Santa Fe re­lease of­fers two guises

Hyundai snatched the name Santa Fe from a Ford show car in the mid-90s, and the name has gone from strength to strength ever since, writes DAVE MOORE.

Kapi-Mana News - - MOTORING -

Launched to the public at the re­cent New York mo­tor show, Hyundai’s third gen­er­a­tion Santa Fe will have two dis­tinct sil­hou­ettes, a sporty five-door pro­file and a longer wheel­base seven seater.

It’s a long way from the first car to use the name, Ford’s Taurus wagon-based Santa Fe, which was cre­ated for the 1997 Tokyo Mo­tor Show.

The Ford looked se­ri­ous enough, but didn’t get enough pos­i­tive com­ments from show­go­ers to go into pro­duc­tion, de­spite hav­ing all-wheel-drive, a shovel strapped to its flanks and de­cent ground clear­ance.

It was per­haps a cross­over of­fered a dozen years or so too early.

So Hyundai snapped up the name, and its first gen­er­a­tion model with the Sante Fe name sold like hot cakes, a habit its re­place­ment man­aged to ex­tend, do­ing much to re­in­force the brand’s up­ward tra­jec­tory in the United States.

Proof that Hyundai can pro­duce misses as well as hits was the Ver­acruz, a sort of North Amer­i­caonly su­per-sized SUV which ap­peared as sharp as the Santa Fe but just didn’t sell too well. Which is why the new Santa Fe has two guises.

The tra­di­tional Santa Fe prospect can choose from a five- or seven-seater, with the lat­ter also cov­er­ing what Ver­acruz cus­tomers might need.

The five-seater model is to be named the Santa Fe Sport while the seven-seater, built on an ex­tended wheel­base, will be known sim­ply as the Santa Fe. Quite which will come to New Zealand is un­known, but with down­siz­ers mov­ing from big six­cylin­der cars, the seven-seater could have a po­ten­tial catch­ment.

The five-seater rides on a 2700 mil­lime­tre wheel­base, and mea­sures 4690mm over­all with a height of 1680mm, while the seven-seater has a 100mm longer wheel­base, and longer over­hangs make it 215mm longer over­all, to en­sure the ex­tra pair of seats do not com­pro­mise lug­gage space.

Aside from dif­fer­ences in the ex­te­rior di­men­sions and in­te­rior space, the LWB Santa Fe also sports changes to the front and rear end designs. For the US, the Santa Fe Sport will have a 2.0-litre tur­bocharged four­cylin­der en­gine.

That en­gine will form the base en­gine for the seven-seater, while a 3.3-litre GDI petrol V6 unit with more than 200kw on tap will power the top model. For Europe and New Zealand it’s ex­pected that Hyundai’s R-type 2.2-litre tur­bod­iesel will be the sole en­gine choice, work­ing through a sixspeed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion.

The Santa Fe will be of­fered with two-wheel drive as stan­dard and will be able to be equipped with all-wheel drive as an op­tion.

New Santa Fe: The five-seater model is ex­pected to be the big seller.

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