Hyundai picks up the SUV ball and runs with it
Fe, their larger SUV, and came away impressed with most of its many charms.
I found it surprising to feel the amount of energy a 2.2-litre diesel engine (145kW at 3 800rpm and 436Nm at 2 500rpm) can still display, despite having to tug around as big a body as that of the Santa Fe.
It is a noisy diesel, very much the engine used in the Hyundai pick-up and other commercials, but it’s a sweet-natured unit with a lot of willingness and guts.
The Santa Fe has been updated very nicely to fit what motor companies call the “design language”. There is no mistaking that this vehicle is direct family of the Elantra, Sonata and all those other respectable Koreans that are making like Toyota did here some decades ago.
These larger SUVs are very comfortable. The days when the middle-class dreamt of the luxury afforded by a big limousine while buying something much more basic are gone.
Back in the 1960s/70s, if you wanted this kind of roominess in South Africa, you bought Australian. And then you had rapidly uncontoured sagging bench seats, plastic upholstery and manual winders.
Hyundai claims a fuel consumption figure of 8.3 litres over 100km, but I could do no better than 9.2. Which is still pretty good for the size, especially considering the fact that the vehicle I tested ran on a permanent four-wheel drive system.
This is more a vehicle for bad roads than no roads. Even with diff lock working, the Santa Fe found the going a bit tough on the real soft stuff and I certainly would not take this car to the Namib.
The six-speed auto gearbox does what it needs to do. It is not all that smooth, feeling a bit old-fashioned compared to what you can get these days. But does it matter? Maybe only in irritation levels. The gear ratios are fine; it did not feel overworked or over-revved in any gear.
One can pop seven people into the Executive and Elite models, while the base Premium model is a five-seater.
With the back row seats folded, you will get up to 994 litres of luggage space.
All versions of the Santa Fe are fitted with dual zone climate control and there is a switch to activate the air conditioner for the folks in the middle and the back. The Elite offers 12-way power adjustable driver’s seat, a reverse camera, automatic lights and wipers and panoramic sunroof.
On offer is a five-year/90 000km service plan and roadside assistance for five years or 150 000km. Service every 15 000km.
MOMMY WAGON OR LEISURE EXPRESS: Big wagons such as Hyundai’s ever improving Santa Fe makes life on the road for the family just that bit more comfortable.