Rear view of the Hyundai Santa Fe Plug-in Hybrid in a field

Hyundai Santa Fe Plug-in Hybrid — The Green Lane

Culture /


'Cheap and very cheerful'

This post may contain affiliate links. Learn more

Motoring editor Jeremy Taylor and sustainable fashion expert Jessica Saunders drive the Swiss Army knife of cars, the Hyundai Santa Fe Plug-in Hybrid 

Visit the C&TH Cars Hub

The Green Lane: Hyundai Review

The Hyundai Santa Fe Plug-in Hybrid is parked on a lay by with trees around it

The Hyundai Santa Fe Plug-in Hybrid. Image courtesy of Hyundai

JS – Not another SUV?

JT – Afraid so! Hyundai has always been a bargain brand but the Santa Fe does look especially good on paper. It’s priced to undercut popular, mid-siz SUVs such as the Land Rover Discovery Sport and also larger rivals, like the Volvo XC90 and Audi Q7.

Okay but it’s not exactly a looker is it? I mean, I’m all for value-for-money but what would make badge snobs choose this car, even if we are in the middle of a cost of living crisis?

I think you’ve just answered your own question – families who need a sound, reliable people-mover without a hefty price tag will find the Hyundai package mighty appealing. This is the Korean’s company’s flagship UK model and with plug-in adaptability, it also offers company car drivers a decent tax break.

Front view of the Hyundai Santa Fe Plug-in Hybrid, with a woodland scene in the background

The Hyundai Santa Fe Plug-in Hybrid. Image courtesy of Hyundai

The cabin is far swankier that I imagined it would be. Tons of storage, nice leather and trim, plus a big boot that also houses a third row of seats. I like the fact the middle row slides backwards and forwards, depending on where passengers need the extra legroom.

Well, I did say the Santa Fe is the multi-purpose Hyundai. Seven seats, four-wheel drive and plug-in hybrid technology returning 36 miles of battery-only driving – just enough for a city commute.

The Hyundai is certainly huge and while it lacks the kudos of a Land Rover, the smooth ride and practicality is very appealing.

The Hyundai Santa Fe Plug-in Hybrid is parked on a layby

The Hyundai Santa Fe Plug-in Hybrid. Image courtesy of Hyundai

Yes, and just look at the price. It starts at around £41,000, although our much sought-after plug-in hybrid is just under £50,000. Hyundai has no reliability issues and the five-year, unlimited mileage warranty package is first class.

Our car had a 1.6-litre petrol engine and a small, 13.8kWh battery pack for charging at home. Is there a bigger engine? I found the engine a bit ‘shouty’ under hard acceleration. I guess a big, heavy SUV and a relatively small engine means there has to be a few compromises.

Honda

No other engine, unless you fancy an out of fashion diesel? If you want another budget buy, consider the Peugeot 5008, although I’m a big fan of the Kia Sorento.

Cheap and very cheerful with lots of standard kit that would cost an arm and a leg elsewhere, then?

Indeed, just get over the innocuous badge and the Hyundai will serve you well.

Jessica Saunders is Director of Programmes at London College of Fashion, studying for a PhD in sustainable e-textile design.