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Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid 1.6 Turbo 7-Seater Sunroof
REVIEW
Facelift - Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid 1.6 Turbo 7-Seater Sunroof (A) -by SgCarMart

The Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid is a seven-seater SUV that proves to be an excellent family hauler.

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Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid 1.6 Turbo 7-Seater Sunroof
REVIEW

Facelift - Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid 1.6 Turbo 7-Seater Sunroof (A) -by SgCarMart

The Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid is a seven-seater SUV that proves to be an excellent family hauler.

Julian Kho

Clock icon 5min read time

Getting a seven-seater SUV only makes sense when your family has grown out of the regular five seats. And if you fall into that category, firstly, congratulations on the growth of your family size. Secondly, you've got more seven-seater SUV options to choose now.

Que the refreshed Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid.

Hyundai SANTA FE Hybrid rear
Updates on the refreshed Hyundai make it look appealing from all angles

So what about the Hyundai?

Unlike the Tucson and Avante design language, where sharp lines form triangular shapes at the side of the car, the seven-seater SUV has a simpler sheet metal by the sides.

It is, however, the front fascia that appears more pronounced. There's a refreshed, wide gaping grille that dominates the front, with apparent T-shaped daytime running lights, as well as separated LED head lights below them. There's also a new bumper design here. It's a lot to take in, but it certainly isn't unpleasant.

Hyundai SANTA FE Hybrid front grille
Pronounced grille and tweaked lightings enhance the Santa Fe Hybrid's appeal
Hyundai SANTA FE Hybrid front grille
Hyundai SANTA FE Hybrid tires
Hyundai SANTA FE Hybrid rear emblem

Does it drive as well as it looks?

Thankfully, the Santa Fe Hybrid test car that you see here goes far beyond just a unique and bold face. Sporting the same 1.6-litre turbocharged powerplant as the Tucson Hybrid, the car here manages to jostle from nought to hundred in a respectable 8.9 seconds. This is achieved despite its kerb weight of close to 1.8 tonnes - some 300kg more than the smaller Tucson brethren.

More than just the century sprint figure, which is often irrelevant when it comes to a seven-seater family hauler like the Santa Fe Hybrid, our test car handles very tidily. Yes, there is inevitable roll around tighter bends, but it consistently moves around in a controlled, comfortable and calm fashion.

Hyundai SANTA FE Hybrid side view
The refreshed SUV moves with great finesse
Hyundai SANTA FE Hybrid parked
Hyundai SANTA FE Hybrid parked

As a result, it's a very compelling car that prioritises on-road manners.

Also compelling is its fuel economy. Like the Tucson that we tested, this is possible because of the car's ability to cruise in pure EV mode ever so often. And while it's a tad more obtrusive and coarser when the combustion engine kicks in, it's never to the point of being disruptive.

Hyundai SANTA FE Hybrid engine
1.6-litre turbocharged engine produces a combined output of 227bhp and 265Nm of torque

Peaceful easy cabin

Just as undisruptive is the peaceful, easy cabin. It feels and looks swankier than most in its class, with the entire dashboard wrapping around you as you take the pilot's seat. Elsewhere, you get a visually appealing touchscreen infotainment that comes with the usual wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto display taking centre stage, as well as a crisp and clear fully digital instrument panel.

Hyundai SANTA FE Hybrid infotainment display
Hyundai SANTA FE Hybrid infotainment display music
Hyundai SANTA FE Hybrid infotainment display menu
Hyundai SANTA FE Hybrid infotainment display interior temperatures
Hyundai SANTA FE Hybrid infotainment display car status

There are, however, a myriad of physical buttons available in the car. Unlike current less-is-more approach by many carmakers, the Santa Fe Hybrid has physical buttons and knobs for the air-con, driving modes, ventilation seats, parking cameras, etc. Even the usual gear lever has been replace with electronic push-button shifter, which cleverly helps to make room for more storage underneath.

Hyundai SANTA FE Hybrid interior cabin
Cabin is an airy and swanky place to be in
Hyundai SANTA FE Hybrid interior driver dashboard
Hyundai SANTA FE Hybrid driver steering wheel button controls
Hyundai SANTA FE Hybrid paddle shifter
Hyundai SANTA FE Hybrid side console buttons
Hyundai SANTA FE Hybrid side console
Hyundai SANTA FE Hybrid driver assist buttons
Hyundai SANTA FE Hybrid driver pedals
Hyundai SANTA FE Hybrid climate control buttons
Hyundai SANTA FE Hybrid central controls
Hyundai SANTA FE Hybrid shift-by-wire buttons
Hyundai SANTA FE Hybrid driver mode controls
Hyundai SANTA FE Hybrid seat ventilation controls
Hyundai SANTA FE Hybrid wireless charging port
Hyundai SANTA FE Hybrid wireless charging port
Hyundai SANTA FE Hybrid seat adjustment controls
Hyundai SANTA FE Hybrid backrest adjustment buttons

Speaking of clever, the refreshed Hyundai has a nice touch to its wireless phone charger, which lets you slot your phone vertically to prevent it from sliding around while driving.

Hyundai SANTA FE Hybrid front seats
Hyundai SANTA FE Hybrid 2nd row rear seats
Hyundai SANTA FE Hybrid 3rd row rear seats
Hyundai SANTA FE Hybrid 2nd row rear seat usb ports and air-conditioning
Hyundai SANTA FE Hybrid 3rd row rear seat usb port and air-conditioning
Hyundai SANTA FE Hybrid sunroof

Space wise, all seven occupants will have no issues getting comfortable. Ample head and legroom are available, and air -con vents are available in all three rows. You also get slightly over 780 litres of boot space in five-seater configuration and a lesser 130 litres with all seats in place.

Hyundai SANTA FE Hybrid boot
130 litres
Hyundai SANTA FE Hybrid 3rd row seats folded boot space
780 litres

Compelling, it is

In all, the Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid is a compelling car that won't have any problems giving its peers a run for their money.

Nonetheless, as an easy-going SUV that scores high on space, functionality and style, you'll inevitably be getting a lot of car for the price that you're forking out.

Hyundai SANTA FE Hybrid driver supervision display
Car comes with ample useful safety features
Hyundai SANTA FE Hybrid driver display
Hyundai SANTA FE Hybrid heads up display
Hyundai SANTA FE Hybrid driver display electric mode
Hyundai SANTA FE Hybrid driver display idle mode
Hyundai SANTA FE Hybrid smart mode

Photos by Low Fai Ming

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