2024 Hyundai Santa Fe review

Andrea Matthews

Posted June 18, 2024

The 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe large SUV has been reinvented from the ground up, and features a striking new exterior design, more room to move, and a frugal hybrid engine.

The original Hyundai Santa Fe was one of the first large SUVs to arrive in Australia, contributing to the shift away from passenger cars such as sedans and hatches, and helping to underpin the success of the Hyundai brand locally.

The new 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe is once again a game changing vehicle that meets the needs of modern families who want an all-purpose SUV to house up to seven in style, while sipping fuel conservatively in as little as 5.6L/100km (ADR Combined). 

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The new Hyundai Santa Fe Elite

The 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe features a bold exterior design that promises to stand out on the road. Image: Supplied.


How much does the Hyundai Santa Fe cost?

The 2025 Hyundai Santa Fe is on sale now in Australia priced between $55,500 and $75,500 plus on-road costs.

The range launches with its most frugal, premium hybrid powertrain, a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine paired with a six-speed automatic transmission and hybrid system that generates 172kW and 367Nm. Forming the hybrid system is a 1.49kWh lithium-ion battery and 44.2kW electric motor which works with the engine to boost torque and improve efficient driving.

More affordable models featuring a 206kW 2.5 litre turbocharged petrol engine and eight-speed dual-clutch transmission will be available at the end of the year but there’s no word yet on pricing or economy.

There's no diesel engine available in the new Santa Fe range, so fans of the previous Santa Fe diesel will need to choose either of the petrol engines, or consider the larger Hyundai Palisade diesel.

What is the Hyundai Santa Fe range line-up?

Three grades are available at launch, the Santa Fe, Santa Fe Elite and Santa Fe Calligraphy.

The most affordable Hyundai Santa Fe is equipped with front-wheel drive and features that keep its design and practical appeal high but its price (relatively) low.

It is also offered in all-wheel drive mode for an additional $3000.

A mid-spec Hyundai Santa Fe Elite is priced at $65,000 while the top of the range Calligraphy variant is available as both seven-seat ($75,000) and six-seat captain’s chair variant ($75,500).

Hyundai Santa Fe models and pricing

  • Hyundai Santa Fe 2WD - $55,500
  • Hyundai Santa Fe AWD - $58,500
  • Hyundai Santa Fe Elite AWD - $65,000
  • Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy AWD Seven-seat - $75,000
  • Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy AWD Six-seat - $75,500

Design options:

  • Mica or Metallic Prestige Paint - $695
  • Matte Paint - $1000
  • Supersonic Grey / Forest Green / Pecan Brown interior colours - $295

How much does it cost to service a Hyundai Santa Fe?

Service intervals for the 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe hybrid are set every 10,000kms/12 months.

Capped price servicing is available for the first five years ownership and is set at $459 for each service apart from 30,000km when is $569. This puts the service price on a par with the outgoing diesel Santa Fe but you'll be in for service more freqently as the diesel intervals are a longer 15,000kms.

The Hyundai Santa Fe features a range of interior design options. Image: Supplied.
Each Santa Fe model features wireless charging with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Image: Supplied.
The Hyundai Santa Fe 1.6T hybrid engine promises fuel economy of as little as 5.6L/100km (ADR Combined).. Image: Supplied.

What are the main differences in the Hyundai Santa Fe range?

The Hyundai Santa Fe range is available in 10 exterior paint colours, including two matte finishes which are exclusive to the Santa Fe Calligraphy. All Santa Fe vehicles have a black interior as standard, with a tartan cloth upholstery in the entry model. The Hyundai Santa Fe Elite can be optioned with a grey leather while the range topping Calligraphy models come standard with a black Nappa leather but can also be optioned with a forest green trim and cream Nappa leather upholstery or a pecan brown Nappa leather upholstery.

What features does the most affordable Hyundai Santa Fe have?

The fabric tartan trim is an attractive option for buyers of the most affordable Hyundai Santa Fe, and while the car misses out on some of the high-tech gizmos of the pricier models, this model still feels like a premium vehicle. And with no exterior variant badging, only the Hyundai cognoscenti will be able to pick this as a base model.

