What’s the 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe like to drive?
The engine feels strong, as long as you keep the revs above 1500rpm, but it does transmit a bit of vibration through the pedals, and the standard manual gearbox is notchy. The optional auto is far more likeable, as long as you can live with its higher running costs.
UK-bound Santa Fe models will get a stiffer suspension set-up than the one on European cars, which seems like an odd decision given that our roads are generally worse.
Hopefully, Hyundai isn’t planning to change things too dramatically; we tried four-wheel-drive cars with the European set-up, and this strikes a good balance.
The ride is on the acceptable side of firm at all speeds. It remains impressively settled over patched-up surfaces, too, and body roll is pretty well controlled in bends.
Grip and traction are also good, despite the fact all the power goes to the front wheels until they start to slip.
Instead it’s the steering that lets the side down, because it’s inconsistently weighted, although you can at least make it effortlessly light for parking at the touch of a button.
What’s the 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe like inside?
Perceived quality has traditionally been a Hyundai weakness, but the new Santa Fe features smart cabin plastics and slick switchgear.
True, the heavily styled dashboard can look a little confusing at first glance, but most of the controls are clearly labelled, and simple enough to use/