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.
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.