Hyundai Santa Fe 1.6 TGDi PHEV Calligraphy 5dr 4WD Auto 6 Seats

  • Automatic
  • Petrol Parallel PHEV
  • 5 door suv
  • 38 g/km CO2
  • 9.3 secs 0 to 62 mph
  • 253 bhp Engine power

Ten Second Review

Hyundai has radically reimagined its largest SUV, the Santa Fe. The looks are divisive but you can't argue with the improvements in space and practicality. And if you're having second thoughts about that family EV, you'll appreciate the frugal Hybrid engines. It's a decent step forward.


How does a car maker progress in such a short time from design that's mundanely derivative to a continual stream of stylistically cutting-edge models? That's exactly what Hyundai has done. You might not like everything the brand does these days, but every new model it makes demands a second look, including this one, the fifth generation Santa Fe family SUV. In its lifetime over nearly a quarter of a century, the Santa Fe model line has progressed from budget brand 'Qashqai'-class SUV to something altogether far bigger and grander, equipped in more recent generations with seven seats. This latest 'MX5'-series version has higher aspirations still, up towards the premium brands, substituting their badge equity for an arresting boxy, futuristic look that will certainly turn heads on the school run. But is there substance to match the style being offered here? Let's take a closer look.

Driving Experience

It might be all change from a design point of view but what lies beneath the bonnet here is resolutely familiar. There's no EV powertrain; just a couple of 1.6-litre Smartstream T-GDi Hybrid engines, one of them a Plug-in. Also carried over from the previous model is the mandatory 6-speed auto gearbox. The self-charging HEV Hybrid with 215PS is offered with either 2WD or 4WD options and makes 62mph in just under 10s en route to 112mph, which is not bad given the bluff shape and the fact that the four cylinder unit is required to move over 2.2-tonnes of Korean real estate. The alternative Plug-in Hybrid variant is 4WD-only and performs very similarly, though has 253PS. Where fitted, the 4WD system is Hyundai's 'HTRAC' set-up, which apportions torque in varying quantities between the axles depending on the traction available, at the same time as braking individual wheels in search of better grip. The 4WD system incorporates three bespoke 'Terrain' drive modes which you select from a provided dial - 'Snow', 'Mud' and 'Sand'. But there's not really enough ride height to venture anywhere too gnarly, so the 'Terrain' side of the drive mode dial will probably remain largely unused. More everyday useful settings come when a push of the same dial clicks you in to three separate tarmac 'Drive' modes that alter steering feel, throttle response and gear change timings. Most of the time, you'll leave the car in the 'Smart' setting, basically an auto mode that sorts everything out for you. There's also an 'Eco' mode. And a 'Sport' setting for when you want to push on, though you won't want to do that terribly often in this kind of high-sided SUV. Obviously an SUV of this size and weight isn't going to take kindly to being thrown around, but it's certainly in its element on the motorway - where all kinds of driver assist features come into play. These include a 'Smart Cruise Control 2' system that can maintain a set speed while providing steering assistance on curved sections of highway.

Design and Build

Hyundai's Chief Designer SangYup Lee clearly wanted a complete departure from the previous generation model, which had a conservative visual vibe the brand has now abandoned. The squarical, rugged practical look of its replacement certainly won't be to everyone's taste, but it's a look that is very much 'in', a trend started by the current Land Rover Defender. There are further shades of that car with the panel on this Santa Fe's upper flank behind the rear door, which here pops open as a grab handle so you can reach things on the roof rack. The squared-off edges make the car appear even bigger than its 4.8m length suggests and it rides on large wheels of 20-inches in size. Inside, it's the usual screen fest, with gently curved joined 12.3-inch displays for the infotainment and instruments, plus a further 6.6-inch climate control screen with physical dials. It's all very avant-garde and there's some nice metal-effect trimming and plenty of storage space, including a deep central cubby. The second row is spacious (legroom is improved by 35mm), with a sliding bench too; and there are plenty of cupholders and USB ports to go round. As is also the case with the third row, where that boxy shape means more headroom than is usually the case with an SUV of this class - 69mm more of it than before. Legroom at the very back is still more suited to those of school age though, despite a 15mm improvement this time round. The seating height is up by 30mm, so there's a better view forwards; and the third row backrest can recline by 10-degrees. As an option, Hyundai's offering a six-seat cabin format with top-spec trim. The square shape obviously helps boot space too: there's even a reasonable amount with the third seating row in place. And Hyundai's particularly proud of the fact that the boot opening is exceptionally wide. There's 985-litres of space with the third seating row folded and 1,949-litres with the second row folded too.

