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Hyundai Santa Fe Highlander review
- Vital Stats
As we slid into the comfy leather seats of the top-of-the-line 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Highlander and basked in the glow of the top-spec instrument panel, it felt like heaven. For a mum with two small children, this car was pretty much a dream come true.
Style & drive
Hyundai's Santa Fe is available in three spec levels - Active, Elite, and Highlander. All models are seven-seaters and all come with all-wheel drive (AWD). The top-spec Highlander sports pretty much every cool feature you could dream about on an SUV, all packaged up in a very attractive centre stack with easily accessible buttons.
It's got keyless entry and keyless start, automatic dusk-sensing headlights, rain sensing wipers, and power driver and front passenger seats. It also boasts 19-inch alloy wheels, a full-size alloy spare wheel, heated front and second row seats, a panoramic sun roof, and auto-dipping side mirrors. A seven-inch touch creen features a reversing camera, rear parking sensors, a premium audio system with full iPod/USB connectivity, Bluetooth, and a satellite navigation system with SUNA live traffic.
The leather-trim seats are comfortable both front and back and there is abundant leg room for all. The middle row can move forward to give the third row more leg room, and splits 40/20/40. The third row, which splits 50/50, is best for pre-teens but can fit full-size adults at a squeeze.
The Highlander comes with three drives modes (comfort, normal, and sport), is powered by a 2.2L four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine, and is a stellar performer on the road. The dynamics are excellent, steering is tight and the engine is powerful without being at all jerky through the gear changes. Hills and curves are conquered with ease, and parking is pretty easy too. Honestly, we were seriously reluctant to return this one to Hyundai... we could have very happily driven off into the sunset in it!
The Santa Fe scored a five-star rating from ANCAP, and it comes equipped with seven airbags standard across the range including driver and front passenger, driver knee, driver and front passenger side (thorax) and side curtain airbags (front and second row). Active safety is augmented by Hyundai's Vehicle Stability Management (VSM) system, and includes an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist System (BAS), Hill-Start Assist Control (HAC), Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Advanced Traction Cornering Control (ATCC), Automatic Vehicle Hold (AVH) and Electronic Park Brake (EPB). The Santa Fe has car seat anchors for all three middle row seats and ISO-FIX hooks for both middle outboard seats.
Fuel consumption: 7.3L/100km
CO2 emission: 192g/km.
2.4L Petrol Active 7-seater Manual - $36,990
2.4L Petrol Active 7-seater Automatic - $38,990
2.2L CRDi Active 7-seater Manual - $39,990
2.2L CRDi Active 7-seater Automatic - $41,990
2.2L CRDi Elite 7-seater Automatic - $45,990
2.2L CRDi Highlander 7-seater Automatic - $49,990
Extras: Metallic/Pearl Metallic/Mica Paint - $595.
Describe the car in three words
Family-friendly, stylish, comfortable.
What are the best things about this car?
The seven seats are great for extra kids in the back; and the automatic park break is awesome as, you'll never drive off with it on again! The sun shades in the second row windows are genius. Why aren't all family cars fitted with these essential items for the Aussie sun? Genius.
And the downsides?
None that we can think of.
What does it run on?
The Highlander and Elite models run on diesel only. The Active is available in both petrol and diesel.
Loved it. Seriously, this car has everything you could wish for in a family car that's both practical and easy on the eye. The panoramic glass sunroof is a huge hit with the little ones too.
If personified, who would this car be?
(Review by Georgia Bartlett.)