The grille seems to be flavour of the month with car designers and Hyundai comes to that party with the redesigned Santa Fe, the fourth generation of the model featuring an ‘in-your-face’ cascading front end – but it is a lot more than that.
The Hyundai Motor Company launched the first-generation Santa Fe in 2000 and Stanley Anderson, sales and operations director of Hyundai Automotive South Africa, says: “The Santa Fe was Hyundai’s first SUV, and it still is the flagship model in our local model line-up. The continuing improvements the Santa Fe has undergone over the past two decades demonstrate Hyundai’s commitment to developing quality products with the latest features for its customers, as is evident from this latest upgrade,” says
“We believe the Santa Fe offers great value and easily passes the test in its market segment, where the bar is set very high in terms of quality, luxury, an outstanding driving experience and innovative features.”
The new Santa Fe is available in two derivatives in South Africa – the R2.2 Executive with an upgraded turbo-diesel engine and new 8-speed Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT); and the R2.2 Elite, also with the 2,2-litre turbo-diesel and 8-speed DCT, but with All-Wheel Drive and several more luxury features.
Both derivatives are 7-seaters, with the two seats in the third row that fold away in the floor of the large cargo compartment.
The cascading grille has been improved, with its signature geometric patterned inlay integrated with the headlights. The T-shaped daytime running lights, along with the sculpted front bumper, offer a distinctive presence.
At the back, the rear bumper has a sweeping horizontal line, connecting the combination lights and tailgate garnish. New 18-inch alloy wheels enhance the side view of the Santa Fe Executive, while the Elite derivative comes with 19-inch or 20-inch wheels with a different design.
At 4 785 mm (exterior, length), 1 900 mm (width) and 1 710 mm (height), the Santa Fe is bigger than the previous model. With the fitting of Hyundai’s new Gen 3 platform, second-row passengers can enjoy more legroom (1 060 mm) as well as benefitting from increased cargo space that has a capacity of 634 litres with the third-row seats folded flat.
Inside are full leather seats and a new floating centre console, which is equipped with shift-by-wire transmission buttons provides an ambience of luxury and operational convenience.
Apart from the buttons for the transmission, the centre console also contains the buttons for the automatic climate control and selector knob for the drive modes and, in the Elite derivative, terrain modes for the all-wheel drive system. Next to the cup holder in the console is a neat, almost hidden wireless charging slot for a cell phone.
The 8-inch infotainment system display, with touchscreen functions, provides hands-free convenience with Bluetooth connection to a cell phone, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support.
Rear window curtains and heating and ventilation for the front seats are also on the list of convenience features, as well as Remote Start, which allows one to start the vehicle remotely with the smart key, automatically switching on the air-conditioner and setting the temperature at 22°C.
On both derivatives a Smart Power Tailgate opens and closes the back door at the touch of a button on the remote key fob, or by touching the respective buttons on the tailgate.
The driver and front passenger can adjust their seats electrically in the Elite derivative, and the driver can lower or raise his or her seat position. The Elite also comes with a 12,3-inch LCD Super Vision Instrument Cluster for the driver, for which illumination can be altered by a rheostat. Both derivates have paddle gear shift levers on the steering wheel for manual shifting, because the transmission controls on the centre console are push buttons.
The new Santa Fe is the first Hyundai model to be fitted with the next-generation powertrain Smartstream R2.2 turbo-diesel engine which has a maximum output of 148 kW and maximum torque of 441 Nm.
Compared to the previous engine generation, the new engine block consists of aluminium instead of iron, ensuring a weight reduction of 19,5 kg. Different parts of the engine have been improved, including, for example, the camshaft, to reduce internal friction and improve overall fuel efficiency.
Furthermore, the engine has been equipped with a new 2 200 bar injection system (compared to 2 000 bar on the previous engine), improving overall engine performance.
It is also the first Hyundai SUV to be equipped with the newly developed Smartstream Wet 8DCT, a dual clutch transmission delivering quick eight-speed shifting and acceleration performance. It employs two clutches, one coupled to a shaft for odd-number and the other to the shaft for even-number gears.
Fuel efficiency is improved by 3% through reduced engine power loss and increased hydraulic efficiency, in comparison to 8-speed automatic transmission models. The new 8DCT also creates a more dynamic driving experience and enhances acceleration performance by up to 9%, compared to 6-speed manual transmission models.
In the Elite derivative, the new Santa Fe features Hyundai’s HTRAC four-wheel drive technology and, for the first time, the Santa Fe Elite derivative comes with a Terrain Mode selecto.
This feature includes unique driving modes for sand, snow and mud, as well as the driving modes Comfort, Sport and Eco. An additional driving mode option, Smart, means the car will automatically recognise the driving style and select a mode for the driver.
One of the active safety features in the new Santa Fe is the Reverse Parking Collision-Avoidance Assist (PCA), which uses a rear-view camera and rear ultrasonic sensors to detect obstacles when reversing, providing a warning and applying the brakes, if necessary, to avoid a collision.
An anti-lock braking system, Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD), Electronic Stability Program (ESP) and Vehicle Stability Management (VSM) are also on the list of active safety features of the new Santa Fe.
Downhill Brake Control, also a safety feature especially when the vehicle is driven on a steep downhill in off-road conditions, and Hill Start Assist Control, which holds the car stationary when starting and pulling away on an uphill, also makes driving the Santa Fe so much easier and safer.
Passive safety features include front and side crash bags for the driver and front passenger, as well as a curtain crash bag that also provides protection for other occupants of the car.
* Santa Fe R2.2 Executive 8sp DCT – R769 500
* Santa Fe R2.2 Elite 8sp DCT AWD – R869 500
The prices include a 7-year / 200 000 km manufacturer’s warranty; a 6-year / 90 000 km service plan; and roadside assistance over a period of 7 years or a distance of 150 000 km.