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Hyundai reveals new 7-seat Santa Fe SUV

Sometimes you drive two different grades in a model and get a totally different feel to its characteristics.

I did this recently with Hyundai’s latest generation all-wheel-drive 7-seat Santa Fe SUV. He drove the entry 2.4-litre 6-speed petrol Active at $43,000 and the 2.2-litre turbo diesel 8-speed auto Highlander at $60,500.

The two vehicles were like chalk and cheese. The petrol engine was disappointing in performance terms and lacking sparkle. The turbo-diesel was a gem, spritely with plenty of oomph when required, but somewhat noisy especially on idle.

Visually, the Sante Fe is very appealing – better in some colours – with an interior that is well planned and executed, especially on the leather-clad Highlander with exquisite detail.

The Hyundai quality is right up there with the best and drive comfort is also a high point, while all three rows offer good accommodation.

All-wheel-drive gives it a sure-footed feel and in last week’s rain on slippery surfaces, it felt really confident.

Hyundai have focused on style, safety and connectivity with this new Santa Fe and it’s got plenty of each.

As I said, the style reflects better depending on the colour.  But the safety elements include forward collision avoidance, blind spot collision avoidance, drive attention warning and lane keep assist – the latter I could well do without because it’s far too intrusive and tugs annoyingly at the wheel, fortunately it’s got a switch to turn it off.

This aside, the driving elements on the turbo-diesel automatic are simply impressive.

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