Santa Fe leads in diesel sales

Bay of Plenty Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Colin Smith

The top-five mod­els in the Large SUV seg­ment so far this year are a sur­pris­ingly di­verse se­lec­tion. Rental car sales power the V6 petrol Toy­ota High­lander to the top po­si­tion. The aged Holden Cap­tiva ranks num­ber two pushed along by at­trac­tive pric­ing ahead of the Subaru Out­back, Hyundai Santa Fe and the Mazda CX-9.

Along with High­lander, both Out­back and CX-9 are also ex­clu­sively petrol mod­els and the seg­ment is split 54:46 in favour of petrol.

Clearly lead­ing the diesel arena is the Santa Fe. Hyundai says more than 90 per cent of Santa Fes sold in New Zealand have the 2.2-litre R Se­ries four-cylin­der diesel un­der the bon­net.

The Gen-four Santa Fe (model code TM) now on sale in New Zealand is a full re­fresh of Hyundai’s large SUV. It de­liv­ers more space, a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in safety and con­nec­tiv­ity plus a fur­ther evo­lu­tion of Hyundai’s bold styling that lends it a strong vis­ual pres­ence on the road.

The ex­te­rior is high­lighted by Hyundai’s “cas­cad­ing grille” theme with a hexagonal 3D treat­ment and a twin head­lamp light­ing sig­na­ture.

In­ter­est­ing vis­ual touches are the re­turn of a fixed A-pil­lar win­dow and a sig­nif­i­cant larger glasshouse at the rear with a claimed 41 per cent im­prove­ment in vis­i­bil­ity for the third row oc­cu­pants. An ex­tended wheel­base and in­creased width and length pro­vide more pas­sen­ger and load space.

The four-cylin­der petrol and diesel en­gines are car­ried over from the pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion DM Santa Fe while a new H-Trac all­wheel-drive sys­tem prom­ises faster trac­tion re­sponse and im­proved fuel ef­fi­ciency.

The diesel-pow­ered Santa Fe mod­els fol­low the Kia Sorento and Sportage diesels in gain­ing a new eight-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion. But the 2.4-litre Theta II GDI petrol en­gine — not present dur­ing last week’s New Zealand me­dia launch pro­gramme — re­tains the pre­vi­ous six-speed auto.

The petrol en­gine de­vel­ops 138kW at 6000rpm and has 241Nm of torque at 4000rpm. Com­bined cy­cle con­sump­tion is rated at 9.3L/100km.

The diesel is the clear per­for­mance choice for Santa Fe buy­ers with 147kW at 3800rpm and — of much greater im­por­tance — 440Nm of torque be­tween 1750-2750rpm. Com­bined cy­cle con­sump­tion is rated at 7.5L/100km — down from 7.8L/100km thanks in most part to the new trans­mis­sion — and there’s a 6-litre in­crease in tank ca­pac­ity to 70-litres.

The R Se­ries is a proven smooth and re­fined per­former and those qual­i­ties have been en­hanced by the re­spon­sive eight-speed auto. Hyundai has dropped the 3.3-litre V6 petrol front-wheel-drive model from the new Santa Fe line-up.

New Santa Fe puts a larger foot­print on the road with the wheel­base stretched by 65mm while the body is 70mm longer and 10mm wider. The height un­changed at 1680mm and ground clear­ance re­mains at 185mm.

There are small in­creases in load vol­ume mea­sure­ments in each of the 2-seat, 5-seat and 7-seat con­fig­u­ra­tions and the most sig­nif­i­cant gains in pas­sen­ger space are an ad­di­tional 13mm of sec­ond row legroom and 42mm of third row head­room but there’s a 19mm re­duc­tion in third row legroom.

One-touch re­leases pro­vide the fold­ing mech­a­nism for both the sec­ond and third row seats and new grab han­dles as­sist with en­try and egress from the third row.

A few hun­dred kilo­me­tres be­hind the wheel of the new Santa Fe also con­firms a very com­fort­able driv­ing po­si­tion with sup­port­ive front seats and ex­cel­lent vis­i­bil­ity. A stylishly tidy dash lay­out with plenty of qual­ity soft touch ma­te­ri­als pro­vides no­table er­gonomics and qual­ity to the cabin.

The ride was com­pli­ant across lumpy North­land high­ways with set­tled com­fort and body con­trol and the Santa Fe Elite and Lim­ited show plenty of wide tyre grip on the 19-inch al­loy wheel and 235/55 tyre com­bi­na­tion.

Road noise wasn’t in­tru­sive on most of the sur­faces and the com­bi­na­tion of diesel torque, tall gear­ing and quiet re­fine­ment made the Santa Fe a re­laxed high­way trav­eller.

It was only when hur­ried along in the tight­est sec­tions where its sub­stan­tial — slightly in­creased — weight be­came the pre­dom­i­nant fac­tor in its driv­ing dy­nam­ics.

The steer­ing does have an ac­quired taste due to con­stant ac­tiv­ity in your hands from the en­thu­si­as­tic lane keep­ing as­sist re­sponses. Things felt more nat­u­ral and less in­tru­sive with the sys­tem switched off where you get the im­pres­sions Hyundai has worked hard to get rid of the light feel of the pre­vi­ous model and bring a new feel of con­nec­tion to the driver.

Hyundai has ex­tended its SmartSense safety and driv­ers as­sist ros­ter for the TM Santa Fe. All mod­els have For­ward Col­li­sion Avoid­ance As­sist, Smart Cruise Con­trol, High Beam As­sist, Driver At­ten­tion Warn­ing, Lane Keep­ing As­sist and Lane De­par­ture Warn­ing and Lead Ve­hi­cle De­par­ture Alert.

En­try level mod­els get Blind Spot Warn­ing and Rear Cross Traf­fic Alert while the Elite and Lim­ited are up­graded to new Rear Cross Traf­fic Col­li­sion Avoid­ance As­sist and Blind Sport Col­li­sion Avoid­ance As­sist sys­tems while also gain­ing Safe Exit As­sist and Rear Oc­cu­pant

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