Launched in the early 2000’s, the original variant of the Hyundai Santa Fe’ proved to be a superbly popular seven-seater over the last few years. Designed to be a heavy-duty family carrier (a combination of style and strength), the Santa Fe’ now finds itself in an extremely competitive market segment. Hyundai the Glen, showcasing this magnificent vehicle with pride, is my go-to Dealership for this brand.

New Car Sales Manager, Mandy Kleinhans, brings many years’ experience and knowledge to the table as she introduces me to the Hyundai brand which she passionately serves. She graciously shares her experience and product knowledge with me, and I note that she has a particularly good understanding of the motoring industry as a whole, and the specific niche which Hyundai caters for. Under the capable leadership of a humble and disciplined Dealer Principal, Sean Simpson, Mandy feels that team spirit, dedication to client satisfaction and being firmly committed to presenting vehicles of high quality to the local market, have been ingrained in each of the individuals serving the public at the Dealership.

The team at Hyundai the Glen (including the likes of Lunga Kashe and Bongani Skosana), are now familiar with all my questions and take the time to share their product knowledge and enthusiasm with me, noting that the Santa Fe has been a popular choice amongst clients for many years. With it’s strong and bold good looks, it’s easy to see why the Santa Fe makes such a statement: it has been beautifully designed and gives off a sense of powerful and capable strength, whilst it’s fluid lines hint at the comfort and luxury that it provides.

The interior is luxurious and extremely roomy; I love the sense of space and with great visibility all round, the sense of being encapsulated in comfort whilst still being able to connect with the outside environment (a panoramic sun roof most certainly adds to the flair and excitement in this way). Having been designed to improve the driving experience, the Santa Fe’s front seats are very supportive and feel great. Head- and leg-room is ample in the front and the first two rows. The third row is a bit tight (as third rows in seven seaters are prone to be) but in terms of boot space, the third row flips down in a 40:20:40 split that maximises the luggage compartment to the optimal level. This kind of practicality is what sums up the Santa Fe, together with a smart feature that allows the tailgate to automatically flip open on it’s own if you approach with full hands and the key in your pocket – a feature I really like.

Boasting a 5-star Eunco Ncap rating, the Santa Fe is set up with a host of passive and active features for the sole purpose of keeping your family safe. With such electronic programmes as smart Cruise Control which automatically maintains a safe following distance from the car in front of you, Blind Spot Detection and Vehicle Stability Management (to name but a few for the sake of being concise) ensure that all four wheels remain grounded at all times, across various terrains. The team at Hyundai the Glen note that the brand prides itself on designing cars that seek to maintain your peace of mind, and the Santa Fe does this extremely well.

Take-off in the Santa Fe is on par with other big SUV’s in its class – there is a powerful 2.2 litre engine that drives it forward, and although there is slight lag here and there, the designer’s mission was to create a smooth and comfortable driving experience, and in this regard, the car performs relatively well. The cabin is really quiet, and I feel exceptionally well isolated from bumps and road inconsistencies. With a great cornering and handling experience (add Traction Control as a superb feature), the Santa Fe was a pleasure to drive in stop-start traffic, as well as on the freeway.

On home turf at the dealership, I am quite saddened to hear that the Santa Fe is being discontinued for production in the near future. As far as big family SUV’s go, the Santa Fe to my mind is one of the best; backed up by incredible service plans and a well-run workshop, this beautiful vehicle is for sure to be a great asset to your family. Despite the news, I am told to anticipate great things on the horizon for Hyundai as a brand, and – with the support of the superb team at Hyundai the Glen – I am looking forward to an exiting year ahead.

By Desh Bechan