Driven: Hyundai Santa Fe Premium SE 2015 Review

Driven: Hyundai Santa Fe Premium SE Review

Following a week of testing out the Hyundai Santa Fe Premium SE here are my thoughts on the full-size SUV.

What is the Hyundai Santa Fe Premium SE all about?

The Santa Fe is the largest, most expensive and premium offering from Hyundai. The Santa Fe can be configured in 4-wheel drive and with seven seats, giving you the ability to get the whole family anywhere you need with little effort and maximum comfort.

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The car on test is the top of the range version, the Premium SE. The options on the car include electric driver’s seat, automatic Xenon headlights, keyless entry with engine start/stop button, front parking sensors, smart parking assist and a tyre pressure monitoring system. This means the Santa Fe is a highly equipped car at a fairly affordable price.

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The 2015 model year version of the Hyundai Santa Fe is now a pretty good-looking car; the styling is sharp and has a great quality look to it. Here you can see the Santa Fe in creamy white, which makes the car look very crisp and clean.

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The test car was fitted with a 2.2-litre diesel engine that creates 194bhp, matched with a six-speed automatic gearbox. This means the car can get from 0-60mph in 10.1 seconds and will give you a top speed of 118mph. However, and most importantly for some, the car can achieve a combined fuel efficiency figure of 42mpg, which isn’t bad at all for a car of this size.

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How does it drive?

The keyless entry system means that getting yourself behind the wheel has never been easier, you can approach the car with the key in your pocket, the door will unlock and you can then just get in and hit the start button on the dashboard and you are good to go. Moving off you slip the automatic gearbox into drive, release the electric handbrake and you’re off. For a car of this size, it feels very light to drive. In normal mode the steering is well balanced allowing you to easily control the car, but you can electrically adjust how sensitive the steering is to suit your driving style.

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The 2.2-diesel engine under the bonnet is a great match for this car. The acceleration feels relatively responsive and you don’t get the feeling that the car is underpowered or working too hard. I was very impressed with the engine and gearbox, and from my time with the car I averaged around 39mpg which I was pretty happy with.

Hyundai Santa Fe Premium SE 2015 Review

The 6-speed automatic gearbox really compliments the car, it has a nice, smooth operation and when driven gently you can barely notice the shifts between gears.

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Having the ability to comfortably sit 7 people inside is a real benefit, but don’t think that this makes the car a lot more hassle to drive on the road. The visibility from inside the car is great and for the more difficult reverse manoeuvres, the Premium SE version of the car comes with a reversing camera. One of the other great features of the car is that it will parallel park itself; I tested this out many times and it works very well indeed.

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What is it like inside?

The interior of the Hyundai is pretty spacious, the cabin feels very open and comfortable. In the front there is a lot of room to feel completely unrestricted, in the 2nd row of seats the space is also very comfortable for even the longest of journeys, and the 3rd is also pretty decent, especially for children. Getting in and out of the 3rd row is fairly easy as the 2nd row of seats move back and forth to allow easy access.

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Up front the dashboard is an array of cool buttons, dials and knobs that control the car. Some might argue that this makes the car look a bit busy, but once you get used to the interior it isn’t too daunting and everything is straight forward to use. The premium version of the car even has heated and cooled seats keeping you at the optimum temperature.

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The controls of the car use a blue themed backlight which gives the car a nice glow in the day, and at night the blue lights really light up the car and gives it a premium look.

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It is worth mentioning the infotainment system in the car, it is very well designed, easy to use and intuitive. During my testing I could use it without getting anywhere near the manual and it responded brilliantly to the touch making it very easy to operate whilst driving.

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The Experience

Hyundai defies all expectations with the Santa Fe Premium SE, driving the latest generation of the car it feels fresh and up to date. It has plenty of space and practicality, but doesn’t get caught up with the bad economy reputation that other large SUVs have obtained due to its careful 2.2-litre engine choice. The Hyundai Santa Fe is also a genuine looker, the car stands out in the car parks and looks great parked up on the drive.

Hyundai Santa Fe Premium SE 2015 Review


The Hyundai Santa Fe was a real eye opener for me, the car provides a premium SUV experience that is rubbing shoulders with its more expensive German brothers. The car does come loaded with lots of kit, drives very nicely and is extremely practical. I think that some people may overlook the Hyundai Santa Fe as a premium SUV and therefore maybe missing out on all it has to offer. However, this does mean that for the people in the know you can still treat yourself to this very capable SUV at a great price.

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Video Highlights

Video Production: Samantha Mowels


Hyundai Santa Fe CRDI PRM SE 2015
  • Price: £ 37,110
  • Engine: 2.2-Litre Diesel
  • Power: 194bhp
  • Torque: 436Nm
  • Transmission: 6 Speed Auto
  • 0-62mph: 10.1 Seconds
  • Top speed: 118mph
  • Weight: 2,001kg
  • Economy combined: 42mpg
  • CO2: 178g/km

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Author: Paul Hadley