IF you need proof of just how far Hyundai has come since its days of questionable reliability and dodgy styling, you only need to take a look at the 2019 Santa Fe.
With its gaping front grille, sleek lights, curvaceous character line and enormous alloy wheels, it somehow manages to blend French sophistication (maybe it’s that DS-style front end) with the upmarket feel of the German giants.
Inside houses more gizmos than a teenager’s bedroom, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto beamed on to a crisp eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system, optional booming KRELL premium sound system and the added luxury of heated everything when you tick the correct options boxes.
Step inside the mid-range Premium models, which start at £36,425, and you’d be forgiven for thinking you were in a range-topping variant of any rival model, such as the Skoda Kodiaq or Land Rover Discovery Sport.
It comes decked out in faux leather and has every electronically assisted gadget you could dream of.
Unfortunately, customers are limited to just one 200hp 2.2-litre diesel engine for now (plus the option of 2WD or 4WD) but it is smooth enough and there is plenty of poke under the bonnet to get this big bus shifting.
But there is no hint of sportiness to the drive, which is strangely refreshing in this day and age, with the Santa Fe prioritising comfort over any kind of performance.
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That is probably a good thing too, because the “one touch access” third row of seats is so easy to get to, you will probably want to load it up with little ones on a regular basis. And we all know what happens when you mix kids with extreme cornering forces.
The days of bargain basement Hyundai prices might be long gone, but £33,425 for an entry-level Santa Fe feels very fair to me.
It is a lot of car for the money and with a five-year unlimited mileage warranty, one that has confidently shaken off its old reputation.
HYUNDAI SANTA FE 2.2 CRDi
Engine: 2.2-litre diesel
0-62mph: 9.4 seconds
Top speed: 125mph
Power: 197bhp, 440Nm