Hyundai Santa Fe

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Hyundai Santa Fe 2.2 CRDi 5dr 5 seat

Road Test

Hyundai Santa Fe 2.2 CRDi 5dr 5 seat

Driven January 2010

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Here is a Hyundai with more torque than a Porsche 911. As a buyer of this new Santa Fe, that's a great pub fact to fill the uninterested silence that'll inevitably follow the announcement of your purchase.

In a way it's a shame you need the trivia, because this lightly revised new SUV is actually quite good. It's bigger than the last one (which, after a quick straw poll, few of us in the office could remember), better-equipped and, helpfully, cheaper.

Visually, changes are limited to a tartier chrome grille, new lights and a re-profiled bumper. Inside, plastic wood has been replaced by plastic carbon fibre. Trim levels have been simplified - the entry-level Style (£21,495) gets aircon, alloys, iPod plug and reversing sensors, while Premium (£23,245) adds climate, leather and auto lights and wipers.

Interesting stuff... so, back we go to that engine. It's a new 2.2-litre diesel with 194bhp and 311lb ft torque, which feels as lively as the figures suggest. It's quiet, too, unless you cane it, and returns 40+mpg. Oh, and you get to choose between six-speed manual and auto 'boxes.

Not much, then, to argue against it. It's a bit bigger, faster and cheaper than a Freelander. The quality's not quite there but it is backed by a five-year warranty. And offers an MPV-rivalling fold-flat seven-seat option.

Just don't mention depreciation down the pub, though, because it might just be where your argument starts to fall apart.

Paul Regan

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