Sante Fe en­ters SUV fray

Big Korean adds raft of lux­ury fea­tures that will have buy­ers of Ger­man brands think twice

The Witness - Wheels - - FRONT PAGE - AL­WYN VILJOEN

THE 2015 Sante Fe waded into the SUV fray this week and Stan­ley An­der­son, mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor of Hyundai South Africa, says his deal­ers can’t wait to show peo­ple who are look­ing at the sport utes of BMW and Audi the stan­dard lux­u­ries in the sleek Korean.

For the bot­tom line is that just the Santa Fe’s stan­dard heated leather seats with a two-set­ting mem­ory will add R23k in an X3; over R10k in a Q5; and just un­der R15k in the new Disco.

Speak­ing at the launch in Salt Rock, An­der­son said the latest de­sign from Namyang has added sev­eral other new lux­ury fea­tures “that add to a more lux­u­ri­ous and safer mo­tor­ing ex­pe­ri­ence”.

These in­clude a tailgate that opens at the push of a but­ton, built-in sat nav, cruise con­trol that brakes for you, and side mir­rors that will first flash to tell you some­one is just sit­ting in your blind spot and then buzz you if you ac­ti­vate the in­di­ca­tor.

The same radars that check the blind spot also sweeps a 180de­gree area be­hind the ve­hi­cle for ap­proach­ing cross-traf­fic when you re­verse out of park­ing bays, to buzz if there is a car com­ing.

The evolved looks of the latest Santa Fe will also not hurt tradein prices of the 2014 model, as Hyundai’s kept the same flu­idic pro­file, tweak­ing only the nose and adding big­ger lights, in­clud­ing LED lights up front.

Only two mod­els are on sale in South Africa — a five-seat front-wheel drive; or seven-seater all-wheel drive with diff lock.

Both use a 2,2 diesel that makes 145 kW and 436 Nm, with a six-speed au­to­matic gear­box with tip­tronic send­ing the power to the rel­e­vant axle. The wheels are 17-inch, 18-inch or 19-inch al­loys. We drove the ute in all three avail­able set­tings — Sport, Nor­mal and Eco — around tar and gravel hair­pins and had no com­plaints on the han­dling, which errs on the side of com­fort­able.

The 2,2 diesel is en­gi­neered for a slow and steady pull, rather than a sub-10 dash, and will de­liver as 7,3 l/100 km if driven thus.

The only sys­tem that re­quires get­ting used to in the ute is the touch-screen. Even a 21-year-old strug­gled to pair an iPhone (and still doesn’t know how he did it).

The Santa Fe goes on sale next week, selling at al­most R700k for the AWD — which puts it on the dear side against the Ford Ever­est 4x4 auto at R646 900.

The prices of the en­hanced Santa Fe range in­clude a five-year or 90 000 km ser­vice plan, and a five-year or 150 000 km war­ranty and road­side as­sis­tance.

PHOTO: AL­WYN VILJOEN

A raft of lux­ury fea­tures makes the Hyundai Santa Fe a se­ri­ous com­peti­tor in the SUV stakes, with the 4x2 Elite selling for R659 900 and the 4WD seven-seat Elite for R699 900.

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