Market and Model

Expect prices to start from around £47,000 - which gets you an awful lot more metal for your money then you would be given with a similarly priced mid-sized EV. The PHEV version will cost about £5,000 more. There are three trim levels, 'Premium', 'Ultimate' and 'Caligraphy'. Of course with all variants, Hyundai loads in plenty of kit. Even 'Premium'-spec gets you 20-inch alloy wheels, electrically operated and folding door mirrors, privacy glass, front and rear LED lighting, a Smart Power Tailgate and roof rails. Cabin features including a dual curved 12.3-inch display set-up, integrating the cluster and infotainment which incorporates Touchscreen Satellite Navigation and a Media Centre with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Mid-range 'Ultimate' trim introduces the BOSE Premium Sound System, plus there's a Dual Glass Sunroof, an electrically adjustable Steering Column and Driver's memory seat function, heated and ventilated front and heated rear seats, dual wireless phone charging, a Digital Centre Mirror, a Head Up Display. Drive tech includes Hyundai's semi-autonomous 'Highway Drive Assist 2' set-up, plus Remote Smart Park Assist, a Blind Spot View Monitor and a Surround View Monitor. At the top of the line-up is 'Calligraphy' trim. That gets you 20-inch black alloy wheels, Premium Relaxation front seats and Nappa Leather seat trim, as well as black finish styling elements. At this level in the range, the cabin can be ordered with an optional six-seat configuration for £1,000 more.

Cost of Ownership

The HEV self-charging unit fitted to the Hybrid petrol model Hyundai expects most Santa Fe customers to choose can run independently on battery power, though not for very long. Still, expect around 40mpg and 160g/km, which isn't bad for an SUV of this size. But not quite as good of course, as the returns you'll get if you stump up the considerable amount extra that Hyundai wants for the Plug-in Hybrid version of this model. Whatever Santa Fe drivetrain and powerplant you choose, to help you get somewhere close to the quoted fuel figures, you'll need to keep this Hyundai as regularly as possible to its 'Eco' drive mode, which slightly restricts throttle travel and climate system output. What else might you need to know? As ever with Hyundai, a strong buying incentive is the five year unlimited mileage warranty that comes as standard. It's backed up by breakdown cover that last the same length of time and free annual vehicle health checks over this duration. True, rival brand Kia claims to better this package by offering a similar seven year deal, but there, you're limited to 100,000 miles. As for servicing, well your Santa Fe will need a garage visit once a year or every 10,000 miles, whichever comes sooner. If you want to budget ahead for routine maintenance, there are various 'Hyundai Sense' packages that offer fixed-price servicing over two, three or five-year periods. You can pay for your plan monthly and add MoTs into the three or five year plans for an extra fee.


This fifth generation Santa Fe isn't actually quite as revolutionary as its futuristic styling suggests, but it's still a big step forward from its forgettable predecessor. Not everyone's going to like the radically changed look but at least it will now be difficult for prospective segment customers to ignore it. If you like the visual statement this car makes, you'll really like it - which is not something you could have said about any of this model's predecessors. It manages to be a lot more practical this time round too; there's apparently a trend in South Korea for campers to sleep in their cars rather than in a tent and you almost could in this one. So it's an adventurous SUV, a family wagon and a school run statement, all rolled into one. And it will attract a whole new breed of buyer who previously would never have considered a Santa Fe.

