2016 Hyundai Santa Fe Highlander Series Two Review.
I am no stranger to the Hyundai Santa Fe. Over the years I have driven a number of incarnations of the Hyundai seven-seat SUV and always came away quite satisfied.
Last year I drove the Santa Fe SR, a model that is tweaked to give a sportier ride and feel and I thought it was pretty good, though I noticed that the model was starting to look just a little dated.
Enter the new Hyundai Santa Fe Series Two for 2016.
Hyundai has given the Santa Fe a refresh, both inside and out and also added more equipment, primarily on the higher-spec models. This equipment includes safety tech such as radar cruise control, blind spot monitoring and lane departure warning.
Available in four specification levels - Active, Elite, Highlander and Santa Fe SR, this time around I was handed the keys to a Highlander, a model priced from $55,990.
Under the bonnet you will find a 2.2 litre turbo-diesel engine (the same unit fitted to the Behind the Wheel 2015 Car of the Year – Kia Sorento). Now boasting an additional 2kW and 4Nm for a new output of 147kW and 440Nm.
Engine performance is strong, and the broad powerband delivers ample performance for overtaking, towing and some light-duty off-roading. The engine only comes with a smooth six-speed automatic transmission.
Official combined fuel consumption is rated at 7.7L/100km, though the best I achieved was 8.9L/100km.
On the road the Santa Fe’s manners continue to impress with light but communicative steering coupled with a plush ride and relatively restrained body roll. The Hyundai Santa Fe Highlander Series Two brings an excellent radar cruise control system, which maintains both pre-set road speed and the distance between the Santa Fe and the vehicle ahead effortlessly.
The system doesn’t become too close to the vehicle in front then abruptly apply the brakes when it realises that the selected gap has been breached. Rather, it’s just a matter of selecting desired settings and monitoring the car’s progress.
An automated parking system helps parallel and reverse park the Santa Fe.
Hyundai has also worked to make the Santa Fe cabin a quieter and more pleasant place to be through the addition of more noise and vibration suppression materials and the end result has been worth the effort.
It’s largely business as usual inside the Santa Fe’s cabin: five comfortable seats with heating and cooling for the front and heating for the two outer seats and then there are two small seats at the rear that are best suited for children.
There’s also luxuries inside the Santa Fe Highlander such as sat-nav and a panoramic glass roof.
So what have they changed? Well, the Infinity sound system is a huge step up, both in sound quality and power. The infotainment system also has the capacity to play video through a USB connection, though the rear passengers miss out on rear screens.
Voice control is still missing in action but controls for the new radar cruise control have been intuitively incorporated onto the steering wheel.
I also noted that the entertainment system could be a little temperamental at times, struggling to retrieve music from my iPhone 6. Other changes to the Santa Fe cabin include a cleaner and more elegant instrument cluster and a digital speedometer.
Hyundai Santa Fe safety is covered by a five-star ANCAP safety rating.
Summing it up; The Hyundai Santa Fe has always been a tempting package, now thanks to the 2016 Series Two overhaul the Hyundai remains an SUV of choice.
NUTS and BOLTS – 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe Highlander
Engine: 2.2 litre turbo-diesel producing 147kW and 440Nm (only)
Transmission: Six-speed automatic (only)
Safety: Five stars
Warranty: Five years
Origin: South Korea
Price: from $55,990
Matt Calvitto is the founder of automotive website – themotoringguru.com