All-New Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid Torture Test: 1400 Kilometres in 24 Hours

Matt Brand
June 20, 2024
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An Epic Road Trip to Test Hyundai's Latest SUV

In one of the most daring tests we've undertaken, I decided to push the new Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid to its limits by driving from Melbourne to Canberra and back within 24 hours.

This 14-hour journey, covering approximately 1400 kilometres, was not only a test for the car but also for myself... Join me on this epic road trip to see if the Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid can truly stand up to such a grueling test.

The Challenge Begins

The journey began with a bit of an obstacle—a passing train that forced me to pause filming. As soon as it cleared, I embarked on this ambitious road trip.

Initially, this challenge was supposed to include my usual partner, Daddy Jacob, but due to his family commitments, I undertook the journey solo. The plan was to drive to Canberra, stay overnight, and return early the next morning, all within 24 hours.

The Car: Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid

The vehicle of choice for this adventure was the new Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid. This seven-seat family SUV is not just about looks; it’s packed with a hybrid powertrain designed for both efficiency and performance.

The Santa Fe Hybrid combines a 1.6-liter turbocharged petrol engine with an electric motor, producing a combined output of 169 kW and 350 Nm of torque. This setup aims to deliver both power and fuel efficiency, making it suitable for long drives and daily commutes alike.

As always, full transparency is crucial—this content is sponsored by Hyundai. However, they have given us complete freedom to share our genuine thoughts and experiences. So, let's see how the Santa Fe Hybrid performed in this real-world test.

First Impressions and Initial Stats

As I set off, the Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid immediately impressed with its comfortable, lounge-like seats. Utilizing the built-in navigation with augmented reality and heads-up display made the drive smoother.

The in-built navigation system, which uses satellite connectivity, ensured that I wouldn't lose signal even in remote areas. Starting the trip with 7 liters per 100 kilometers fuel consumption and a range of 902 kilometers, the Santa Fe seemed ready for the long haul.

Autonomous Driving and Fuel Efficiency

An hour into the drive, I encountered bumper-to-bumper traffic. This was a perfect opportunity to test the car’s advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS).

The Highway Driving Assist (HDA) feature proved invaluable, automatically maintaining lane position and adjusting speed, making the traffic bearable. Despite the stop-and-go conditions, the fuel efficiency remained impressive at 6.8 liters per 100 kilometers.

The Santa Fe Hybrid's ADAS includes features like adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, and even lane-change assist. These features not only enhance safety but also reduce driver fatigue, especially on long trips.

The car's ability to handle highway driving autonomously (with minimal driver intervention) was a significant advantage during this leg of the journey.

Keep in mind however that the Highway Driving Assist and Nappa Leather are not available on all grades, like the base model.

Mid-Trip Updates

As the hours passed, the Hyundai Santa Fe continued to impress with its quiet cabin and comfortable ride. Acoustic glass minimized wind noise, and the adjustable seats provided much-needed comfort.

At the two and a half hour mark, a stop for a traditional Aussie pie in Albury was a must. Averaging 7.3 liters per 100 kilometers by this point, the Santa Fe Hybrid was proving to be both economical and practical.

In Albury, I faced a classic dilemma: should I go to Beechworth Bakery, which has a respectable 4.1-star rating, or Bakers Delight, a popular Aussie chain? I opted for Beechworth Bakery and was not disappointed. Their gluten-free pie was flaky and delicious, a perfect fuel stop for the driver as well as the car.

Night Driving and Fatigue Management

Driving through the night brought its own set of challenges. Despite the car’s comfort and excellent amenities, fatigue began to set in. Regular breaks and power naps were essential to stay alert.

The Santa Fe’s consistent fuel economy and smooth driving experience made these long stretches more manageable. At the six-hour mark, I had to pull over for a quick rest and a Red Bull to stave off tiredness.

The Santa Fe's interior lighting, climate control, and sound system played a significant role in maintaining comfort during the night drive. The ambient lighting added a soothing touch to the cabin, while the Bose sound system delivered crystal-clear audio, making podcasts and music more enjoyable.

Arrival in Canberra

Reaching Canberra late at night, the car still maintained a steady average fuel consumption of 7.3 liters per 100 kilometers. Filling up the tank cost $123.54, showcasing the efficiency of the Santa Fe Hybrid even over long distances.

Checking into the Midnight Hotel, I was pleasantly surprised by the ease with which the Santa Fe handled the journey. Despite the long drive, I felt relatively fresh, thanks to the car's comfort and convenience features. The hotel's name seemed fitting, given my late-night arrival, and provided a much-needed rest before the return journey.

The Return Journey

Leaving Canberra at 4:30 in the morning, the Santa Fe continued to perform admirably. Despite the early hour and frosty conditions, the drive was smooth and uneventful.

A brief stop for a Red Bull was necessary to combat fatigue, but the car’s consistent performance remained a highlight. The Santa Fe's heated seats and steering wheel were particularly appreciated in the cold morning.

Final Reflections and Conclusion

After almost 1600 kilometers in 24 hours, the Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid proved to be a reliable and efficient companion. The combination of comfort, advanced features, and impressive fuel economy makes it a standout in the SUV market. Despite the lengthy drive, the Santa Fe made the journey more enjoyable and less tiring.

This real-world torture test highlighted the Santa Fe Hybrid's strengths: its fuel efficiency, advanced driver assistance systems, and overall comfort. Whether you're considering a long road trip or need a reliable vehicle for daily commuting, the Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid is an excellent choice.

For anyone considering a new SUV, especially one that offers hybrid efficiency, the Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid is worth a test drive. Visit CarSauce.com/buy for more details and to find the best deals from Hyundai dealers.

Note: This review is based on a sponsored challenge by Hyundai. All opinions and observations are our own, ensuring an honest and thorough evaluation of the vehicle.

Matt Brand
Matt Brand, the esteemed car critic from Car Sauce, offers unparalleled expertise on all things automotive. From new car releases to pre-owned options, he provides in-depth analysis and honest evaluations to guide readers through the car-buying process. Join us as he delves into the exciting world of motoring.

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