Hyundai Santa Fe Review 2024

Hyundai Santa Fe At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
The Hyundai Santa Fe is an excellent large family SUV, even considering newer and fresher competitors. Avoid expensive top trims and it's a lot of car for the money, it'll take seven proper adults, and offers plenty of comfort.

+Versatile seven-seat SUV with plenty of space. Very well-equipped as standard. Available as a diesel, hybrid or plug-in hybrid.

-Top models now close to £50k. Some wind noise at speed. Button-heavy dash is a bit daunting.

New prices start from £40,685, brokers can source from £40,114
On average it achieves 84% of the official MPG figure

Back in the day the Hyundai Santa Fe was the big family SUV you bought because you were on a budget, and that was about the only reason. Oh how things have changed. Sure, the latest model is hardly cheap these days, but it's also one of the most comfortable, high-tech and spacious SUVs this side of the premium German models. Our Hyundai Santa Fe review shows why it's such a compelling choice.

Hyundai has done a terrific job of altering its reputation in recent years. In just over a decade it's gone from a maker of cheap yet cheerless cars to a maker or competitive, sensible and reliable models. 

The push upmarket is well under way, though. Models like the Ioniq 5 electric car show Hyundai can do desirable and high-tech, while the brand's N division cars challenge the best hot hatches out there. But what about long-standing sensible stuff like the Santa Fe? 

Well, the Hyundai Santa Fe isn't the cheapest seven-seater that money can buy these days. But you can't dismiss it for that. It comes loads to the gills with standard equipment - even base models get front and rear parking sensors, a rear-view camera, heated electric front seats, a heated steering wheel and even an electric tailgate. 

What's more, the Santa Fe looks and feels more premium than you might expect. Sure, its sister car, the Kia Sorento, is a bit fresher, but the Hyundai is still smart with a high-quality cabin.

And - importantly - there's loads of space, with all models getting seven seats as standard. Adults can comfortably fit in the middle-seats for long journeys, while even the rearmost seats are fine for occasional journeys. It's roomier in the rearmost rows than models such as the Skoda Kodiaq and Land Rover Discovery Sport, that's for sure. 

For a while there was just one engine: an upgraded version of the old 2.2-litre CRDi diesel producing 200PS. No rather lethargic petrol engines to provide a headline-grabbing entry-level price here - unlike the Kodiaq. 

Said diesel engine is a reasonably quiet and refined unit, providing plenty of torque and decent performance There's an eight-speed automatic gearbox which is okay, if a bit hesitant to respond quickly. If you really feel the need, you can take control via the paddles mounted behind the steering wheel.

In 2021 Hyundai updated the Santa Fe with a tweaked design, new tech and - crucially - two hybrid engine options. Both make use of the same 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine, but one is a 'self-charging' hybrid (making it more affordable and efficient on longer runs) while the other is a pricier plug-in hybrid capable of much longer electric-only running. 

The latest Hyundai Santa Fe represents a huge amount of progress over its predecessor. No longer is it just good 'for the money', it's now a top-drawer SUV in its own right, easily worthy of taking on the competition. 

Looking for a second opinion? Check out heycar's review of the Hyundai Santa Fe.

Want the previous model? You'll need our Hyundai Santa Fe 2012-2018 review

Ask Honest John

Should I be concerned about buying a high mileage Hyundai Santa Fe?

"I’m thinking of buying a Hyundai Santa Fe diesel, (to tow a caravan) which is 2.5 years old with full service history and 51000 miles. Should I be concerned about the unusually high mileage?"
A higher than average mileage is not necessarily a concern if the vehicle condition is good and the service history is complete. A mileage such as this would suggest lots of motorway miles, which in many respects is better than a lot of stop-start traffic, particularly if you are planning to tow.
Answered by David Ross

What is the best used automatic estate car?

"What is the best used automatic SUV/estate for family. I have around £15,000 to spend."
We'd recommend a Skoda Superb. It's a huge estate car with loads of space for the family, while it represents excellent value for money. If you'd prefer an SUV, take a look at a Hyundai Santa Fe or Kia Sorento. The smaller Kia Sportage is a good choice, too, if you don't need quite so much space.
Answered by Andrew Brady

Can you recommend a hybrid family car?

"I currently own a Hyundai Santa Fe diesel. We only use one car in our family and work from home so do our daily school trips and occasional trips no more than 6 hours round trips. Going full electric is still a bit worrying for me and we are looking at hybrid. I was hoping you are able to guide me or provide some info on hybrids, I assume petrol hybrid? I am leaning towards an estate or maybe another SUV. I'm not sure what reliable makes to look for. "
Take a look at the new Hyundai Tucson. It's a really good family SUV that's available with hybrid or plug-in hybrid power. The latter might be a good choice if you can charge a car at home (i.e. you have off-road parking with access to electricity) as you'll be able to cover your local journeys under electric power alone. We'd recommend the Kia Sportage, too. This guide might be of interest:
Answered by Andrew Brady

I want to change my SUV for a pick-up. Is that a good decision?

"My Qashqai is fine but I now need less internal passenger/boot space and more load/utility space as I move to/refurb a house in France. I don't want a bigger SUV so changing to a utility vehicle such as the Nissan Navara or Ford Ranger seems to be the way forward. Comfort on the 500km each way trip is important as are practicality, reliability and bit of refinement so a double cab version with an auto gearbox, sat nav etc is my target. Am I on the right lines here or do I have other utilty-type options, please?"
It's probably worth test driving a pick-up truck before you become too set on the idea - they're an acquired taste to drive and even a high-spec model wouldn't be that comfortable for a long journey to France. Even though you're reluctant, you might find a slightly bigger SUV like a Hyundai Santa Fe or Skoda Kodiaq is a better option.
Answered by Andrew Brady
More Questions

What does a Hyundai Santa Fe cost?

Buy new from £40,114(list price from £45,295)