Hyundai Santa Fe Premium SE 2018 Review

Hyundai Sante Fe Premium SE 2018 Review

Following a test of the Hyundai Santa Fe Premium SE, here are my thoughts on this full-size SUV.

What is the Hyundai Sante Fe Premium SE 2018 all about?

New for 2018: we tested the fourth generation Hyundai Santa Fe, it is the largest, most expensive and premium offering from the South Korean motoring giant. The latest version of the car comes with a couple of major improvements. There is now an 8-speed automatic gearbox with a new variable torque control system, called HTRAC that improves handling and enhances stability.

The look of the Santa Fe has been overhauled for the fourth generation. It now has an imposing front end, comprised of the Hyundai cascading grille and an eye-catching new composite light headlight design.

The Hyundai Santa Fe test model is the top of the range Premium SE in 4 Wheel Drive. It is extensively kitted out with the highlights being: seven seats, an 8-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a smart electric tailgate with hands-free opening and Hyundai’s new full head-up display that projects relevant driving and safety information directly onto the windshield.

The 2018 model year Hyundai Santa Fe looks very sleek, with good quality styling. The our test model is finished in Stormy Sea Blue, which hides the dirt well!

The test car was fitted with a 2.2-litre diesel engine that creates 200 PS, matched with a new 8-speed automatic gearbox. This means the car accelerates from 0-62mph in 9.4 seconds, onto a top speed of 127 mph. However, and most importantly for some, the car can achieve a combined fuel efficiency figure of 44.8mpg, whilst only creating 127 g/km of  c02, which isn’t bad at all for a car of this size. All these performance figures have improved from the previous generation, as you would expect.

How does it drive?

 The Hyundai Santa Fe uses a keyless entry system, so you can approach it with the key in your pocket and the door will unlock. Then you just hit the start button on the dashboard and you’re good to go! To set off, slip the new automatic gearbox into drive, release the electric handbrake and you’re moving. For a hefty vehicle, it feels very light to drive. In normal mode, the steering is well balanced, allowing you to easily control the car.

The 2.2-diesel engine under the bonnet is a great match for this car. The acceleration is relatively responsive so the Hyundai Santa Fe does not feel underpowered or under pressure. I was very impressed with the engine and the smooth automatic gearbox. The model has three different drive modes – Sport, Comfort and ECO – so you can adjust the car to suit your needs. These modes optimise the car’s operation to the appropriate driving style. It is worth noting that the new HTRAC system also adjusts itself in these modes by moving the torque distribution split from the front towards the back of the car, depending on the settings.

The new 8-speed automatic gearbox really compliments the Hyundai Santa Fe. It works smoothly, so once you have put the car into drive, you can sit back and enjoy the ride. It is intuitive, so you don’t have to try and second guess its next move.

For a car of its size, the all-around visibility from inside the cabin is great and for the more difficult reverse manoeuvres, the Premium SE version comes with a reversing camera featuring a bird’s eye view.

The 2018 version of the model is the safest version of the Santa Fe we have seen yet. As part of the Hyundai SmartSense active safety and driving assistance technologies, the vehicle incorporates Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Brake Assist to help you manoeuvre. Other systems include Lane Keep Assist, Autonomous Emergency Braking and Smart High Beam Assist.

What is it like inside the Hyundai Santa Fe ?

The interior of the Hyundai is very spacious, with an open, comfortable cabin. The front, middle and rear seats are generous and easy to access.

Up front, the dashboard is now a lot tidier and more stylish than in previous generations. All unnecessary buttons have been removed. Everything is laid out logically where you would expect to find it. This premium version of the car even has heated and cooled seats in the front and middle.

The Hyundai Santa Fe includes a KRELL premium sound system featuring ten speakers, an amplifier and a subwoofer. It’s well worth a listen!

If you like your tech, there is also a built-in wireless phone charger for compatible devices. So you can charge your phone when moving and resist the temptation to use it when driving.

Boot space in the car is limited with the third row of seats up, however, when lowered, the boot size increases exponentially and has no load lip.

The Hyundai Santa Fe Experience

The Hyundai Santa Fe Premium SE, has all the qualities we expect from an SUV: tall ride height, lots of gadgets, practicality and comfort.

The 2.2-litre engine with its new automatic gearbox and HTRAC drive system gives you a very confident ride with no complications, allowing you to focus on your journey.


I was incredibly impressed with everything that the Santa Fe has to offer. Hyundai has come so far in the past decade and this is one of the best examples of a well-rounded and well-built car by the brand.

The vehicle is loaded with features, drives very nicely and is extremely practical. I think that some people may overlook the Hyundai Santa Fe as a premium SUV. They may buy more expensive and less equipped cars from other brands only to regret the purchase later. For people in the know, the Santa Fe is a worthy contender at a reasonable price.


Hyundai Sante Fe Premium SE 2018 Specs
  • Price: £ 42,070
  • Engine: 2.2-Litre Diesel
  • Power: 200 PS
  • Torque: 440 Nm
  • Transmission: 8 Speed Auto
  • 0-62mph: 9.4 Seconds
  • Top speed: 127 mph
  • Economy combined: 44.8 mpg
  • CO2: 127 g/km