2019 Hyundai Santa Fe seven-seater SUV Review | Auto Expert John Cadogan | Australia


Santa Fe Active ACTIVE is the only one with a petrol engine available – the 2.4-litre four. It’s $43,000 plus on-roads. You can also get the 2.2 diesel for $3000 extra.

Active includes Adaptive cruise (which is remarkable value for the price) plus rear cross traffic alert, forward collision mitigation, blind spot alert, lane-keeping assistance, Apple and Android phone integrations, a reversing camera and rear parking sensors, tyre pressure monitoring and 17-inch alloys.

Elite adds front parking sensors, 8-inch sat-nav system, leather, proximity key, paddle shifters, power front seats, Infinity premium audio system, dual-zone air conditioning, privacy glass, auto folding mirrors, power tailgate and 18-inch alloys. That’s a lot of extra kit for $54,000.

Highlander is just packed with stuff – and so it would want to be for $60,500 plus on-road costs. And for that you get the 360-degree camera system, auto parking for parallel and reverse, dynamic LED lights, panorama sunroof, 14 different power adjustments for the driver’s seat, LED interior lights, heated and ventilated front seats and heated outboard row 2 seats as well, plus wireless phone charging, a head-up display and 19-inch wheels. Not cheap, but fully loaded. A burger with the lot.

Across the range, thankfully, Santa Fe has retained the full-sized spare wheel and tyre of its predecessor. Tow capacity is maintained at 2000 kilos (that’s with trailer brakes, obviously).

In standard form, 100 kilos the static download limit on the towball. If you want to boost that there’s a genuine load assist kit, which is essentially a set of variable rate rear springs that increases the download limit to 150 kilos.

The Santa Fe’s all-wheel drive system is called HTRAC now, and its operation is drive mode-dependent. In ‘Sport’ mode it’ll shunt up to 50 per cent of the drive rearwards to give you maximum traction under heavy acceleration.

In ‘Comfort’ mode, the rear gets up to 35 per cent of the available drive, and in ‘Eco’ the vehicle basically defaults to front-drive to maximise fuel efficiency. You can also lock the drive system manually in 50:50 for traction-limited off-road situations, by hitting a button on the dash.

In the context of off-roading, Santa Fe is at best a light-duty all-terrain vehicle. Dirt roads – no problem, and even some easy tracks and reasonably straightforward mud and sand. Ice and snow – OK, as long as you’re not aiming for the South Pole, or something.

But anything truly hardcore or rough – you’ll probably break something. And remember, abuse is not covered by warranty. You need a full-on all-terrain wagon, with low-range gearing, like a Pajero Sport, for the properly blue-singlet stuff.

Beating the wilderness into submission is not Santa Fe’s forte – but mild adventuring is OK.

Now perhaps some economically rational comparisons:

Kia Sorento: It’s no surprise that this vehicle shares the platform and the diesel powertrain with Santa Fe. So they’re – kind of – dizygotic twins. There’s the 2.4-litre petrol four in the Santa Fe Active, versus the V6 petrol in Sorento.

So that’s a key difference – no V6 on Santa Fe, at least for now.
Kia offers a seven-year warranty against Santa Fe’s five – both with unlimited kilometres for non-commercial use. The Sorento is a little cheaper, model for model, but the Santa Fe feels more polished.

Mazda CX-9 is slightly bigger, and has the most hi-tech petrol engine of the seven-seat SUV set – a turbocharged version of the 2.5 atmo engine in the CX-5.

CX-9 is also polished product, but it is hobbled by both a short warranty and a space-saver spare tyre – and that spare would concern me on long regional trips or if I was planning on tasking the vehicle with heavy towing, or if I was visiting a remote area.

Toyota Kluger: It’s a decent SUV from a reputable manufacturer, and you get a full-sized spare, but once you scratch the surface you discover that Toyota is the king of mediocrity – big, thirsty petrol V6, no Apple or Android phone integration, plus an anorexic warranty. Kluger is robust, but it would not be my first choice.

Hyundai is a good company here in Australia. Customer support is excellent, the warranty, likewise, and reliability is high. New Santa Fe is a great addition to the range of seven-seat SUVs you should consider buying.


william cox says:

Not related to this video, But interesting.

A VW spokesman said: “There is no legal basis for customer claims in connection with the diesel matter. “Our UK customers have not suffered any loss or damage as a result of the NOx issue. The vehicles are safe and roadworthy, and perform as advertised.”

The vehicles are safe and roadworthy, and perform as advertised.
According to an article 40% of customers that have had their cars recalled over the emission scandal are having problems with low power, stalling, starting, higher fuel consumption, (Any or all) and so on, So not safe and roadworthy.
And definitely not performing as advertised before or after the recall.


EVs for Donkeys 2018 says:

Jesus Christ..30 seconds in & I gotta look at that hideous shirt
But does he have TWO watches on?! Oddly hipp-na-tizing can’t….look…away

Pradyumna Nadig says:

Best ‘yesssssss’ till now!

Alexey Souvorkin says:

Actually looking at Hyundai’s exceptional development, innovation and catch up over the past 10 years, they are by no means the laughing stock anymore. In fact they are doing more laughing at the others more often than not. Hat’s off to Korea.

jellybean1976928 says:

The headlights look ridiculous! Something like a Jeep that got raped by that awful Nissan Juke.

Omel Borpon says:

John, always enjoy your reviews; this is one of the best reviews on the Santa Fe. Looking forward to the next installments.

samatza says:

Great review and what a nice vehicle. Those melons are very impressive especially for a bloke but when I looked at the hat I thought it was the Mustang logo….. yes, I had to double check, I thought I was seeing things. Keep up the great work J.C.

joe blow says:

A boring car for boring people.

