In the market of sevens seat crossovers the Hyundai Santa Fe it’s an economical choice. With a base price of $32,000, the Santa Fe come standard with a V6 engine and seven seats. It checks a lot of boxes for the average buyer.
Starting with the base model, the Santa Fe XL comes standard with front wheel drive, Bluetooth, heated front seats and 7 airbags. With five trim levels, the model we have here is the Luxury trim. Center of the pack with leather, panoramic sunroof, and power lift gate options checked off. it’s really all one would need in a 7-seat crossover. The higher end models will add HID headlights, and some additional safety features like collision mitigation braking, lane departure warning and around view cameras.
Behind the wheel, the Santa Fe feels smaller than it actually is. Turning radius is surprisingly tight so maneuvering the vehicle isn’t hard. The steering is heavily boosted during low speeds so any parking maneuvers are painless and easy. On the road, the steering tightens up to provide the driver with a bit of feedback. The suspension is soft and supple, soaking up all bumps and imperfections on the road. Something I did notice the chassis did flex a bit as a bit of creaking was audible from the hatch area.
Power is delivered from a strong 3.3L v6. Unlike more recently turbocharged engines this V6 delivers most of its power at the top of the rev-range. Putting the pedal down the engine sounds pretty good and delivers a good amount of torque as speed climbs. It’s kinda refreshing to have a naturally aspirated engine after driving many turbocharged options as it just seems more responsive. And it’s not bad on fuel neither was able to achieve 13L/100km during my mostly city commute.
The interior of the Santa Fe is pretty nice, it has an upscale touch to it. Some might nitpick on are the buttons that are on the dash as there are a few of them to control everything between climate and radio functions. Personally, I like the redundant buttons as it makes it easier to switch radio stations and change the climate with ease. But some might think it’s older in its design comparing to a center control knob like ones that’s found in newer Mazda’s and BMW’s.
For a 7 seater, the Santa Fe offers quite a bit of room, behind the 2nd roll with the 2nd roll pulled slightly forward the legroom isn’t bad for 3rd-row passengers. That being said, it’s nowhere close to a minivan but it’s not bad. For short trips, it’s more than acceptable, and the panoramic sunroof stretches over the 1st, 2nd and about half of the 3rd row. The Sunroof is a beauty. It lets in a lot of light and has a cover that quickly retracts to cover up any unnecessary sunlight. To add to the luxury, the 2nd-row passengers are treated with heated seats as well as window curtains. Out back the tailgate is automated with just a keyfob the tailgate will open after about 5 seconds.
Overall, the Santa Fe is a feature packed vehicle with a lot of options and comparing to the other in its class. Hyundai products have been known to include a lot of features and the Santa Fe XL does not disappoint. It may not drive as well as the Mazda CX-9 nor have the power of the Ford Explore Sport but the Santa Fe XL has an abundance of features for the price and with a 5-year unlimited mileage warranty, there’s less for the average family to worry about.