After a week-long test drive of the Hyundai Santa Fe Premium SE, here are some of my experiences with the car:
Day 1 – Hyundai Santa Fe Premium SE First Impressions
Waiting for the Santa Fe to arrive, I looked at a few pictures of the car online. I quite liked the look of the Hyundai Santa Fe. I thought it looked a lot more stylish than the previous generation of the car and it appeared to be very practical.
Once the Santa Fe was delivered I had a quick look around the car and it was spotlessly clean. I loved the design; from the front of the car the focus points were that humongous grille that spans almost the entire front of the car and those super bright LED running lights. I was looking forward to getting behind the wheel and testing it out.
Day 2 – Motorway Drive in the Santa Fe
Getting to know the car impressed me, once inside the car there was loads of space and this wasn’t just in the front. Don’t forget this is a seven-seater so we have three rows of seats all with a decent amount of room.
The first trip was taking the car on a 200-mile round trip to Yorkshire to attend a press event. This was a great opportunity to test the Hyundai out on the motorway. Driving the 2.2-litre diesel engine with the automatic gearbox seems to work pretty well together. The Hyundai engine creates 194bhp and on the motorway, even for its size, the car felt pretty powerful and was a great cruiser for the journey. For the majority of the journey I used the car’s cruise control allowing me to relax a little.
For the trip, the sat-nav and bluetooth phone integration kept me heading in the right direction and kept me entertained along the way by streaming music from my iPhone. The heating controls and switchgear on the dashboard are well laid out and very simple to operate. For most of the journey I had the heated seats turned on keeping me nice and warm and making the journey quite a pleasant one.
Day 3 – How is the Car Perceived
I met up with one of my car enthusiast friends who was surprised to see the Santa Fe on the drive and was keen to find out more about the car; the Santa Fe catches a lot more attention than I originally expected. I soon learned that Hyundai’s reputation in the UK appears to be growing, and the Santa Fe model now appeals to be a fairly desirable car to own. We chatted about what the Santa Fe has to offer for quite a while and when leaving the conversation I realized just how many good points there were to make about this car, and I had only had it for three days.
Day 4 – Great Country Drive
I was keen to test this big car out in the countryside, I took an hour out of my day to take the car out for a spin on some of the local B roads and get a feel for how much fun the car really is to drive. I found the Santa Fe felt lighter than I expected it to. The 2.2-litre engine can still pull the car away very nicely and works very well as the engine of choice for this car.
Even after playing around with the Santa Fe a little, the car was still relatively efficient. Over my week so far I had averaged around 40mpg, which in my opinion is a great achievement for a car of this size.
Day 5 – Town Driving
Being able to live with the car for a week gives you a great insight into every aspect of the car. Some might see the Hyundai to be a big bulldozer of a car that would be difficult around town, however, that couldn’t be more wrong. The Premium SE was configured with front and rear parking sensors and a clever reversing camera to help the car in tight spaces. To complete the package, the Hyundai would even park itself.
Day 6 – Photoshoot
Wanting to capture some great photography of the Hyundai Santa Fe we took an early start to get the car on location before the sun had risen. We put the car in place, wiped the condensation off and waited for the sun to rise, unfortunately it turned out to be a cloudy day so there was a distinct lack of nice dramatic light to use.
However, we did what we could and captured some great pictures of the car overlooking the city of Birmingham, which I am pretty pleased with. This was also a great opportunity to get a close up look at the car and create some videos of the car’s highlights.
From here we moved on to a selection of other locations in the city centre looking for ways to show off the Santa Fe. We found a selection of different areas to use and in creamy white the car really did stand out in all of them.
Day 7 – Looking Back on my Week
From spending a week with the car I learned all there was to know about it and I was pretty thrilled with it. There were lots of stand-out points about the car, but more than most the car was hugely practical and impressively comfortable to live with. In the Premium SE spec the car has everything you need and more. I was sad to see this stylish SUV go home.