Used Hyundai Santa Fe Review (2013-2018) MK3

Independent review by Peter Hayward from Driving Force

4-minute read

Hyundai Santa Fe Exterior Front

Hyundai Santa Fe (2013-2018)

The Hyundai Santa Fe is a massively capable mid-sized SUV that offers a comfortable driving experience both on and off-road

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  • Comfortable ride
  • Generous level of equipment
  • Capable off-road
  • Strong rivals to compete with
  • Limited engine choice
  • Body leans around corners
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What's the Hyundai Santa Fe like?

The Korean carmaker is really getting things right these days and the quality of its cars is almost up with the Europeans and Japanese.

The Hyundai Santa Fe is one of the best cars in the line-up. It comes at a good price new, which makes it cheaper than most contemporaries used, and it's capable both on and off-road.

Off-road, the 4x4 versions – which is most of them - are surprisingly unstoppable, and will almost always get you where you want to go, whatever the weather.

That said, they don’t have the ground clearance of a Land Rover Defender – but then – few other SUV’s do.

They're big machines, but aren't intimidating. The 2013 incarnation is great looking from every angle and comes with five or seven seats.


There's only one engine option available, a 2.2-litre turbo diesel producing a very good 195bhp.

This drives the front or all four wheels through either a smooth changing 6-speed manual gearbox, or an even smoother 6-speed automatic.

The power unit has more than enough power and torque for the weight, giving a 0 to 60mph acceleration time of 9.8 seconds in the four-wheel drive version with automatic gearbox.

The manual is a little quicker and a little more economical too, giving a best of 47mpg in the old government figures.

That equates to about 37 to 40mpg when driving in the real world, which still isn't bad for such a large vehicle.

Driving Experience and Practicality

Comfort is generally very good, soaking up the worst of roads in its stride, and a high seating position – something most buyers love – gives a very good view all round.
Peter Hayward

There isn’t much in the way of wind, road or tyre noise and Hyundai has done a lot of work to improve this refinement, leaving it smooth, quiet, and relaxed.

Through corners, it holds the road well thanks to the four-wheel drive system, which cuts in only when the front wheels begin to lose traction.

There’s quite a lot of body lean through quicker corners of course, and although the steering is light and lacks feedback, it's fairly direct.

The third row seats aren’t as difficult to get into as in other large SUVs because the middle row slides forwards to allow adjustable legroom.


There's enough equipment to keep most drivers happy even in the lower order cars, and the interior materials are good enough quality to last the course.

All come with a large array of safety gear, including an Active Hood System that reduces the impact on a pedestrian in a collision, and a Trailer Stability Assist system for those who regularly tow.

Incidentally, the towing weights for manual and automatic are different. The manual models have a maximum braked trailer weight of 2500kg, while with the auto this reduces to 2000kg.

Other safety gear includes stability control, brake assist, emergency stop signal and a driver’s knee airbag. It also comes with a hill descent system, hill start assist, and seven airbags.

Other equipment in mid-range Premium guise includes alloy wheels, audio remote control, sat nav, a full-size spare wheel, parking sensors, and leather seats.

It also has traction control, electric driver’s seat, heated seats, cruise control, and roof rails.

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With up to seven seats and decent off-road capabilities, the Hyundai Santa Fe is a robust and dependable option. Generous equipment makes driving an easy task, and there's enough space for the whole family inside, making the Hyundai Santa Fe a practical used car buy for a range of lifestyles.