28 Jan 2022

Motoring: Plug in and play with the new Santa Fe Hybrid from Hyundai

Motoring review: A top pick for families in search of good-looking seven seater

Motoring: Plug in and play with the new Santa Fe Hybrid from Hyundai

The Hyundai Santa Fe

The Hyundai Santa Fe is a long-time favourite of the seven-seater SUV market and the revised fourth-generation version with a hybrid powertrain looks set to be a strong challenger to its rivals.

Big, bold and beautiful, the all-new Santa Fe Plug-in Hybrid is built to command the road. Its wide stance and completely reimagined design will cause heads to turn in admiration.

Seriously Handsome

The Santa Fe’s smaller sibling, the Tucson, has enjoyed unprecedented sales success here in Ireland and around the globe, picking up the glorious title of ‘Ireland’s Best-Selling Car’ along the way, and the Santa Fe is the natural progression for families looking for seven seats, without sacrificing stunning good looks, or spirited performance.

The exterior of the new Santa Fe features a reshaped, enlarged grille dominating the front end and around the back a light bar now connects the tail-lights above a cleaner bumper design. As a result, the new Santa Fe is a seriously handsome SUV from every angle, and has employed cutting-edge design techniques in order to make it one of the most distinctive cars in its class.

Petrol and Electric Power

Powering the new Santa Fe Plug-in Hybrid is Hyundai’s new Smartstream 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine mated to a 59bhp electric motor to produce a combined power output of 227bhp and 350Nm of torque. Thanks to a new platform, the battery pack in the new Hyundai Santa Fe Plug-in Hybrid is located under the front passenger seats — creating a boost in efficiency with no impact on cabin or luggage space, while a newly-developed six-speed automatic transmission delivers improved smoothness and fuel efficiency than its predecessor.

A 13.8 kWh high-power Lithium-ion polymer battery has superior charge/discharge characteristics, maximising both electric driving and energy storage, while a 66.9kW electric motor delivers high torque and high efficiency. It also delivers impressive acceleration when starting.

Depending on the driving situation, the new Santa Fe Plug-in Hybrid switches seamlessly between its petrol engine and electric motor. The regenerative braking system charges the battery by using the electric motor to slow the car, while the energy stored in the battery then powers the electric motor to help in acceleration, uphill driving and low speed driving.

A drive and terrain mode selector allows the driver to easily switch drive modes to suit road conditions, and your mood. Sport mode enables enhanced performance with modified throttle response, shift points and steering effort. Eco mode delivers peak fuel efficiency with modified acceleration, shift points and air-conditioning performance, while Comfort mode can be selected for regular performance with good efficiency. Additional modes include Snow, Sand and Mud modes for times when the going gets tough.

The new Santa Fe Plug-in Hybrid is available in just one specification — Executive Plus

The interior of the new Santa Fe Plug-in Hybrid feels more plush than before with luxurious Nappa leather and suede dominating the spacious cabin. There is 34mm more legroom for second-row passengers than in the previous generation, which has the added benefit of providing room for adults to sit in the third row as well. There are separate air-conditioning controls and each seat gets a cup holder too.

Boot space is generous, with 571-litres of space available when the two rear-most seats are folded into the boot floor, but this can be expanded to a cavernous 1,625-litres when all five rear seats are folded flat.

Test Car

My test car performed admirably on a variety of road surfaces, with an excellent suspension set-up engineered to tackle road imperfections with ease. The Santa Fe Plug-in Hybrid is blessed with terrific driving dynamics and inspirational road-holding attributes, while Hyundai’s large SUV steers with poise and precision for added driving confidence. Straight line performance is excellent too, with a 0-100km/h sprint achievable in just 8.8-seconds.

Multiple convenient ways to charge the new Santa Fe Plug-in Hybrid include via a home wall box charger, a domestic socket or at a public charging station. When fully charged, an all-electric range of up to 58km’s is achievable, which is generally enough for urban driving and school-run commutes.

Pricing & Warranty

The new Hyundai Santa Fe Plug-in Hybrid is priced at €53,445 (inclusive of a €2,500 SEAI grant for private customers, but excluding delivery and related charges). Hyundai’s 5-year unlimited mileage warranty, AA Roadside Assistance and a free 5-year health check package come as standard. The amazing Santa Fe Plug-in Hybrid is ready to plug in, and play.

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