As a family car the dynamic focus of the Santa Fe lies very much on comfort, and it does a decent job on that score. The soft suspension filters out rippled and pock-marked surfaces, especially at low urban speeds, although bigger bumps and potholes can be felt knocking into the cabin. You’ll also feel a fair bit of body lean in corners, but it’s not too bad considering the car’s soft setup. However, this plus the sheer size and weight of the car, plus the slow steering, does make the Santa Fe feel slightly cumbersome on twisty backroads. The pending update includes changes to the steering and suspension, which should improve matters.
Obviously, you have the high driving position that SUV buyers crave, and there’s lots of electric adjustment for it as well, but your over-the-shoulder visibility could be clearer despite the rearmost side windows being bigger than before.
The Santa Fe comes only as a seven seater
, but it’s at its best when you use just five of them. The middle row has bags of room, enough for tall adults to stretch out, and the middle seat in that row is more comfy than in most similar cars because it’s wider and there’s plenty of foot space. Utilise the two extra seats that fold up from the boot floor, and those in the middle will have to donate some of their legroom to those in the rearmost seats. Unsurprisingly, the load area is enormous with all the seats folded down, and pretty big in the more conventional five-seat mode. Obviously, the load area is much smaller when all the seats are in place, but there’s still room for a few carrier bags of shopping.