  • Dual wireless phone charging pad
  • Emergency services call system
  • Smart electric tailgate with hand's free opening function
  • 12.3" Touchscreen display with satellite navigation
  • Premium BOSE sound system with 12 speakers and subwoofer
  • Black Styling (Skid plate, door side garnish, wheel arch cladding, rear bumper moulding)
  • Body colour bumpers
  • Hidden C pillar assist handle
  • Rear side wing doors
  • Roof rails
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Height and reach electrically adjustable steering column
  • Nappa leather upholstery
  • UV-C Tray
  • 3 point seatbelts on all seats
  • Digital key
  • Manual child lock in rear doors
  • Smart Key - Keyless entry with Power On/Off button
  • Battery Capacity % guaranteed under warranty: 70
  • Battery Capacity in kWh: 13.8
  • Battery Charging Scenario 1 - Charge Time (Mins): 210
  • Battery Charging Scenario 1 - Percentage Change: 0-100
  • Battery Charging Scenario 1 - Power Supply - kW: 7
  • Battery Charging Scenario 2 - Charge Time (Mins): N
  • Battery Charging Scenario 2 - Percentage Change: N
  • Battery Charging Scenario 2 - Power Supply - kW: N
  • Battery Charging Scenario 3 - Charge Time (Mins): N
  • Battery Charging Scenario 3 - Percentage Change: N
  • Battery Charging Scenario 3 - Power Supply - kW: N
  • Battery Charging Scenario 4 - Charge Time (Mins): N
  • Battery Charging Scenario 4 - Percentage Change: N
  • Battery Charging Scenario 4 - Power Supply - kW: N
  • Battery Leased: False
  • Battery Type: Lithium-ion
  • Charging Port Location: Right Side Rear
  • Coupler/Connector Type: Type 2
  • Maximum Charging Rate - kW: 7
  • Standard manufacturers Battery warranty - Mileage: 125000
  • Standard manufacturers Battery warranty - Years: 8
  • WLTP - Equivalent AER (km) - Comb: 54
  • WLTP - Equivalent AER (miles) - Comb: 34
  • HC+NOx: N
  • Particles: N
  • Standard Euro Emissions: EURO 6
  • WLTP - CO2 Weighted (g/km) - Comb: 38
  • Camshaft: DOHC
  • Catalytic Convertor: True
  • CC: 1598
  • Compression Ratio: 10.5:1
  • Cylinder Layout: IN-LINE
  • Cylinders: 4
  • Cylinders - Bore (mm): 75.6
  • Cylinders - Stroke (mm): 89
  • Engine Layout: FRONT TRANSVERSE
  • Gears: 6 SPEED
  • Number of Valves: 16
  • Transmission: SEMI-AUTO
  • EC Directive 1999/100/EC Applies: False
  • WLTP - FC Weighted (l/100km) - Comb: 1.7
  • WLTP - FC Weighted (mpg) - Comb: 166
  • Alternative Fuel Qualifying: True
  • Badge Engine CC: 1.6
  • Badge Power: 253
  • Based On ID: N
  • Coin Description: TGDi Plug-in Hybrid
  • Coin Series: Calligraphy
  • Generation Mark: 5
  • Insurance Group 1 - 50 Effective January 07: 36P
  • Safety Concerns: False
  • Special Edition: False
  • Special Order: False
  • Standard manufacturers warranty - Mileage: 999999
  • Standard manufacturers warranty - Years: 5
  • Vehicle Homologation Class: M1
  • 0 to 62 mph (secs): 9.3
  • Engine Power - BHP: 253
  • Engine Power - KW: 186
  • Engine Power - PS: True
  • Engine Power - RPM: 5500
  • Engine Torque - LBS.FT: 271
  • Engine Torque - MKG: 37.4
  • Engine Torque - NM: 367
  • Engine Torque - RPM: 1500
  • Top Speed: 112
  • Emissions Test Cycle: WLTP
  • RDE Certification Level: RDE 2
  • Alloys: True
  • Space Saver: False
  • Tyre Size Front: 255/45 R20
  • Tyre Size Rear: 255/45 R20
  • Tyre Size Spare: TYRE REPAIR KIT
  • Wheel Type: 20" ALLOY
  • Height (including roof rails): 1770
  • Length: 4830
  • Wheelbase: 2815
  • Width (including mirrors): 1900
  • Fuel Tank Capacity (Litres): 47
  • Gross Vehicle Weight: 2740
  • Luggage Capacity (Seats Down): 1949
  • Luggage Capacity (Seats Up): 985
  • Max. Loading Weight: 650
  • Max. Roof Load: 100
  • Max. Towing Weight - Braked: 1110
  • Max. Towing Weight - Unbraked: 750
  • Minimum Kerbweight: 2090
  • No. of Seats: 6
  • Turning Circle - Kerb to Kerb: 11.6