Best SUV $45,000 - $65,000

Hyundai Santa Fe Highlander

The key to Santa Fe’s appeal is that it is consistently good in almost every aspect of the buying process, long-term ownership and general driving ability. It’s an attractively styled, practical medium-size seven-seat SUV that is well suited to normal family duties.

The Highlander’s long list of standard luxury features includes leather trim with heated front and centre row seats and dual-zone air-conditioning with rear vents and separate fan-speed control for the third row. There is plenty of versatility, with a myriad of seat folding and sliding combinations. The simplicity of the third-row seat folding at the pull of a lever is impressive, as it stows flat to extend an already useful cargo space.

The 2.2-litre, turbo-diesel engine pumps out a useful 145kW of power at 3000rpm, but even more importantly it develops a hearty 436Nm of torque at a relatively low 1800rpm.

Coupled with an efficient six-speed automatic transmission, Santa Fe pulls strongly from low speeds for smooth and progressive operation around town, while it cruises comfortably on the highway and does a good job off-road. At the same time, it’s still relatively fuel efficient, with an ADR combined figure of 7.3 litres/100km.

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Australia's Best Cars Best SUV $45,000 - $65,000 Hyundai Santa Fe Highlander AWD

Indicative Drive Away Price: $55,989

Criteria out of 10 – Hyundai Santa Fe Highlander AWD


Value for Money   Rating 
Pricing  6H
Depreciation  5M
Running Costs  6M
Fuel Consumption  6M
Warranty and dealer access   9H
Insurance  7L
Standard Features  9H

Design and Function   Rating 
Safety  6C
Environment  6C
Comfort  8H
Space  8M
Practicality  9H
Ergonomics  8H
Build and Finish  8H

On the Road   Rating 
Performance  8M
Ride  8M
Handling  8H
Braking  7H
Smoothness and Quietness   8M
Off-road ability   9M

Note: Level of weighting importance for each score: L = Low, M = Medium, H = High, C = Critical.