The least costly all-wheel drive Santa Fe is the Active, which comes with the equipment in all Santa Fes, cloth seat trim, 17-inch wheels, your choice from petrol or (more expensive) diesel power, and manual or (at extra cost) auto transmission. The Active has a 7.0-inch central touchscreen that supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Sticking with AWD and shelling out for a Santa Fe Elite gets you a diesel engine, auto transmission, and a lot more equipment. Wheel diameter increases to 18 inches, which brings tyres with a slightly lower profile (for marginally sharper steering response and a more sporty look). Dual-zone air-conditioning lets you set different temperatures for each side of the cabin. There is the bigger, 8.0-inch touchscreen (which does not support Apple CarPlay), and satellite navigation. Smart key entry allows you to unlock the front doors, and start the engine, while the key remains safe in your pocket or bag. The tailgate unlocks and rises automatically if the key is nearby for three seconds. Windscreen wipers turn themselves on if it rains.
Seats in the Elite are trimmed in a mix of real and fake leather, and are power-adjustable up front. The driver’s seat remembers your adjustments (so that you can restore them easily after a companion has driven the car). The sound system has 10 speakers, an external amplifier and a bass-boosting sub-woofer. And there are blinds for those in the middle row seats.
Spending more again on an AWD Santa Fe gets brings you a Highlander, which has 19-inch wheels, and tyres with a still lower profile and more grip. The Highlander has a sunroof that covers the front and rear seats. Front and middle-row seats can be heated, and the front seats also have perforations and a fan, for ventilation. Headlamps are extremely bright HID units.
The Highlander also brings you a suite of active safety features, headlined by automatic emergency braking that works at city and highway speeds. There is also smart cruise control (which slows you to the speed of a vehicle in front). The Highlander warns you of vehicles that are alongside in a blind spot, or overtaking you, or that are crossing behind you when you are reversing. And it has a self-parking system, which can automatically steer the car into or out of a space while the driver controls the throttle and brake.
Hyundai also offers an AWD SR version of the Santa Fe, which keeps most of the equipment of the Highlander (it does not have self-parking) but has a sportier look courtesy of plastic skirting on the lower body. There are black wheels, bigger, more powerful brakes accented with red calipers, and a firmer suspension tune so that the car rolls less in corners and steers more directly.
Instead of demanding an AWD Santa Fe, you could instead satisfy yourself with front-wheel drive and choose the Santa Fe Active X. The Active X brings you the speedy V6 petrol engine, and automatic transmission, for less than you would pay for an AWD Active auto. But instead of the complex AWD system, it supplies some comfort and convenience features. These include dual-zone climate control, leather on the seats, heating and ventilation for the front seats, and auto windscreen wipers. The Active X also has 19-inch wheels with low-profile tyres – like the AWD Highlander and SR. But like the Active it has the smaller, 7.0-inch touchscreen – which means you can integrate your smartphone via Apple CarPlay.