HYUNDAI’S Santa Fe is one of our long-time favourites.
In fact, I recommended the diesel to two friends and they love it, although one has since downsized because they don’t have to cart the kids around any more.
They got a good price for it, too, when they sold it privately, which is always a good indicator that it's a desirable vehicle.
This the third generation of the California-designed soft-roader and remains true to the formula: a biggish, practical but well-equipped all-wheel drive wagon with seven seats that doesn’t cost the earth.
Our test vehicle, the mid-range Elite, is priced from $45,990, which includes an auto. The 2.2-litre turbo diesel is a gem.
Producing 145kW and 436Nm when paired with the auto (421Nm with the manual), it’s nice and smooth, and delivers a generous mix of power and economy.
The diesel is paired with Hyundai’s in-house six-speed auto, with the facility to change gears manually if desired.
Everything’s new, apart from the engine and transmission.
It has been totally redesigned and sits on a new platform, with new suspension that has been tuned for Australian conditions.
This one presents a sleeker, more sophisticated look than previous models.
Dual-flow dampers are fitted, designed to deliver a smoother, more comfortable ride in normal conditions, but provide a firmer, more dynamic response when required.
The new electric steering system is speed-sensitive, more accurate and quicker to respond, and the driver can dial in the level of assistance required, with three settings from which to choose.
The two rear seats are among the biggest and best in the business.
They can be used together or individually and can even accommodate adults at a pinch.
The car comes with front and rear air, with third-row airconditioning vents standard across the range.
Fuel consumption is rated at 7.3 litres/100km and it has a 64-litre tank, giving it a theoretical range of 867km.
It gets five stars for safety, with seven airbags as standard, including a driver's knee bag.
It's equipped with electronic stability and traction control, along with Advanced Traction Cornering Control (ATCC), a reversing camera and rear parking sensors.
Leather, climate-control airconditioning and push-button start are all included, and we love the fact that navigation is part of the deal, too.
Kia also has it, so why do other car makers find it so difficult to provide this simple service?