We spent good 100 Km driving the 2014 Santa Fe SUV new model for India at a media drive event in Kochi, Kerela. We drove the car in city, highways as well as mountains and curvy forest areas in Kochi to get a comprehensive experience of the car.
In this article, we bring you 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Review and a test drive video is also embedded in the section below. We will talk about the exterior styling, and then we will talk about interiors and features. We will also talk about the engine performance, fuel economy or mileage, ride and handling of the new Santa Fe 2014 fluidic model for India.
Starting with the front of the new 2014 Santa Fe fluidic SUV, you can notice the pronounced and signature fluidic language which we see on all new Hyundai cars including the Verna, Elantra, Xcent etc.
The headlamps have high intensify discharge or HID projector lamps with daytime running LED lamps. These HID lamps also come with washer. The cluster has been nicely designed and also contains the turn indicators. The front grille is loaded with chrome and looks premium. The fog lamp housing is sharp and brings interesting feature where the fog lamps steer the light when you steer the car. It ensures safe driving in the dark at corners. There is large airdam below the grille and a dual colour chin finish.
There is a black coloured body cladding which runs across the car at the bottom and gives it a really sporty look. The side profile gets pronounced wheel arches which are further highlighted by the black cladding around it. Moving a bit further on the side, you get outside mirrors (ORVMs) with turn indicators. The ORVMs are electrically adjustable as well as power foldable. There is use of chrome lining around the glass windows on the side and also two body- lines running around the side which gives it a dynamic look. From the side you can also notice side sweeping headlamps as well as tail lamps. The tail lamp cluster is also nicely designed, it’s a sleek combination cluster.
Moving to the rear, you see silver finished body cladding at the bottom with twin tip exhaust finished in chrome. The tail lamp cluster converges towards the centre as reaches the license plate area. Also there are low mounted fog lamps at rear; these are not mere reflectors, but lamps. The windshield is curved as it moved up to merge with the spoiler provided at the rear which also houses a high mounted stop lamp for higher safety. The windshield has washer, wiper and defogger.
There are sleek body hugging roof rails on the top adding to the sporty aesthetic appeal of the car. There is a small micro antenna mounted towards the rear of the car on the roof.
Interiors and Features
On the interiors, let’s start from the front row of seats and then we will talk about the two rear rows. The front row seats are 12 way eclectically adjustable with height adjust, under thigh support adjust and lumbar support to name a few. Also they use perforated high quality leather for high comfort in hot weather. There are no ventilated seats which could have been a really welcome addition.
The seats are very comfortable bucket seats and offer fatigue free driving experience. The steering wheel comes with tilt adjust and helps get a further relaxed driving position as per driver’s need. It gets a smart looking digital + analogue instrument cluster with coloured driver information system between the two dials. There are controls on the steering wheel to change the information it shows the driver. It allows watching real time mileage, distance to empty and other vital information. There are two more digital dials which show which mode you are driving the car in. You also get phone controls, audio controls and cruise controls mounted on the steering wheel itself.
The central console comes with a touch screen entertainment system which connects to your phone over Bluetooth. It plays music, makes calls using your phone over Bluetooth, and also accepts CDs, USB media and Aux input. Below the console you get dual zone climate control for driver and passenger. The dials are finished nicely. Below the dials you get not one, but two 12 volt power sockets. There is also one at the middle row and one at the last row, which is really useful. Also the USB and Aux-input is provided there only. Just behind the gear knob, you get leather finished arm-rest with storage space also you get cup holders next to the gear knob. There are many storage spaces on front row, also the sun visors on the front get mirrors with lights.
There is a cooled glove-box which is fairly large to keep your drinks and beverages cool on hot summer days. The dashboard is finished in dual time with some wood finish inserts in between to give it a premium look. The door trims are finished in leather and look really upmarket. There are large map pockets in all 4 doors and you can keep a full size water bottle in each of these doors. The inside door handles are finished in silver colour.
Talking of the rear seat, there is ample space for 3 in the middle row but its best for 2 occupants for comfort. The middle seat has a foldable arm-rest which has retractable cup holders. The seats are comfortable and with the front seat at its maximum rear position, there is still good leg room for passengers in middle row. There are two AC vents provided on the rear seats mounted on the B pillars.
Talking of the 3rd row, there are two seats with not-so-lavish leg space, but good for children or occasional commute of two adults. The seats in the third row also get their own AC vent and are flat folding. It frees up oodles of luggage space with the third row of seats folded.
Specifications, engine and performance
The new 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe SUV comes with a powerful 2.2 Litre CRDI diesel engine which produces impressive torque of around 420 Nm which gives it the much required punch. The engine seems to work well and the car feels very agile besides being fairly large.
On transmission, you get either a 6 speed manual or 6 speeds automatic which offers manual control for the enthusiast drivers who want manual control of the transmission. We drove only the AT version and found it to be very peppy and agile and there is no noticeable turbo lag.
In terms of mileage, Hyundai claims around 13 KMPL for AT and 14 KMPL for the automatic. During our test the display showed us around 10L/100Km mileage which is approx. 10 KMPL. This was with AC on all the time and 3 occupants. We drove pretty aggressively, so if it delivers 10 KMPL in real world, it’s really good. There is an Eco Drive mode which mellows down the power delivery to some extent and changes gear shift pattern for better fuel economy just in case you like it that way.
[box type=”info” ]Also check out- 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Price List and Features[/box]
Ride, handling and off-road performance
When it comes to ride and handling, I will start with one of the most impressive parts of the car, which is flexi-steer technology which Hyundai has introduced in 2014 new Santa Fe SUV. The flex steering allows you to change the steering feedback (weight of steering) in 3 preset modes- Comfort, Normal and Sport. You can choose the feel f the steering by the press of a button on steering wheel and I am sure enthusiastic drivers will appreciate this control. In city, you can keep comfort mode on and on high speed drives on highways, you can switch to Normal or Sport mode. Please note that these modes do not alter the suspension behaviour unlike some high end sports cars.
Coming to the handling part, it steers with confidence, the on-demand 4 wheel drive helps to gain good traction on road and save on fuel when it’s not needed. There is a switch provided for permanent 4 Wheel drive model which can be useful for off-roading.
We tried the car on smooth tarmac, bad and rough roads and also some off-road situations like on small rocks and steep inclines with gravel, it did hold pretty well. Also there is hill hold function both for upwards and downwards slopes which prevents the car from rolling up or down when you are launching on a slope or going steep downhill.
For safety there are 6 airbags, ABS, ESP and VSM programs to keep the Santa Fe SUV sticking to road with superb traction all the time.
Uploading, review coming soon on our video channel.
Car Blog India verdict- 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Review
We would like to wrap up our review saying that 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe SUV has got all it takes to be a good SUV. It got space, features, driving dynamics, power, comfort and impressive fuel economy too. However, it will be challenge for Hyundai to compete with rivals as the price segment (Rs. 26 Lakh – Rs. 30 Lakh, ex-showroom Delhi) of the 2014 Santa Fe overlaps many other popular cars like Audi A3, Honda CR-V to name a few.
What we like?
- Attractive exteriors
- Lots of interior space
- Ride and handling
- Power and performance
- Features like flex-steering
- Loaded with safety and comfort features
- High quality of materials used on the car
What could be better?
- Navigation system not in-built
- 3rd row not comfortable for long commutes
We have little to complain here, so we give it thumbs up. Do test drive the Santa Fe if you are planning an SUV in this price segment.
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