What does the Hyundai Santa Fe have to offer? It is the third generation of Hyundai’s big, friendly SUV, and it’s one of the best. It was offered with a choice of five- or seven-seats, as well as two- or four-wheel drive, but it only has one engine; a hearty 2.2-litre turbo diesel that does a fine job of lugging the big Hyundai around, although you’ll be lucky to even get close to 40mpg. 

Hyundai offers a five year,
unlimited mileage.

The real beauty of the Santa Fe is that it offered the sort of space and versatility previously reserved for seriously expensive cars like the Land Rover Discovery, but for much more affordable prices. Which is why many of the used examples you’ll find will have the seven-seat layout that set the Hyundai apart from the five-seat SUVs that it competed against.

That third row of seats do fold into the boot floor when you want them to, leaving a conveniently huge boot. Alternately, when raised they’re big enough for the kids to be comfy, although getting into them can be tricky as the gap between the middle row of seats and the edge of the door opening is a bit tight. Even so, if you’re after something that can accommodate the grandparents and the kids for the occasionally extended family outing, or that does a good job of car sharing with the neighbours’ kids, this is a brilliant affordable used option –  not least because of its reputation for reliability.

Hyundai actually offers a five-year, unlimited mileage warranty with all of its cars, and with the car only going out of production in 2018, you can pick up nearly-new cars that have lost half their as-new value but that still have years of manufacturer warranty left. Post-2016 cars also got a facelift that included a slightly more efficient version of the 2.2-litre diesel engine.

But even if you do need to keep purchase costs right down and go for an older example, there’s little to worry about. The automatic gearbox is more prone to issues than the manual (which is often the case generally, with automatics), and some owners have reported engine stalling issues due to a failed crankshaft position sensor. Keep a keen eye out for flickering headlights or dodgy door electrics – powered mirror adjustment issues etc –  as these have also been reported. The Santa Fe isn’t generally bought for heavy off-road use, but the four-wheel drive model is a favourite with caravanners or horsey-types, as it has a hefty towing capacity. Ask if the car you’re looking at has been used for towing, as it can put more stress on the clutch and engine.

For all that, the Santa Fe are happy enough that it’s routinely been voted amongst the most reliable big SUVs you can buy. On top of that, Hyundai offers fixed price servicing deals even for second-hand cars that are out of warranty. The plans are very reasonably priced and can also include roadside assistance, so it’s well worth checking out.

Equipment levels are good on the big Hyundai. Entry-level Style spec was only available as two-wheel drive, but it did get automatic lights, air-con, cruise control, Bluetooth, heated front seats, electric windows all-round and rear parking sensors. Premium stepped up to leather upholstery, dual-zone climate control, auto wipers, touchscreen nav system and air-con for those in the back. Premium SE adds electric seat adjustment and panoramic glass roof amongst a few other neat extras, but for balance of value, comfort and usefulness, we’d stick with a manual, four-wheel drive Premium model.

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