from 1,760mm to 1,680mm.

On the inside the cabin is roomy and given height has been reduced it's impressive that the designers have managed to create an extra 11mm of headroom.

There's a third row of two seats which fold flat into the boot floor, though there's also the option of a five-seat version. Access to the third row is tricky and they offer limited legroom - though the middle bench does slide forward. …

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