2019 Hyundai Santa Fe Review – 5 things to know

The latest, fourth-generation Hyundai Santa Fe has been well received here at ForceGT, with both Active and Highlander variants scoring highly in their individual reviews. We were impressed by its overall packaging, well-designed and plush interior, standard equipment, ride and handling.

There are lots to like the about Hyundai’s latest full-sized family hauler but to make it easier, we thought we’d highlight five things you need to know about the car:

  1. The Range – simplified and streamlined

The latest Santa Fe is offered in three trim levels – Active, Elite and Highlander.

You can choose from two drivetrains in the Active – a 138kW/241kW 2.4-litre naturally-aspirated petrol engine returning a claimed 9.3L/100km with a six-speed automatic transmission, and a high torque 2.2-litre turbocharged diesel engine matched to a new, eight-speed automatic transmission with fuel economy rated at 7.5L/100km.

The Elite and Highlander come standard with the 147kW/440Nm 2.2-litre turbo diesel engine and new eight-speed automatic transmission.

All variants are equipped with Hyundai’s HTRAC all-wheel drive as standard.

Prices for the Santa Fe Active start from $43,000 for the petrol, and $46,000 for the diesel. The mid-range Elite asks $54,000, while the range-topping Highlander comes with a hefty $60,500 sticker – all before on-road costs and options.

  1. Ride and handling – Australian tuned steering and suspension

During the development program, Hyundai Australia Chassis Development and Product Planning teams, along with an engineer each from damper supplier, ZF SACHS, and Hyundai’s head office in South Korea, evaluated 27 front suspension damper builds and 22 rear damper builds.

The team also tested two front and three rear spring rates over thousands of kilometres on a variety of surfaces, from country roads to freeways and corrugated dirt roads to produce a unique to Australia damper. and springs.

Additionally, the Santa Fe’s rack-mounted motor-driven power steering is also specifically calibrated to suit to our market.

The result is not only a comfortable SUV for families but also one imbued with sufficient rigidity for tight handling around the bends, making the Santa Fe more agile than its chunky looks might suggest.

  1. Safety – baby I’m still here!

Hyundai has really stepped up when it comes to safety. Besides the usual array of high-tech safety features such as Forward Collision Warning and Mitigation, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Blind Spot Monitoring, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keep Assist and Driver Attention Detection, the new Santa Fe also comes with an innovative Rear Occupant Alert system that is standard on the Elite and Highlander.

The Rear Occupant Alert uses an ultrasonic sensor to monitor the rear seats and alert the driver if there are still passengers in the rear seat when leaving the car.

A message on the central instrument cluster display reminds the driver to check the rear seats when the engine is switched off. If the system detects movement in the rear seats after the rear doors have been opened and then closed, it will sound the horn and flash the lights when the vehicle is locked. The system will also activate if children accidentally lock themselves in the car.

Another safety highlight is the Safety Exit Assist which prevents accidents when a door is opened while a vehicle is approaching from behind.

Using the radar sensors, the system detects approaching vehicles and warns the driver when a door is opened. When the driver attempts to unlock child lock doors and the system detects approaching traffic, the vehicle maintains the child lock and issues an audible and visual warning.

  1. Features

As you’d expect, Hyundai has thrown most of its high tech features at the Santa Fe Highlander flagship.

It comes with Bi-function LED headlights with dynamic bending for both high and low beams to light the road with an attractive crisp, white beam.

In addition, the Highlander features premium-looking and quick-illuminating LED taillights with a striking 3D effect, along with bright LED front fog lights.

There’s also wireless inductive smartphone charging at the front with an indicator lamp above displaying the phone’s charging status. To ensure the phone will not be inadvertently left in the cabin, the central display in the instrument cluster will show a reminder when switching off the car.

Additionally all Santa Fe’s come standard with USB and AUX Input as well as an additional USB charging port, all conveniently located in the centre console storage cubby.