Standard features on the entry Santa Fe model include a powered driver’s seat and heated front seats and powered folding second row. It has a powered tailgate and is fitted with standard 20-inch alloy wheels with full-size spare. The same curved widescreen colour display housing infotainment and driver information display is used in all three variants, however the entry Santa Fe doesn’t have embedded satellite navigation, so you’ll need to rely on your phone connection and data to run maps via wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There's also a single wireless charger upfront, an array of USB-C charge points throughout the vehicle and Hyundai Bluelink connectivity with over the air updates.

What’s different about the Hyundai Santa Fe Elite?

The Hyundai Santa Fe Elite is only available as an all-wheel drive model and sits at the midpoint of the range. It adds leather appointed seats and a powered passenger seat as well as heated steering wheel, satellite navigation with live traffic updates, dual wireless charger and premium Bose 12 speaker audio system. On the exterior, the Hyundai Santa Fe Elite is differentiated by a dark chrome radiator grille and projection LED headlights

What is the specification of the Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy?

If you’re looking for the bells and whistles the all-wheel drive Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy model is where the action is. The range topper features plenty of extra features that deliver an affordable luxury feel. 

On the interior, the Calligraphy model includes a more upspec interior with upholstery finished in Nappa leather and the addition of ventilated seats with lie flat relaxation seats for driver and front passenger.

The Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy is available with either seven seats or six seats. Opt for the seven seats if you need extra room for bums on seats, or the six seats if you want your passengers to travel in the lap of luxury. Both six and seven seater options include two seat heaters in the second row, with the six seat option including a powered lie-flat relaxation function.

On the exterior of the Santa Fe Calligraphy you’ll find a recessed grab handle on the C pillar which allows for easier access to the roof when travelling with camping gear, or roof mounted bike racks. There's also a unique 20-inch alloy wheel, gloss black body cladding, black badging and dual sunroof.

The Hyundai Santa Fe boot

The 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe's boot has plenty of room for luggage for hauling gear.


What is the Hyundai Santa Fe like inside?

The interior of the Hyundai Santa Fe feels sophisticated and well finished. From the Nappa leather upholstery of the Calligraphy models, to the fabric trim of the entry model, there’s plenty of detail that buyers will find very attractive.

It's easy to find everything on the dashboard and there’s a good combination of access to information through the touchscreen but also buttons to control functions like the heating and ventilation.

Storage options are good in the Santa Fe, with plenty of room to stow a family’s gear. There are a couple of clever innovations, including a centre console with a bidirectional lid which can be opened by both front and second row passengers. In the Calligraphy models, there’s also a second glovebox which uses UV light to sterilise gear. You simply pop your keys, phone and wallet in there and leave for 30 minutes for the system to kill bacteria.

The new Santa Fe is bigger in most dimensions over the outgoing model and that translates to more head and legroom throughout the cabin, delivering an overall feeling of spaciousness. Like most three row vehicles, the rear seat is accommodating for smaller children but there is at least still enough room for a few bags of shopping in the remaining boot space. There's also controls for the heating and ventilation in the third row, cupholders and USB chargers so kids can feel well looked after.


The Hyundai Santa Fe second row

The Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy offers both seven-seat and six seat options.


How much boot space does the Hyundai Santa Fe have?

The 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe offers increased luggage capacity from the outgoing model. It has 628 litres of space with the third row down, and an impressive 1949 litres with the second row folded - more than double the space on offer in the last generation.

How much can you tow with the Hyundai Santa Fe?

The 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe 1.6T hybrid has a braked towing capacity of 1700kg, a reduction of 800kg on outgoing 2.2-litre diesel and 3.5-litre V6 petrol engines, restricting the size of caravan or trailer that can be towed for family holidays.

2025 Hyundai Santa Fe boot

The 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe has decent boot space with the third row of seats in use.


Is the Hyundai Santa Fe good to drive?

The Hyundai Santa Fe is a great car to drive and offers an experience behind the wheel that belies its dimensions. On an extensive drive program that took us from Hyundai HQ in Sydney via motorways and gravel roads in to the Hunter Valley, the all-wheel drive hybrid powertrain in the Calligraphy model was untroubled. It’s silent at low speed so the car emits a chime to warn pedestrians you are coming.

On inclines, the Hyundai Santa Fe only required a slight throttle input to maintain speed and progress, and overtaking was easy with the engine delivering confident power when needed.

Steering wheel paddle shifters easily shift the level of regenerative braking, improving brake control and fuel efficiency when required. 

