Hyundai Santa Fe 2020 diesel crossover review, video review, tests

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When all-wheel drive does not solve problems, but multiplies

I’ll tell you, Hyundai Santa Fe 3 fell ill with an illness that they are usually embarrassed to talk about – Santa has an STD. It would seem, where does a family car get such and such “sores”? But they are. The owners decipher it as “the famous all-wheel drive prevention.” Korean engineers intentionally or accidentally did not protect the splined joints of the bevel gear from moisture and dust, from which the moving parts, in the absence of due attention, become corroded, and by 70 thousand kilometers the shafts are ground into meat due to the abundance of negative environment.

To prevent this from happening, you have to lubricate the helmet

To prevent this from happening, you have to lubricate the splines yourself every 30-40 tkm, because dealers are most often silent about the manufacturer’s miscalculations and prefer only to analyze flights. Every knowledgeable owner is engaged in prevention, and those who do not yet know about the existing problem or decide to forget and score, pay for this recklessness by replacing the entire gearbox assembly with drives. Expensive? And how.

If when checking a used Santa Fe DM before
If you see such a stain when checking a used Santa Fe DM before buying, then this is a good sign – the all-wheel drive was looked after

But that’s not all. The all-wheel drive Hyundai Santa Fe 3 DM is seriously ill and the next weak point here is the electromagnetic clutch for connecting the rear axle manufactured by Dynamax. It is worth once unsuccessfully to apply to the gas pedal on an unstable surface, when, for example, the front wheels are on ice, and the rear wheels are on asphalt, and you can hear a ringing blow in the back.

“And what is it so mumbled?”. Perhaps at first you are like Piglet, who carelessly ruined something dear to you, do not believe what happened and think that the automatically connected all-wheel drive is somehow rude. Indeed, rude. But next time the stern wheels will not work soon. Just the same, due to too sharp operation of the clutch, the clutch basket breaks off from the shaft, which is why the owners have to look for a specialized service for the repair of such units, or fork out for such a new part, which is just as unreliable.

Welded Clutch Basket
Welded Clutch Basket

In the event of such a breakdown, no errors on the panel sometimes light up, and sometimes you can find out about what happened only in a situation in which all-wheel drive will be needed more than ever.

When checking a used Hyundai Santa Fe 3 in the summer, a malfunction can only be ruled out on a lift. In winter, it is enough to start abruptly on ice and follow the inclusion of the rear axle in operation.

Computer diagnostics when checking the all-wheel drive of a used Hyundai Santa Fe is an unreliable assistant. In rare cases, errors appear on the clutch pump.


Interior: comfortable and practical

A full review of the Hyundai Santa Fe is impossible without examining the interior of the car. Inside Santa Fe, there have been some pretty serious changes. Against the background of roughly similar interiors of Korean cars, the interior of the crossover looks original. Once inside, attention is drawn to the decorative fabric, which the manufacturer decided to cover, sun visors and a ceiling with pillars. In general, interior trim materials are consistent with the status and cost of the car. The upholstery of the leather seats is pleasantly combined with the plastic elements of the interior, there is no feeling of false luxury, everything is quite natural and harmonious. The plastic is quite soft, does not creak, the skin is pleasant to the touch.

The driver’s seat automatically adjusts, it is possible to memorize the position of the seat for two people. It is enough to sit behind the wheel, press the desired button, and automatic adjustment will occur. The steering wheel leaves a pleasant tactile sensation, does not slip in the hands. The passenger sofa of the second row is quite comfortable for three passengers. The sofa is made in the German style: quite hard seats, lateral support, well-adjusted profile, separate parts recline at the touch of a button. There is plenty of room for both legs and head.

In expensive trim levels, the speedometer is displayed on the screen and has several backlight options – red (Sport mode), blue (Comfort) and green (Eco mode). Initially, in the car that we took for a test drive Hyundai Santa Fe, the speedometer was digital, but after understanding the settings, it can be switched to analog. In the middle of the torpedo is a modern media system with a 10.25-inch widescreen. Dashboards with a stand-alone display are actively scolded today; quite a large number of motorists do not like this solution. But there is no getting away from this – such conditions are dictated by modern automotive fashion, we can say that this is already an established trend. A convenient shelf appeared in the front panel, where you can put at least a phone, even a wallet or a powder box. Next to the driver is an armrest with a voluminous box, where you can also put various trifles.

The main glove compartment is spacious, it has a cooling system in all trim levels of the car, with the exception of the base one. Heated front seats, heated steering wheel are provided, everything is regulated simply by pressing a couple of buttons. One omission – there is no electrically heated windshield, and in a frosty winter this is a serious drawback. Rear seat heating can be turned on and off by passengers. It is impossible not to note the fact that the Hyundai Santa Fe is literally crammed with sockets: one standard, two USB in front, fast charging for the phone, two sockets in the back and one more in the luggage compartment. There will definitely be no problems with electricity in this car. The interior arrangement of the car leaves the most pleasant impressions, for the work done by Hyundai engineers, they can be given the highest rating. The car really approaches the premium class, which consists of all sorts of little things and amenities that increase the comfort of using the car.

Walking walk?

The reliability of the elements of the Hyundai Santa Fe chassis does not stand out among the majority of classmates. Typical average. Of the weak points here are wheel bearings (a resource of about 50-60 tkm). By 100,000 km, the bushings and stabilizer struts end, then by 150 tkm, the ball and rear silent blocks of the front levers “get tired” in order. The front shock absorbers with supports are tenacious and sometimes pass 200 tkm without replacements.

Front suspension
Front suspension

The resource of silent blocks and shock absorbers of the rear suspension will depend on the type of drive – the mounting scheme of the levers is significantly different. The multi-link all-wheel drive Santa Fe serves the least – about 150 tkm. Few. The only reassurance is that changing gum is not difficult and not expensive.

Front-wheel drive versions are slightly more reliable, but

Front-wheel drive versions are a little more reliable, but it is unlikely that you will be able to drive more than 200 tkm without knocking. It was a heavy car.

The steering system does not bother with knocks, but the first backlash
The steering system does not strain with knocks, and the first backlashes when rocking the steering wheel from side to side are solved by tightening the spline connection of the column near the pedal assembly

Advantages and disadvantages

This concludes our review of the fourth generation Hyundai Santa Fe. Summing up, we note the main advantages and disadvantages of the new South Korean crossover. I definitely liked the new appearance of the car, in the cabin there are high-quality and tactilely pleasant finishing materials. SUV with good handling, stable on the road, excellent sound insulation and all-wheel drive. But, it must be remembered that this is not an SUV in the full sense of the word, a ground clearance of 18 cm does not allow you to conquer hard off-road. The permitted maximum is country roads or a slight lack of roads. There are not so many flaws in the car, someone will not like the suspension: up to about 80 km / h it collects all the little things, shudders on the terrain and kicks on sharp bumps. However, this is unlikely to become an obstacle to buying a really high-quality vehicle.