The driver also gets a crisp 7-inch colour TFT LCD supervision cluster in the instrument that displays a range of trip computer information – including a digital speedometer – as well as system status and visual alerts from SmartSense and other safety systems

At the back, a new one-touch ‘Walk-in switch’ on the kerb side eliminates the need to manually flip and slide the second row seatback for easy access to the third row. In addition, an electric release switch in the cargo bay allows one-touch folding of the second-row seatbacks. The driver can also move the front passenger seat without leaving the driver’s seat, thanks to a switch mounted on the side of the passenger seat.

Other features include automatic park assist, 360-degree reverse camera with kerb view and a high quality Infiniti sound system with subwoofer.

  1. Multimedia

Multimedia is a big thing these days and the new Santa Fe isn’t lacking in that department, featuring the latest infotainment and connectivity functionality throughout the range.

There is a 7-inch multimedia system with Radio Data System, Bluetooth connectivity, voice recognition and smartphone connectivity through Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Santa Fe Elite and Highlander feature a satellite navigation system with a larger 8.0-inch infotainment display. The navigation system presents three-dimensional map views and live traffic data, and comes with a lifetime map care update plan, too.

The Highlander is also equipped with a head-up display (HUD) that projects driving information onto the windshield, including driving speed, navigation commands and fuel level as well as alerts from active safety and driver assistance features.


Design & Comfort


Performance & Handling






Equipment & Features




Our Score: 4.1/5

+ Plus

  • Attractive styling inside out
  • Generous and hi-tech equipment
  • Quiet and comfortable ride
  • Tight handling


  • No turbo petrol across the range; diesel-only for top two trim levels
  • Clatter from diesel engine on idle and at lower speeds
  • Tight third-row seats


Stylish, comfortable and generously equipped, the Hyundai Santa Fe cements its spot as one of our favourite full-sized SUVs.

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe Highlander pricing and specification

Price (Excluding on-road costs):From $60,500

As tested: $61,639

Tested options:

  • ‘Rain forest’ metallic premium paint – $695
  • Dark beige leather trim – $295
  • Tailored carpet floor mats – $149
Warranty:5 years/unlimited kilometres
Warranty Customer Assistance:1 year roadside
Country of Origin:South Korea
Service Intervals:12 months/15,000km
Engine:2.2-litre four-cylinder common rail direct injection turbo diesel:

147kW @ 3,800rpm, 440Nm @ 1,750-2,750rpm

Transmission:8-speed automatic
Drivetrain:All-wheel drive
Power to Weight Ratio (W/kg):73.7
0-100km/h (seconds):N/a
Combined Fuel Consumption (L/100km)Claimed: 7.5/Tested: 9.3
Fuel Capacity (L):71
RON Rating:Diesel
Body:5-door SUV, 7-seats
  • 5-star ANCAP
  • 6 airbags
  • Downhill Brake Control
  • Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist
  • Driver Attention Warning
  • Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist
  • Lane Keeping Assist
  • Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist
  • Emergency Stop Signal
  • Tyre Pressure Monitoring System
  • Rear Occupant Alert
  • Safe Exit Assist
  • Advanced Smart Park Assist System
  • Surround View Monitor
  • Space saver spare
Dimensions (L/W/H/W-B) mm:4,770/1,890/1,705/2,765
Boot Space (min/max) (L):547/1,625
Turning Circle Between Kerbs:11.42
Ground Clearance:185
Approach Angle:18.5
Departure Angle:21.2
Breakover Angle:20.7
Kerb Weight (kg):1,995
Towing Capacity (kg):Braked: 2,000/Unbraked: 750
  • 8.0-inch colour touchscreen
  • satellite navigation
  • AM/FM/DAB+
  • Bluetooth
  • USB
  • AUX
  • Apple CarPlay/Android Auto
  • 10-speaker Infinity premium audio system with external amplifier

Competitors: Kia Sorento, Mazda CX-9, Toyota Kluger, Mitsubishi Outlander

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