BET­TER BE­HAVE FOR SANTA

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - DRIVEWAY - Chris Ri­ley

LIKE a fine wine, Hyundai's Santa Fe gets bet­ter with age.

My only mis­giv­ing, if you can call it that, is the price that con­tin­ues to creep north­wards.

You'll be lucky to see any change out of $60k for the top-ofthe-range High­lander, once you add in on-road costs.

Still, when you look at the com­pe­ti­tion, that's about the go­ing rate for a 7-seat SUV these days, un­less of course you opt for one of the cheaper ute-based of­fer­ings that have sud­denly ap­peared.

For this model up­date, Hyundai has stamped the car with the new cor­po­rate face, which ex­tends to re­designed lights, bumpers and ra­di­a­tor grille.

Head­lights and tail-lights have been up­dated, to­gether with new fog­lights and day­time LEDs.

High­lander also adds LEDs in the turn sig­nals and re­verse light.

Siri Eyes Free (iOS) and Google Now (An­droid) voice ac­ti­va­tion have been added to make calls, play music, or com­pose text mes­sages.

But the big news is the ar­se­nal of new safety equip­ment with this model.

New to the mix are save-your-ba­con For­ward Col­li­sion Warn­ing (FCW) with Au­ton­o­mous Emer­gency Brak­ing (AEB). There's also Blind Spot De­tec­tion (BSD), Lane Change As­sist (LCA) and Rear Cross Traf­fic Alert (RCTA).

Cruise con­trol is now adap­tive and au­to­mat­i­cally main­tains a dis­tance be­tween you and the car in front.

The up­dated 2.2-litre four cylin­der turbo diesel is one of the best in the busi­ness. The com­mon rail di­rec­tion in­jec­tion diesel pro­duces 147kW and 440Nm, the lat­ter from a low 1750 revs.

The diesel is teamed with a sixspeed au­to­matic in this model, with the fa­cil­ity to change gears man­u­ally if de­sired, but no change pad­dles.

Comes with a full-size al­loy spare, can tow a 2000kg braked load and ser­vice is due ev­ery 15,000km or 12 months, which­ever comes first, with fixed life­time ser­vice costs.

It rides like a magic car­pet, thanks to many hours of lo­cal sus­pen­sion de­vel­op­ment.

The cabin is gen­er­ously ap­pointed with large com­fort­able front seats that are both heated and cooled.

The two out­board seats in the sec­ond row are also heated.

It comes with leather and cli­mate air, front and rear park­ing sen­sors, as well as au­to­matic re­verse and par­al­lel park­ing.

A pre­mium 550 watt 10-speaker In­fin­ity au­dio sys­tem pro­vides mu­si­cal ac­com­pa­ni­ment, with sep­a­rate sub­woofer and ex­ter­nal am­pli­fier.

We found the car smooth and com­fort­able to drive and very eco­nom­i­cal too.

Rated at 7.7 litres/100km, we were get­ting 7.6 af­ter 400km.

The sus­pen­sion setup car­ries over from the pre­vi­ous model, with a mi­nor change to the rear sus­pen­sion.

Thank­fully a dig­i­tal speedome­ter has fi­nally been added to the in­stru­ment clus­ter, mak­ing it easy to keep track of your speed, along with the sat­nav, which shows the cur­rent speed limit, and warn­ings for school zones and speed cam­eras.

Flexs­teer of­fers the driver a choice of nor­mal or sport for steer­ing in­put, plus there's a choice of nor­mal, eco or sport drive modes that al­ter throt­tle re­sponse and gear change points.

Ver­dict: Santa Fe's only real op­po­si­tion in a diesel is the Kia Sorento, which brings a sportier edge to the equa­tion. You can't go wrong ei­ther way.

The Santa Fe just keeps get­ting bet­ter.

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