SO FE SO GOOD
An outstanding improver, the Santa Fe feels worth more than mid-$40k
Hyundai’s mid-spec Elite is a familyfriendly sevenseater with a smart drive-train and agreeable styling
ONCE seen as the poor second cousin of the automotive industry, the Koreans are fast becoming the trendsetters. Hyundai is well worth a spot on the shopping list when the family is looking for a valuefor-money daily duties wagon. The new Santa Fe has improved driving manners and agreeable styling.
The Elite, the middle Santa Fe variant, retails for $45,990 and has a solid features list for the outlay. The Elite has a poweradjustable driver’s seat, dualzone climate control with rear vents and separate fan control, 10-speaker USB/iPod/ Bluetooth touchscreen sound and SUNA satnav system, rainsensing wipers, 18-inch alloy wheels (including a full-size spare) and auto-dimming centre mirror. There are seven seats in all Santa Fes.
Nice touches like puddle lamps that light up on approach, purely by key proximity, and side window blinds show the brand is working hard to win sales.
The 2.2-litre turbo diesel (145kW/436Nm) is a quiet, forceful and worthy powerplant, teamed with an in-house six-speed auto that is among the more intelligent examples around. It’s a wellmatched package and returns a claimed 7.3L/100km. Our stint of predominantly metropolitan running used 9.4L.
Kia got the cleverAWD system first but now it’s been adapted to the parent company’s car. Traction is ample and drive to the rear is not tardy. The real-time traffic info on the satnav for the most part was accurate and well ahead of radio traffic reports.
It’s one of the better-looking Hyundais yet, although perhaps that is not yet a mammoth compliment. It’s from the Fluidic Sculpture design book, a more cohesive and handsome look, and no one is going to mistake this for a rock-hopping off-roader.
The cabin is versatile and has a quality feel. The second row of seats is adjustable and the third row, while still only for smaller offspring, folds into the floor to provide useful loadspace. The underfloor storage in the rear holds the luggage blind when all three rows are in use— another clever, useful touch.
The Santa Fe is a top-scoring five-star effort from ANCAP. A driver’s knee airbag adds to the usual half-dozen airbags, automatic headlights and rainsensing wipers, rear camera (which was a little stilted in
The Korean that can: The seven-seat Elite is family friendly, with a smart drivetrain and agreeable styling