Terry Wootton says:

Nice but too much tech to go wrong for me.

Zia Rehman says:

Are you still not happy with 2019 outlander ?

Moisés Franco says:

Cheap plastics, terrible electronics, wires with a caliber thinner than my home theater speaker setup… Yeah… a complete piece of crap. I’ll never buy one of those.

ghs777 says:

Nice gay shirt.

Your 1 week absence in jail for your bad shirt choices ,has not paid off.

John Harrop says:

Do they still have tinplate front diffs ,totally piss poor 4X4 only good for battling to pick up the kids from school

Slipprymongoose says:

Dayummm quite the proposition

Roger Schneider says:

How does Mazda cx8 compare?

Amandeep Singh says:

Thanks John I saved more then $2649 on Kia picanto gt just only because of you.GOD BLESS YOU.

granjeVARIM says:

I bet that these haters are all German (read audi)loverz,lol.

Animal Farm says:

Nice Melons!

ozmaniac49 says:

Wow! Stormy Daniels sure has nice tits!

Zia Rehman says:

I don’t want wireless phone charger, I want charging plugin SUV .

Sam Yates says:

So why are some manufacturers trending towards forcing you to buy a Diesel if you want the highest trim level?

vytis says:

Love your new production values maaaaaaaaaate!

No Name says:

Harder to justify that mediocre Toyota, even Mazda when Hyundai is so far ahead, that’s it competition. The Q7 however has the pricy badge, and buying it requires stomaching absolute shit value and throwing away money like it means nothing to you, that is what makes it premium.

suabr says:

That Q7 looks like a bargain at only $120k

Darcy Duggan says:

Love your work John, and the shirts.

Tim Henwood says:

Haha more like advanced cyclists targeting system. Beep beep beep beeeeeeeeeeep whack!!!!!!!! Target eliminated

Michael S says:

2018″ And I am still with out the money it takes to buy a $43,000 car, WTF, living to far in the future -, I am old but not that old , a fool and his money are soon parted, buy a freaking horse cheaper to feed and buy”!!!

Zia Rehman says:

Santa is real, this year gift for big boys is Santa’s fe.

Pawelmps says:

8 speed transmission is a big improvement because the engine lacks power. I’m hoping it doesn’t have any plastic parts inside that will fail in the future. $60000 is already a lot of money for a boring family car but better than $100000 from a Audi, BMW, Merc, or VW which not any better. Just for the record I drive BMW M135i manual

NSA The National Security Agency says:

almost missed the curve @ 10:42

Guillaume Romain says:

Love the shirt John! and the report as usual!!

shane0yourgod says:

Hi John
Can you please review a 90s model Troopcarrier. Such a popular Australian rig, it would be great to hear you express your thoughts on it.

RemusKingOfRome5 says:

Rather pay $20,000 for a 2nd hand prado …

Tom Newham says:

I don’t know the actual figures but I am guessing servicing costs will be higher too for a Q7. Thanks for sharing John and even though I am not in the market for a new vehicle let alone a SUV I still enjoyed this video.

Vince Bagusauskas says:

You took the outside country drive vids from the industry car pool yes? Same vids on Caradvice

Wally Sumner says:

Great report thanks. I love the melons.

David Lunn says:


Johnny Tampocao says:

It looks better now specially the interior there’s not too many buttons and switches anymore unlike the previous model….

Harry Houllis says:

I don’t understand how this car can weigh 2tonnes it’s honestly a joke. Through it looks great in the surface this car will never compete with the Germans . BMW has been using an aluminium body for the cars e.g the 5 series weighs 1500kg amazing for a large sedan.

graysono says:

Looks bloody neat.

However, like Kia they’ve put the rear indicators on the bumper moving them away from the mid mount tail lights.

Puts it out of the direct line of site doesn’t it??

Would love you to do a tail lights show one day. They are the only way plonkers behind you know where your going and what you’re doing!

Steve Pittinger says:

I’m not what you’d consider a shirt aficionado, but I do dig the interesting and eye-catching shirt patterns. 🙂

Sunderas says:

“Check out these melons!”? Absolutely hilarious.

Cassette Walkman says:

Damn nice interior. Looks like it’s got heaps of headroom too… uuhh No, wait… oops

drevnykot says:

(some time ago)John Cadoge: Blind spot control is a bulls**t, there is no such thing

(now) YOU GET BLIND SPOT CONTROL !!!11!!1oneone!!11!!

armpitdew says:

We had looked at a Santa Fe 5yrs ago probably now, and to start the test drive i got into the rear seat while my wife drove and the dealer rep was in the front. Climbing in i thought i broke my ankle (was badly sprained which i had never done like that before). There was absolutely no foot room back there. It’s nice to see they are (probably?) addressing that.

Freddo Frosch says:

Your videos are entertaining and I like watching them, but I don’t share the same opinion on Korean cars. The front end looks a copy of the Jeep Cherokee and the sides like a mix of the old Santa Fe and a Kluger. I had a 2015 Santa Fe Highlander and it was not great! Gearbox blew up at 45tkm, dashboard rattles and very dull ride. My wife drove it for another year and didn’t enjoy it either. You might not like German vehicles and we know all about Dieselgate by now, but Hyundai and Kia still don’t built the same quality vehicles as the Germans do. They are good, but please don’t tell me that they are better. Cheaper – Yes, Value for money – certainly yes, Better – No. Just test drove the Carnival Platinum. Great Cabin, oodles of space, but the Diesel motor needs an update, same as the Santa Fe.

Wazze Mazze says:

Sport mode on 7-seater with consumer engines? Looks like an identity crisis. Yeah, I know it is a norm on the car market and you really don’t get a car nowadays without one, but seriously, what’s the point?

Innocent Bystander says:

Excellent. Loving the attire as well 😉

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