Hyundai Santa Fe in India


Hyundai Motors India Limited haven’t fared well with their limited range of SUVs. Nor is Hyundai internationally known for their SUVs. Hyundai Motors India wanted to change this perception and hence have landed the Santa Fe into the Indian markets. The Hyundai Santa Fe has been a top seller in other third world countries and Europe, so it was prudent enough to bring it to India. The Santa Fe is a huge SUV like the Ford Endeavor and Toyota Fortuner. The other Hyundai SUVs like the Tucson and Terracan would be discontinued and would fade into oblivion. How capable is this SUV on Indian grounds is what we set to test out. Hyundai had been toying with the idea of launching the Santa Fe from 2008 but only mustered the courage now.


Hyundai’s fluidic design concept is displayed in the Santa Fe but not so much as its international cousin the iX35. The grille is a small one with air conditioner like flaps. We thought they can swing as well. The Sonata also features such a grille and the Verna Transform is no exception as well. The air dam is hidden by a black cladding. The fog lamps are of the protruding types. Overall a well balanced Korean look SUV but we felt that Hyundai should have brought on the Santa Fe three years back and now, they should have introduced the iX35 directly. The Santa Fe has more of a rounded look and appeal.

The side profile also acctenuates the rounded feel. The 16 inch alloys look quite good and even the wheel arches are not of the flared types but circular ones. The outside rear view mirrors are big and also have the turn light indicators embedded in them.

The rear is more of clear lens variety and the rear glass area is also huge. It gets a single wiper. The bumpers are also in black plastic cladding and get round reflectors as well. Moreover this stylish SUV has roof rails to give it that macho look. The rear grab handle gets the boot release integrated on to it. New Hyundai Santa Fe has a wheel base of 4660 mm and it looks every inch that big in flesh. The twin chrome tipped tail pipes are huge and project a sporty feel about the car.


Sadly, most of your time would be spent inside the car rather than outside. The word SAD has been used because the Hyundai Santa Fe disappoints on the inside. The interior trim looks archaic compared to the outside. Don’t get us wrong, the Santa Fe has good quality materials and also soft feel materials however the overall layout seems dated. Use of false wood on the lines of the dash detract from the luxury feel that one would expect from a car of this segment and price. The first generation Mahindra Scorpio’s interiors are more like the Hyundai Santa Fe’s.

What Hyundai India have done is given the Santa Fe an extensive equipment list. The driver-centric dash is back lit with a soft blue color. You get three circular dials inside a hooded binnacle. The steering wheel is a 4 spoke affair much like the one found on the Outlander. It has audio, Bluetooth and cruise controls on it. You get an aux and USB plug in facility for the 6 CD changer system. The multi information display shows distance to empty, average economy for the drive, two trip meters and some other information. Both the driver and front passenger seats are 6 way power adjustable with memory function. You have three row air conditioning with even the last row of passengers been catered for. Hell, they can even control the air flow with their own individual controls. You get sunroof, Keyless Entry with Security Alarm , all power goodies, climate control, plenty of 12V sockets, tire pressure monitor and even an outside temperature monitor.

Handling and ride quality

We will first concentrate on the ride quality as most of the owners looking out for a Santa Fe would be chauffer driven. The front seats are comfortable and the driver even has lumbar adjust to pamper him. So your chauffer and chaperone are well taken care of. Now its your turn and here the also you are the King and the Santa Fe as your steed, doesn’t disappoint. The seats, though not captain ones, have good bolstering and have loads of legroom. Actually there is so much legroom even for a 6 footer that you feel that it is been wasted. However the Hyundai designers could have done well to give the Santa Fe some more under thigh support.

The third row of seats disappoint outright for a seven seater. Your point of entrance to the third row is by flipping the middle seat of the second row. Probably an ungainly thing to do if you are surrounded by people. It would be proper to say that the third row would suit the vertically challenged. Any Michael Jones clone wouldn’t fit into them. We believe that shaving some of the middle row’s space could have worked wonders for the third row passengers.

The ride is quite comfy. No matter which ever row you choose though. It is like the Sonata sedan. No matter what speed you are running at, the suspension would pamper you. The rear suspension, like the Chevy Captiva, levels itself to adjust according to weight changes. The suspension by the way, is the multi-link one with anti-roll bars at the rear and McPherson at the front.

The handling is at par for SUVs of this class. More so than the rock and roll feel of the Toyota Fortuner and the Ford Endeavor. This SUV is calm and composed and does it job well even around corners. It has a 4 wheel drive system that detects wheel slippage and according adjusts its power delivery.

Engine,Performance and fuel efficiency

The Hyundai Santa Fe in India would come with only one engine option and that is the 2.2 litre CRDI motor pumping out 194 Bhp and about 44.4 Kgm of its peak torque from 1900 rpm. The 6 speed manual is a delight to operate, much like its small cousin, the i20. The steering wheel feels meaty to hold but probably a bit artificial around corners. Hyundai should have engineered some more feel into the steering wheel. The Santa Fe stays put on the highway even at three digit speeds.

The CRDI motor shows little or no turbo lag. It sprints from 0-100 in 9.3 seconds and top spees is about 191 kmph. Think of this, the SUV weighs in at a porky 1913 Kg.This is by far, the best times posted by a sub 30 lakhs SUV.

Feel that all this performance comes up at the expense of fuel economy, then you are mistaken. The Santa Fe delivers 11.8 kmpl in the city and an astonishing 18.6 Kmpl on the highway. This is possible due to its close ratios in the city driving and slightly tall gearing at the highway.

Braking is handled by disc brakes on all 4 wheels. They are aided by ABS, ESP, traction control and a host of other nannies. The brake pedal feel is also good. Safety is taken care by a segment first-10 airbags, SRS seat belts and so on. This is also compounded by the NCAP rating of 4 stars out of 5 for the Santa Fe in crash safety ratings.


The Hyundai SUV savior seems to have finally come. The competition either misses out on the Santa Fe’s interior trim or its bomb of an engine. Not to forget its 7 seater capacity as well as stellar fuel efficiency given its performance. The Santa Fe’s only grouse would be that it isn’t exactly a perfect handler and also its price tag. Since it is a CBU{like many others in its class}, the Santa Fe is priced from Rs 23 lakhs to Rs 25 lakhs for the 4*4 version.

Technical specifications of the Hyundai Santa Fe for India

  • 2199cc, CRDi Engine
  • Max Power: 197 Bhp at 3800 rpm
  • Max Torque: 44 Kgm @ 1900 rpm
  • Transmission: 6 Speed Manual
  • Brakes: Ventilated Disc at front and Solid Disc at the rear
  • Suspension:
    Front: Macpherson Struts
    Rear: Multi Link Type
  • Tyre Size: 235/60 R18 Tubeless
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 72 Litre
  • Length: 4670mm
  • Width: 1880mm
  • Height: 1770mm
  • Wheelbase: 2710mm
  • Ground Clearance: 201mm

3 thoughts on “Hyundai Santa Fe in India

  1. I never knew till the time I come across your blog that Hyundai’s SUV does exist in India. But anyways it wasn’t my dumbness, as this SUV was recently launched by Hyundai. Isn’t it?
    I don’t know that what you have written about the Hyundai not being famous for their SUV’s internationally is tue or not, but I’m sure that it’s definitely not famous in India.
    Yes actually it seems that Hyundai is trying to reconstruct their image in India market … (I just want to tell them they are not so bad)
    Anyways who cares till the time they offer us with the best of their models.
    I wish you will also enlighten us someday on which one is the better Hyundai Santa Fe, Ford Endeavor or Toyota Fortuner.

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