The steering wheel has a large centre which is close to a carbon copy of a Land Rover wheel. To make long distance driving less fatiguing, the whole wheel could do with being smaller, as could the driver’s seat which I'd prefer to be narrower in the base, so it gives better support.

At low speed in traffic, the hybrid system in the Santa Fe showed low fuel consumption but heading out of the city caused the gauge to rise, landing on 7.6L/100km for the road trip.

The Hyundai Santa Fe is fitted with 255/45/20 Kumho Ecsta tyres which acquitted themselves adequately on both tarmac and gravel. They are priced at the more affordable end of the market for this tyre size so expect to pay around $330-$350 per tyre when it comes time to replace.

Where the rear biased all-wheel drive system delivers a composed ride, the front wheel drive Hyundai Santa Fe is noticeably different, but arguably just as accomplished. As might reasonably be expected, the Santa Fe is not as assured on loose gravel, but still delivers a decent drive. Steering is responsive and helps to deliver a spirited drive - putting a little bit of Sports into Sports Utility Vehicle.

Hyundai Santa Fe rear

The Hyundai Santa Fe has a large boot opening and relatively low boot floor to maximise access.


How safe is the Hyundai Santa Fe?

The Hyundai Santa Fe has an impressive array of safety gear although it's important to note that the entry level Santa Fe misses out on a couple of features.

While the Santa Fe is currently untested, Hyundai is confident of a five star Euro NCAP result when testing concludes with no word on when local testing may be carried out.

Standard safety features on all Santa Fe models include ten airbags and what Hyundai claims is the most comprehensive suite of advanced driver assistance systems offered in a large SUV under $80,000.

The Hyundai SmartSense package includes forward collision avoidance assist 2, an autonomous emergency braking technology as well as junction turning and crossing systems which sound an intital alert when they sense a collision, activating the brakes if required.

A lane change system alerts the driver of a potential collision when undertaking an overtaking manoeuvre, providing automatic steering input if required.

A further combination of systems which continually monitor the Hyundai Santa Fe's position on the road contribute braking and/or steering assistance. In addition to identifying other vehicles on road, the Hyundai system will also monitor for pedestrians and cyclists under certaing driving conditions, dependent on speed.

One of the downsides of the safety systems is the propensity for the systems to elicit a cacophony of alerts, bings and bongs, and it's not always obvious what the alerts are for. The driver attention warning system in the Santa Fe tracks eye movements to make sure the driver's eyes remain facing forward, but it's a sensitive system which activates frequently and noisily.

The Hyundai Santa Fe Elite and Callgraphy models are also equipped with navigation based smart cruise control as well as highway driving assist 2, which maintains the Santa Fe's position within its lane and can give assist with changing lanes when overtaking. It can also control the vehicle to avoid erratic moves from other drivers. Both models also include Hyundai's Remote Smart Park Assist, which allows the Santa Fe to be parked while the driver is outside of the vehicle.

2025 Hyundai Santa Fe

The Hyundai Santa Fe has some distinctive design elements including its 'H' headlamps.


Should I buy a Hyundai Santa Fe?

The 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe should be at the top of the wish list for drivers seeking a large SUV with frugal fuel consumption. The Santa Fe has a stunning design that looks better in the metal than in pictures, and meets the needs of  families wanting a vehicle with strong aesthetic appeal and luxury features - without the luxury price tag.

The large SUV segment is dominated by off-road capable vehicles such as the Toyota Prado, Isuzu MU-X and Ford Everest but drivers looking for a less rugged drive will find the new Hyundai Santa Fe more than meets their needs.

The lack of a diesel will likely impact sales as it limits the Hyundai Santa Fe's towing capability, but its appeal is in its style and substance. Hyundai believes most buyers will head to its range topping Calligraphy, but regardless of dollars spent, all three variants of the Hyundai Santa Fe hit the mark for this segment, especially the entry model.

The information provided is general advice only. Before making any decisions please consider your own circumstances and the Product Disclosure Statement and Target Market Determinations. For copies, visit racv.com.au. As distributor, RACV Insurance Services Pty Ltd AFS Licence No. 230039 receives commission for each policy sold or renewed. Product issued by Insurance Manufacturers of Australia Pty Ltd ABN 93 004 208 084 AFS Licence No. 227678.